Synthetic Vs. Petroleum Valve Oils – Which Should I Use?

You’re in the store, staring at the wall of oils. There’s Hetman’s, Superslick, Holton, Yamaha, an abundance of oils. But which one is right for your horn? And how do you know? There are easy answers for these questions, but let’s dive in to the reasoning behind those answers.

Synthetic Molecules
Petroleum Molecules

There are many reasons to switch to a synthetic oil, some being that it will last longer in your horn (gumming up much less, allowing you to go longer between cleanings), and it will stay consistent and stable, even when exposed to different temperatures. The reason behind this stability can be found in the molecules. In petroleum oils the molecules vary in size, allowing the oil to break down at different points, creating a sluggish feel in your oil even just days after it’s applied. With same-size molecules the breakdown process happens all at once, and much longer after application than the petroleum based. This creates a long-lasting, stable, and reliable feel in your valves. Overall, a bottle of synthetic will not only last longer than a petroleum bottle, but will feel better, longer.

Here’s some of our favorite brands of synthetic valve oil. Come on in to learn the differences! Nicole would love to discuss all our oils, and find what’s best for you.

Hetman Light Piston Oil
Yamaha Synthetic Valve Oil
Superslick Valve Oil with Silicone

Information and images sourced from the Yamaha Corporation of America and Yamaha Corporation

Author: Nicole

Hi! My name is Nicole and I am the Band Instrument Repair Technician, as well as the Assistant Manager, here at the North Conway music Center. You can find me in the back of the store at my bench, or up front ready to help you learn!

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