How well do mechanics recommend motor oil?

Messages
8,467
Location
Colorado
How well does the typical mechanic recommend motor oil? Or another way to put it-how well does the typical mechanic know lubrication? I know of a lot of mechanics who recommend Valvoline oil, which does not seem to test at the top among people at this web site that have motor oils sent to labs. I remember when I owned a Toyota car and that dealership, at least, was in the process of changing from recommending Pennzoil oil to Valvoline oil. I have had mechanics tell me not to use Pennzoil or Quaker State, because 'they cause sludge in the engine.' Well, Quaker State has not been tested much by people at this site, but Pennzoil is the favorite of some at this web site. I know of only one mechanic who recommends Castrol (a woman mechanic in Santa Fe, NM), and Castrol seems to look good in testing. Another person who recommended Castrol to me was another woman working in a dealership Service Department. She let me know that Castrol was what she used in her own Saturn car, even though the dealership used Quaker State. Kind of a hint, huh? I would be welling to bet that none of the mechanics I know has even heard of Schaeffer's Oil.
 
Messages
107
Location
SC
My experience is that even a very gifted mechanic, or technician as they're referred to these days, typically doesn't know much about lubrication, unless he has taken the time to learn about it. I think it's similar to a physician who knows little or nothing about nutrition, for instance. The typical medical school doesn't require a single course in nutrition.
 
Messages
922
Location
Ontario , Canada
I would say most auto repair facilities judge oil recommendations by their profit margins. In other words which oil company gives them the best deal that allows them to make the most profit. I know past Honda dealers I dealt with changed major oil brands on a regular basis for bulk oil. Basically a salesman from a major oil distributor or company walks into a dealership and strikes the best deal, next day that dealership is pushing the new oil like it is the best oil on the market. And when you get down to the real facts, most of the dealership customers don't give a **** what oil is put into their engines. Valvoline seemed to have the largest market years ago, I think it was due to their aggressive advertising. The line about more mechanics using Valvoline than other oils seemed pretty impressive to the average folk. I've heard that sludge story about every oil on the market, it seems to be an urban myth of some sorts in the auto industry. I say any oil will sludge up if not changed regularly, that is usually the cause of the problem.
 
Messages
34,373
Location
NJ
quote:
I work at an auto parts store and all the employees seem to think Valvoline is by far the best and even better when mixed with Slick 50
That says it all. Most people, maybe it's just an American thing bc we still go by the 3k mile rule, don't know or care about lubricants. Toyota mechanics don't even know. Most good mechanics or dealer techs are familiar with Mobil 1. Ask them about Amsoil or Redline and they have never heard of it. New Jersey must be the least familiar with Amsoil. I've called every place I could find and when I asked them if they carry Amsoil they say "What is it?" No one has heard of it around here.
 
Messages
922
Location
Ontario , Canada
what is really strange is that the vast majority of mechanics I've run across all talk bad about synthetic motor oils. Just about every one swears by conventional oils. When questioned why they all give you one of those familiar but unsupported stories such as "dont use that stuff it will make your engine leak and kills your seals" Perhaps they feel their business will be hurt by better protecting oils and promote conventional oils so they can keep rebuilding engines more frequently, he, he, he, I don't know. [Wink]
 

Mystic

Thread starter
Messages
8,467
Location
Colorado
Idrinkmotoroil, at the Saturn dealership they used to tell me not to use synthetic oil. But the most recent Saturns allow synthetic oil, at least in the wintertime. It is right in my owner's manual. They can't say anything now. They still insist on 3000 mile oil changes, however. They also try to get people to buy a graphite oil supplement. At this web site people have actually tested motor oils to see which oils test the best. This is one of the reasons why I like this site so much-you have some actual information instead of just advertising. It is a curious thing to me that some of the people who have recommended motor oil brands to me (brands that have actually tested well by people at this web site) are women, and many of the mechanics I know are still recommending a brand of motor oil that does not seem to test too well by people at this site. I am welling to bet that if a poll was taken of the average mechanic, most would never have heard of Schaeffer's Oil, or perhaps even Redline or Amsoil. I don't know where the mechanics are getting their information, or if they even care. The brand they use and recommend is the brand that they have a contract with, I guess.
 
Messages
151
Location
Toronto, Ontario
A lot of the mechanics just fix cars and that's it. They would rarely sit in front of a computer and learn the most recent trends on lubrication. Does a mechanic know the SL and SJ difference? I don't think so. Women mechanics would want to learn more as they have the mentality to keep learning and upgrading themselves to prove to the "male" mechanics they know more about cars and what not. buster, it's also a Canadian thing to change oil at the 3,000 mile/5,000 km.
 
Messages
4,478
Location
Southern California
Originally posted by Mystic:
quote:
...at the Saturn dealership they used to tell me not to use synthetic oil...
Screw the dealership's service advisor. (Don't discount the possibility that the front office "spiffs" him a percentage on the volume and type of service writeups he's credited with each month.) What does your Saturn owner's manual say regarding synthetic oils? Every one I've seen over the past twenty-five years that bothered to comment at all on synthetics allowed their use contingent on driving severity factory recommended oil change intervals to maintain the powertrain warranty. [ April 27, 2003, 01:25 AM: Message edited by: Ray H ]
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
22,011
Location
Guelph, Ontario
I don't think many mechanics or even top engine builders, know much about oil. Up here in Canada we have a shop which is one of the top three LS1 engine builders, and they recommend 20w50 dino oil for their big $$$ stroker motor packages. [I dont know]
 
Messages
3,023
Location
USA-Michigan
I found this article, I think is says a lot about beleiving what experts say.
quote:
Experts Don't Always Know What They Are Talking About by Ed Newman AMSOIL Marketing & Advertising Coordinator This article appeared in National Oil & Lube News, March 1999 Experts perform a valuable function in our modern world. Whenever we get into an argument, whether heated or as a diversion, it isn't long before we reach for a forceful quote or two from an expert. Experts strengthen our confidence in views we've chosen to defend. Experts supposedly know what they're talking about because they've got the inside track on specialized knowledge. Experts are called upon to give us the final word in matters both obscure and self-evident. And sometimes experts are wrong. Minnesota's recent governor's race is a prime example of the experts being wrong. Polls consistently showed Jesse Ventura to be running third and the pundits gave him no chance of winning. Jesse was almost always discussed in terms of whether his candidacy would hurt Coleman more than Humphrey. History shows us that misguided predictions are nothing new. In 1876 an internal memo at Western Union declared, "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." According to Dr. Lee De Forest, inventor of the vacuum tube and father of television, man would never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances. In 1949, Popular Mechanics boldly asserted that "computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." Actually, there have been a lot of embarrassed experts when it comes to assertions about computers. The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall in 1957 said, "I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." Commenting on the microchip, an engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM said, "But what . . . is it good for?" This was in 1968. By 1977, the chairman and founder of Ken Olson expertly demonstrated his prescience by exclaiming, "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." I still remember hearing opinions of people who shared this sentiment. The entertainment industry has produced a few guffaws as well. "Who wants to hear actors talk?" said H.M. Warner of Warner Brothers in 1927. Gary Cooper, in turning down the leading role in "Gone With the Wind" said, "I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." And when the Decca Recording Company rejected the Beatles in 1962, their in-house experts assured management that, "guitar music is on the way out." Yeah, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. In fact, misguided experts embarrass themselves in nearly every field of endeavor. "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value," said Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy of the Ecole Superieure de Guerre. In 1899 Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents, declared "Everything that can be invented has been invented." I suppose the inventiveness of 19th century inventors left him pretty much blown away and incapable of conceiving anything new. Hmmm. If you listen around, you'll hear experts cited in our industry, too. Have you never heard any of these? "Synthetics are too expensive. They'll never sell." "Synthetics are a fad." "Oil should be changed every three thousand miles, even if it's synthetic." I suppose it does me little good to quote experts who think otherwise. Recent tests at Mobil have demonstrated synthetic motor oils with a three year, 25,000 mile life span. AMSOIL has had 25,000 mile drain intervals for 25 years, only recently introducing a motor oil inside a somewhat "normal" range, that is, 7500 miles.... which some insist is still too long. Some "experts" are saying, for example, that quick lubes will lose money if drain intervals are extended. I beg to differ. Extending drain intervals may provide an opportunity to make more money. Quick lube operators can begin to charge a premium for a high end synthetic motor oil and a lower price for conventional petroleum products. I am well aware of the fact that you can easily use this argument to discredit my views as a so-called "expert." In point of fact, I am not asking anyone to take my word on anything. What I would really like is for the industry, and you as individuals, to take an open mind approach to all these things. Listen to everything. Question everything. Get informed. Find out for yourself. I like what Joe Haggard said in his October "As I See It" column when he said that we "need to filter all the data that comes through our senses. There are a lot of gems in the flow, but a lot of garbage, too." He went on to spell out some of the criteria he uses to filter information. "Make a vow to bypass all those inputs based on greed, lust or self-enhancement at the expense of others. In short, have a strong conscience. Don't lie, cheat or steal if ever influenced to do so by others." We live in a very complicated age. You, as quick lube owners and operators, are perceived as experts by those who entrust their vehicles to you. You have a responsibility to your customers to become truly informed so that your advice is reliable and trustworthy. You certainly don't want to be numbered with those who must later eat their own words. Consider the words of those drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist in his project to drill for oil in 1859: "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
 
Messages
5,785
Location
Dixie
Most mechanics, even very good ones, know very little about lubrication. They may have used several different oils and seen that some kept the engine parts cleaner, but they have very little idea what makes one oil better than another. You really need a background in mechanical engineering and organic chemistry for that. Mechanics know even less about synthetic lubricants, which are a specialized subset of lubes in general. Only mechanics who are heavily involved in motorsports can speak knowledgably about differences in synthetic lubricants .... TooSlick
 
Messages
47,815
Location
Everson WA - Pacific NW USA
Most mechanics I have encountered - recommend purely by anecdotal information. No science, no data - PURE hearsay. Scary, really. I mean there is nothing wrong with that type of (usually verbal) information to check out leads, gather some "feelings" etc - but to use it as lone source of info..... I have noticed that there is an interesting "trend" of the last 3-4 years - some mechanics are saying that synthetic lubes for trannies, diffs, etc are a good thing. Alas, the "......3k miles with _____________ petroleum oil is the ONLY way to make your car last...." myth will be with us for awhile.
 
Messages
1,432
Location
Virginia
Happy Sunday, Everybody. Just to play Devil's Advocate, could it be that they really have no reason to think too much about lubrication because they rarely have people come to them with lubrication-related engine problems, or engines actually "wearing out"? I really don't think they are all just sitting back waiting for people's engines to wear out in some big sinister plot to unnecessarily rebuild engines. If they had that little integrity they'd want faster gratification! I can buy the argument about 3K mile / 3 month oil changes being designed to collect cash though...so if you drive a lot of miles the synthetic extended drains do work out financially. Personally, I'm going for dino 5K / 6 months (20 - 30 dollars per car per year) and we'll see how it goes. I'll use the money I save to get some nice fuzzy dice for the mirror or a diet coke or something. And if I only get 10 good years out of them that's fine. [Off Topic!] Has anyone seen any real data on the average age and cause of death of vehicles that get junked? I recall reading something by an organization called Polk...the average vehicle was lasting >15 years (light trucks lasting longer than small cars). At the US average of 12K per year that's 180K miles...pretty good for an average if you ask me (and I bet the body rusted away first or its 18 year old fifth owner wrecked it). I can't think of too many 1988 model cars I'd prefer to be driving right now. If cars lasted forever, wouldn't it be a terrible thing for everyone, especially DRIVERS! Where would we be if there were no new exciting models coming out this year? Who wants to drive around a world filled with 25 year old Honda Accords? It'd be like that Saturn commercial with the cardboard boxes. I'd poke my eyes out just so I could look at something different. I'm not saying we should go back to the days of 5-year throwaway deathtrap cars, but I think we've got a good balance now. We should concentrate on making cars easier to recycle when they finally die. Speaking of that, does anybody on this board run re-refined oil / antifreeze etc? I'm thinking of doing that to make my vehicular experiment even more interesting. Matt
 
Messages
6,388
Location
Washington St.
Matt89, Most of the oil companies that produce above average oil also make a big deal out of their selection of base oil. I don't think that re-refined oil yields a superior base oil, so it will just be minimum level to meet the current API service category. As said above, many mechanics have not been trained in lubrication. They know what they see, but often they only see the basket cases...they often do not know the car's maintenance history, don't know the driver's driving conditions or habits, and only hear what the driver admits to when he drops the car off for repairs, not the whole story--who's going to bring in a neglected engine and admit that they were the person that neglected it?...not many folks. Ken [ April 27, 2003, 04:41 PM: Message edited by: Ken2 ]
 
Messages
508
Location
milwaukee
When I piced up my car last week at the local expert mechanic I asked about a trans refil. He showed me the T Tec and said $65 for the filter change, then $89 for the fluid exchange. He suggested I do both. I asked how much for the T Tec if I supply the fluid. He said he could not do it because he has a hose that goes into the barrel and sucks up fluid. I asked him to show me what he would put in and he pointed to a barrel of Mobil multi purpose trans fluid rated for Mercon and a bottle of chatter preventative additive. I said that my 4R70W trans takes Mercon V. He had not heard of Mercon V. Again I asked. If you don't have the right trans fluid can I bring my own? He said what fluid is that? I said have you heard of Redline or AMSoil? He said no. I dropped the subject. Next we went on to the oil sample for my analysis. He said, why do you wast your money doing that? He had an answer for everything. When I mentioned that the analysis will tell you if there is coolant in your oil he said he could tell me if that happened because it would drain out first before the oil. I'm sure he can tell quite a bit, after it is too late to do anything but rebuild the engine.
 
Messages
826
Location
ON, Canada
I don't have a mechanic since I do all the work on my own vehicles. However, my cousin is a mechanic, and by far the most knowledgable one that I have ever met. He is a strong believer in synthetics and runs Red Line in his Mustang and his 4 cycle racing Go-kart. He uses an OTC synthetic in his daily driver '96 Acura Integra (I don't remember which brand). Another friend of mine is a former GM tech (tranny specialist), now big rig mechanic. He also believes in sythetic oils. His '91 Chev 4x4 pickup has well over 250K on original drivetrain. He attributes it's long life of abuse to sythetic oils.
 
I had no idea that most of you don't like us "mechanics".It's pretty amazing that you folks will say what you think we know,or don't know,but yet you still take your car to us for repairs.I've been a ASE certified master mechanic for 9 years and I've been a certified Chrysler master for 12.I've been in the buisness since 1983,and have been working on cars since I was 9.I also have been active in NHRA drag racing for over 25 years and own a 10 second Dodge Demon powered by a 440 Chrysler. What gets me is the way that the general public treats the car they own,which is poor.I will say that 90% of the genral public does not maintain their vehicle accrding to the manufacturers suggested intervals.Yet when it breaks down,it's the fault of the mechanic,or the manufacturer. Do most mechanics know the breakdown of any oils properties or what it actually contains?? Probably not. But they can tell you what does work from what they see in the repair shop or dealership.I for one have always been a fan of Quaker State oil and Fram filters,yet this site's members seem to rebuke anything to do with Fram.The 3 mo/3K oil change is a suggestion,one that I agree with.Any vehicle that is taken care of PROPERLY will last over 200K with ease,and it won't cost much to do the maintenance.I've had several vehicles that have had over 150K at the time of sale,and still ran as new. Do I as a mechanic have an advantage over the "average Joe" that isn't a mechanic?? Yes,but only in the ability to perorm repairs,the maintenance schedule anyone can follow. So don't knock us mechanics,it's the age of consumerisim that is driving more and more of us into another line of work,and that's not our fault.
 
quote:
Originally posted by Chris 2421: I had no idea that most of you don't like us "mechanics".It's pretty amazing that you folks will say what you think we know,or don't know,but yet you still take your car to us for repairs. So don't knock us mechanics,it's the age of consumerisim that is driving more and more of us into another line of work,and that's not our fault.
Don't take this personal. I too agree that while the avaerage machanic can do quailty repairs, chances are he/she doesn't know much about lubrication. I am reminded of an after market Harley Davidson parts manufacturer that wouldn't warranty their cranks if synthetic oil was used. They maintained it was "too slippery" and the roller bearings wouldn't roll causeing a flat spot. The people who came up with this idea were experts and engineers. However, they weren't lubrication engineers. These people build very good products, but are also very mis-informed. I am also reminded of the mechanic that told my boss that we kept killing fuel injection pumps on our Ford 7.3L engines because the specific gravity of the fuel was too low. We should stop getting diesel fuel from a certain supplier and start getting it from another he recommended. I personally now that both of these suppliers get their deisel from the same refinery and out of the same tank without any additives being added. An excellent diesl mechanic, but also mis-informed. I guess I'm trying to say - don't take offense to any of this. Nobody is doubting any mechanic's ability to diagnos and fix a car. We're just saying that maybe these "motorheads" don't now everything.
 
Top