Is there any way for me to tell if I have synthetic oil or not?

driven2services

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I just bought a "new" 1996 Cherokee to replace the one I totaled. It has 194,000 miles on it, but the owner was a salesman and they are all highway miles. He also showed me receipts for aproximately 5-6000 mile oil changes. I think it said synthetic oil on the receipt, but it was a little confusing to read and I was in a hurry to leave as I was standing in the snow in a T-shirt. [Smile] Anyway...is there any way for me to tell if there is indeed synthetic oil in the crankcase? I will be changing the oil right away, and I would like to use synthetic, but with 194k that would be a bad idea if it hasn't had it for a while. [Wink]
 
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I'd just do it. If this engine wasn't well maintained I would think that it would be apparent @196k. You've got nothing to lose IMHO. Some may advise against it ..citing problems with this or that ..but they are probably quoting problem engines that were not well maintained and someone was using synthetic oil as a "mechanic in a can" (along with a tornado and Zmax [Big Grin] ). I'd also ask what type of interval you're shooting for. If you're a 3m/3k type guy ...I wouldn't bother. I couldn't justify the added expense.
 

driven2services

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quote:
Originally posted by Gary Allan: I'd just do it. If this engine wasn't well maintained I would think that it would be apparent @196k. You've got nothing to lose IMHO. Some may advise against it ..citing problems with this or that ..but they are probably quoting problem engines that were not well maintained and someone was using synthetic oil as a "mechanic in a can" (along with a tornado and Zmax [Big Grin] ). I'd also ask what type of interval you're shooting for. If you're a 3m/3k type guy ...I wouldn't bother. I couldn't justify the added expense.
It is obvious that it has been well maintained, (engine sounds better than my old one with 98k on it) but I know it's very common for synthetic to open up leaks that might already be there. Seeing as my old one leaked about a quart a day and this one doesn't leak at all, I would be REALLY unhappy if it did start to leak. [Smile]
 

Patman

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If you sample that oil and send it in for analysis, we should be able to get a pretty good idea of whether or not it's synthetic, by looking at it's additive package to see if it looks familiar or not.
 

driven2services

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Originally posted by Patman: If you sample that oil and send it in for analysis, we should be able to get a pretty good idea of whether or not it's synthetic, by looking at it's additive package to see if it looks familiar or not.
I thought that would probably work, but I don't really want to pay for a UOA right now. Is there any way for me to just tell if it's synthetic or not? Maybe mix it with something else and see what happens?
 

Ed

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Southern California
You could try the same test that they do on tv and put some in a frying pan and see what temperature the oil gets to before it starts smoking. You would have to try it first with regular oil just to establish a base line. The Synth should be able to get a lot hotter before it starts turning into something else. You should do this outdoors with a fire extinguisher handy and do wear safety goggles while you do this. Ed
 

driven2services

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Originally posted by palmerwmd: If you see the prices on those receipts it will be an indicatioon what kind of oil was used. Fred... [Smile]
I don't actually have them, and he just showed them to me quickly. I didn't really look at the price.
 
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Remove the dipstick, toss in a small pebble and wait for the sound of the rock hitting the bottom of the pan. If you don't hear any noise it's dino because the sludge has built up. If you hear something then it's got to be syn. [Big Grin] I can send you special "oil pebbles" for free, courtesy of my front yard. [Smile]
 
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