2004 Altima

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Mar 24, 2004
Montgomery, NY
Hello Everyone, first post here so bear with me. After 33 years of driving and using dino oil, I would like to switch to Mobil 1 in my new 2004 Altima. The owner's manual recommends 5w-30 with 10w-30 and 10w-40 acceptable when temps are over 0 degrees F but says Nissan does not recommend the use of synthetic oils. I asked the service advisor about that but he was clueless. No knock against dino oils but you guys know how it is. 3 previous cars: 80 Datsun 510-107,000 miles, 87 Sentra-283,000 miles, 96 Sentra-220,000 miles and never a problem. Nissans are cheap to keep and I do my own maintenence. Thanks.
Welcome aboard Frank!

I'm not quite sure what your exact question is here, but if you're asking if synthetic oils are safe to use, then the answer is definitely!

You've gotten good luck out of dino oil with Nissans, so you know they build good engines. By using synthetics you can get even longer engine life due to the engine staying cleaner. Plus you can safely go longer intervals if you wish. Exactly how long depends entirely on your driving habits and climate. That is why so many of us do oil analysis on our used oil, to see what a safe oil change interval is for us. A lot of us (myself included) still change it too often though.
Just keep on using the dino!If anything the Dino avalible avalible today is better then the stuff from 10yrs ago.If the motor is good one(nissan usually does a good job) then it should go to 200k with dino,no problem.
Don't know whats-up-with-that. I have come across something about Nissans using Viton for their seals. Maybe that has something to do with their thinking but Viton is great stuff. We use in all the time during our HazMat emergencies and clean ups. Has never leaked and always kept a good seal. If you want to use synthetics, by all means, use them. But, I am in total agreement with our idol, Patman. I had used dino for years then switched. I then found myself having a hard time letting the oil stay in longer than 3K, even though UOA's showed that it's still good. I am the victim of the 3K/3 month oil change that has been brain washed into us. I'm slowly letting go, I'm up to 5K changes with M1.
Sorry for not being clear. Basically I would like to go to Mobil 1 but don't understand why Nissan says no to synthetic. I thought someone here might know why. The dealer didn't have an answer but after talking with him about my oil practices with previous cars (80 510 & 87 Sentra oil & filter every 4,000 miles; 96 Sentra oil & filter every 5,000 miles) he suggested I go to 7,500 mile oil changes.
I was a dino guy until I got my new car and talked to a few synthetic high milage users. I think you will have fewer problems with the engine past 200,000 miles with synthetics. I used Castrol GTX and 3000 mile changes and have not been exactly happy with the results on my Toyota Cressida with 251,000 on it now. I am using Mobil 1 in my new Miata and 6000 mile changes. The price is about the same as with the GTX and 3000 mile changes. I think this is the way to go today. Dino leaves more deposits and allows more ware in my humble opinion. Dino definitely will thin out just look at UOAs on most Dino oils.
It may not be relevant, but I just read the "Question of the Day" forum here. Interesting. See Molekule's facts about the effects of dispersants and esters on Viton seals.
I'm not sure either why Nissan has changed its mind lately about recommending synth oil in their owners manuals. The '02 owners manuals used to recommend either dino or synth. I use Mobil 1 5w30 in my '02 Maxima like many other Maxima owners.

You could check if other Altima owners have posted UOAs at www.altimas.net.
I should add I live 65 miles northwest of N.Y. City and most of the mileage is in commuting to NYC in weather that ranges from below 0 to up to 100 in the summer and if anyone here knows what the Tappan Zee Bridge corridor is like it can be slow going.
The Altima's were pretty hard on oil, so I'm skeptical of 7,500 mile oil changes with dino oil. I think it's too long, imho. I would disagree there, and keep it under 5K, even with the best dino.

I'm not sure why Nissan has recently gone to the no synthetic recommended. Maybe one of our Mobil guru's has the answer.

I would say that if this engine chews on oil, they may be fearful of any extended drains also.
The engine is the 2.5 4 cyl and so far is very smooth and quiet. The inital oil change was at the dealer at 1200 miles and they used 10w-30 bulk Valvoline even though every new Nissan recommends 5w-30 (tells you who's benefit the dealer is concerned about)and I replaced that at 4500 miles with Havoline 5w-30 and Purolater oil filter.
I have been using syn on my Nissans since the early 70's and most of this was driving in no speed limit Germany. Never a failure. A good majority of Nissan owners I know run M1 5w30, M1 10w30 or Amsoil ASL 5w30. In my specific application (02 Maxima) I like the Amsoil ASL 5w30. Just my two cents.

My service guy has a report about synths and Nissan. Seems that it "raises" the maintenance operating costs and somehow that gets factored into warranty issues. Of course they (Nissan) won't allow statements about extended drains with synths which could alleviate the "increased" maintenance costs. Or the can of worms that could get opened if someone is using synths (says to use it right there in the manual) and has a lubrication related failure that Nissan would possibly balk at. Whatever. I personally think that Nissan's position on synthetics is so that Joe Car Driver doesn't get all wound up about putting costlier oil in their cars. You and I know the difference between "regular OR synthetic oil" if we read it in the manual but can only imagine how some squids (owners) may interpret it. Nissan is trying to save the headache IMHO.
Yeah Roger I think I'll do that. In another forum here I asked the same question to Molacule and he responded that he had called Nissan and that Nissan had promised to answer him with a written answer that he was still waiting for.
One other thing. After reading the owner's manual again, it actually says: Nissan recommends the use of mineral oils. Does this mean group III syns are good to use but group IV or group V are not ok to use?

Originally posted by Frank D:
One other thing. After reading the owner's manual again, it actually says: Nissan recommends the use of mineral oils. Does this mean group III syns are good to use but group IV or group V are not ok to use?


The way I read that, that would mean that Group I, II, and III are good to use.
Group III oils really aren't synthetic at a chemical level.
I also don't read that as saying "Don't use synthetic." I read that as saying "You don't need synthetic, you'll be fine with dino."
The subtext Nissan would be giving you in that case would be "Why would you pay $3-8/qt for synthetic when you could be paying $.84-$1.80/qt for dino?"
Maybe there's a sentence in the owner's manual that would clear that up for us. Feel free to post the whole paragraph if you want to, assuming that isn't all the manual says.
FrankD, I have the same QR25DE 2.5L engine in my Sentra SE-R SpecV. Mine's a 2003 and I have nearly 18,000 miles on it.

I have used mostly conventional oils (Chevron Supreme) and synthetic blends (Dealership's Castrol & Schaeffer S7K) but over the winter I used Red Line 5W30 (100% synthetic) for nearly 6,000 miles. I hope to have lab analysis results in other day or two.

Another forum member has the same car, used Red Line and has already posted a (good) lab report in the UOA section of this forum.

I'll have to double check my manual, but I don't remember any mention of synthetic oils, either pro or con.

--- Bror Jace
Tom, The manual actually says "Nissan recommends mineral based oils. These oils must, however, meet the API quality and SAE viscosity ratings specified for your vehicle." Other paragraphs state to use API certified oils meeting API grade SL Energy Conserving oil. Also ILSAC grade GF-III can be used. Maybe I am misinterpreting Nissan's statement but mineral based oils seems to exclude PAO or other true synthetic based oils. I have Havoline 5w-30 in the motor now since it is readily available in my area and at a very good price but I would like to use Mobil 1 in the winter since it does get down to 0 and below overnight.

[ May 02, 2004, 11:46 AM: Message edited by: Frank D ]
My Nissan dealer is also an Amsoil dealer so he can get the product at cost for his customers that ask for it. Some dealers are more open minded about syns I guess. Its their choice what to carry in their shops.
My daughters 93 Altima is going on 3rd year with Amsoil and changed once a year with 6 month filter change using Amsoil filter. Car runs like a top with over 120,000 miles on it. Wifes 97 Maxima same thing.
Your dealer is just not in a lube frame of mind when you asked him. They have enough work to keep them busy without going to lube schools. They will just tell you to read the owners manual as others have stated.
Use your Mobile One without fear. Its a great product and WILL be better for your engine over the long run.
just my 2cents worth.
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