My attempt at BITOG Cliff Notes for another forum

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Jun 6, 2003
Virginia Beach, VA
The thread is titled Oil FAQ and is located at this link. I intend for this post to be a Cliff Notes of this site and about other oil information. Believe me, I spent a TON of time today gathering all this information. I hope that it is correct and would appreciate any input in making it better. I am more worried about accuracy rather than my pride, so please be honest. If you have an example that should be changed or added, please let me know. Obviously, there is room for debate, but I have tired to take the middle road as much as possible.

[ February 08, 2004, 06:26 PM: Message edited by: Unabomber ]
The only thing I'd add is visocsity selection. Sometimes the manufacturer does not have the consumer's best interest in mind when making their recomendation. Like 5w-30 ALL the time, even in temps over 100 with a turbocharged engine. In my opinion, it's best to use common sense, and rely on the old charts dictating viscosity based on ambient temps and driving conditions. I simply would not run 5w-30 dino in Phoenix for example, at least not in July
I like to refer people to BITOG with about a sentence synopsis of what I think. They spend maybe a minute or two here, get overwhelmed, and generally agree with me.
Yeah, I tell people to come here all the time. Usually in reply to some myth about oil...
Don't worry, I am a BIG BITOG cheerleader over on the Subaru forum!

As far as the weight recommendations for oils, I feel your input has common sense, but...after some research, the API still recommends sticking to what is in the driver's manual. Their recommendation states "Follow your vehicle manufacturer's recommendation on SAE oil viscosity" on this .pdf document. I think I will add another blurb about weights with another non-conclusive finding.

I understand about my username, but the Subaru guys all know me. There's no secret meaning to Unabomber, just something I picked a long time ago when feeling silly.
Hehe, your first sentence should be "If you have not read your owner's manual yet, please do so before continuing".

Too many people are way to eager to ask strangers for advice instead of reading THE BOOK.

I think the other major question that needs to be communicated is viscosity. Usually people don't understand what the numbers mean. For instance, Mobil1 0W20 says right on the bottle "for 5W20 applications". Maybe answer the question "Is it OK to use 0wXX instead of 5wXX in my application?" because hardly anybody's owner manual shows 0w.

One other thing, of course *I* disagree that changing the oil too often doesn't have negatives than cost. (1) More dry starts while getting the oil filter and passages filled, (2) More wear to the drain bolt and threads, (3) more of a chance for a mistake to happen during a change, (4) More damage to the environment (producing the additional oil, the little bit that doesn't make it to recyling, etc.)

[ February 08, 2004, 08:28 PM: Message edited by: S2000driver ]
You are SO right about reading THE BOOK. There are so many boneheads that ask simple questions like "What spark plugs do I use?" or "How much coolant is in the radiator?". Maybe they don't realize that it's 50 times simpler to read the book than waste 12-24 hours wanting for an answer on the Interent.

I do agree that there are negatives with too frequent changes, I **try** to give generic advice and not push one theory or another. Reading the article objectively, it leans towards "follow your manual". This stance is a compromise for "oil newbies" and I am trying to maintain this stance. While the negatives are there, I don't wish to highlight them and create any "fear" of changing at 3-5k miles for those that like those numbers. Believe me.....there are some super, mega anal retentive types that will exploit any stance on maintenance either conservative or liberal, if you follow my political analogy.

I do plan on adding a chart or something with the 0W40 ratings and meanings. Probably tomorrow though.

Thank you very much for your thoughts!
Hey, that's very a helpful and well-done site for folks who are new to motor oils, U-B. Good work. You might add a link to Grease's excellent "Mercruiser" oil filter study in which he performed both filtration and flow tests on paper swatches. Although it appears to be a boat-specific thread, the medias (and in fact many of the overall filters) are used on street cars as well. The Popular Mechanics primer is helpful as well.;f=6;t=001279;p=1;f=1;t=003925;f=6;t=000976#000000
You might want to mention Auto-RX in there as well. I'm sure many people would put it in the snake oil catagory right away just because it looks like it would be to the untrained.

Great FAQ though. I've posted a link to it on my Celica message board in order to answer many ofthe basic questions posted there.
U-B: Here's something that would really be helpful. You might want to mention that oil firms provide product data sheets on their motor oils, and these are readily available on the net. Almost all such sheets are in pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format, but Phillips has theirs as a regular website, so theirs would be a good one to provide a link to for purposes of example, such as this one:

[ February 09, 2004, 01:20 AM: Message edited by: TC ]
I would argue with the comment about mixing your own blended oil as being better and more economical as mixing your own blends of oil is a questionable practice in itself, especially if you are mixing brands, not so much if you are mixing different weights of the same oil. Otherwise looks pretty good.

Are synthetic blends a good compromise? Yes and no. With commercially available synthetic blends, you have no idea of what the synthetic to dino oil ratio is. One would assume it would be 50/50, but it could just as easily be 10/90. A better and more economical compromise would be to mix your own using a quality dino oil along with a quality synthetic.


Originally posted by Unabomber:
Virginia Beach

Where are you stationed? Oceana?

Give me a ring sometime maybe we can get together? Also if you want to do any oil analysis I have a vampire that you can use to suck out through the dipstick.


I live over in Kempsville and work off of Laskin and Birdneck.

[email protected]
My many thanks for all of the wonderful replies!!!

I tried my best to make the post as close to perfect as possible and with your input, I have tweaked it somewhat to reflect everyone's input. Obviously, we all have differences of opinion, but that is one of the great things about forums!

If anyone else has any input, please feel free to let me know. I think it's about 99% done now, but there may be another tweak or two to occur.

Michael, I PM'd ya back, but I live in Red Mill Farms by Super Wal-Mart just south of Oceana. Will spread the word about oil testing as well. I know of one other local "oil dork" that wants some testing done.
Minor nitpick:
Mobil 1 doesn't make synthetic oil. Mobil does. This from the section "Which companies make quality synthetic motor oils? Some of the more popular manufacturers are:
I agree with Dave. I'd never recommend mixing motor oils (I don't see the need for doing so with such a huge retail selection to choose from), and would certainly not recommend doing so for novices.

For the record, here's something close to an "official" take on the matter: "It is always advisable to not mix motor oils, however, different viscosity grades of the same motor oil are compatible."

I agree with Dave. I'd never recommend mixing motor oils (I don't see the need for doing so with such a huge retail selection to choose from), and would certainly not recommend doing so for novices.

I disagree, mixing oil can be very fun. It is highly unlikely that it would do significant damage over one OCI. Given that you use quality oils and reasonable viscosity combinations things will work out quite good in most cases, IMO, and I have yet to see a disasterous mix on the UOA board. Adding a qt of quality synth like M1 to dino has its advantages, and it is cheaper than a blend.

Maybe one should recommend a used oil analysis to verify things are going OK when mixing and to think before you mix.

Also, the bit on 3000 mi changes is a little oversimplification. 3000 mi is a good interval for severe driving conditions, such as short trips combined with cold climate. It is an oversimplified general answer that not so frequently (but sometimes) works out well for the consumer, but always works well for the dealer and iffy lubes.
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