is synthetic really better

Messages
2
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I had a 1985 Volvo station wagon (great car period!) that used synthetic, and I felt like it helped keep it running to 250,000 miles, but is it necessary? My father puts only 4000 miles a year on his '02 Volvo, and he wants to use synthetic, I feel like it is a waste. What should I tell him. [Cheers!]
 

V1

Messages
477
Location
Chicago, IL
I'm not trying to be a J/O, but this topic has been re-hashed dozens of times. There's no real answer to that question.
 
Messages
57
Location
Texas
In my opinion, it all really boils down to your driving conditions, your past OCI's with your vehicle, and your manufacturer recommendations. If for instance, you drive alot of short trips, stop-n-go, heavy towing/hauling, do alot of high rpm drivings, and very cold weather startups (ZERO degrees and below for about a week), then yes of course you should use synthetics... no brainer... But if you had been using a dino for nearly over 100,000 miles, then the answer is unfortunately no. I'd keep the conventional oil in there. If you have a new engine, it's critical to use dino and then switch to synthetics after a common initial 3000-5000 miles worth of dino oil usage. Dino oils do shear down quite a bit after awhile. Synthetics are more shear stable then dinos.
 

spectacular bid

Thread starter
Messages
2
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Thanks for your help, I looked around the forum a bit and found similar advice. Probably won't make a difference to my father, he want's the synthetic for his precious Volvo (the first nice car he has ever owned). He washes it every couple of weeks, I wash my car twice a year...maybe!
 
Messages
333
Location
Shreveport, LA, USA
You can't make blanket statements about no synth after dino for 100k miles. I have taken over 2 different cars w/ more than 100k miles and immediately went synth w/ no troubles ever.
 
Messages
11,284
Location
Spring HIll
necessary? probably not. But it want something that offers the greatest protection when things get too hot or the best flow when cold, synthetic is the way to go. But, a quarter-million miles of synth has been an winning combo for you. Why change a thing? [ January 04, 2006, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: ToyotaNSaturn ]
 
Messages
7,550
Location
North Alabama
If your car's owner's manual calls for synthetic oil, then it's worth it. My VW 1.8T is a good example. If the manual does not specify synthetic, & you don't live in an extremely cold/hot climate, then it's not worth it, IMO.
 
Messages
57
Location
Texas
-bkrell Well i guess you're one of the lucky few who have a well maintained engine. If one regularly keeps up with a well maintained OCI and uses a good recommended dino oil over those intervals then i believe anyone can switch over to synthetic anytime they choose. Mobil 1 answers that anyone can switch to synthetics anytime they choose to. I tend to follow Mobil's advice. But..1) if one is buying a used car that has seen many miles, i would not switch. 2) After 100,000 miles, tolerances, clearances, bearings, seals,etc. are all worn/increased in size due to time and usage. You run a high risk of a potential leakage due to the slippery properties of synth. As a result of the potential damage of a leakage, you'll probably have to replace rear main seals, transmissions, or even a new engine which are very expensive to fix. Again, i stress that if a 'well-maintained' car that sees 100k miles, i see no problem with the switch to synthetic. In my opinion, synthetics win hands down depending on the driver's driving conditions and factory recommendations.
 
Messages
57
Location
Texas
Sticking to dino is not a bad idea either if one HAS to stick with one. Conventional oils nowadays now inhibit many friction modifiers, anti-wear additives, detergents, etc. to help all engines. Some say dinos are closing the gap to some synthetics which i also tend to believe is somewhat reasonable and sound. UOA and VOA's prove that.
 
Messages
135
Location
Chicago
What does the manual recommend? Does it specify oil meeting ACEA A3 specs? I think those tend to be synthetic. Or does it just recommend API SL? Most dinos are SM now. Is the engine a turbo? Synthetic might be a good idea. I think only a few cars (e.g. most BMWs, VWs, and MBs) explicitly require synthetic oil. However, in hard applications, a synthetic is likely to perform better. How often do you change the oil? If it's 3 months and 3k miles, it probably doesn't matter. I ran 5k OCIs in my VW 1.8T (a notorious sludger) with dino oil for all but the last two oil changes and had no engine issues in about 97k miles of ownership. Note that I sold my VW about a year before the "sludge letters" came out, so I never knew until I bought my new VW that synthetic is now required in VWs. No harm done, apparently. If you stretch OCIs to 7,500 or 10,000 (which some manuals specify now), you might be better off with a synthetic.
 
Messages
1,508
Location
Colorado
Quockieo: "But..1) if one is buying a used car that has seen many miles, i would not switch. 2) After 100,000 miles, tolerances, clearances, bearings, seals,etc. are all worn/increased in size due to time and usage. You run a high risk of a potential leakage due to the slippery properties of synth. As a result of the potential damage of a leakage, you'll probably have to replace rear main seals, transmissions, or even a new engine which are very expensive to fix." I've switched engines to synth after as many as 190,000 miles. Have switched many engines to synth at over 100k. I've switched back and forth with impunity, in fact. It's never caused a problem for me. I think the concerns you bring up are not really issues unless an engine hasn't been maintained well in the first place - in which case perhaps a switch to synth can cause problems that were masked before the change: but that could happen at only 50k miles, too. Personally I don't think synthetics are worth it for most people and most vehicles though, EVEN IF you want your "baby" to last forever and cost isn't an object. Some of the exceptions have been mentioned here. Those notwithstanding, it seems to me that ordinary dino oils have become good enough to match synthetics in all longevity-related areas of performance. - Glenn
 
Messages
57
Location
Texas
Glennc- That's what i have implied in my earlier statements: "Again, if a car is well-maintained (meaning proper oil, filter, oci's, regular maintenance check, etc.) you can switch to synthetic anytime." Alot of car owners nowadays own high mileage second-hand vehicles with no knowledge of past maintenance records. I guess i should have said that my statements were for used car (second-hand) owners. Again, "I BELIEVE ANYONE CAN SWITCH TO SYNTH ANYTIME IF THEY HAVE KEPT THEIR CAR FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIFE AND KEPT UP WITH THEIR MAINTENANCE..." -cant make it any clearer than that i hope. There was a report that dino's do leave more deposits by the time a vehicle hits 60k vs synthetics at 60k. Original owner was a regular 3000 OCI type of person also. Cant remember where this report was but oh well.
 
Messages
661
Location
Bosphoria
"What should I tell him." I'd tell how the dads are wiser than the sons think... lol 1. Synths are cheaper novodays. Decent dinos are not that cheap. Well, at the sale one may find a good dino with a really cheap tag, but same applies for the Delvac1. Here, last year Havoline's synth was chaper than the Magnatec. Definitalely not a hard decision for me. 2. For dinos time limit is usually the six months (this has to be checked, I bet it is for the '85 though). I don't hesitate to push it one year with synth. In this case -if you have it done- overall cost is cheaper even with the most expensive synths. Generally more start-ups for low milage vehicles, so it could benefit protection-wise and for cleanliness. So on my '84 Chevy with 8000+ miles/year I started to use synths several years ago. Or -at least- I prefer hydrocracked, cheaper synths. This year, provided the price trends I'll leap into the PAO or to the Castrol SLX. This may look to someone as "lipstick on a pig", but why not, and which point is unjustified. And, is there a milder way to clean the engine...
 
Messages
1,508
Location
Colorado
Quockieo: "Again, "I BELIEVE ANYONE CAN SWITCH TO SYNTH ANYTIME IF THEY HAVE KEPT THEIR CAR FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIFE AND KEPT UP WITH THEIR MAINTENANCE..." -cant make it any clearer than that i hope." Guess I wasn't clear myself. I was referring to vehicles I've bought used and switched to synthetic with no real knowledge of their maintenance history. The one that I switched at 190k, I actually bought with 189k miles on it, and I'm pretty sure it had been run on dino since new. Again, no problems from doing that in my case. Not that you couldn't have them. I do at least try to buy vehicles that seem to have received decent maintenance, maybe that has something to do with it. Now that I think about it, I've done the same with many motorcycles that have appeared to have had atrocious oil maintenance. Lots of crap in the crankcase, and the oil-view window covered up with dark sludge so you can't even check the level. Switch oil (usually to synth back then in my case), and a few hundred miles later the check window is clean, with no detrimental effects. I'm sure I've done this at least a half dozen times, maybe double that. These are all air-cooled motorcycle engines, relatively hard on oil. - Glenn
 
Messages
1,779
Location
Central Iowa
quote:
If you have a new engine, it's critical to use dino and then switch to synthetics after a common initial 3000-5000 miles worth of dino oil usage.
If that is the case, then why do some engines come from the factory filled with synthetic? I started using synthetic in my 05 Outback at around 1000 miles. My wifes Jeep had synthetic at less than 500 miles (it currently has nearly 160K on it and runs like a top). I don't see any problem whatsoever with switching to a synthetic right away unless the manufacturer specifically recommends against it.
 
Messages
57
Location
Texas
Michaelc80, you're absolutely right on factory filled synthetics on those BMW, PORSHCE,Corvette, etc cars. I tend to follow upon traditional practices with break-in fills. There's absolutely no harm done if one is to switch to synthetic early (like your 500 miles), but it can take 'longer' for your engine to wear-in. I follow motoman's break-in method, it's a controversial topic but it seems like a credible website. The man rebuilds engines for a living. I believe cars that came with synthetics are the exception to the rule. This is what i've done if i had a brand new car with dino factory filled. I dumped the old fill early to remove any metal particles inside my engine. i'd stick with another dino for at least 3000 to be on the safe side. Better safe then sorry as i've always said to myself. Most wear-in usually occur by 500 miles or so anyways. In my opinion, one can switch to synthetics by 500, but longer is always better. Unless there's a specified oil for their car, one should follow it. some people go against their recommendations thinking the 'best' is better for their particular vehicle. Some people i know used premium fuel the same way; thinking it's better when in fact it's really not.
 

salesrep

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Messages
3,630
Location
lllinois
quote:
I think for my uses Synthetic is worth it. For one oil change a year is cost really an issue with any oil?
quote:
necessary? probably not. But it want something that offers the greatest protection when things get too hot or the best flow when cold, synthetic is the way to go. But, a quarter-million miles of synth has been an winning combo for you. Why change a thing?
Plus he feels better using it!
 
Messages
2,724
Location
Herndon, Virginia
I use 0W-40 M-1 winter, 10W-50 through the summer in my 92 4 banger, change it every 3 or 4 thousand (it's filthy and thick at that point), and the engine has 160K on it, doesn't burn a drop, and passes emissions standards fit for a 2002. It works for me, if yall wanna run 10K OCI, have a ball, it ain't for me. Is is a valid consideration that the 10K OCIs are WHY the AutoRX, MMO in the crankcase for cleaning and the rest of it are necessary in the first place? With my change schedules, I don't even have varnish staining on the cams, let alone even a speck of sludge under there.
 
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