A tale of 2 Oil Change Intervals

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Apr 21, 2003
This may be the longest internet page address in the world...Shell Australia. http://www.shell.com/home/Framework?siteId=au-en&FC2=/au-en/html/iwgen/shell_for_motorists/oils_lubricants/zzz_lhn.html&FC3=/au-en/tailored/shell_for_motorists/oils_lubricants/heli x/tips/check_level_ga_1410.html Here is a page from Shell Canada: Notice: If you are driving in Canada with a Shell oil, be sure to change it every 5,000 KM. If you are driving in Australia with a Shell oil, you can keep topping off unless you've gone 15,000 KM. I know there are different variables at work here (different oil standards, Canadian extreme cold etc.)...but I think the biggest factor is that Shell (and all the other companies for that matter) is pursuing a different business model in each of these 2 places. In Australia they sure don't seem to be playing on people's irrational fear of engine wear. The Australia page doesn't even say that you need to be running the synthetic Helix to go that far, and doesn't mention the dreaded "severe" driving conditions that everyone by default travels in, etc. I'm really starting to think that most things about motor oil are hooey!
Originally posted by Matt89: I'm really starting to think that most things about motor oil are hooey!
They are. [Wink] There's lots of stories of people going 100k+ with only filter changes and topping off the oil...
I understand that European oil change intervals are roughly twice that of the U.S. We really need a cheap and fast way to evaluate oil to know when to change it. Then maybe we could stretch some of those intervals out a bit. Depending on the type of driving the interval can vary significantly. GM has a mathematical model based on oil analysis over various types of driving--short trip, long trip, etc. They have programmed computers in the car to record those parameters of engine operation that have strong correlation with oil life and when the appropriate time comes an oil change indicator light comes on. Testing has shown this to be a promising system. There is an article on it over at the NORIA.com oil analysis site. I am collecting oil blotter samples periodically to see how my oil is looking. Keeping them in trading card holders. This should be a valuable tool over time and already has shown some interesting things between vehicles.
So, what's the difference between the continents? Does Aus. have better oils? Better standards? Better grades? Better engines? If so, what are the standards? Do Aus. oils not relegate to API standards? Are their grades on a different scale? Are OCI's climatically related? It's known that in Eur. and Aus. a qt. of oil doesn't cost .99 cents, however if the average or even best conventional oil could go 15k km, then why are we being told to change it at 5k km?
Dr.T. Yep, oil's aren't cheap down here. Delo400 is just over $30 for 5 litres, you can get re-refined SF 20W-40 for $6 for 5 litres, and sometimes Valvoline XLD for $15 for 6 litres. The ratings are all API. None of the brands appear interested in the ACEA or JASO stuff (on their bottles....their web sites show a little more). Not very many starbursts around the place either. Half the country know only that Castrol and Valvoline make oil. And the 15,000km oil change intervals don't meniton synthetics, brands or any thing like it.
What is the exhange rate? I pay $6-7US for a gallon (~3.75l?) of Delo 400. Delo is one of the few products that is the same world-wide. We cannot get Shell Helix here. If we want a super-premium oil it is most likely not to come from a major refiner, but a specialty blender like Amsoil or Redline. I think part of it is the extreme cold in many parts of North America, combined with the thinner, lower-phosphorus GF-3 passenger car oil formulations.
Jimbo, we're running at around 73c U.S. at present. So your $2/litre should be $2.70 odd here, but it's around $6. Funnily enough, the Oz exchange rate has risen from 45cUS to 73cUS in the last 8 months. The impact on fuel, oil, food and energy proces.......absolutely nothing.
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