Tom in North Carolina asks:
Sajeev, my 2005 Dodge Durango (4×2 Limited with Hemi and tow package) hit a critical juncture in April. The truck hit 70,000 miles meaning the 7/70 power train warranty expired, and Chrysler just BK’d. Since the vehicle is in great shape, good for road trips, is all but paid for, and is worth less to a dealer than it is to me, I plan to keep it for awhile. I have been told the 5.7 with the 5 speed auto is a fairly bulletproof power train, and with proper care and feeding should last a long time. The truck gets no severe service and is driven fairly gently, 70/30 highway/suburban use, 18,000 miles per year.
To keep it running I am debating keeping with the OEM scheduled 5000 mile oil changes (usually available for about $22) or switching to Mobil One at 10k or 15k change intervals. If I switch to synthetic oil, would you suggest a “better” quality oil filter (and what brand)?
Obviously you should buy a brand spankin’ new Durango and use nothing but the cheapest stuff in it. When component failure comes knocking, suck the taxpayers dry with Ceberus’ lifetime powertrain warranty.
But seriously: the OEM oil chosen is a synthetic blend, which is more than adequate for most needs. I do prefer switching to Mobil 1 (or comparable) and extending the service interval to 6,000–10,000 miles, depending on your driving conditions (traffic, speed, etc.) and regional climate. So you can’t go wrong with either setup unless you plan on keeping this SUV forever, far past 200k miles. Then switch to synthetic.
Another often overlooked concern: make that switch to synthetic ASAP. As motors get older and tolerances between gaskets loosen, the thinner molecules of synthetic are known to cause oil leaks. You should be fine at your mileage, however.
As far as filter recommendations, this website does a great job presenting the engineering specifications of leading oil filters. But as TTAC commentator Tosh once mentioned, their/my recommendations do not include testing with before/after oil analysis.
I use Wix, Purolator PureOne, and Mobil 1 filters on my personal vehicles on 6-10k oil change intervals: the Mobil 1 filter is only used on the ones with seriously expensive engines that see more, umm, demanding amounts of throttle. I use Wix more often mostly because of price and availability at my favorite parts store. Frankly, any of the more expensive filters (no orange cans of death, please) is fine for your switch to synthetic.
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