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Synthetic motor oil

Upon delivery of my new Honda Oddesey I was
informed of the need to go 7,500 miles before an
oil change to let the break-in oil do it's job.
I usually change my oil every 3K since I do a lot
of short trip driving, rarely over 15 miles in
duration. I am considering Amesoil to preserve
engine and add better friction protection. What
has been your experience with synthetic oil? What
oil filter do you recommend? I have been using
Fram and Delco. Thanks for your input.


  • There is a LENGTHY topic entitled "Engine Oil; A Slippery Subject" at the beginning of this Maintenance and Repair topic list...check it out. It will answer all of your questions. But FYI, this issue has been covered - - there is no value to what some dealers refer to as "break-in" oil. As you will see in the Engine Oil postings, it is best to change at the first 3,000, as you indicate.
  • Some experts told me that Delco filter was much better than Fram. (They did cut the oil filter, and did some testing.)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I've had good luck with synthetic, and if you're going to use it, it's best to start with a new-ish engine (after you've put on a few thousand miles) rather than an old one.

    The benefits I've noticed after extensive testing are faster warmup from cold, and perhaps slightly better revs from the engine. I believe that all stories of better fuel mileage, greater engine life etc., are not well-founded.

    What I've come to believe after lots of reading and my own experience is that synthetic is good for EXTREMES of heat, cold and racing, and if none of those things matter to you, regular engine oil will work just as well and give you just as long an engine life. But for frigid temperatures, burning desert, or the race track, synthetic has definite advantages over regular oil.

    Also, you can extend your oil changes to 5,000 miles with synthetic if you wish.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Well said.

    I have decided to run Delco in my new Silverado. Also ran a PureOne from Purolater. The new upgraded filters from Fram are probably comparable. I forget what Fram calls their newest models.... think they have a band of gritty matl on the outside for wrench friction. Only avail in a few models.

    Hopefully, non of the filters are having to do much in the normal 3,000 to 5,000 oil change interval.
  • Yes, the biggest difference you will notice with syn vs dead dino oil is how quickly and effortlessly your car starts in fridgid weather...while everyone else cranks and cranks. Also, engine life/wear over the long haul should be improved, as syn's don't contain negligible amounts of wax (parrafin), unlike conventional oils. I agree with the extended interval change, and if you drive mainly highway miles, you could push it to 7,000.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    I have been told that if you run synthetics, your gaskets, and most anything else other than metal the oil touches will swell, and then shrink back if you go back to dinosaur oil, opening pinhole leaks. (Never been brave enough to put syn in my car). Is this true? Synthetic makers swear up and down its not, but I learned long ago not to take a manufacturer's word at face value.
  • that if you switch back to petroleum based oil from snthetic, you may notice some leaks and even possibly some burning of oil. As long as you stick with synthetic, you will have much more benefits over the petroleum based oils.

    Same is true switching between different brands of petroleum based oils too though. Different oils have higher or lower concentrations of detergents in them. Swithching often can result in leaks and burning of oil.
  • I hate to break the news to you...but switching viscosities, brands, and dino to synth and back WILL NOT cause leaks. Maybe burning of oil if you go back to dino, but leaks....not. Where do you come up with that conclusion? Please tell us.
    Use common sense. The reason people say that going to synthetic will cause leaks is because it creates larger leaks in older engines that are leaking to begin with. It just (because of polymer size) makes the leaks seem to appear as new leaks only because these slow caked on dino leaks become really heavy and are therefore considered "new" and "caused" by synth. The only way a synth oil will leak, is if it has a way out of the engine. Simple as that. If the gaskets are good, then synth wont leak out. I dont care how many miles an engine has on it.
    I bought a 1982 Nissan 720 PU for a beater with 125K on it. It was leak free but the oil was black as night and the truck obviously was not maintained well. I went with Mobil 1 and voila! still no leaks after 175K! Tell me synth causes leaks again. Its entertaining. And if anything, the engine burned LESS oil than before. I asked the guy that sold it to me and he said Id have to put a quart in it per 1k miles. I went 3.5K per change and only put in an extra quart. The guy wasnt too bright. Obviously when you let an engine with over 100K go for 5K+ miles between changes it will start to burn thin, dirty, gas filled oil .
  • I have heard this too, and I can tell you its just not true. I have used Mobil 1 since 1988. I have used it in beaters and newer cars (foreign and domestic) and NEVER have I seen it swell gaskets. And I have gone back to regular when I didnt have the extra leaks! I used it in my girlfriends 1993 Honda Civic. The car had 25K on it (dino oil) when I put in Mobil1. We collectively put 150K on the car in 3 years and we took the car to Carmax when she bought a new car.
    The tech that checked the car out said he had never seen a car with that high of mileage so well maintained. Zero valve train noise, clean engine, and near factory compression and leak down. I was beaming. I think the bottom line matter what you use......just change your oil every 3500 miles. Your engine will love you.
  • For new engines it's best to break them in using conventional oil. With my new engines I change the oil and filter after about the first 500 miles! This'll help drain out the metal/dirt/fibers that are inside the engine. With the 2nd change I go about 2000 miles, then after that I change the oil and filter about every 3500 miles whether it's syn or not! Let's face it, oil can only suspend contaminates for only so long. Oil, even syn is much cheaper than a new engine.
    One helpful hint for those of you who have a car that uses 10/40 motor oil in the tranny, (Honda's and Acuras come to mind). Before I converted to syn oil I used ARCO's 10/40 graphite oil in our Honda/Acura trannies. It's amazing how much better the car shifted! Almost felt like brand new synchros!
  • dmkdmk Posts: 22
    Does anyone know where I can find Valvoline SynPower 5W40. This weight is specified by VW and other European makes but is difficult to find.
  • jbadamsjbadams Posts: 63
    I just put Mobil 1 5w-30 oil in my 00 Maxima GLE. One thing I noticed was the color of the oil out of the can. I have used several different brands over the years, primarily Mobil and Texaco Havoline. Mobil oil is generally champagne in color while Havoline is generally darker. I noticed that Mobil 1 looks more like Havoline oil with a darker color.

    I used PepBoys brand synthetic in my last car. It was Proline Gold, and it was very clear, Champagne color. I guess the additives change the color of the oil.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    I was doing a little research on those 1980's model seires III Jag XJ6's, and among other things I learned they take nine quarts of oil and leak about a quart of that out every thousand miles, regaurdless of how well the engine has been maintained (this IS a British car we're talking about here). Then I read where an owner was told to try synthetics in his car, and th leaks stopped. Any science behind this? Would it work with other makes?
  • butch11butch11 Posts: 153
    If you are having oil leaks using dino oil, synthetic will compound the problem-one of the properties of syn oil is to get into tight places-this also makes it more leak at a faster rate. Used to help change oil on an old XK-120-always marveled at how much oil that thing took-does the crankcase oil still circulate in the tranny?
  • I own a caravan that used to burn a quart of oil every 600 miles. After the oil was switched to mobil 1 it gradually improved (2 changes) to a less than a quart per 1500 miles. I've heard two theories. 1. Synthetics contain less volative compounds(additives) that evaporate due to engine heat. 2. Syn oil generally carries a high detergent package for extended oil changes. This could free up "sticky" rings and stop oil loss. I believe two is most likely. #13 I would give it a fair trial in your Jaguar and see what happens.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Well, Its not I car I own, but will most likely be the next one I buy (hey, used british cars are CHEAP, not to mention good looking.) One expert on those old XK inline 6 engines said (tounge in cheek) that the front oil seals on the crankshaft were designed to leak so that the front of the car would be covered in oil, and won't rust. Me? I'd prefer the krylon method of rust prevention and keep all nine quarts *inside* the engine where it belongs.
  • this is from an observation..not somthing i read.. would a synthetic, due to its properties, stay up on the cylinder walls as well when the car is not running. I had thought of this, and I have a friend who runs synthetic in his ranger. He was out of town for about 3 weeks and when he got back and started up the truck, there was a huge clatter and smoke. Our conclusion was that the synthetic had not stayed up in the cylinder walls.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    One of the big oil companies rebuilt a bunch of airplane motors a few years back because of the exact question you posed. Since most airplane motors do not get regular use, the oil was draining off the cylinder walls leading to increased wear and eventual siezures.....

    PS Headed to Montana, put M1 0W-30 in. Will report on experience in my Silverado....
  • I now have 3100 miles on my 00 Outback. Is this too early to change to synthetic oil?
  • Most folks say that you want to wait until the piston rings have seated before you go to synthetics. But how do you know? Some are saying wait until 6k to 9k miles.

    I go by how much oil usage I have. If the engine stops using oil, then I feel the rings have seated. So if you have not noticed any oil usage, or oil usage has stopped, I think you can switch.

    I do believe that most new car engines are pretty well broken in when you drive them off the lot. Engines are manufactured under tight tolerances and very clean conditions. Some cars come from the factory with Mobil 1.
  • I somewhat remember a consumer reports study done on taxi cabs and engine wear.If I remember correctly the conclusion drawn was that all oils are the same.
  • dgsgdgsg Posts: 29
    1986 Toyota MR-2 with 186,000 miles. Put Mobil-1 in at 3,000 miles and have only changed the oil every 10,000 miles since. Engine still revs to 7,500 RPM in 1st gear quicker than you can shift and only burns about 1/2 quart of oil between oil changes. Had the cam covers off at 180,000 miles to check valve shims, no adjustment needed, and inside of the covers and top of cylinder head were still was as clean as freshly machined aluminum!
    Now waiting to take delivary of 2001 Acura CL Type "S", hope it lasts as long.
  • jeffsjeffs Posts: 23
    IMHO, that study was severely flawed. AFter reading it I found:

    1. The study used taxi cabs with freshly rebuilt engines. Engine measurements were NOT done before the study was started, only after, so comparisons were not available and/or published. This would include changes in compression ratios, cylinder wear (size and finish), bearing wear, etc. etc.

    2. Cabs are typically driven non-stop. The engines rarely cool-off. A typical consumer vehicle would go thru numerous cold-starts.

    I'm not trying defend either synth or traditional oils, just pointing out that if a study is to be performed it requires rigorous attention to detail and that the data be published so that real conclusions can be made.
  • techtech Posts: 34
    synthetic oil is chemically superior in all ways to hydrocarbon oils. i only would reccomend a premium synthetic such as redline, royal purple or amsoil you won't have any problems with using any of those 3.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    So is DOT 5.1 brake fluid, waterless (100% propylene glycol) antifreeze, metal framed construction, sprinkler systems in every home.......

    It is all cost/benefit.

    PS. Am running 0W-30 M1 as I traveled to Yellowstone a couple of weeks ago. Great starts even as low as -29deg F. But I will go back to WalMart oil next change as most of the time it is just fine.
  • I own two vehicles, a '99 300M and a Y2K Honda Odyssey. I have been reading this forum with great interest regarding synthetic motor oils. I have never used synthetic. I have always changed oil at 3500 miles or 4 months whichever comes first using Penzoil or Vavoline 5W30 or 10W30 depending on manufacturer specs. I usually put in the area of 75,000 to 80,000 miles on my vehicles before I trade them. My question is what is the value of using synthetics? According to Chrysler and Honda, synthetics are fine to use, but they recommend changing the oil at the same intervals as normal oil. An oil change using synthetic is quite a bit more expensive. It does not seem to be worth the cost if you can't go significantly longer between changes. I have seen posts in this forum where some folks are going longer between changes but the manufacturers say no. As an example, my Odyssey owners manual suggests oil changes every 3750 miles under the stop and go city driving schedule which is how the van is driven. I spoke to my service representative and he recommended the same schedule even if I use synthetic. So why bother? Interested in your responses.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826

    If your livelihood depended on 3k oil changes(26.67) and the assorted opportunities to up-sell would you advise a 15k oil change cycle (5.33) for the 80k that you would put on your van?

    Actually your milege is almost perfect to use synthetic oil at up to 3-5x less change rate.
  • Most of the education people obtain regarding synthetic oil and its benefits is, unfortunately, from their dealership or auto mechanic, and people generally listen to them. The synthetic manufacturers are fighting an uphill battle to change mindsets regarding extended oil change intervals? The fossil oil manufacturers, car dealerships, "quick lube" businesses, and mechanics have a vested interest in keeping people on a 3,000 change interval - THEY MAKE MONEY THIS WAY. If you truly want to know what is best for your vehicle in the long run and under cold start conditions start truly educating yourself regarding synthetic oil.
    FACT: syn oil does NOT chemically break down within the engine envt. There are fleet trucks on the road that run synthetic oil for > 100,000 miles with ONE oil change with better engine protection. You just need to keep the oil clean and that's another story.
    FACT: syn oil DOES provide better cold start protection (the best benefit IMHO).
    FACT: syn oil keeps your engine internals clean.
    etc., etc.

    If you want further info I advise visiting the Amsoil web site ( or Mobil 1 site or find another OBJECTIVE technical source. If you all listen to your dealership, mechanic, ... you will be running to your dealership for an oil change every 3,000 miles. Hope this helps.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    there is a consumption/environmental slant that even the environmental nazis dont even talk about.
    Using the #27 example of number of oil changes, my vehicle uses 8 qts, so x 26.67 I would use 213.36 quarts. Using synthetic 8 qts x 5.33 would be 42.64 qts. If you wish to ignore the fact that you are generating 5x more waste,... what can I say?
  • garthgarth Posts: 66
    rascal8, you can hardly call synth oil manufacturers an "objective source." They, like your mechanic, have something to gain - your business. Though your advice is good - anyone know of any true objective sources?

    The empirical evidence, at least, suggests that for most drivers, and especially for those who plan to trade in their cars before they hit 100k mi. anyway, it doesn't make a difference what type of oil is used.
  • garth - Point taken, these are not true objective sources. The only true objective source I can reference off hand is the Society of Automotive Engineers ( The only reason I trust some of the Amsoil literature is that they quote specific tests and papers produced by the SAE. This stuff is tough reading, and you need to pay for the SAE material.
    True, if you trade your car every 2 or 3 years then who gives a rip about engine wear and such; however, other benefits touted by the synthetic sellers is that you use less oil (environmental impact), have to endure fewer oil changes, and in the long run it should be cheaper.
  • Thanks for the responses. You seem to be saying that you are going longer between oil changes using a synthetic. I assume that I can go 7500 miles between changes in stop and go city driving conditions instead of the 3750 the manual says. If this is the case than using a synthetic has its advantages because it is a hassle to change the oil and the less I have to do it the better. I will do my research. One other question, how many miles should I have on a vehicle before I switch to a synthetic?
    Thanks again!
  • This one is REALLY debateable. You hear all kinds or recommendations on this. I think the concensus, and what most auto manufacturers recommend, is to break your engine in using regular fossil oil, then switch to synthetic. For example, I bought a 2000 Toyota Celica in November. I ran the car 1,000 miles and did the first oil change - still using fossil oil. At 3,000 miles I considered the engine to be sufficiently broken in and I changed the oil to synthetic. Some vehicles supposedly take longer to break-in than others (e.g. BMW and Mercedes say 7,500 miles I think). You may want to call your auto manufacturer or dealer for a proper break-in mileage. Hope this helps.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    I realize what I am saying goes against organized religion though I have no bone to pick with organized religion. The 3k conventional oil/filter change is practically a foundation of religious faith. Yet in practicality, 3k oil changes are WAY extreme in the sense that you are doing it 2.5 X faster / sooner than you should even think of it (for example my manual lists 7500 miles). A rule of thumb, when going to synthetic is 2x to 3 x the service period of conventional oil. While I do a daily driver every 15k it has 68k and the oil changed 4 x., it has been trouble free and the dealer had the value covers off to measure for whether or not it needed valve adjusting. In that inspection, they said it was clean as a whistle, and to boot, needed no value adjusting. I plan to keep it past 150k. But like I have said, if you keep it till 80k why do you want to change oil so much with the conventional stuff? Especially if your problem terminates when you sell/trade/get rid of it?

    Finally change to synthetic when you are comfortable with the initial break in period, for me it was 1k miles.
  • wayn1wayn1 Posts: 69
    I would like to say a few words on this subject if i may. I'm an Amsoil Dealer. Been using and selling the stuff for five years now. I also been working on cars and also a car nut for over thirty years and i'll tell you that the Amsoil is amazing. This is really the oil to use if you want your car to last for many many years. You change oil every 25,000 miles or one year. I know this sounds weird but you have to try it to believe it, it's that good.They been making this stuff since 1972 so they know what they are doing. Give it a try, you can't go wrong.
  • garthgarth Posts: 66
    am I the only one that gets nervous at the thought of putting the product of a Pyramid scheme (er, sorry - "multi-level marketing") into my car?
  • Synthetic oil has the ability to resist breakdown from water. That's what makes it last so much longer in use. Acid buildup in oil comes from the little bit of sulfur in the gas that mixes with the h2o from combustion and poof! you've got the building blocks for acid formation. Since dyno oil has loose or incomplete (open ended) hydrocarbon molecules, this attracts the free ions of water and acid. That's what breaks down the oil. Synthetic oil I learned from a professor has the great ability to resist absorbing water. It's molecules are a complete hydrocarbon chain with out loose ends. Remember when they first advertised that Mobil one was good for 25,000 miles?

    It was the 'cause of water resistance. But do you think they going to screw up the public's mind trying to explain that?

    Oil is water and carbon, hence the term HYDROCARBON.
  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    Is there any site which gives a comparision of features and performance of various synthetic oils?(namely, mobil-1, castrol syntec, amsoil...)

    also, by the way, my car manual say 7500 miles between oil change('99 mazda protege es). Dealer says 3500. What do I follow?
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    There was a lot of discussion of synthetic oils in the now frozen Engine Oil -- A Slippery Subject. Some of you may wish to look through that topic.

    It takes about 2 or 3 minutes (at 56kbps) to use the "see all responses" choice to load the whole topic. Then you can either page through it, or use the Search button at the bottom of the topic to look for "Responses in Current Topic" containing whatever keyword you want to look for. (I searched for "synt" to allow for misspellings and abbreviations - 241 posts were returned.)

    Meanwhile, the current version of that topic is alive and well here where there has also been discussion of synthetics.

    Lots and lots of opinions!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335

    We have two topic on motor oil running concurrently, This one on synthetic oil and the "slippery subject #2" that Pat gives the link for in her post #40. Would you all like to see these two topics combined OR separate topic for dino oil and synthetic. I think there are enough differences in peoples question re. synthetics oils only , so that topic has merit as a standalone; for me anyways.

    let me know.

    your new host, Bruce
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Your professor or your understanding is wrong.

    They call 'em hydrocarbons because the molecular chains are made up of a carbon backbone with hydrogens attached.

    Synthetics are no better than dyno when dealing with condensed moisture. The add pack is what buffers the acids formed due to combustion byproducts.

    While I do run synthetics when it suits the application (low temps, race engines), I follow the same oil change schedule regardless of oil type(frequent when short cold trips, extended on long highway trips).
  • techtech Posts: 34
    i would like to add my 2 cents to this discussion.
    maybe i am just a lot poorer than most but i am looking to get the most out of my vehicle as i can so as to conserve the limited financial resources that i have for more fun things such as vacations and gifts for the kids etc.
    after speaking with several chemical engineers as well as reading technical papers on the subject i have come to the conclusion that there is no comparison between the synthetic and hydrocarbon oils. the synthetic is definetly better for poor people.
    my only problem was which synthetic was best. most synthetics are pao based some are diester based and one is polyol based. that one is red line. it has properties that the others don't. te polyol base is used by the military in very expensive aircraft jet engines. found testimonials to be incredible.people getting very long life from their engines and tranny.
    try it you will like it!
    i am not a dealer i have no axe to grind
    i have tried amsoil and royal purple and found through personal experience that red line appears to be a little bit better so far in temp reduction. good luck on whatever you choose.
  • techtech Posts: 34
    also want to add that i called my dealer and asked about the frequency of oil changes in the manual and what came out of that was that the 7500 mile interval is a suggestion only. they cannot legally void warranty for extending the reccommended change interval whether with regular or synthetic oils. what i suggest is change oil at 15000 or once a year and use a good quality filter such as wix, mobil1, bosch stc and change it every 5k to 7.5k .
  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    so I pay a total of about $11 for an oil change every 3 to 4 thousand miles using Walmart Tech 2000 Synthetic blend oil purchased in 5 quart jugs ($1.30/qt for 6qts oil and a $3 Delco filter). I get rid of combustion byproducts every couple of months this way.

    Plan to run my gas engine 150k to 200k before rebuild, just like the last several vehicles I have owned.

    Can't figure out how full synthetic offers a better return for your money.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Posts: 423
    Never understood the logic of syn blends. If costs is relevant why not go with Tech 2000 regular oil at $.89? Maybe I'm skeptical since I can't find the blend ratio, but if I'm happy with dino oil why pay the extra?
  • garthgarth Posts: 66
    Why isn't the blend ratio on the bottle? Technically, 2% synth is still a "blend" ... and, I suppose, a waste of money.
  • Ok, for the third time, I'm posting the following. (Already posted twice on the other topic: Engine Oil - A Slippery Subject). Last year, I contacted Mobil's engineering group directly for their response to a break-in period of conventional oil. Here is their response:
    - - - - - - - -

    Dear Mr. xxxxx,

    You can start using Mobil 1 in new vehicles at any time. In fact, Mobil 1 is the factory fill in Corvette LS1, LT-1 and LT-5 engines. And
    Mobil and Porsche just announced a new partnership that will also have all Porsche cars manufactured at the Zuffenhausen plant lubricated with Mobil 1. One of the myths that persists about Mobil 1 is that new engines require a break-in period with conventional oil. Current engine
    manufacturing technology does not require this break-in period. As the decisions by the engineers who design the Corvette and Porsche engines indicate, Mobil 1 can be used in an engine from the day you drive the car off the show room floor.

    The “30” designation identifies that all three grades (0W-30, 5W-30 and 10W-30) will exhibit the same oil viscosity at normal engine operating
    temperatures. The “W” designation identifies the low temperature viscosity. A smaller number indicates an ability to flow at lower
    temperatures. In summary, Mobil 1 0W-30 will provide the correct viscosity protection at normal engine operating temperatures, and BETTER
    protection at low temperature extremes for any vehicle that calls for a 5W-30 or 10W-30 engine oil.

    If you have any additional questions, you may contact us at our E-mail address: [email protected] or by phone at 1-800-ASKMOBIL.
  • THANKSx3, for your post regarding MOBIL1 at break-in.The dealer told us (Ford) that no break-in attention was required.He claimed the engine was run at the factory. the old theories don't apply with the current production standards.
  • As I, and others, have posted many times before full synthetic will save you money in the long run because you can extend your oil drain intervals safely. This has been proven. Amsoil, as an example, warranties their oil for 25,000 miles. All you need to do is keep the oil clean by changing your oil filter or using a bypass oil filter. If you want to change your oil every 3,000 miles because it makes you feel better go for it ! There are many prior posts on this subject within this message board.
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