I wish Tom and Ray would have given Ted from Minneapolis better advice in answer to his question on what kind of oil he should use, and when to change it.
For some reason Da Boyz seem to have an aversion to synthetic oil. Let me say this: I have a '96 Ford Windstar (yeah, yeah, I know, but I built a camper in the back that is highly useful and the thing is like the Energizer Bunny) about to turn 222,000 miles. I started putting in Mobil 1 15,000-Mile Extended Mileage synthetic oil around 130,000 miles, I change the oil and put in the best filter I can find (usually a Bosch) every 10,000 - 12,000 miles, I drive the thing at 85-90+ MPH, and it runs like a top. Never an engine problem. If I have to add a third of a quart to top up the oil in that time, it’s a lot. And the oil still looks healthy at change time.
Research the difference between regular “natural” oil and synthetic, and you’ll see synthetic is an entirely different animal with vastly superior lubricating abilities and stability. Sure, Castrol “natural” (which Tom and Ray say they use) is a good oil (I used to use it in my former '82 VW Vanagon, having to add a quart every 300 miles – that’s another story too), but to go 7,500 miles between changes, as Tom and Ray advised Ted to do, with a non-synthetic oil, I think I’d have a cow worrying what I was doing to the engine.
Additionally, especially with Minnesota winters, I think Ted would find getting his Saturn to turn over at minus 20 a lot easier with a synthetic than non-synthetic. And also more stable in Minnesota summers, as I find it here in Florida. True, a synthetic is going to cost more. The Mobil 1 Extended Mileage oil runs about $28 or $29 for five quarts (other brands of extended-mileage synthetic are equivalently priced), the Bosch filter another $12, but compared with the cost of engine repairs, how well the car runs, the preservation of the engine, and the long intervals between changes, I consider it money well spent. And if Ted is paying someone to do the changes, savings in the labor or shop cost – or just the hassle – largely balance out the higher cost of the oil with longer intervals between changes.
If I had to pick the single best discovery I’ve made in 48 years of driving and owning cars, it is synthetic oil. That’s my story, I’m stickin’ to it, and I wish Tom and Ray would come over to the Syn Side.