Thoughts on TRULY needing Synthetic...

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1,635
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Illinois
I've been reading a bunch of posts today and I started to think... I saw many posts about syn only being needed if you're in a VERY cold area or run extended OCI. Makes sense. I run M1 in my car below because VW, as much as I love them, has these pretty strict specs which seem a bit much. This is especially the case in my car, which is NA 2.5L five cylinder with a 6.3 qt sump. So, I guess my question is this...If you're running, say, 5k OCI in a car that is easy on oil, as long as the oil meets the HTHS and viscosity specs, couldnt it be run, even in a car that is spec'd for syn by the manf? I'm not really looking to do this in my car, at least not for a while, but it just came to me. Maybe a stupid question, but there are several great syn blends out there that would, for example, meet the viscosity and HTHS for my car. Just wonder if some of the automakers are covering their butts due to the mostly uneducated and not maint. minded customers. Any thoughts are great.
 
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1,271
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Dallas Texas
Originally Posted By: BTLew81
I've been reading a bunch of posts today and I started to think... I saw many posts about syn only being needed if you're in a VERY cold area or run extended OCI. Makes sense. I run M1 in my car below because VW, as much as I love them, has these pretty strict specs which seem a bit much. This is especially the case in my car, which is NA 2.5L five cylinder with a 6.3 qt sump. So, I guess my question is this...If you're running, say, 5k OCI in a car that is easy on oil, as long as the oil meets the HTHS and viscosity specs, couldnt it be run, even in a car that is spec'd for syn by the manf? I'm not really looking to do this in my car, at least not for a while, but it just came to me. Maybe a stupid question, but there are several great syn blends out there that would, for example, meet the viscosity and HTHS for my car. Just wonder if some of the automakers are covering their butts due to the mostly uneducated and not maint. minded customers. Any thoughts are great.
I could put Supertech 5W-20 conventional in my Aunt's 2002 Ford Focus and let it go to 5000 or 6000 miles on the oil change and she could use it every day (and she does) here in the middle of Wisconsin and i would have zero problems. $11 on oil, not sure the filter. It is a rev-happy engine and the transmission issue (before i run out its fluid to fix it) is letting me be in touch with the engine's revvy nature. Light oil, spec'd for 20-wt.. 5w vs 0w is only choice, and either is ok. smile CONVENTIONAL OR OTHERWISE. I could also choose to spend like $60 (more than that) for Redline oil of 0W-20 or Royal Purple 5W-20 from the auto store and put it in there and have the same result, 5W-20 on the RP. Its my choice. Im debating. It really makes not a lot of difference, though the Redline would be "a little bit better" i know full well the ST is fine.
 
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CATERHAM is the best authority on this. I think no issue if you are past warranty, and have a non-turbo or non-supercharger vehicle, as long as you change it with regularity. The problem is, John Q. Public often does anything but that. Especially with turbos you should stick with synthetic, unless you want to change it every 1000 miles and still maybe risk trouble. Synthetics at longer drain periods are often more economical than dinos if you shop around.
 
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South Dakota
I do short distance drives (2.5 miles one way to work, home for lunch, back to work, then home). South Dakota gets sub-zero temps consistently. I work at a dealership and can buy my oil at 10 percent above cost. Decided to maximize economy by using our bulk MC sythetic blend (about $2.40 per quart) and MC Full Synthetic (about $6.60 per quart). I run three quarts of bulk and two quarts of full synthetic. I figure I am getting a 64% syntetic and Napa gold filter for under $25 total.
 
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Several years ago I lived in Wisconsin and during the Winter used whatever weight dino oil that vehicles called for along with 20% MMO and never had any starting or running problems.
 
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Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Cristobal thanks for the compliment. My thinking is this, when you can get a great oil like M1 0W-40 on sale for $5/qt or less why even consider a dino? Synthetic oils have many advantages over a dino but the main one is their inherently higher viscosity index. M1 0W-40 has a VI of 185. There isn't a dino with a VI anywhere near that meaning it will be dramatically heavier on start-up even at room temperature. I can notice the difference in performance due to the higher oil drag when starting a car with a 40wt dino, even in the summer, which is the reason I never use the stuff.
 
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L.I. NY USA
Originally Posted By: otis24
I do short distance drives (2.5 miles one way to work, home for lunch, back to work, then home). South Dakota gets sub-zero temps consistently. I work at a dealership and can buy my oil at 10 percent above cost. Decided to maximize economy by using our bulk MC sythetic blend (about $2.40 per quart) and MC Full Synthetic (about $6.60 per quart). I run three quarts of bulk and two quarts of full synthetic. I figure I am getting a 64% syntetic and Napa gold filter for under $25 total.
I thought I was the only one to do that. I usually use a 5qt jug of Motorcraft SynBlend and a Qt of Motorcraft Full Syn. I use full syn usually Kendall GT-1 Full Syn in the winter since the Motorcraft full syn is pricey. One winter I used Pennzoil Platinum when it was on sale. Seemed fine..
 
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Dallas Texas
Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
Cristobal thanks for the compliment. My thinking is this, when you can get a great oil like M1 0W-40 on sale for $5/qt or less why even consider a dino? Synthetic oils have many advantages over a dino but the main one is their inherently higher viscosity index. M1 0W-40 has a VI of 185. There isn't a dino with a VI anywhere near that meaning it will be dramatically heavier on start-up even at room temperature. I can notice the difference in performance due to the higher oil drag when starting a car with a 40wt dino, even in the summer, which is the reason I never use the stuff.
CATERHAM would you recommend i go ahead and buy the Redline 0W-20 for my aunt's Focus in this Wisconsin winter we will have? Its the 2002 Focus, and id let it go at LEAST 6000 miles on OC. Perhaps use it yea-round? smile I also respect your oil knowledge. Did not know Dino difference was detectable on hot sumer day...!!!
 
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19,528
Location
Lake Forest, CA
Originally Posted By: BTLew81
I've been reading a bunch of posts today and I started to think... I saw many posts about syn only being needed if you're in a VERY cold area or run extended OCI. Makes sense. I run M1 in my car below because VW, as much as I love them, has these pretty strict specs which seem a bit much. This is especially the case in my car, which is NA 2.5L five cylinder with a 6.3 qt sump. So, I guess my question is this...If you're running, say, 5k OCI in a car that is easy on oil, as long as the oil meets the HTHS and viscosity specs, couldnt it be run, even in a car that is spec'd for syn by the manf? I'm not really looking to do this in my car, at least not for a while, but it just came to me. Maybe a stupid question, but there are several great syn blends out there that would, for example, meet the viscosity and HTHS for my car. Just wonder if some of the automakers are covering their butts due to the mostly uneducated and not maint. minded customers. Any thoughts are great.
Mercedes Benz lost a class action lawsuit at around year 2000, their customers used dino oil with FSS(Mercedes oil life monitor) up to 15k miles or more. The result was sludge in those engines after 60-80k miles. Since then they changed from recommend to "must use synthetic oil in the recommend list". I tried Chevron Delo 15W40 in E430 for fairly short OCI of about 5-6k miles in summer months 5-6 years ago without problem, but I'm sure that if I do several OCI's of 12-15k miles with Delo 15W40 the engine will have sludge. One of the main advantages of syn over dino is long OCI.
 
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28,123
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Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: HTSS_TR
I tried Chevron Delo 15W40 in E430 for fairly short OCI of about 5-6k miles in summer months 5-6 years ago without problem, but I'm sure that if I do several OCI's of 12-15k miles with Delo 15W40 the engine will have sludge.
As convoluted as the European specs can seem to be at times, I think this is why they're there. Like you said, I wouldn't see a huge problem running an API versus an ACEA type oil for conservative OCIs, provided the viscosity is right. With turbos, I haven't bought into the necessity of synthetics for them. Desireable - yes; necessary - I don't think so. My old Audi had no problem with conventional, and the manual stated that conventional was fine. The Europeans have tended to like the thicker oils, hence the 15w-40 you used in the summer, and that I used in the summers with my Audi. Then, of course, that's too thick for a really cold winter. The European specs, at least, allow for a thicker synthetic oil that has better cold cranking properties than, say, a 15w-40, while providing for a longer drain interval. A 0w-40 was basically an ideal lube for my Audi.
 
I think manufacturers are moving to the synth only requirements because of people who will not change their oil. I guess they have less of a chance of warranty claims with better oil in there. If you make short trips I personally think dyno oil and shorter intervals is better than leaving synth in there to try to get your money's worth out of it. I used to live in NYC where most of my trips were a mile or less at a time, never warmed up the oil and I used dyno since it was cheaper and changed it more often(usually 3k OCI). Now that I live in an area where my OLM lets the car go out to 12k sometimes before it wants an oil change I use synth just to feel better about the amount of time the oil is in the sump. It usually comes out looking better at 12k than oil did in NYC after 1,000 miles. I think for cheap insurance on high output, high revving, turbo and supercharged engines it is probably a good idea to use synthetics. It seems that dyno oils have become so good at this point that if you have a car that is easy on oil and you are not hard on it then it may not really seem necessary to use synthetics at all unless you plan to really extend your intervals. That is my .02
 

Patman

Staff member
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22,012
Location
Guelph, Ontario
Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
My thinking is this, when you can get a great oil like M1 0W-40 on sale for $5/qt or less why even consider a dino?
That's one of the reasons I don't use conventional oil in my Civic, even though I'm pretty sure it could still have a long engine life just the same. But when Toyota's 0w20 synthetic can be had up here for just $5.70 per liter, the same price that conventional oils go for, I might as well go for it! And yes, I do realize there are often killer sales at Walmart on conventional oil (like a few weeks ago when a 5L jug of Valvoline was just under $10) but it's also not that often that 5w20 is included in those sales. Besides, lately I find myself completely obsessed with having the thinnest oil I can get in my Civic, since I drive it very gently and want maximum MPG as well as having the oil flow much better during the warmup period (which is even more important to me now that the weather is getting colder) I don't think there is a conventional oil out there that is even close to being as thin on startup as Toyota's 0w20. Another reason I want to stick with synthetic in the Civic is because I plan on following the oil life monitor, and with my driving habits it looks like it's going to result in OCIs of around 9000 to 10000 miles. As good as the SN conventionals might be, I just don't believe that running them for that long of an interval would keep my engine all that clean in the long run.
 
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Location
Dallas Texas
Originally Posted By: steve20
trips = a mile or less at a time---serious question, why not walk?
Serious answer, people can do with their cars as they wish.
 
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Chicago Area
Full synth is great for boosted engines - turbo or supercharged. Why? Very high local heat! Full synth is also the best choice if we speak Eskimo or Antarcticanese. Throw in Canadianese here and there.
 
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10,146
Location
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: 45ACP
Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
CATERHAM would you recommend i go ahead and buy the Redline 0W-20 for my aunt's Focus in this Wisconsin winter we will have? Its the 2002 Focus, and id let it go at LEAST 6000 miles on OC. Perhaps use it yea-round? smile I also respect your oil knowledge. Did not know Dino difference was detectable on hot sumer day...!!!
RL 0W-20 is a great oil but it really is a light 30wt oil and since a 20wt is spec'd for the Focus it really is heavier than necessary. The best choice for winter us would be a light 0W-20. The lightest is the Toyota Brand 0W-20 so that is what I'd recommend; and it's a lot cheaper than RL.
 
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Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: 45ACP
Originally Posted By: steve20
trips = a mile or less at a time---serious question, why not walk?
Serious answer, people can do with their cars as they wish.
As long as they don't drink and drive, right? Serious.
 
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N.H, U.S.A.
I'd say Subaru 0w20 SM on the street, but I want it all for ME! Funny I just had to dump QSGB dino for the 2nd time after only 2500 miles due to loud engine knock on the ford 2.3. The gas and break-in are killing the oil, knock knock KNCOK Whats going on here?! I put the bigger 400S filter on I hope this helps.
 
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