Author Topic: Synthetic oil - worth it?  (Read 2624 times)

Gagnante

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Synthetic oil - worth it?
« on: March 14, 2018, 06:52:47 PM »
I am getting ready to do the first oil change on my new used car.  Is it worth it to pay the extra for synthetic oil?  Any caveats or gotchas that I should know before making the decision?

v8rx7guy

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2018, 07:42:45 PM »
What kind of a car is it, and how many miles?   I am a firm believer in using synthetic.  I buy Mobil 1 synthetic in large quantities when it for a on sale (usually around  $20- $25 per 5qt jug).  Synthetic oil can be changed much less frequently, we go 7,500 between changes and we could go longer.  It's smart to check your oil level once a month or so when you are running oil for longer periods of time in case you are leaking or burning a just a bit over a long period of time the level can get pretty low.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 07:57:34 PM by v8rx7guy »

pecunia

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2018, 07:44:06 PM »
I'd like to throw a different angle on that.  There are a lot of real experts on this site.  Gagnante, I hope you don't mind if I expound on your question a bit.

Is it better to use synthetic oil or to simply change your oil with cheap oil more often?  Particles flushed are particles gone.   Changing the oil is flushing those particles.

What quality filter should you get with the oil?  Is there more value to have a good filter to trap those damaging particles than to use a better grade of oil?

What kills the oil?  Is it heat?  Would an aux oil cooler lengthen the life of the oil?

M2 pilot

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2018, 07:50:53 PM »
Suggest you go to Bobtheoilguy.com for info on this.

Cadman

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2018, 08:21:58 PM »
It really depends on age, mileage, and type of engine. My small fleet of high-mileage vehicles pre-date synthetic oil, and none have roller-rockers, so conventional is fine, however the reduction in zinc content in the majority of today's oils means I add a bottle of ZDDP at each change. The good news on conventional is that you can often pick up a 5qt jug 'free' after rebate, and filters only run a buck or two.

However, if this car has always had synthetic, or is recommended by the manufacturer, then it's likely a good practice to continue with it.

thenewguy

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 07:22:28 AM »
Suggest you go to Bobtheoilguy.com for info on this.
+1.

The primary benefit of synthetic is the ability to go longer between oil changes. But if you live in an extreme cold weather climate, there are also additional cold-start benefits as well.

For my vehicles, it comes down to how much oil it burns or leaks. I've got one vehicle (Saturn SC1) that burns about a quart every 1000 miles... If I put synthetic in it, it would be burning expensive oil that otherwise had plenty of life left in it. So, that car gets Walmart brand or the cheap Mobil (Mobil Super 5000), cheap filters, and gets oil changes every 4-5k miles (which works out to about every 18 months).

Another one (Honda Odyssey) that doesn't burn or leak at all gets synthetic, higher capacity filters, and gets changed every 8k-10k miles.

thenewguy

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 07:35:23 AM »
Also - changing it yourself versus taking it to an oil change place may tilt a cost-benefit analysis one way or the other.

I was in an oil change place a couple days ago to get a state inspection done on one of my vehicles, and noticed their prices... Oil change with conventional oil was about $28... with synthetic it was $58, a full $30 more. It's been about a year since I've needed an oil change, so the prices aren't fresh in my mind. But I can say with certainty that if you do it yourself, the cost difference between conventional and synthetic is much, much less (want to say it was about a $10 difference last time, including higher capacity filter).

Gagnante

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 08:45:29 AM »
Thanks for all the replies.  It's a 2010 Toyota Corolla, with 58,000 miles.  The last oil change was by the previous owner in July at 53,000, using conventional oil.  I actually live in an extreme heat climate as opposed to extreme cold, so starting isn't an issue.

ketchup

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 08:56:11 AM »
I'd like to throw a different angle on that.  There are a lot of real experts on this site.  Gagnante, I hope you don't mind if I expound on your question a bit.

Is it better to use synthetic oil or to simply change your oil with cheap oil more often?  Particles flushed are particles gone.   Changing the oil is flushing those particles.

What quality filter should you get with the oil?  Is there more value to have a good filter to trap those damaging particles than to use a better grade of oil?

What kills the oil?  Is it heat?  Would an aux oil cooler lengthen the life of the oil?
I read something exactly contrary to this: allegedly, changing the oil more often than prescribed would protect the engine LESS, as most of the engine wear that occurs is with fresh oil.  I don't remember the logic of it (maybe it was really the filter making the difference?), but it's hardly as simple as we would like it to be...

Personally, on my 2001 Volvo I change it according to the interval in the owner's manual (7,500 miles) with Mobil 1 "high mileage" synthetic (~$22/5qt) and the OEM filter ($7 on Amazon).

HipGnosis

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 11:38:19 AM »
Synthetic protects more at high heat - that's a (main?) reason it's required for cars with turbos (turbo bearings get very hot).
Synthetic isn't appropriate for cars that don't get driven much, because oil should be changed regardless of miles after a certain amount of time.
To get the full benefit of synthetic, you really need to do/have done oil analysis' (which can be done mail-order) to know when to change it.   If you change it to soon, you're wasting some of the money you spent on the oil.  To late and you're risking engine damage.
I put a blend of synthetic and regular oils in my cars.  I change it at 5,000 miles and change my oil filter every other oil change.  You can buy synthetic-blended oil, but I don't like that they never tell you what the percentages are.
 

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 11:56:51 AM »
Set up an alert on Slickdeals for Mobil1 rebates. You can get 5 quarts of synthetic oil for less than $15 when the rebates are active. At that price, if you DIY the oil change, you're still saving money over paying someone for a conventional oil change.

teltic

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 02:04:01 PM »
Set up an alert on Slickdeals for Mobil1 rebates. You can get 5 quarts of synthetic oil for less than $15 when the rebates are active. At that price, if you DIY the oil change, you're still saving money over paying someone for a conventional oil change.

Spot on.  Using Slickdeals to get cheap synthetic oil.

Me and my brothers pooled and bought some basic oil changing tools, and change our oils together (It's manly and fun to do this).

One thing we argue on, is whether you change oil depending on what your car says, or the quality of your oil.  I bought Mobil1 Synthetic extended oil, which states 15,000 miles or 1 year, but my Hyundai Elantra says to change every 7,500... Which one do you do?  My money mustache says 15,000... My brothers have kept their 7,500 changes.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2018, 12:19:48 PM »
I bought Mobil1 Synthetic extended oil, which states 15,000 miles or 1 year, but my Hyundai Elantra says to change every 7,500... Which one do you do?  My money mustache says 15,000... My brothers have kept their 7,500 changes.

I go by the maintenance minder on my car, which tells me to change the oil about every 10k miles. The oil looks dirty when I change it. Going the DIY route, my oil changes are costing about $22 in materials.

If you keep the car running for 300k miles, using 7.5k vs 15k as your change point would require an extra 20 oil changes over the lifetime of the car, or about $440 dollars. That cost is so slight compared to all of the other costs of car ownership like depreciation, insurance, and fuel that I doubt it really matters either way.

acroy

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2018, 12:26:33 PM »
Vote for nice synth + nice filter, change every 10k or when the car tells you to.
Mobile generally has this coupon 2x year
https://mobiloil.com/en/promotion/mobil-promotions/17-off-motor-oil-march-may-2018
At my local wally world, this gets the oil change cost under $20.

good luck!

JLee

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2018, 12:39:42 PM »
Vote for nice synth + nice filter, change every 10k or when the car tells you to.
Mobile generally has this coupon 2x year
https://mobiloil.com/en/promotion/mobil-promotions/17-off-motor-oil-march-may-2018
At my local wally world, this gets the oil change cost under $20.

good luck!

Autozone had (has? not sure when it ends) 5 quarts + Mobil1 filter for $29.99, so $13 after $17 rebate. :D

Gone Fishing

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Re: Synthetic oil - worth it?
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2018, 02:23:12 PM »
I bought my 2008 Corolla with 48k miles on it.  Not sure what they used before, but I've used the cheapest Walmart full synthetic since then (Super tech?).  I change it every 6-7000 miles (mostly highway).  I've got 214k miles on it now and it only burns 1/4 quart between changes.  It anecdotal, but I'm sold on synthetic.