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02 Saturn SL2 not burning oil yet... Switching to synthetic a good idea?


So it seems that these Saturns burn some oil as they age. Someone made a comment somewhere that if these Saturns are not burning any oil, it should be a good idea to make a switch to synthetic for the extra protection. What do you guys think?

Mine has 170k miles and is not burning any oil at all. I already switched to High mileage Mobile 1 in my previous oil change. 3K miles later, it is not leaking and still in the full mark.

I am wondering if synthetics are good to prevent the oil burning issue these cars have? Or should I just go with the conventional and save the money?

I can’t say if using a synthetic would or wouldn’t prevent oil burning.

I will say, though, that if your engine isn’t currently burning any oil…keep doing what you’re doing. Stop worrying and enjoy life. :wink:


All engines do this at some point. Using high quality conventional oil is fine.

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Synthetics will not prevent oil burning. Save your money and keep using conventional oil.

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I have a lawnmower, push type rotary, that was burning copious amounts of oil As an experiment, I switched it from straight 30 weight regular heavy detergent oil to 10W-30 full synthetic. It cut the oil consumption by 2/3. I got three more seasons from the mower. I bought the synthetic oil on sale for $2.79 a quart under the RK brand at my local Rural King store. The non synthetic oil was $1.79 a quart. The extra $2 bought me three seasons with the mower I bought in the spring of 1992 I have no idea if switching to synthetic will help a Saturn engine.

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Hard to know if the synthetic nature of the oil made the diff, or its additive package, or some other factor. But if I’d had your experience, I would feel good about the oil, too.

I bet if you used conventional 10W30 you would get the very same result

I switched my mower into 10W30/conventional from straight SAE30 and also observed lesser burn rate

You should not start burning oil any quicker if you continue using conventional mineral oil. A full synthetic oil change at a shop can cost more than twice as much as a conventional oil change. A quick lube store I used to use charges $90 for full synthetic and $40 for regular mineral oil. Clearly, the difference isn’t all oil cost. Almost all of the difference is profit for the quick lube store.

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This is what some people say in forums:

What are your thoughts after reading this? Not like I don’t believe you guys and I appreciate the replies, but I would like to learn a bit more about this topic.

It seems to be a bad engine design… Or maybe most S-Series owners in general are just terrible keeping up with the scheduled maintenance?

S-Series burning oil seems to be very common. Some of the owners have less mileage in their cars than I do.

Really?:astonished: Oh well :roll_eyes:

I suppose synthetic oil would be more resistant to heat and forming sludge, so if the theory that you quoted from the other forum is correct (oil collects, overheats, and hardens around the oil control rings), then synthetic oil might help. Or it might not… It’s definitely not going to hurt anything to use synthetic, though.

The question would be whether or not synthetic oil would stand up to the heat in that area of the engine “better enough” than conventional oil to make a difference. That, I couldn’t answer.

Some folks swear by synthetic oil and that’s all they’ll use. I’m still of the opinion that conventional oil is just as good in most engines on a conservative oil change interval. Synthetic oil may be a good idea for certain engines that are prone to sludging, I’ve been told. So might be worth a shot on your engine.

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That’s only an assumption, you will never know if you would have the same, or better results with conventional oil. Since when is the difference between $2.79 and $1.79 two Dollars? (unless you put in 2 quarts at each oil change)

@kurtwm1 I used 1quart each season. I don’t know if non synthetic would have had the same result or not. I was just glad to not have the blue oil smoke and get a couple more seasons without having to buy a new mower.