Need help choosing an oil, 200k+ Lexus ES 2002

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Sep 20, 2014
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I need help choosing an oil for a car, and I can’t quite decide what would be ideal no matter how much I read and search. First, I’ve read BITOG periodically for about eight years, but this is the first time I’ve needed to ask a question. Really like this site and the high quality responses. I’ve read Dr. Haas’ “Motor Oil University” to get up to speed. I've searched and read about a few opinions on this engine, but not this exact scenario so I have to ask. Car: 2002 Lexus ES300. 224,500 miles. Excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition throughout. Current Usage: ~1,200 miles/month, or 15k/year. Mostly 45 mile round trip daily commute at 50 to 70 MPH, interstate + smooth state highway road mostly. Little real “city” driving. Seattle area, so yearly operating conditions are from 30F to 85F mostly, with 80% of it between 48F and 70F; so pretty narrow temperature ranges. Car was driven in North Texas the first three years then the last nine in Seattle, so it has never seen a real winter. The vast majority of the high mileage has been true highway/interstate miles. Car condition is excellent, 9/10 (or better) cosmetically and mechanically. Recently I redid the timing belt again. Has all correct fluids and synthetic transmission fluid, and are changed on schedule or ahead of schedule. I have had the oil control valves out recently to inspect (they control the variable valve timing gear via oil pressure modulation for those unfamiliar with Toyota VVT engines; critical to oil health). They were both very clean. Inside of valve covers clean, too. Not "spotless" - varnish here and there but no sludge, etc. After 2,000 miles since last oil change, oil is golden with some black dirt/contaminant in suspension visible. Oil has been the recommended 5w-30 mineral oil at 3k to 5k or intervals (Toyota spec is 5k). The engine purrs flawlessly and recently I redid the suspension springs and struts; the car just runs and drives like new. The engine is the Toyota 1MZ-FE used in V6 Camrys, Toyota Highlanders, Lexus ES and RX models, Toyota Avalons from 1996 to c. 2007. We really like this car and want to keep running it several more years; maybe a long time. I want to get maximum engine wear protection in line with reasonable OCIs. I am thinking of switching to a full synthetic. I see people who are fans of Castrol Edge, Mobil 1, Pennzoil Platinum. I am unfamiliar with the last few years of advances in synthetic technology. As mentioned, I read through Dr. Haas’ “Motor Oil University” on the forum to get up to speed as best I could. I have the following questions, and open to other suggestions of course: - Is this change mineral->synthetic a good move at this age/mileage? - Should I look at an “extended performance” formulation, or “high mileage” formulation? - These engines are great, but have a reputation for sludging if oil is neglected. What OCI should I do with a (given) synethetic with our usage profile, wear protection goal? - What would a good synthetic be if I going that way is good? - Should I consider another weight, 0w-30, or 0w-20? Toyota has backwardly spec’d 0w-20 and 5w-20 for the engine in addition to original 5w-30 specification. Based on Dr. Haas’ information, this sounds like a good idea to me. Or should I be more conservative given mileage? it does not burn oil with mineral 5w-30 and mileage on engine. - If a longer OCI, should I change filter more often, or just always do new filter and oil at the same time? Opinions are deeply appreciated.
 
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I would use Mobil 1 HM 5w20 It's a stout synthetic oi, with good cold flow properties, but the extra seal conditioners a high mileage engine can use. If your consumption ever got too high, i would use M1 HM 5w30 or Maxlife 5w30, either synthetic or blend version.
 
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I've had the exact same car - I wouldn't look further than Mobil 1 0W-40 with 6,000-7,000 mile intervals. You might want to run two or three short (3,000 mile) intervals first if you're worried about cleaning up engine internals. The Motorcraft FL-910 is a decent filter for this application.
 
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Originally Posted By: Falcon_LS
I've had the exact same car - I wouldn't look further than Mobil 1 0W-40 with 6,000-7,000 mile intervals. You might want to run two or three short (3,000 mile) intervals first if you're worried about cleaning up engine internals. The Motorcraft FL-910 is a decent filter for this application.
Mobil 1 0w40 is a very nice oil, but the oil is much thicker than necessary at all temperatures, especially for an engine that can run a 20 grade no problems.
 
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Originally Posted By: 901Memphis
Mobil 1 0w40 is a very nice oil, but the oil is much thicker than necessary at all temperatures, especially for an engine that can run a 20 grade no problems.
Don't really want to get into the whole thick vs. thin oil thing, but Toyota recommends 5W-40 oil for this particular Lexus application in this part of the world, and hence the reason behind my decision on M1 0W-40. The recommendation for the Camry with the 1MZ-FE, on the other hand, is 20W-50. TGMO is available here in both viscoities. At the very least, I would run an ACEA A3 rated lubricant. I've never really been a fan of API/ILSAC ratings, but that's a personal thing.
 
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England
Hang on a minute, you've got a Lexus with 224500 miles on the clock that is clean inside the engine and purrs flawlessly. and you want someone to recommend a better oil than you have been using already?????? Are you mental??? Keep doing what you are doing with the same oil, don't change.
 
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Originally Posted By: riggaz
Hang on a minute, you've got a Lexus with 224500 miles on the clock that is clean inside the engine and purrs flawlessly. and you want someone to recommend a better oil than you have been using already?????? Are you mental???
Yeah, but then, aren't we ALL? crazy
 
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I like Valvoline MaxLife oil. I currently am running it in my Ford with really good results. I go for the red bottle but there is also a full syn version. I would also run a Fram Ultra filter. BITOG has lots of info on them. 5W-30 with the Ultra filter and run it for 7,500 miles.
 
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"After 2,000 miles since last oil change, oil is golden with some black dirt/contaminant in suspension visible." I don't Know if that's normal. What filter brand and model is on the vehicle? All Filters should trap large particles. You should change the filter now, cellulose and glass microfiber blend filtering media traps large and small particles. I would not run this one.
 
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Just for fun here are results from Mobil 1 "What's the right oil" for my car. First on the list is High Mileage 5w-30, and Mobil does have manufacturers' back-specing info. Oops, you'll have to enter information into the tool yourself.
 
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Originally Posted By: 901Memphis
I would use Mobil 1 HM 5w20 It's a stout synthetic oi, with good cold flow properties, but the extra seal conditioners a high mileage engine can use. If your consumption ever got too high, i would use M1 HM 5w30 or Maxlife 5w30, either synthetic or blend version.
+1
 
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It appears to me that you like to work on your vehicles. And it sounds as though you have that one in very good condition. Good job there. As far as oil choice goes, it really depends on how much you enjoy changing the oil and giving the car an inspection. If you don't mind doing it, then choose a synthetic blend oil, and change it and the filter out every 6 months. If you do not like to change oil, buy something like Mobil 1 extended performance, keep it topped off with periodic checks and change it yearly. If you really like to change the oils and check it over, use a good quality dino oil that you get on special and change it every 5k miles. It sounds as though the car has been on a steady diet of dino oil and is doing fine with it. And your temps never get cold, so you do not really have to worry much about really cold start ups. Any good 5w20 or 5w30 will handle that temp range fine So the choice is really yours and how much time you want to spend working with the car.
 
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Originally Posted By: Oro_O
Opinions are deeply appreciated.
How about actual data? 1999 ES 300 UOA You notice some in that thread parroting the 7,500 mile OCI -- when I ask for objective evaluation of the data that would lead to lube condemnation, they disappear.
 
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Since the engine is in good shape dispite the high mileage on you certainly could benefit from using the recommended synthetic 0W-20 grade and I'd recommend the Mobil made Toyota brand 0W-20. Toyota USA recommends 10,000 mile OCI but I'd probably go with a 7,500-8,000 miles.
 
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Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
Since the engine is in good shape dispite the high mileage on you certainly could benefit from using the recommended synthetic 0W-20 grade and I'd recommend the Mobil made Toyota brand 0W-20. Toyota USA recommends 10,000 mile OCI but I'd probably go with a 7,500-8,000 miles.
2002 Lexus ES300:
 
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Originally Posted By: 901Memphis
I would use Mobil 1 HM 5w20 It's a stout synthetic oi, with good cold flow properties, but the extra seal conditioners a high mileage engine can use. If your consumption ever got too high, i would use M1 HM 5w30 or Maxlife 5w30, either synthetic or blend version.
DITTO!
 
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Originally Posted By: LexAtlanta
I like Valvoline MaxLife oil. I currently am running it in my Ford with really good results. I go for the red bottle but there is also a full syn version. I would also run a Fram Ultra filter. BITOG has lots of info on them. 5W-30 with the Ultra filter and run it for 7,500 miles.
This also is a good way to go...
 
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Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
So you're recommending an SJ 5W-30 dino because that's what it says in a 13 year old owners manual?
You stated that Toyota recommends 0w-20 with a 10,000 mile OCI for this application. Both are false.
 
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