Placebo Effect?

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Oct 14, 2003
Eldora, Colorado 9000'
What is your opinion on the placebo effect of new oil, filter, gear fluid, etc. I think we kid ourselves into thinking our autos are running better when we change something. I'm convinced swithching to RedLine Trans Fluid has not improved a thing, except for maybe wear in the long run. Anyone for blind study? That would be great. Have a friend dump random oil in your auto then guess what it is!
I have no doubts that my toyota is shifting smoother ALL THE TIME with redline mt-90. engine oil, I dunno?
I switched to RLMT90 a while ago and I haven't seen any difference in shifting. In fact, during the winter, it was definitely harder to shift when cold than the original factory fill!
i would say most of it is placebo, except some manual tranny oils. redline for me atleast, really does make a difference. the shfting of my manual transmission has improved greatly. with other oils like valvoline synpower or mobil or amsoil first gear was awalys hard to get into when moving slowly, and 3rd and 4th awalys grind a very small bit. when i put redline in and went out for a spin, i was disappointed in that it didnt help at all. then over a course of a few weeks i noticed first gear was easier to shift into, and 3rd and 4th didnt hardly grind at all. at this point in time first gear can be shifted into as easily as any other, and 3/4 do not grind at all whatso ever. i have no idea why it took redline a few weeks to start working, but the stuff does work. now as far as engine oils go, when people say their car revs quicker or feels smoother i believe that to be impossible except in some circumstances like a psd using oil without enough antifoaming agents or some other bizarre instance. i could never tell the difference with any brand of oil o viscosity, and i have used most of the brands and all the weights from 0w20 to straight 50. i couldnt tell the diffrernce between supertech and redline honestly when it comes to motor oils.
Reminds me of my throttle response debate. =) Let's face it, it doesn't exist. It just makes people feel better when they spend $300 on something and they didn't get any horsepower. That's why I keep track of my mpg every tank and write it down. Switching to AMSOIL ATF in my manual got me about 1 mpg on the highway and 2 in the city.
SPeaking of Redline. Here in Indiana, Advance Auto has Red Line 5w30 and 10w40 for $8.79 qt.... Too rich for my blood. Now if I were to leave it in for 30,000 then we could do it...but you know me, cant get past 2,500 on oil. But with the price of the oil Im using its really not big deal. When I can walk in and see Delvac 1300 for $5,60 a gallon, Ijust grin...
I don't know if it runs any better, but I sure feel good. I liken the feeling to that you get when you take a shower after a hard dirty day's work. Just changed the oil in my wife's Aerostar tonight and I am feeling GREAT! [Happy] [Big Grin]
In some sense, I can identify with placebo effect. It is frustrating to know whether I succeded or not. In my case, I just switched out my plugs on my 91 Honda Accord from Bosch Platinum plugs to NGK Iridium IX plugs. Price wasn't really an issue for me as I am more concerned about performance (better mileage). I shall see when I fill up my gas tank again. Ð
I had my manual transmission drained and refilled by a mechanic in the summer. I noticed that it did shift very easily during the below 0F temps this winter. I finally looked at bill, cost was a bit higher and Synthetic oil was used. I also notice a difference in cranking in the winter when a garage puts 10W40 in vs the required 5W30. I now ask. I recently put Mobil 1 motor oil in the car. It runs exactly the same as ever...
Seems like it completely depends on the vehicle. Where vehicles that have lots of NVH presented to the driver, changes would have more noticeable affect. My Saturn suffers from much NVH and is lessened when using sythentic oils. Chevron's oil do make things better, too. Pennzoil, Supertech and Kendall brought to life all the NVH this vehicle has to offer. In vehicles where noise and drivetrain NVH is isolated or mostly removed, it's difficult to discern any difference whatsoever. I do agree, though, that the more money people spend, the "better" the car drives. Sort of like washing your car...the cleaner it is, the better is runs, right?
XS650, I was just telling people at this post about my own personal experience. Do you have a problem with my reply to this post?
I'm not making this up and I have two witnesses to verify what I heard. My boss brought his truck (99 Ram 1500 5.9 engine) to my house, to get his oil switched to Amsoil. We had his truck running with the hood up and we listened to the engine. We could not hear the exhaust when standing about 5 feet in front of his truck. After running 20 minutes with Amsoil engine flush, draining old fluid, and finally switching to ASL 5w-30, we could hear the exhaust of his truck. He commented that his truck was as quiet as it was when it was new. He was so happy with how his truck ran quieter, and how his mileage improved that I picked up over 20 customers based on his testimonial. The same thing happens all the time with my customers and I noticed the same phenomenon with my 94 Ram, and 97 Dakota. Call it a placebo if you want but I disagree. Your engine does run cleaner after an oil change, just ask a smog shop. Bill,
I have never noticed a difference when changing gear oils. I have noticed a difference in sound, quite a few times by changing motor oil type........especially if the viscosity is changed. I cannot tell the difference in power or engine response in my matter what oil is used. However, I could tell a difference between Havoline synthetic, RP, mobil 1 and GC in my truck. GC seems to be the worst, but that is probably because it is alot thicker than the other three. RP was the best of the four, and proved itself on the track as well against mobil 1 and havoline......probably due to higher levels of FM's in RP. [I dont know] I haven't got to test GC at the track yet. Hopefully soon though. I will probably try redline this summer. I have never used it, but I expect it will do well as far as power production.
Of course our experiences are not scientific. But I do think some oils are just better then others. And I know there is a difference in engines. For me, most motor oils seemed about the same immediately after an oil change-the engine seemed to run better for a while immediately after the change. But some motor oils seem to extend this engine behavior-like Chevron and Schaeffer's. Engines differ also. In the past a lot of Toyotas just seemed to like thicker oil (at least in the summertime). I owned a Toyota Corolla that just ran better if it had 20W-50 oil in the engine in warm weather. I think Auto-RX can have a big effect on an engine that is dirty, also. If you have a high mileage engine with a lot of sludge inside, try Auto-RX. There can be considerable performance increases with a clean engine.
Whether it was just imagination or not, I always felt that a car or truck ran better immediately after an oil change. It did not seem to matter what oil I used (Pennzoil, Quaker State, Castrol, Havoline, Valvoline, Chevron, etc.) the engine always seemed to run better immediately after an oil change. After I discovered this web site I switched from Valvoline to Chevron. In my previous car the Chevron seemed to make a world of difference. It seemed like the car engine ran with that new oil change feeling throughout the time the oil was in the engine. The Chevron seemed to make a difference. Another oil that seemed to make a huge difference was Schaeffer's. With my new car Chevron does not seem to have the same effect. The car seems to run better with Mobil 1. I think there is a difference with engines. Some engines may just run better with synthetic oil. Some engines might run better with thicker oil.
Originally posted by Mystic: Whether it was just imagination or not, I always felt that a car or truck ran better immediately after an oil change.
Mine runs better after I wash it, does yours too [Smile] Placebos are under rated.
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