Looking for an all-year-round oil

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5,592
Location
Da Swamp
If I'm planning 6-month, 5500-6000 mile OCIs, what's a good oil for all year round that won't break my piggy bank? The car is an '03 Buick Park Avenue, non-supercharged, with the famous 3.8L V-6. It uses about a quart in 5000 miles, though with the thinner Castrol Edge that's in there now I'm seeing a little more oil consumption. Car is driven about 80% city, 12-mile highway runs to the suburbs about 5-6 times a month, and the hot weather here gets the oil up to temp pretty fast, I'd judge. Our winter, unfortunately, is blink-and-you-ll miss-it, rarely getting below freezing. So my plan was to buy a year's worth of change, 2 5-quart jugs and two filters, before prices go up. I was going for Motorcraft's semi-synth 5W-30, which was supposed to be on sale for $12 per 5-qt. jug at Walmart, but the two stores closest to me have only 5W-20. Yes, the Valvoline MaxLife semi-synth would be good, and might reduce my oil consumption; but will it affect my gas mileage? Or would a good dino like Pennzoil handle 6000-mile OCIs?
 
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5,154
Location
Southeast Texas
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Yes, the Valvoline MaxLife semi-synth would be good, and might reduce my oil consumption; but will it affect my gas mileage?
I have used it for years on my older stuff, and I cannot detect any MPG change at all. I also like the fact MaxLife is 30% syn, allowing for a bit longer OCI. thumbsup
 
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2,804
Location
NJ
Your 5k intervals and mostly city driving could warrant the use of a conventional if you want to save money. Any of them will do. A synthetic will offer little(pending on who you ask) over conventional at 5k except the weight of your wallet. 1qt per 5k isn't bad and is quite normal with the 3.8. You can try changing the oil to PP/M1/Synpower to see if consumption drops. Maxlife may help, it may not. It is a very good oil, and you might notice a slight decrease in MPG. To some its transparent, its only slightly thicker than other 30 weights.
 
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15,056
Location
Canada
With the temp range you see down there, there's no reason to use a 5W-30 oil. The Buick 3.8 calls for 10W-30, so use that, as it may slow consumption slightly as well. I'd agree with the Maxlife recommendation - very stout oil that we've seen do 6-7k mile OCI's w/o issues.
 
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1,235
Location
Plattsburgh, NY
Originally Posted By: Nickdfresh
Originally Posted By: addyguy
...The Buick 3.8 calls for 10W-30...
Depends on the year... But I'd also use a high mileage 5/10W-30...
I believe GM switched to recommending 5w30 in 2004 for this engine. FWIW, I left the winter oil (5w30) in my '02 LeSabre (3800 Ser. 2) through May, and didn't notice any difference, despite the unseasonably high temps. this spring (85+). I'd go with 10w30 Pennzoil High mileage.
 
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8,859
Location
Texas
With those OCIs and that engine, you'll be alright with most anything in the Xw30 grade. If it were MY car, I'd probably overkill a little and go with a synthetic 5w30 or 0w30 (I think that 5w and especially 0w30 oils have better base stock than current 10w30s, which are the outdated grade for most oil makers). With synthetics there's no reason to fear a wide viscosity range, and in fact it generally means they use better base stock to get it. If you go conventional, I'd stick to 10w30 or 5w30 to minimize the viscosity improvers.
 
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2,689
Location
South Carolina
Either get some 10W-30 Maxlife or get two 5 qt jugs of the 10W-30 QS full syn "ultimate durability" on 2 separate receipts at WM and send off for the $10 rebate on each. You will then have syn oil for 2 oil changes at less than $10 each.
 
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15,056
Location
Canada
Originally Posted By: daman
N/A 3800 specs 5w30 as most GM engines do.
Not all of them do - in fact, MOST spec. 10W-30, and I'm pretty sure the 2003 is one of them.
 

Benzadmiral

Thread starter
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5,592
Location
Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: addyguy
Originally Posted By: daman
N/A 3800 specs 5w30 as most GM engines do.
Not all of them do - in fact, MOST spec. 10W-30, and I'm pretty sure the 2003 is one of them.
My owner's manual says 10W-30 as the preferred grade unless temps get chilly, then to go with 5W-30, or 0W-30 if it's really cold. (Not sure of the exact temp cutoffs for those.) But the oil filler cap says 5W-30.
 

Benzadmiral

Thread starter
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5,592
Location
Da Swamp
Anies suggested trying PP. That's the funny thing: I only started seeing consumption when I went to PP the first year I had the car. I did an AutoRx cycle with Chevron conventional, 2500 miles or whatever it was then. When I went to PP, I began to see consumption, about a pint in 2800 miles and a quart by the time I passed 5000, and it happened on each OCI with PP. (Of course, if I'd stayed with the Chevron past 2500, I might have seen consumption too.) I'd use the Chevron now if I could find it at a good price. So 6K is not too long an interval for solid conventionals like PYB or Valvoline? I thought 5K was considered a good safe upper limit for conventionals under an average (read: near severe) driving regimen?
 
Messages
15,056
Location
Canada
A lot manufacturers sepc. a 7500-mile OCI. Modern conventionals are designed with that in mind; and most have no issues meeting that requiremet. I still stick with in a warmer climate, use a slightly stouter 10W-30. 5W-30 simply isn't needed, and you give up a BIT of shear stability with the lighter grade.
 
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