Synthetic motor oils: Worth the cost?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Arthur U. Poon, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    A question for the mechanics amongst us:

    Do synthetic oils offer more than twice the protection of quality conventional motor oils?

    From what I've read, synthetics flow easier in cold weather and offer greater engine protection.

    I may be relocating to a much colder climate compared to my current location in Utah, which is already fairly cold in the Winter. I've been using Valvoline or Castrol GTX conventional oils in my vehicles for over 20 years. I change my oil no later than 3,000 miles or every three months. I avoid short trips, excessive idiling, and stop and go driving whenever possible. I've never had any oil-related engine problems.

    What do the 'Wrenches' amongst us think about this subject?

    - Art
  2. toytech


    Mar 22, 2004
    San Leandro
    withn the syntho you can typically extend the interval a bit, say 5k instead of 3k in cold climates. I like mobil one, many synthetics aren't even true synthetics any more.
  3. I've had 2 high performance cars that I used synth in, but they were high horsepower (400-500 whp )fast reving cars. I changed the synth every 2500 miles so it did get expensive. If you are just doing normal driving under normal conditions, regular oil should be fine. You can try synth for one change and see if you get more life out of it, but the cost will probably offset any longevity.
  4. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Why would you change a synthetic at anything under 5k??? One of the advantages of synthetics is that it lets you go longer between oil changes with a normal, working engine.
  5. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Bolded to answer your question.

    Ray :)
  6. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    It depends on the age (in mileage) and condition of your engine. Although synthetics won't burn, they will tend to leak more than dino oil if seals have worn even slightly.
  7. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    OK. :oops:
  8. One time I had my car (Evo IIIV )out for a day of autocross and beat the hell out of it for about 8 hours......changed the oil the next day... it was turning black with less than 1000 miles on the oil (mobil one synth).

    Just because its synth, doesn't mean you won't burn it up if your redline @ 8200 and boosting 24-25 psi.

    Actually most manufactures who require high preformance synth, also require you to change it every 3000 miles.

    But if you have a regular performer/daily driver and are not towing , the cost of the extended life synth may not offset the savings/longevity. especially if your doing fine on reg oil.
  9. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    OK, so Synthetics can last longer between oil changes than regular oils, I can understand that, but I saw a TV ad (forget the brand)for some that were rated to 15,000 miles!???!?!??! (IRRC the ad covered 3 synth oils rated for 5K 7K and 15K) Is that possible, likely, or a good idea even if they do say so? I can see going up to 5K or so, but is 15K possible?
  10. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    I run regular oil in all my cars/trucks, including my 10 second Camaro. I also change my oil at 5k intervals rather than 3k.

    I personally wouldn't spend the $ on synthetic oil.
  11. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    from what I have read it depends on the car, age etc.

    On my old truck I use a oil rated for diesal since it has more detergents to keep a old engine clean along with the bearing less tappets(sp?)flat tappets.

    Mobil 1 in the rest.
  12. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    We always do 4500-5000 in ours as well. Speaking of which, our camaro and my TA is due! I really don't buy into synthetics, mostly because I can't find factual/scientific proof of how it's "better".

  13. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hey there, if you are moving to a cooler climate, just use a lighter oil in the winter.

    Has anyone noticed that many cars nowadays are calling for 5W30 as the oil to use year round?

    As for synthetic;if you are going to use that, best to start when the car is brand spanking new. If you wait till it ages a bit, it's not going to be of any real benefit. I don't remember all the tecnical reasons why, but thats what many techs I've worked with for the past 17 years have said.

    Just change it at regular intervals, and keep it full. You will be golden :hyper:
  14. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    This was the post I was waiting for. Mr. Mike's opinion is the one I am going with. I trust him most. The rest of you can say what you want, but it doesn't matter. :)

  15. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    Nothing stirs up a good debate on a car forum like an oil argument! Seems there are more myths and urban legends about oil than there are about UFOs. The science of motor oil is a very complex thing, there's a lot going on when oil is being pumped, cooked and sheared in your engine. BTW I use only Valvoline dino oil.
  16. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    I switched my 8V, non-turbo VW Golf over to synth (mostly Mobil 1 15W-50, sometimes Castrol SynTec 5W-50 in colder weather) at about 50,000 miles. Over 185,000 miles later, the engine still runs great and consumes less than half a quart every change interval (about 8,000 miles). Another thing I've also done to try to avoid wear is keeping the engine under 3,000 rpm as much as possible until it has gotten appreciably on its way to regular operating temperature.

    So far, I've been pleased with synth oil. The engine has already far outlasted the car's original driver's seat. ;)
  17. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I wouldn't care on regular cars, but Mobil 1 is a must for any high performance turbo car. Any DSM owner will tell you.

    Plus the inside of your head is gold after using it :D And that's just damn cool haha.
  18. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Damn, you beat me to it. Bob IS the oil guy. :)
  19. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Q: How many jet engines run on dino oil? A: 0%
    Q: How many jet engines run on synth oil? A: 100%

    Synth oil flows easier in colder weather. One reason is because synth oils are non-organic so they don't clump/coke like dino oils.

    I own a turbo car that I run to the redline regularly when I drive. In order to provide the best protection to my engine I run synth oil. BTW, synth oil isn't new, Mobil 1 came onto the auto market in '76.
  20. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    In order for my warranty to remain in effect, I have to change my oil every 3K miles. That warranty has saved my butt twice so far so I'm not about to endanger it by waiting on an oil change.

    Once that warranty's up however, I'll just send out samples for analysis and wait for the oil to tell me it's time for new lube. :)