You can't afford it?

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Mar 5, 2003
I have seen a lot of people at this site talking about various motor oils and then say something to the effect, 'Yes, it is good oil, but I can't afford it.' One of the most expensive oils that people talk about at this site is Redline oil. I have never bought any, but I think it costs about $7.00 a quart. Conventional motor oil costs something like $1.00+ a quart. If your vehicle takes four quarts of oil, and you change the oil yourself, you pay $28.00 for the Redline oil, and $4.00+ for the conventional. Five quarts would be $35.00 and $5.00+. You can probably drive at least 7000 miles with the Redline and about 3000-4000 with the conventional. And by doubling the oil mileage you are reducing the cost of oil filters in half. If you had been using the conventional oil you are therefore saying 4 or 5 bucks during the time period that you normally would be changinf oil, plus the cost of an oil filter. Let us say that the oil filter is $5.00. If your vehicle uses four quarts of oil, you save 9 bucks-take that off the cost of the Redline ($28.00-9.00=$19.00). Five quarts ($35.00-10.00=$25.00). If you drive something like 14,000 miles a year, two Redline oil changes will cost $46.00 for four quarts, $70.00 for five quarts. But you will be doing fewer oil changes and using fewer oil filters, so the cost will actually be less then this. Are you telling me that you cannot afford $46.00 or $70.00 over the period of a year for oil chanes? We are leaving out the cost of oil filters right now, but fewer oil filters would be needed with longer oil changes for the Redline. Four conventional oil changes (just the cost of the oil) would be $16.00 for four quarts and $20.00 for five quarts. You would be paying out that amount anyway-unless you do not change your oil. So we are actually looking at an increased cost of $30.00 and $50.00. And remember, two less oil filters. It does not look to me that Redline would break the bank.
Originally posted by Mystic: It does not look to me that Redline would break the bank.
I think the real question is one of value. You pay 4.5 times as much money for Redline, but it lasts twice as so you pay 2.25 times as much for it. But does it make the engine last 2.25 times longer? No. Does it add any extra performance? No. Is the UOA going to be significantly different between dino changed at 3k and Redline changed at 6k? Maybe. So for the average driver considering purely the value side of this decision, the question boils down to: is it worth paying twice as much for oil, in order to have the convenience of not having to change your oil as often?
Exactly the point I was trying to make. There are guys who can drop 50 bucks in a bar in one night. One less trip to a bar would pay for the Redline. I used Redline as an example because I think it is the most expensive oil that people talk about at this web site on a normal basis. It is not like it is $100.00 a quart. The real question other than cost-is it worth it to spend more on the synthetic oil -are the benefits (fewer oil changes and longer lasting engine) worth the extra cost. It also depends on what sort of vehicle a person drives and what their drving consists of. Driving in town all the time and short trips probably calls for frequent oil changes and conventional oil, unless a person is driving something that needs a synthetic oil, like a Corvette. Let us suppose for a second that Redline oil is discovered to be far superior to Mobil 1. It would be easier for the Corvette driver to switch to Redline-that driver is already using an expensive synthetic oil. The person driving an old junk car needs to use a cheap oil-put Mobil 1 in a junker? But when somebody says that they can't afford a certain oil, I don't see that. Even Redline would cost less than $100.00 more a year, unless you put an incredible amount of miles on your vehicle. If a guy can't afford that, he can't afford to drive the car.
The price differential is much higher in Canada though. One quart costs between $15 to $17 per quart up here, so if I change my oil 4 times per year at $15 per quart, it'll cost me $380 for that one year's worth of changes. If I run it in my wife's car too, then it's a total of $518. If I run Schaeffer Oil or Castrol 0w30, it costs me between $200 to $230 for the entire year for both cars. So in my case, it's a HUGE price difference!
That is a really good point. I did not consider the cost in other countries. I also left out shipping costs of the Redline, if you can't find it at performance car stores or something like that. The conventional oil can be found locally. If you can't find the Chevron Supreme you were looking for, you should be able to at least find Pennzoil or Castrol. I don't think that there is one good answer. Depends on the person, the vehicle, the driving habits, etc. Some engine may just run better on one type of oil then on another type. If you plan on keeping your vehicle for a very long time, that will influence the decision. If you are leasing the car-different decision. You also comes down to deciding on which is better-3000 mile oil changes with a good conventional oil or 8000 mile oil changes with a good synthetic. This is a question that may never have an answer.
Good point. I believe that Amsoil for $2.00 less per quart than Redline Oil is a better value proposition for someone that wants extended drain intervals. Now if I ran a high pressure turbo or nitrous, then Redline would be my ticket. Sure a good synthetic oil might cost more than good dino oil, but I do fewer oil changes and drive much further. Time is $$$.
Mystic; Good point, but it's also the very core of the "cheap insurance" myth. It goes something like this: Change your oil more often than necessary, or use oil that has capabilities you don't need (or pay 2-3 times more for), because hey, it's cheap insurance. Never mind it most likely will have no bearing on how long your car as an overall unit lasts (for 99% of people). Sure, you have your odd sludge monster, but by and large it's unnecessary, and an overreaction to change oil as often as people do, especially with synthetics. Now carry that out to its logical conclusion: Buy the "best" toothpaste at twice the insurance, and my teeth are more valuable to me than any car is. Get that extended service plan for an extra hundred bucks for your Sony TV (even though they break less often than diamonds), it's cheap insurance. Switch rolls of toilet paper 3/4 of the way through since you'd hate to get stuck without any, it's cheap insurance ETC ETC. Before you know it, you're looking at your credit card debt and wondering what happened. And other people are laughing all the way to the bank. I think many well-intentioned people here are as guilty as big oil of perpetuating this crap by setting 3K/3 months as the baseline for all of these discussions, saying how Mobil1 allows them to extend their drains "all the way to 5 or 6K". What a load of crap - that's what most people could/should get from dino and still have the car rust out before the engine quits. People on here should be trying to answer QuadDriver's question - what do the numbers on that oil analysis really mean in terms of wear and engine life. But we don't have the means to do that so people debate ad nauseum the plus or minus two ppm lead that they get from one oil vs. another, at a slightly additional cost...hey, its cheap insurance. And Murray out in Cleveland hasn't changed his oil in two years and can't get his car to die. Pursuit of perfect wear metal numbers is interesting sport/science, and a cash cow for the analysis industry, but the thinking that it promotes defeats the purpose of becoming more knowledgeable about oil and cars in the first place... As always, follow the money. Purveyors of every product (including oil, additives, and oil analysis) pay big advertising bucks to keep us fearful, so that we'll keep paying for that "cheap insurance" and thank them for doing us a big favor. My $0.02 US. Matt
IMO Americans don't look down the road, they see $28 versus $4 for that oil change and that is all that matters. give me the price today, I don't really care about the future. Same with the stock market, I don't care about dividends and long term growth, I want my dot com profit today and it had better be 10% plus.
Matt89, you also bring up a good point. If people here at this web site really do a study and we find out that conventional oil can go that 7500 miles the same as synthetic oil, at much less cost, then that will be a really important discovery. Personally myself, however, I don't think that I would want to take even Chevron Supreme past 4000-5000 miles. Why? The oil costs only about a buck a quart! What would be the point? On the other hand-you want very much for that $7.00 a quart oil to be able to last at least 7000 miles. If it can't really hold up for that mileage then you might as well use Chevron Supreme and change it every 3000-4000 miles.
The question should be "Is it worth it? " If you don't consider time. In most cases, the answer is no. Short of sludge monsters, most cars could probably do as well as needed with changing dino oil every 3k and filter every other oil change and be none the worse for engine wear of "any consequence" for the economic lifetime of the car/truck. Especially considering the API SL dino today. Remember we are no longer using SF, SG stuff anymore.
For somebody driving around town all the time with an ordinary vehicle and short trips, I think conventional oil and 3000 mile oil changes are probably the answer. A very unusual mechanic (he has a degree in engineering from MIT) told me that short trip driving around town requires frequent oil changes because of chemical contamination of the oil. In any case, if you are using a conventional motor oil and doing your own oil changes, 3000-4000 mile oil changes are an easy decisioin. The oil does not cost that much! But synthetic motor oils that cost up to eight bucks a quart require more thought and UOAs. And oil is better today then in the past. And even the synthetic oils present differences. You might be able to pick up Mobil 1 on sale for less than 4 bucks a quart. Will you find the Redline or Amsoil on sale? I wish that people would do a good study to dtermine just how long conventional and synthetic oil can last.
...and then there are those of us who think, "I'd like to try Motul 8100 E-Tech in my car, just because I WANT to" or I wish we could get Elf Excellium here so I could try it." Are there perfectly good oils available to me? Sure, but I just like trying the other stuff. I guess from a practical perspective it doesn't make a lot of sense, but just like stamp collecting or wine "connisoeuring," or any hobby, the value received is as much or more intangible than tangible...but if it is high quality oil, it can't hurt and I surely have fun trying them out!!!
Now that is true also. I was always interested in Mobil 1 when it came out, but I didn't try it until I had newer cars. I have an interest in motor oils and there are a lot of oils I would like to try. Heck, I would not mind trying Redline. Just to see how it would run in my car and what kind of a UOA it would provide. It would be pretty boring if the only thing we had to discuss was the difference in different brands of conventional motor oil.
That is an excellent point, Mystic. After a while, Bob, Terry, MolaKule and some of the other guys, will pretty much have answered most of the questions, though new ones will still come up. New members will come along and ask the same questions again, and we'll have a chance to give them the benefit of our experience, but for the old heads, they will have heard the scientific explanations and the exchanges on the impact of viscosity or what does this additive do or how do you make a synthetic. So what it ultimately comes down to is a bunch of us like to talk about oil, we like to speculate about what Humptyfritz Refining and Blending Company is up to, whether we'll get SuperHydroTitania oil in our neck of the woods, etc. I, for one, don't see anything wrong with that. I LIKE the fact that folks from Singapore to Saugatuck, Tulsa to Toronto, Bolivia to Binghamton or Athens to Adelaide are talking and relating and sharing camaraderie. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. (You may hum God Bless America, O Canada, Waltzing Mathilda, the National Anthems of Singapore, Bolivia or Greece or wherever while you read this.) [Big Grin] [ July 31, 2003, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: pscholte ]
pscholte; Here here. Like any field, there have to be those people out on the frontier hammering out the fine differences. It's good stuff, and obviously I enjoy it too or why would I be visiting the site [Smile] I guess my point is that I get fired up when I think of all the hype and half-truths surrounding the whole realm of vehicle ownership. On one side of the spectrum you have all the people who waste a lot of time and money overmaintaining their cars because they have been hyped and browbeaten into it, and they don't know any better. On the other side you have the people who don't put (free) air in their tires, check their oil, or brush the snow off the top of the car so that it doesn't fly onto someone else's windshield. People who more or less follow the manufacturer's instructions for maintenance, using mainstream products, are doing better than a good part of the motoring public - I thank them for it - and will probably be more than happy with the results. They're not idiots or sheep, and they're not being "duped" by the callous robber barons of the auto industry -they're just not as "into it" as we are and that's OK too. I mean, thank goodness not everyone is into it or there would be quite the worldwide PAO shortage, wouldn't there? So in answer to Mystic's original question - "can't afford it" means that having the very best oil doesn't matter that much to them and so what, they've got bigger fish to fry. I just know that I will be so proud when my little girl (in like 16 years) checks her oil, buys a quart of the right stuff (probably API SZ by then) and tops it off without forgetting to put the 710 cap back on. She'll be head and shoulders above most of her boy friends if she can just do that... Matt
I guess that is the biggest problem-getting the average person to care a little bit and do just what is required. I remember checking out a red Ford Maverick with a V8 engine at a used car lot, back in the days when I could spend only about one thousand dollars on a car. I checked the dipstick (my Dad was a mechanic and he had an influence on me), and the so-called oil on the dipstick was coal black and there was sludge on the tip of the dipstick. I did not buy that car. How many times have you see somebody jump into a car, start and engine, and instantly roar down the street at high speed? A professional drag racer would have enough sense to warm up the engine. Maybe we would all be smart just to do the just what is required or perhaps a little bit better. But a lot of people at this site want to try out the latest motor oil, or try to find out the best oil filter. For sure, this site is the best on the internet.
Originally posted by Mystic: I remember checking out a red Ford Maverick with a V8 engine at a used car lot, back in the days when I could spend only about one thousand dollars on a car. I checked the dipstick (my Dad was a mechanic and he had an influence on me), and the so-called oil on the dipstick was coal black and there was sludge on the tip of the dipstick. I did not buy that car.
I checked one out yesterday, 84,000 miles. Inside valve cover was black/slime, RX or Neutra probably could have cleaned it up but when I pulled the transimision dip stick, well, I had never seen BLACK ATF before. I also walked away.
Matt89; Good replies. I think "justify or afford" the cost of expensive oil is the question. Some people can afford the cost of smoking three packs of cigaretts a day. Can they justify the cost? The second you drive that new $20,000.00 car off the lot the value drops $4,000.00, and quickly de-values from that point on reguardless of the maintanance schedule. Stretch out the oil change intervals to save the whales? Naw.
I agree with most of the sentiments stated here concerning the high priced synthetics out there. But I also believe that there is a difference in vehicles and drivers on the road as well. What would be a good oil in a grocery getter, would not necessarily be as good in a 500hp weekend warrior that runs 11's in the quarter, spins to 7000rpm, and has 50-100 1/4 mile passes on its 3000 mile oil change interval. I am a lifelong car fanatic, and I have learned a great deal since becoming a member here. I think the pursuit of perfection is an impossible neverending quest, but what a grand pursuit it is. [Smile]
We are missing the basic problem here. People do what they want to do. For most, they have more important things to do than maintaining their property. Drinking beer, watching the tube...etc. The original problems of pollution were brought about by people that would not maintain a car. I knew a guy who bought an $80,000 ferrai and would not tune it up, saying for that much money it was supposed to run forever. Ran it with a miss all the time.... People have priorities on what they spend their money on. I maintain my cars since I tend to keep them forever. I replace stuff like seats that most people hate to deal with, but that keeps the inside of the car new, keeping the aggravation factor down so i can keep them. I think most people just dont care. You can always buy another one.... Dan [ July 31, 2003, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: Dan4510 ]
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