By on June 18, 2015

Synthetic Oil. Shutterstock user Africa Studio

TTAC Commentator RS writes:

How much Synthetic Oil is actually in Semi-Synthetic Oil?  Why is that info so hard to find?

Sajeev answers:

Why?  Relevance and (by definition) minutia’s lack of importance.

I personally think manufacturers should publish vehicle’s torque curves, drag coefficients, frontal area dimensions and all gear ratios on their websites. Damn near everyone else couldn’t give two shits about that.

But I digress…there are five groups/classifications of oils in the USA, and the three highest are classified as synthetic.

Group III is the sticking point for many folks: if this thread has any credibility, here’s why Mobil 1 oil went “down” from a pure synthetic oil. And nobody wants to talk about it!

Mikey100’s quote is a brilliant assessment:

“In the late 1990s, Castrol started selling an oil made from Group III base oil and called it SynTec Full Synthetic. Mobil sued Castrol, asserting that this oil was not synthetic, but simply a highly refined petroleum oil, and therefore it was false advertising to call it synthetic. In 1999, Mobil lost their lawsuit. It was decided that the word “synthetic” was a marketing term and referred to properties, not to production methods or ingredients. Castrol continues to make SynTec out of Group III base oils, that is highly purified oil with most all of the cockroach bits removed.

Shortly after Mobil lost their lawsuit, most oil companies started reformulating their synthetic oils to use Group III base stocks instead of PAOs or diester stocks as their primary component. Most of the “synthetic oil” you can buy today is actually mostly made of this highly-distilled and purified dino-juice called Group III oil. Group III base oils cost about half as much as the synthetics. By using a blend of mostly Group III oils and a smaller amount of “true” synthetics, the oil companies can produce a product that has nearly the same properties as the “true” synthetics, and nearly the same cost as the Group III oil. In fact, Mobil-1 is now primarily made from Group III unconventional base oils, exactly the stuff Mobil was claiming was not really synthetic. The much more expensive traditional synthetics are now available in their pure forms only in more expensive and harder to obtain oils.”

See how the world (the USA, in this case) works? When someone finds the easy way out, it’s a race to the bottom.

But we shouldn’t care: Group III full synthetic oils are pretty much fantastic for the majority of engines on the road. Most cars don’t use or require it, as synthetic blends are now all the rage from the factory. And synthetic blends are not the same as a Group III full synthetic oil. 

Unless you own an M-series BMW or a Ferrari with a mandatory oil brand/weight as per owner’s manual, odds are Group III oil is the best you’ll ever need. Or want. Best and Brightest?

[Image: Shutterstock user Africa Studio]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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159 Comments on “Piston Slap: Synthetic Oil’s Historic Race to The Bottom?...”


  • avatar
    Land Ark

    The Legacygt forum just broke because someone somewhere mentioned oil.

    Thanks, Sanjeev (I know it’s you)

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Nothing gets car forums more riled up than motor oil.

      • 0 avatar
        PRNDLOL

        I change my synthetic oil every 100 miles and I’ve never had a problem!!!!

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It’s funny because it’s almost true.

        • 0 avatar
          Land Ark

          You drive your car? You clearly don’t deserve to own it. You should buy a Camry instead.

        • 0 avatar
          GS 455

          I change my oil a couple of times a year and drink a beer afterwards (Molson Canadian, in a bottle, chilled to exactly 4 C) and I’ve never had a problem. I’m wondering if I should switch to a craft beer. What do you guys think?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There is good craft beer and bad craft beer. Molson is always what it is. I personally think craft brewers tend not to get pale lagers right.

          • 0 avatar
            redliner

            WHAT?! Your going to get cancer and DIE! your doing it all wrong. The correct temperature for beer should be 2 C. You should not even be allowed to drink beer.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Depends.

            I saw a bottle of IPA once and the engine in my truck exploded.

            But if you drink a porter you get 20% better mpg torques.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “I change my synthetic oil every 100 miles and I’ve never had a problem!!!!”

          You’re pouring perfectly good oil down the drain! (expletive, expletive) That’s what the oil barons want you to do!! Don’t you know you can stretch synthetic oil to 200 mile intervals?!?? (expletive, excessive punctuation)

  • avatar
    RS

    I’ll have to pay more attention to the Group level. Interesting info. Thanks Sajeev!

  • avatar
    skor

    I never really could understand the obsession with oil. In over 30 years of driving, using only dino-oil, I’ve never had a car that suffered an oil related failure. Currently I’ve got a car on my driveway that with 220K miles on it’s original engine, runs fine, and never saw a drop of synth-oil.

    Here’s some more anecdotal evidence that oil is oil. 25 years ago I bought an el-cheapo lawn mower with a Briggs engine. That mower was used about 20 hours a season for 20 years until the deck finally rotted out. At the end of every season I’d drain the oil, fuel and clean the air filter. At the beginning of the season it would get some fresh dino-oil and fuel. I would buy the cheapest oil I could find, sometimes it was super market house brand, sometimes straight 30 weight (recommended by Briggs), sometimes 10-30.

    When I replaced the mower, I separated that old Briggs engine from the rotted deck and placed it on a shelf in the garage, hoping I might find a mower with a good deck and bad engine out for trash pick up. That Briggs engine sat on the shelf until last year when I decided to throw it out, but before I did, I took it apart to see what was going on inside.

    This is what I found inside that Briggs engine: There was no sludge in the crankcase. There was some crud in the combustion chamber and on the back of the intake valve….probably from using the 10-30 which is a bit too thin for a flat-head Briggs. A very slight cross hatch pattern was still visible on the cylinder walls. The valve tappets were just about polished in. I could still see faint machine marks on the crank journals. After 400 hours on clean dino-oil, that engine was just about broken in.

    My 2 cents: Buy name brand dino-oil on sale. Use the recommended viscosity and change regularly. Don’t make yourself crazy over oil.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I think it depends.

      Putting synthetic in your 2.7L Tacoma or 3500 Impala is likely a waste. Throwing some Supertech into an Audi V10 or GTR is probably ill-advised though.

      • 0 avatar
        360joules

        I agree with “it depends.” When I purchased a high performance car in my yuppie years, I switched from Castrol to Mobil 1 synthetic. When wife and I in-yuppied (kids & intentional career change), I stayed with Mobil 1 as insurance against a missed service interval. This proved prescient when I had a frantic 5 month period of my life. I put nearly 30,000 miles on 1 oil change. When I came to my senses, I was a little over a quart low. Car now has over 206K miles, has a front seal leak, but everything shiny under oil cap, no blue smoke, still good compression.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      You change the oil on your lawnmower? I just keep putting oil in when it’s low and change the oil every half a decade or so. The Suzuki engined Toro from the early 90s will run forever.

      • 0 avatar
        STRATOS

        New lawnmower engines now disposable.They have plastic camshafts and no oil change required.Cheap takes on new meaning.Old Japanese engines were bullet proof.A 30 year old mower will outlast a brand new one.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          @stratos

          Sounds like what you are telling me is the answer to my, and my son’s, mowing equipment questions: buy something with an old engine, which does not exhibit any signs of engine problems, put a quart of good oil in it, and keep the oil level topped up.

          I know this isn’t CL, but anybody wanting here wanting to sell something like this in the NYC-Philly corridor, or maybe even down in the DC area, please shout out.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      Your nicer than me. I have had a low-buck Lawnboy 4 cycle I have been waiting to die for about 15 years. Still starts 1st pull every season and I don’t even drain the gas out of it. The closest I have come to killing it is changing the oil. It takes a ridiculously small amount and I over fill it every time causing me to blanket the neighborhood in blue smoke until I get the level right.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Hahaha. I don’t think I’ve drained the gas out in years. I used the same lawnmower to cut my parents lawn when I was a kid. 20 years later, I get to cut my lawn with it because they bought a lawnmower that has a self propelled function that works.

        I have their old snowthrower too. That POS won’t die. Everything around the Tecumseh engine will rust and crumble, but the engine keeps going.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          At the last mow of the summer, I usually run it dry. Don’t nobody got time to unhook things and drain it!

          Never changed the oil, because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up!

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Wife’s best friend has a husband who is a science teacher, and in fairness, by all indications an outstanding one.

            They have two sons in their early twenties, just a bit older than mine.

            I ended up cutting a deal for my son to get to use their mower to cut all the lawns he wants no charge, in return to a mowing job twice a month because I resurrected their lawn mower from the dead.

            Seems like one of the two Jr’s went to gas up the mower and try to start it.

            Wouldn’t ignite a bit, with thirty weight in the gas tank!

            One quick and only slightly messy gas tank drain, plus a carb teardown and reassembly, and the mower was as good as new.

            Seems there was a breakdown in training technique and technology transfer between the two generations.

            My son has learned to listen to the old man’s theories on the care and feeding of machinery of various types, in part because of that episode. In particular, he checks the oil every time he goes out. Better safe than flat broke.

            The more he sees his old man’s way of doing things corresponds with better outcomes, the easier it is to get him to listen and to respond.

            In turn, as an older father, I rest easier, knowing he won’t butt his head up against every “short cut, easy way” knuckleheaded way of caring for machines, but will instead care for things properly.

            He has even gotten better than me at straightening out the cord on a weedwhacker.

            And he just came in the door with his mother, pointing out that he remembered to buy more cord for his lawnjob tomorrow.

            I worried so much when he was fifteen. Now I get to sit back and watch him learning at every turn.

            Sort of like Mark Twain’s story…when he was fifteen he was surprised that his father had been able to live so long, considering how little he knew.

            By the time he had reached twenty one, he was amazed at how much his father had learned in just six years.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Sounds like age good; Suzuki engines, good; and Tecumseh, good.

          I have had good luck with Briggs & Stratton in the past. Anyone else second that or reject that idea?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Tecumseh and B&S made good engines in the vintage you are talking about. Way better than anything made now.

            The 2 stoke Suzuki that Toro had on their lawnmowers has a cult following, but I’d bet they are hard to find.

            If you can find a 4 stroke Suzuki (usually 5 HP) or Kawasaki (usually 6.5 HP) engined lawn mower, you will be good to go.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Have never lost a Briggs yet for a period of 40 years.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I thought the point of synthetics was to extend the oil change intervals. I’m changing the synthetic oil on my 4.6 V8 F-150 at around 40K miles, but I think that’s OCD. Runs beautiful.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        “I’m changing the synthetic oil on my 4.6 V8 F-150 at around 40K miles”

        Do you mean 4K miles?

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          No, 40,000+ miles. The oil still looks good at that point, half life maybe, so I save it for my tractor, mower, pressure washer, etc.

          The pickup uses about a quart every 7,000 miles so I top it off with more synthetic. And I’ve ran it dry a few times, and only noticed when the valve train was clattering. Still runs awesome at 225,000+ miles.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well then I wouldn’t say you are being OCD about your oil.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If it wasn’t of OCD, 80,000+ miles.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Maybe the B&B can crowdfund a used oil analysis for DenverMike.

            One of two outcomes:

            a)those of us in shock at the insane oil change interval have egg on our face

            b) Mike looks as nutty as the owner of that Murliee Martin junkyard find that had brake fluid for coolant.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I got five on it

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I just don’t care if a ruin the engine. It’s just a common Ford. The used 4.6 is dirt cheap anyway, worst case. But I highly doubt I’ll need it.

            Go ahead and change your synthetic when you want. Unless it’s something awesome you want keep forever and your grand kids can’t wait for you croak for, your oil change intervals are overkill.

            Clearly not for every car or situation. But if it’s a known tough and ubiquitous engine, it’s ‘game on’ as far as I’m concerned. Ill think about that before I buy. I mean what I’ll save while abusing it. But what’s “abuse”?

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Well, when you’re adding 5 quarts over the 40kmi – that’s more oil than the thing holds dry, according to the internet.

            So you’re doing an oil change over the span of the 40kmi, in practice.

            Keeps the additive package from being so worn out, I suppose.

            (Lots of engines and loads will easily handle over 10kmi with no issues with a good synthetic, according to people who’ve paid to have it analysed – “looks good” means nothing – so I can imagine 40kmi with top-ups of 1/4 capacity every 7k being sustainable.)

          • 0 avatar

            DenverMike is far from the first. There was a guy in Neon Enthusiasts group who changed oil every 50,000 miles or so. He was the first of one of the firsts to make into 200k club some time around 1998.

    • 0 avatar
      STRATOS

      The reason they recommend SAE 30 oil is that mowers only operate in the summer and do not need viscosity modifiers which may also break down and cause oil to thin out.(cheap insurance)

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        But let’s not forget that most mowers use air-cooled engines in which the oil gets wicked hot. I just changed out the oil in the pusher and the lawn tractor yesterday – straight 30W is the way to go, and Briggs right in their manual tells you that you will experience excessive oil consumption if using a multi-weight oil.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        But adding 5 qts over 40K is not the same as doing an oil change in the middle of the 40k. You never get all the crud out, so buildup becomes more of a problem.

        If I weren’t too lazy, and still too tired from surgery last week, I could do a mathematical integration based on a fixed rate of pollutant addition. Wot the hey, let me give it a try.

        Suppose a rate of 1% crud buildup per 1K miles. At the end of 40K, the person who changes every 3K miles has an average amount of crud of 1.5%. If they change every 5K instead, their average abount of crud over the 40K is 2.5%.

        Now suppose a mythical and legendary Colorado Cal, or CO Cal for short, doesn’t do an oil or filter change for 40K miles, but instead adds a clean quart every 8K to replace oil that has leaked or burnt off.

        Prior to adding his first quart at 8K, CO Cal has had an average amount of crud of 4% and a total of 8%. Now he adds one clean quart to the 4 dirty ones, giving him oil with 6.4% crud. Crud is added linearly at the rate of 1% per 1K, as before, for the next 8K miles.

        At the end of that interval, he now has 14.4% crud. His average amount of crud from 8K to 16K is the average of the starting and ending levels or (10.4).

        At 16K he adds a clean quart. “Crudiness” drops to 4/5 of 14.4% or 11.52% crudiness. At the end of 24K miles, crud has risen to 19.52, and average cruddiness for the interval is 15.52%.

        Once again, at 24K miles, a clean quart is added; cruddiness drops to 4/5 of that 19.52, or 15.616 cruddiness. Over the next 8K miles it rises another 8% to 23.616% cruddiness. The average crude during the 16-24K interval is 19.616% cruddiness.

        Getting to 32K miles, first he adds a clean quart to the 23.616% end rate to yield a new crud level of 18.90%. Crud will accumulate for 8K more miles, to 26.90%, the point just before he adds another quart at 32K. His average crud over this interval was 22.90%.

        So now we add our last quart of fresh oil at 32K. This brings crudiness down to 21.52%. On the way to 40K, crud level will rise to 29.52% with an average crud level of 25.522.

        Taking the average of the five average crud levels, for each of the 8K intervals, will give us the overall crud average.

        32-40K: 25.52
        24-32K: 22.90
        16-24K: 19.62%
        8-16K: 10.4%
        0- 8K: 4.0%

        For an average crudiness for the entire 40K of 16.49% and a peak crudiness of almost 29.52%.

        I could have done this algebraically instead of numerically, but I would have lost the last three or four of you who are still with me, if I did.

        And yes, I know this analysis does not take into account the cost of oil changes. It is strictly an attempt to show how crudded up an engine would become without regular oil changes.

        You would be running around with around 4 times as much crud in your oil on average throughout the interval as even an 8k change interval, and at the end, you would have peaked out with oil that was more than fourteen times as dirty as it would have been at the end of a 4K oil change interval.

        If the engine holds up against that, more power to it, but you certainly are pushing your luck, and wearing the hell out of your engine, doing so.

        Remind me not to buy Denver Mike’s vehicle if he ever puts it up for sale. And good luck with it, Mike. From where I sit, it looks like you are playing with fire, and one of these times, you will get burned.

        Oh, SH*T I shouldn’t have tried to do this off the top of my head. Right at the first oil add, at 8-16k miles, I calculated the start of the next interval as being what the average was across the 8K interval, instead of the ending rate. So all the figures look even more dismal, but I have successfully gone back and tried to correct my mistake on the fly. Guess I’ll try to check my work later and post a review. But I believe I caught my main mistake, assuming that the oil at the end of 8k just before adding a clean quart, was as clean as its average throughout the interval, instead of starting with the amount of crud at the end of the interval.

        If someone wants to follow the model I posited, and work out the math, please do. Or I will try to do it offline and check it before reposting, probably without all the detailed explanations.

        But also note that if your engine somehow remained tight, and didn’t need a quart every 8K, the picture would be even bleaker.

        You would have an average amount of crud of 20% at then end of 40K, with 40% crud at the end of the interval.

        For a lawnmower with short and infrequent run intervals, that might be a feasible strategy. But for a real vehicle, I don’t think so.

        You’ve got somewhere between a couple of grand and a couple of hundred grand in your wheels. Why quibble over $25 maybe eight times a year for a heavily driven car, or less than four times for a car that maybe gets driven a thousand miles a month.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          But what is the relationship between crud content and wear rates? Maybe there’s no effect until 50%!

          Not something I’d do though. I kind of enjoy maintenance. I do my changes spring and fall, typically with a conventional 5W-XX in spring and synthetic 0W-XX in fall. I don’t care how many miles are involved in-between that time frame. I think 11k is the maximum I’ve done, with a Sunfire GT on conventional Quaker State 5W-30. My buddy thought I might be pushing it a bit and he was doing regular oil analysis at the time so he took a sample. It came back looking great.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Of course, my crud rate of one percent per one K miles is purely arbitrary. However, at what ever rate the crud accumulates, the relative amount of it when changing every three to five K versus running forty K miles, with or without periodic replacement, will result in comparable relative rates of crud (basically sludge) accumulation.

            Not something I’d want to be doing to the motor in a car I like driving, for sure.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    So here’s my question: Does it matter what oil I use? I just use whatever Motorcraft syn blend the dealer puts in the car. I follow the proper intervals, and I haven’t had any issues. Am I doing this wrong? Should I be like a VW owner and buy $79.95/quart magical Elf oil that, through wizardry and dark magic, mostly keeps VW Group 2.0Ts from exploding?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Should I be like a VW owner and buy $79.95/quart magical Elf oil that, through wizardry and dark magic, mostly keeps VW Group 2.0Ts from exploding?”

      Let’s be friends.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      ” I follow the proper intervals, and I haven’t had any issues. Am I doing this wrong? ”

      If your engine does specify synthetic but isn’t high-performance, you’re likely okay as long as the oil meets the OEM’s specs.

      I have an E46 BMW 325i; I could probably get away with regular oil in an emergency (eg, if I had to limp home; I’d do a drain+refill after) but otherwise I stick to whatever meets the ACEA specs that BMW insists on and happens to be on-sale that day.

      Now, if I had an M3, I wouldn’t consider it; I’d have it towed.

      For the other cars (a Pontiac Montana and a Toyota Echo) I use regular oil, again to the OEM’s specs. I might switch the Echo to a synthetic over winter as it tends to accumulate miles and I do stretch the oil change interval a little because it’s cold outside and I don’t relish the idea of being under a car in slush.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I have a C-Max hybrid and I don’t think the engine is particularly taxed. I just take it to the Ford dealership because an oil change, tire rotation, and inspection is $29.95 when I have a coupon.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I would recommend using at least the recommended lubricant in any car with an engine stop-start system, of which the C-Max is one. I suspect you’re wrong about the demands made on the engine relative to engines in anything that doesn’t have stop-start.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s a good point CJ. I didn’t think about that. I keep the oil change intervals closer together than the manual states. I guess I could throw down a few more bucks for full syn.

          • 0 avatar
            mechaman

            Much agreed. I have a facebook friend who was complaining about oil change costs: I suggested she keep to factory schedule until the warranty runs out, then do as she wishes (within reason). No reason to give the dealer/maker an out.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          @bball40dtw Do you get syn blend oil for that price, and how do you get coupons, if you have bought a used FoMoCo product from a private owner?

          I suppose I could go bug a service adviser, and given that an inspection is thrown in, it’s probably well worth the few extra dollars over a good mechanic, though with two Firestones and two Bridgestones at present, rotation is pretty much a non-starter for me.

          But if rumors are true, you might know the path to a point within FoMoCo that might be useful to know. If so, thanks, and if not, sorry for bothering you about it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            So the easiest way to get a coupon is wait until they are running the national special for the Works for $29.95 with a $10 mail in rebate. Once you take it to a dealer and register with the Ford Owners Advantage program, you’ll get coupons for the Works on a regular basis.

            The Works includes oil change with syn blend, tire rotation, and multipoint inspection. They use all Motorcraft oil and filters. It’s actually a pretty good deal. Some oils are more depending on the oil weight.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          @bball40dtw Thank you for the info on the Ford plan. Will definitely sign up for it for my new old toy.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Wait what? In an emergency you wouldn’t use normal non syn oil of the correct weight in your m3?
        Pray tell unless you route home is a racetrack, what property of Dino oil will cause the engine to have an issue?
        Answer: nothing. BMW oil rec is for harsh conditions (high temp/load for extended duration – like the full duration of their change schedule)

      • 0 avatar
        Acubra

        On an M54 engine, unless you have a “cold” thermostat (87-93degC), you have to have a full-synt oil to avoid sludge accumulation. And change it in 8-10 kkm, depending on the driving style, not more.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        For the most part you really can’t go wrong following the OEM’s recommendation with a few exceptions. Most of which are cars that were found to have sludge issues after the fact, and they all have much updated recommendations by now. Hopefully those days are past! I also can’t wrap my brain around the cars that spec the SUPER thin 0w20 oils. I have to think that is purely for fuel economy test reasons and maybe is not such a great idea in the real world.

        For my BMW(s), it’s what BMW recommends (long-life synthetic, 0w30 or 0w40), changed by the computer or one year, whichever comes first. Spitfire gets 15w50 every other year, and the Rover gets dino juice annually.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      As a VW 2.0T owner, given the rate it vanishes, there’s clearly magic involved.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Dark German Magic.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Hilarious the lengths to which the VW haters will go to push a rant.

          “Hey – I bet the gunman at that church in Charlston was A VW ENGINEER!!!”

          The oil my VW dealer sells for my GTI is 5W40 Castrol Edge. He sells it for $7.49 a quart…I can’t get it for $7.49 a quart at Wal-Mart.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Y so cereal?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Fordson

            Not funny.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            No, not funny at all.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Facts on the matter:

            “On June 17, 2015, Pinckney was killed in a mass shooting at an evening Bible study at his church.[4][5][6]”

            “Sen. Pinckney spent much of his last day, June 17, 2015, campaigning with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Charleston.[15] That evening, he led a Bible study and prayer session at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he was senior pastor. A white gunman tentatively identified as Dylann Roof opened fire on the congregation, killing nine black church-goers. Pinckney was among the dead, as was his sister.[16] The FBI investigated the mass shooting as a hate crime.[17][1]”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clementa_C._Pinckney

            May have been a hit by groups unknown.

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            5qt jugs of Mobile1 are around $20 at Walmart. At that price, I don’t see a reason not to use synthetic.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            “5qt jugs of Mobile1 are around $20 at Walmart. At that price, I don’t see a reason not to use synthetic.”

            I don’t go to Wal-Mart because it isn’t convenient to where I live, and I don’t particularly care for Wal-Mart. Also, the Ford dealership two miles from my house will change my oil and rotate my tires for $9.95 more than the jug of Wally Mobil 1.

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            Fair enough, I’m just saying what works for me. For less than $30 I know I’ve got good oil, a good filter, and that the job didn’t get effed up by some junior wrench monkey working his way up to coolant flushes and tire balancing.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah, I don’t blame you. I used to change my own oil to save money. Maybe when my daughter is older, she can help daddy change the oil. Now we just walk around the sales lot while someone is changing the oil.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Yeah, but I can get it for $8.50 a quart off Amazon and not have to drive to get it.

            Or, let’s be sensible, I can pay someone else to do all that for me.

            (Also, on prices – local quicklube place would replace the air filter on my old Toyota … for less than the part alone cost me at NAPA.

            So I let them do it, when it was due.)

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Quick lube franchises are the devil’s work.

            I’d not wish that on my worst enemy, as many use bin/mixed oil & the most garbage grade Chinese oil filters (like 79 cent “Mighty” brand ones).

            There’s a happy place between OCD and DGAS (don’t give a $hit).

            Wix, Motorcraft, SOME other filters, and major refinery blended oils (Chevron, Texaco, Halvoline – even some minor ones like Kendall, which is great, actually) works.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Redundant.

          All German magic is dark.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Fair point.

          • 0 avatar
            mechaman

            For once I agree with DeadWeight. It’s a toss up as to who does worse, QuickChange Joints and Dealers. I had a dealer service department put in a nearly stripped out drain plug, a QuickChange almost FORGET to put the plug back in. So those mistakes make me wonder, what else did they screw up? When I find a flaw in a die set at work, I check the whole thing. Because I KNOW.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      For some of those VW owners it does make sense. E.g., the 1.8T engine failures due to coking and sludge buildup. Synthetic oils are much more resistant to heat and sludgeing, and probably could have saved a lot of the engines that were taken out. Ditto for the Toyota 3.0 sludge issues.

      On another note, base stocks are important (though really flash point and shear resistance and the like are probably less valuable to all but a small subset of street engines) but oils also differentiate on things like the strength of their additive packages, levels of detergents, etc…

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      Should I be like a VW owner and buy $79.95/quart magical Elf oil that, through wizardry and dark magic, mostly keeps VW Group 2.0Ts from exploding?

      Two words – Liqui Moly (Made in Germany). $36 for a 5 liter container at Amazon and other places.

      Don’t waste your time with Elf. It’s a French oil for the “multitude” of French vehicles you see in the U.S. (about as often as you see snipes) – enough said.

      That’s the only motor oil I use in my turbo VWs – especially my 300,000 mile 2003 Jetta 1.8T (with the original K03s turbo). Using the dealer’s hydrocracked “synthetic” motor oil is akin to driving your car to an early grave.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I used “Elf” because it went with wizardry and magic.

        VW people recommend specific oil, very specific maintenance schedules, expensive maintenance before 50K miles, preventative maintenance, and replacing stock things with something else to extend the life of a VW. Doing all this would have apparently got me to 200K miles in one of the various VWs I’ve owned.

        Here’s the problem:

        You all sound completely insane. No one finds these methods acceptable besides VW owners who have Battered Woman Syndrome or Stockholm Syndrome. No one else does the stuff VW owners do in order to keep their cars running? Not using specific German motor oil sends your car to an early grave? I can’t trust the dealer to put in oil that doesn’t kill the car? No one besides VW owners say these things.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      @bball40dtw If that Elf oil really can stop Group 2.0T’s from grenading, it is a bargain at that price. You should hire a kid to hawk gallons of it on streetcorners near busy gas stations in beach towns.

      On the other hand, I have come to be a true believer in Motorcraft syn, though I have not yet drank the 0W-20 or 5W-20 Koolaid for my ’97 Grand Marquis, versus the original spec 5w-30.

      Seems like it is primarily a CAFE issue, and I don’t think a digit or two of difference in the second decimal place of my mpg is worth the difference in characteristiscs.

      But I’d like to know if anyone has anything new on that issue besides the already published BITOG stuff and the one former Ford engineer who now works for NASCAR, who doesn’t see any advantage to the owner, as opposed to FoMoCo in dealing with the EPA.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    If you’ve ever been to BITOG (Bob is the Oil Guy) you’ll understand where the most OCD car folks on the ‘net congregate.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Yeah, it’s not just car guys with OCD. You’ll find OCD and gear-f*g types in every hobby. You should see how much crap my gun-f*g friend hung on his AR. Yup, he’s Rambo….in his own mind. I know a guy who pays $7 for a 3oz tube of ‘special’ waterproof bicycle grease….that works out to $37 a lb. I tried to explain to him that there is no such thing as ‘special bicycle grease’, that it was repackaged boat trailer bearing grease that he could purchase as Vato-Zone for $7-$8 per pound. He’s having none of it, it’s ‘special’ bike grease only that transforms him into Lance of Tour de France.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Can’t help with his, er, mental issues.

        But I get a 3oz tube is a lot more convenient than a pound of bearing grease, especially for applying to a chain, and storing.

        If it takes him a season to go through the grease, it’s probably a better bet, even if it’s far more expensive by the pound.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I can waste tremendous amounts of time at BITOG, it’s just fascinating to learn two important things about oil:
      1. Most of us don’t know jack squat about oil chemistry
      2. Some people who seem to know a tremendous amount about oil chemistry seem to be posting ALL DAY on BITOG which makes me wonder what they do for a living.

      But really, love that site; between /r/justrolledintotheshop and BITOG I could waste a perfectly good work day if I’m not disciplined.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        It’s worthwhile going here and wading through the verbosity to find out that, some synthetics are good, some are bad; some dino oils are good, some bad.

        https://540ratblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/motor-oil-wear-test-ranking/

        Actual testing of oil, not flights of ersatz imagination by those least in the know who nevertheless promulgate mindless opinion as fact.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I love /r/justrolledintotheshop and /r/OSHA because they make me feel good about the “bad” stuff I’ve done. “See, at least it’s not as bad as THAT!”

      • 0 avatar
        bkrell

        For about 2-3 years, I was a rabid BITOG’er. I even took pics of my valve train during each oil change to see how things improved/deteriorated. I bought sale oil, synths, and other BITOG “flavor of the week” oils non-stop. 10 years later, I have unopened boxes of oils in weights I no longer need. Ah, and the additives. Auto-rx, Schaeffer’s Neutra, Kano Labs Kreen, Seafoam, Berryman B-12 Chemtool, Valvoline VSOT, MMO….

        Deep breaths, deep breaths…

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    One other difference (when I find the article written by an engineer for SAE I will post the link) is this.

    In a 10w-30 oil a regular dino oil is 10w with viscosity modifiers to make it act as a 30 weight oil when hot. A full synthetic oil is the opposite. It starts as a 30 weight oil and has modifiers to make it act as a 10 weight oil when cold. That way when it gets hot it does not break down like plain old cheap dino oil.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      However most oil related damage is usually done while the oil is cold and vm’s degrade pretty equally although the higher price point of syn may allow for a better vm formulation.
      Basically if you are running your oil significantly past it’s change interval, you are running the risk of having a degraded vm package. Under that, for Dino or syn, your probably fine.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      The low temperature modifiers are called pour point depressants, and I was under the impression that conventional oils also utilized those. But I doubt that any decent synthetic needs any sort of viscosity index improvers to cover a spread as shallow as 10W-30. Probably not even for 5W-30.

      I’d be interested in reading that article if you find it!

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    The only thing that puzzles me is why German auto manufacturers recommend such thick grades of oil.Doesn’t mileage concern them? I read Honda was even considering a 15 weight oil in the quest for higher mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      miata’s owners manual spec’s 5w-20. That takes belief in the mfg to use.

      • 0 avatar

        The new 2.5L skyactiv in my 2015 6 takes 0W-20. And it specifically recommends Castrol brand lubricants.

        https://www.mymazda.com/MusaWeb/pdf/manuals/2015_Mazda6_Owners_Manual.pdf

        page 6-21

        • 0 avatar
          STRATOS

          0W 20 is the thinnest automotive motor oil you can buy today and is only available as synthetic.Toyota also recommends the same grade.They may introduce a 0w 15 because it may save more gas.As far as the pure synthetics(no wax base) ,it is not a scam to get your money they have superior qualities. They adhere to the metal pats.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            0w15 from 0w20 is really getting into diminishing returns… as it is, 0w20 is already “sewing machine oil” thin.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        “My old Mercedes ran 15w50 and I say that’s as thin as oil should ever get!”

      • 0 avatar

        Chrysler specified 5W-20 for old “EXA” 3.8L in Jeep Wrangler (replaced in 2012 by “Pentastar” 3.6L). What’s curious, that same engine started its life in Dodge Dynasty and then served in Caravan for a while. I am almost certain that it used 10W-30 at that time. Then… magic happened, and 5W-20 became recommended.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      My personal guess: autobahn. The oil must be good enough to sustain long rides at +100mph speed and constant high engine revs, so the German and other Euro engines are designed for such oil from get-go.

  • avatar
    Frankie the Hollywood Scum

    Sajeev, a lot the the vehicle information you are looking for is tucked in the digital cellar of the EPA. For example manufactures submit road load settings for each of their vehicles. Road load comparisons are very interesting since it is a apples to apples comparison of overall vehicle efficiency (cd, driveline drag, rolling resistance….)

    http://www.epa.gov/oms/tcldata.htm

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice scam the oil majors have their, charge double to triple for non-synthetic Group III “synthetic” oil WHILE oil has nearly halved from this time last year.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’m still waiting for airline ticket prices to go down because oil is cheaper. That’s why they raised prices, right?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I caught an interview last fall on CNBC with the CFO of one of the airlines. Essentially, his message was GFY we will artificially cut flights in order to keep supply tight, because we can.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          He could have just flipped the camera off and waived his d!ck around instead. It’s not like anyone would be able to do anything about it. Four airlines control like 80+% of the air travel in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Competition, whats that?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            US airline companies are also complete s#it. Other nations do it better.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I fly Delta a lot for work now, and I think their motto is, “Delta Airlines: Go [email protected] Yourself!”

            But, they have a fortress hub here, and I am not connecting in Chicago, just because. So I will just continue to collect SkyPesos and never do anything with them.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Enjoy your Bischoff biscuit, and live with it while you [email protected] off in this crappy old MD-80.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Delta does love old aircraft for cheap. Southwest paid Delta to take the 717s they inherited from AirTran. They spent $100+ million to paint them the Delta livery and convert them to Delta’s specs. They also keep adding MD-80s from other airlines getting rid of them.

            Somehow, they decided to get rid of Northwest’s DC-9s. The last one I flew on was almost 40 years old.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            US Air loved to fly 737s but they also seem to like Embraers. Given a choice I’d take a 737 or Embraers over an MD-80 or DC-9 (of all things).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            US Air liked the 737, but America West liked the A320 series. Since America West ran that merger, US Airways had a ton of A320s. I think the US Air vintage 737s are all gone. Now the new American has a ton of both 737s and A320s.

            I flew American/US Airways in May (Delta wanted $800 for a Detroit-Memphis direct round trip ticket). I actually liked the new CRJ200 and was okay with the E175. I would have preferred a 737 or A320 though.

            I’m also on a Delta MD88 right now…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            There needs to be more fleet consistency. One flight was in an ancient, uncomfortable and falling apart MD-80, and the next bit was in a brand new 747 and I had my own screen and games.

            On the way back, something else, one of those smaller jets which was also new. A320 or CRJ, perhaps.

            The MD-Series planes are just outclassed and need decommissioned.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Delta don’t care. They maximize the role of each plan in their fleet. They are masters at it. Because the 717s were free and the MDs were cheap, their cost to run matters way less than a new Boeing or Airbus.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            And that’s why I say US based airlines are shite! Other international major airlines don’t do that.

            I’ve heard particularly awesome things about Korean Air, though I’ve never got to fly them. Apparently even in Economy Class, they’re pushing food and drink in your face the whole flight.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well Korean Airlines has 150 airplanes. Delta has almost 800. They obviously need different business models.

            The three American legacy carriers airlines have the most planes, carry the most people, fly the most miles, have the most destinations, and have the most revenue (Lufthansa is #2 in revenue after American).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s a fair point. But they should all offer equal amenities, unless the fares are significantly cheaper on the American companies – which they aren’t.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Americans just want cheap and the ability to complain about it. Example: Spirit Airlines. They throw 180 seats on a A320 and offers cheap fares. Everyone hates Spirit (they should) and complains about them, but Spirit keeps growing.

            We suck sometimes.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Only sometimes?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Hey, I’m in a good mood today. Delta gave me free beer, didn’t lose my bags, and the flight attendant was actually nice.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In general, Americans have a consistent refusal to pass up a “bargain,” even when the bargain comes at the cost of all quality/comfort/goodness/etc. It’s awful.

            Sometimes a bargain can be great (like an LS400 in 1990). But mostly bad (cheap airlines).

            The beer is free in first class, of course!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sounds too good to be true, did you check the wing to ensure part of it didn’t fall off at some point? Check for gremlins too.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My company is too cheap for first class. Delta has premium economy that they will pay for though. Adds $60 bucks or so each way (Detroit-Tampa) and I get more legroom and beer.

            The wing may have fallen off. It was a 27 year old MD88. But Douglas built solid aircraft and we made it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Tampa? Going to go see a friend of ours and drive his awesome 171K Chevy Avalanche?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I wish. More like go to a meeting with senior management and go home. Driving a 171K mile Avalanche back to Detroit might be better than flying Delta. It’s like a Top Gear episode. Let’s see what I can sell it for in the Detroit area and if my total cost would be less than my Delta ticket.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Better than Delta? Sounds like the driving equivalent to a Delta flight.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I forgot that I would have to drive through Atlanta. Nevermind. I’ll take the sky bus.

  • avatar
    Curt in WPG

    I run full synthetics in both my van and my 200 but I manage an auto parts wholesaler so I’m paying less then the retail list for conventional oil for them. All good oils these days will outlast the life of the filter, thats the limiting part. I’ve been told that in Europe with synthetics they drain the oil, replace the filter and re-use the oil but that’s second hand info.

    Synthetic is also better when its cold (and it can be colder than snot where I live…). European and Japanese spec synthetics, not North American (sorry Castrol) ones.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    I don’t get caught up in the oil debates. For me, it’s simple:

    1. open car door
    2. locate the owner’s manual
    3. read the f*cking manual
    4. find the oil type recommended by the manufacturer. Some manufacturers like BMW and VW will indicate their own oil spec, such as LL01, VW502.00 . In that case, just look on the oil bottle for the spec and you’re done!

    For people who don’t or can’t DIY, simply find a shop that offers that kind of oil.

    Change the oil and filter at least at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals and use the recommended oil. There is almost no *measurable* reason to deviate from that plan.

    • 0 avatar
      71Cutlass

      LeMansteve, you sir, are a freakin’ genius. This is probably the best post I’ve ever read on the oil issue. Now if we could just convince everyone else on just how simple this really is!

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      There is one good reason to deviate from your advise. For example old 1990s or early 00s car manufacturers made the recommendations based on the quality of oil available back then. So every Ford in the 1990s said in the manual to change oil every 5000 miles for “regular duty”, and every 3000 miles for “high duty cycle” vehicles. Today, Ford recommends, starting with the more recent fusions, 5000 miles for heavy duty cycle, and 7500 for regular duty cycle, as long as the oil meets Ford’s spec, but every conventional oil on the Walmart shelf does meet Ford’s new spec. So if you change oil every 3000 miles on the older vehicles based on manufacturer recommendation, you may be wasting a bit of money and effort.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I trust the Mobil1 brand implicitly, based on some advice I got from a retired, very OCD, engine builder I got years ago.

    For me, I use it because I’m cheap. Yes, cheap. Toyota recommends 5k intervals. With Mobil1, I do 10k intervals, and in the end, it’s cheaper (and lazier!) to spend $30 every 10k than it is to spend $20 every 5k.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Mobil 1 is an honest to god synthetic oil brand with great price-performance. However, if you look at the threads related to Toyota’s brand synthetic 0W20 oil, you will see that there is quite a bit of evidence suggesting it’s a very good oil, and perhaps the best of the mass produced oils. Of course, it costs more than what you pay for a jug of Mobil 1 at walmart.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    The only time I’ve ever run into a real oil issue despite following the manufacturers guidelines was with a Subaru 2.0T engine.

    I used the recommended Mobil 1 with the proper weight (5w-30?) and it absolutely guzzled the stuff to the point where it could have caused damage in only a few thousand miles. I swapped it instead for some Rotella synthetic 5w-40 and the consumption stopped.

    I guess it’s a pretty common issue on that engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      I ran Mobil 1 for about four months when my WRX was new and it just vanished. For the last eleven years plain old Castrol has been fine.

    • 0 avatar
      STRATOS

      Rotella is a diesel engine oil . I use it on my bike but it is not to be used on catalytic converter cars.May damage them .Mobil 1 brand was not the issue but you needed a thicker oil in your case.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Uh, no?

        Shell’s data sheet on Rotella T5 and T6 says “API CJ-4[…] SM […]”

        API SM is “for all new gasoline engine cars” – and thus *must be* compatible with catalytic converters.

        “No Rotella in gas engines” appears to be a widespread internet myth, from a search. Evidently a few people at Shell (who are answering random emails or phone calls, that is, so basically the secretarial pool) will tell you that if you ask – but they’re still wrong.

        Rotella is graded for both Diesel and Gasoline use as a fleet oil, to save on logistics.

        It’s fine for your car, though certainly unlikely to be even a whit better than the competition.

  • avatar
    bkrell

    Ya know, there was a time I cared about this oil BS. When I had a sludger SAAB 9-5… It forced me to become an avid BITOG’er with a stash of oil that could be measured in barrels by the time my mania subsided. Ten years later, I still haven’t burned through all of that oil I bought. And every car I’ve owned other than the saab has gone a zillion miles without even the slightest light varnishing on the engine innards just by going off the oil life monitors.

    Moral of the story-blame the car, not the oil.

  • avatar
    lon888

    The “phony-baloney synthetics” that the American oil producers make (Mobil 1, Castrol, etc) is the reason I use either Japanese-made Eneos or German-made Lubri Moly in my VW. The European and Japanese laws are very strict on what they can call “full synthetic”. Their synthetics are made from synthetic bases not dinosaur oil like the American brands.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Castrol is owned by BP, a British Company – and was owned by Burmah Oil until 2000.

      Also, VW recommends Castrol for use in their vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        lon888

        The Castrol that VW recommends is called Professional Synthetic. It is made in Germany and is a true synthetic.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Castrol SLX Professional, which is what dealers had when I owned VWs, is made in the US.

          You are right that the current stuff used seems to be made in Germany. That was as of 2012 maybe.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      What measurable benefit do you receive by running Eneos or Lubri-Moly vs Mobil 1 or Castrol?

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Many of those “phony-baloney synthetics” meet and exceed the Euro-car manufacturer’s specs. Mobil 1 0W40 is one of the best of the crop, with amazingly good price, performance, and price-performance. Castrol’s 0W30, which is affectionately known as the “german castrol” also has quite a good reputation. Pennzoil’s Euro blend oil is also supposed to be good, but it’s more difficult to find. M1 0W40 is now almost guaranteed to be found in every Walmart.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Guess I am a little confused or disappointed in this story. It was informative, just not enough. I was left wanting more info.

    First, I have been using synthetic oil since the seventies. First it was Mobi1. Then after doing a lot of reviews, the Penz fully synth was my choice. It was rated higher and a bit less to purchase.
    The problem I find is those early years in Chicago and the use of full synth just left me with a beautifully running engine surrounded by rusted metal.
    A waste. I was jealous of those living in the sunbelt and how their care for their motors was rewarded with a longer lasting vehicle.
    Not in Chicago!

    What about natural gas????

    Lastly…why was there no advice given as to WHICH full synth is better? There has to be some differences between these many products.
    For instance, I now notice on the Full Synth Penz the notification “made from natural gas”
    From the Mfg:
    http://www.pennzoil.com/press/first-of-its-kind-synthetic-motor-oil-made-from-natural-gas/

    What? Is this good/
    Is this better than those that do not use natural gas?

    I wish this story had a bit more to offer.

    Now that I think about it, I was also advised long ago to use synth in my 02 Trailblazer due to its all aluminum engine. Is this not an issue with some modern engines…even the turbo-ed engines being presented today…especially the smaller ones in large SUVs?????

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “There has to be some differences between these many products.”

      Not a meaningful one! I mean, there might be, but I wouldn’t bet a dollar on it.

      Almost all the hype and terms on a bottle of oil apart from the C*/S* ratings or other, manufacturer specific ratings, and the viscosity… are marketing. Pure and simple.

      Use any oil that meets the manufacturer’s spec and you will be fine; if you want to try extending change intervals, use a synthetic or group-3-more-or-less-equivalent-whatever (if not already specified), and pay for oil analysis.

      (Made from natural gas? Just means that’s where they got the raw carbon to synthesize the longer carbon chains out of, vs. from a barrel of oil. Means jack-diddly in real terms; at most it placates hippies who care about “oiiiiiil!”, but not “natural gas”.)

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    there is a difference or, and I would be “shocked” I tell you, if there was marketing involved in this gambling room….

    “Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ keeps pistons up to 25% cleaner than Mobil 1 and Pennzoil Platinum® keeps pistons up to 8% cleaner than Mobil 1. ”

    http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/pennzoil-q-a/

    still, what is this “natural gas” beginning/base all about????

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    “Why do my actions have consequences?” – Homer Simpson

    In my view the best engine oil for your car is the one your owner’s manual recommends. Specify a quality brand that satisfies the API motor oil service specification and viscosity grade. Disregard motor oil industry marketing bumpf. Ensure the specified motor oil and oil filter are actually installed.

    The oil change is not the sole consideration. It’s also about catching and addressing little things before they become expensive repairs. Asking a licensed mechanic to give the car an underhood check and look at the running gear every four to six months will cost about $50. Ordering an oil change and asking him to look it over while it’s on the hoist will result in a similar charge. Effectively the oil and filter change are cost-free.

    Oil is cheap, repairs aren’t. Skimping on oil changes and inspections greatly exceeds any upside. Carmakers have slashed maintenance recommendations to please ecoloons and frugal consumers. Some Engine Oil Life Monitors (OLM) have owners draining blackstrap molasses at long intervals. GM recently acknowledged its suggested long oil change intervals are destroying 3.6 V6 timing chains. The carmaker’s branded oil filter will avoid arbitrary warranty denial.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It really is kind of hilarious to watch people chase their tails around oil. Do you have enough oil in your engine? Is it in good condition? Is it the weight recommended by the manufacturer? If the answer to all three of those questions is “yes,” you are not hurting your engine.

    The only hard part is figuring out how long you can wait and still have the oil be in good condition. Manufacturer “severe” intervals may be overkill but are very safe.

    Both of my cars call for American-style “synthetic” 5W30. I change the Forester’s (EJ255) every 5000 miles, in between the severe interval of 3750 and the regular interval of 7500. I drive the G8 little enough that I change the oil at least annually, and well before the OLM reaches even 50%. In its 36,000 miles it’s had eight oil changes. I use whatever synthetic is easily available.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Inspired by BITOG, I ran the oil in my newish Ford down to zero and then tested. It was fine. Not even arguably maxed out.

    I could have driven it maybe another 1,500 miles or so if I had wanted. This was on Motorcraft oil changed at the dealer for $39.

    Now I concentrate on the cosmetic appearance of the car. Face it: That’s the thing that takes us out of our cars.

    PS. Motorcraft oil is quite similar to Honda oil–not cheap stuff.

  • avatar

    I’ve always used Mobil 1, the 0w-40 (group IV) “euro blend”. The alternate is “German Castrol”, also group IV. The Diesel gets a specific VW German Castrol as well.

    Does it make a difference ? Beats me, but oil isn’t going to be the cause of death of my 300k car…..

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    Hmmm…. I’ve just been buying the Mobil1 or Penzoil platinum 5quart jug of whichever is cheaper at walmart and using an oversize filter. I guess I could save myself $10 twice a year by just using plain jane GTX instead with no ill effect…

  • avatar
    andrewallen

    Castrol R40 in the motorcycles (a fine and excellent engine oil made from castor beans to old air cooled aero engine specifications) at half the manufacturers recommended intervals (it smells soooooooo nice! and reminds me of my how my formula 1 racer used to smell) cheapest 20w50 in everything except the Sunbeam Rapier which gets the other cars used oil (leaks about 1 litre per 100KM, comes out the bottom sides and top almost faster than you can pour it in)

  • avatar
    MWolf

    Oh look! Oil talk!

    In most cases, I always say use what the owner’s manual tells you to. You can’t go wrong. In most of THOSE cases, you can use whatever brand you please as long as it meets all the standards and specs.

    If you have an old engine that may not have been loved very much, pay closer attention to additives and such. I prefer Castrol myself. I started using the High Mileage version of Castrol in my very high mileage old Explorer to see if it helps with oil consumption and leaks. So far, so good (which surprises me. It was on sale, so I tried it).

    And obey the oil change intervals your manual suggests. You can’t place the consequences of neglect on the oil that you never checked or changed.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    There was no lawsuit between Castrol and Mobil. Mobil simply filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. It went to arbitration and they deemed Castrol’s marketing to be reasonable.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/columns/pat-bedard-synthetic-motor-oil-gets-all-new-semantics-column

    I doubt Mobil was terribly upset about it, as they were now allowed to reduce manufacturing costs as well.

  • avatar
    hawox

    usually the manual on modern cars suggests the oil weight based on temperature. on 3 cars i changed oil recently the suggested weight is 5w40 or 0w40 in -20+50°.
    plus some manufacturer specs that nearly all the oils you can buy at the nearest shop are ok with.

    but i noticed oil weight suggested is much lower than what the car needs. my mitsubishi drinks the expensive 5w40 like a russian drinks vodka, wouldn’t even try the 0w.

    i buy a cheap 10w40 and never caused a single problem. my previous car (old golf gt) ran with the cheapest mineral oil i could find and the engine was perfectly fine.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Denver Mike–How long have you been using synthetic oil and what brand? I am just curious. My wife’s 2013 CRV uses 0W20 which is synthetic. I started using Mobil 1 5w30 in my 08 Isuzu but I am still using regular oil in my 99 S-10 which does not use any oil and the oil is still fairly clean when I change it. Also I am using synthetic oil in my Honda lawnmower which probably won’t make any difference but it takes so little oil that I just put it in it. The oil in the lawnmower is still clean after using it a couple of years. Could you use old synthetic oil as bar oil for a chain saw instead of buying the chain saw oil?

  • avatar
    El Hombre

    Regarding those ‘sludge’ motors, they were more susceptible to the abuse the typical American owner hands out. Lots of short trips in extremely cold or hot and humid weather, it was extreme service conditions, but the oil was changed at an interval appropriate to the most benign use, and even that was stretched out.

    The non ‘sludge’ motors could handle that abuse, that was the difference. Peeps that drove a half hour to work and a half hour back, or something similar, didn’t have sludge problems with either engine. I remember seeing pictures of a Camry engine that had black jello packed into every surface of the engine. Still had the OEM oil filter (only used at the factory), and was 30 months old and had 8K miles on it. Abuse, pure and simple.

  • avatar
    rich_lub_chemist

    Wow those are some great comments, and some bizarre misinformation. I have been working in the lubricant industry for well over 30 years, and all PCMO’s and Truck oils are not equal. While it is true that Grp III and Grp IV are similar, there is a linear performance relationship from Gpr I to Grp IV. In both lab bench testing and field testing of pure synthetics, true Grp IV, show superior performance, but not by much over a semi-synthetic Grp III. The main difference that you, as the end user can usually determine is the oil drain interval. Both Grp III semi’s and Grp IV true synthetics have superior intervals over “dino oil”. Believe it or not following the engine manufacturer’s guide and the using the correct viscosity grade, for recommended drain intervals for your driving habits, is the best case scenario, or else you are just throwing money away. As for Mobile there are so many varieties of “1” now that even I am confused. API has a great guide that most people can follow.

  • avatar
    geigs

    Fascinating, I’m reading my Studebaker’s Owner’s Manual right now and there is no mention of synthetics. It does mention a new type of oil: multi viscosity, so I can spend big on 10-30 if I prefer.

  • avatar
    makuribu

    And next you’re going to tell me my green valve caps are worthless, too :(

    Honey, get me another bottle of STP. I need to go down to Ziebart and argue about my extended rust proofing warranty.

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