Why Is It Important to Use a Synthetic Oil That Cleans?

All engines generate contaminants such as soot, carbon, and sulfuric and nitric acid. These contaminants are inevitable byproducts of the combustion process, and all of them end up in your motor oil, to varying degrees. So, the question isn’t whether you need an oil that cleans, but how well your motor oil cleans the dirt and deposits your engine generates.

To put it simply, a cleaner engine is better protected, has a higher quality performance, and works more efficiently than a dirty one.

This is why it’s important to use a motor oil like Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus®Technology that helps keep engines cleaner than any leading synthetic motor oil.

The Benefits of Synthetic Oil

Many people wonder about the benefits that come from using synthetic motor oil, especially since they notice the price tag is slightly higher than conventional motor oil. So how do a synthetic oil and regular oil differ? It all comes down to science and innovation. Base oil makes up nearly 80% of a motor oil formulation, and additives make up the remaining nearly 20%. The chemically engineered molecules in synthetic base oil have more uniform properties, while the molecules found in conventional base oil differ in shape and levels of impurity. Did you know that 70% of new cars today use synthetic motor oil to help maintain performance?

Pennzoil Synthetics take synthetic motor oil to the next level of performance because they use base oil made from natural gas, which is purer than base oil made from crude oil. With the help of this revolutionary gas-to-liquid technology, an engine can experience the complete engine protection including cleaner pistons1better fuel economy2horsepower protection3unsurpassed wear protection4, and extreme temperature performance.


1Based on ILSAC GF-5, Sequence IIIG piston deposit test using SAE 5W-30, and Ford, Chrysler and GM specifications. Does not apply to Pennzoil Platinum® Euro products.

2Based on pistons from standard V6 engine in ASTM Sequence IIIG piston deposit test using SAE 5W-30. Does not apply to Pennzoil Platinum® Euro products.

3Fuel economy measurements made using CAFE cycle under FTP75. Avg of 550 extra miles based on mixed city/highway miles and US avg of 13,476 miles driven per year with 4.1% better MPG vs dirty engine. Source fhwa.dot.gov, 2011. Follow OEM recommended oil drain intervals.

4Based on Sequence IVA wear test using SAE 5W-30.

Synthetic Oil Myths

Myth: Once you switch to synthetic oil, you can never switch back.

This is one of the most persistent myths about synthetic oil—and completely untrue. You can switch back and forth at any time. In fact, synthetic blends are simply a mixture of synthetic and conventional oils. It is advisable that you use the same oil for top-ups if needed, thereby giving you the best protection from the oil that you have chosen.

Myth: Synthetic motor oil is not compatible with conventional motor oil.

This is not true. For example, motor oil labeled “synthetic blend” already has synthetic oil and conventional oil mixed together. All Pennzoil® engine oils are tested for compatibility with other oils.

Myth: If you use a good synthetic oil, you can change your oil less frequently.

Lubricant marketers do not set oil change intervals; these recommendations are made by the engine manufacturers. The point of using high-quality synthetic oil is to take better care of the engine and reduce deposit formation, which may reduce power, performance, and fuel economy – rather than extending the drain interval. When it comes to how often change a full synthetic oil we recommend following a car manufacturer’s oil change intervals. Most of the automakers today require oil changes at either 7,500 or 10,000 miles, and the interval can go up to 15,000 miles in some cars.

Myth: Full synthetic oil is not good for high mileage cars or older vehicles.

The myth is rooted in the idea that synthetic oil is “slipperier”—lower in viscosity, or not as compatible with seals and will therefore leak or leak more in places conventional oil might not. Again, completely untrue. Synthetic oils will enhance the engine protection in older vehicles with higher mileage, just as they do for new engines.

Myth: You should break in your engine with conventional oil before you start using synthetic oil.

Again, there’s no manufacturer we know of that makes this recommendation. Mercedes, Porsche, Corvette, some Cadillacs, Volkswagen, Hyundai and many other manufacturers’ cars come from the factory with synthetic oil.

Myth: Using a synthetic oil voids a car’s warranty.

Untrue. The only engines that specifically exclude the use of a synthetic motor oil are some Mazda rotary engines.

Myth: Synthetic oil can't be used with ethanol-containing fuels.

Many gas stations already supply fuels blended with ethanol. Pennzoil® engine oils are tested for use with ethanol-containing fuels.

Myth: After-market oil additives are beneficial to your engine.

No. High-quality motor oils, such as Pennzoil® brand products, already contain carefully balanced additives for optimal performance.

Myth: Synthetics made from Group III base oils are not true synthetics and are not as good as PAO-based synthetics in Group IV.

Again, untrue. Synthetics made from Group III oil can, in some cases, outperform those made in Group IV oils in some areas.

Cleaner Pistons

For maximum performance your engine needs to be clean of deposits.