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Blended and synthetic oils.. Are they actually better for cars that consume oil?

Couple of questions: I have a 2000 Saturn wagon that uses a quart about every 1300 miles, are blends or synthetics actually better? Would they slow down the amount the engines consumes or not? The blends and synthetics are a lot more expensive and if they really don’t make that much difference I’ll stick with a 10w 30…

How about Duralube or Slick 50? Would these products help?

If you are already burning oil, switching to synthetic/blend will not help one bit. The benefit to synthetic is better viscosity control better lubrication. It’s too late to prevent your problem. You can either leave it alone and continue to add oil, or get the engine overhauled.

A quart every 1300 miles is considered acceptable for that car. Blends and sythetics will not make a difference. has a good primer on oils.

If consumption gets higher than 1 quart every 1000 miles you may be able to help it by switching to a higher base weight. 20W instead of 10W. But understand that you’re just compensating, not correcting the cause of the oil usage.

These engines are infamous for burning oil. Synthetic or blended oils will only empty your wallet faster.

Summertime is just beginning. You might consider 20W-40 oil for lesser oil consumption.

Yep switch to a heavier oil and stick to cheaper dino. Synthetic oil has the molecules more a consistent size so that using it will just exagerate your oil consumption, not help it.

Synthetic oil does NOTE help in oil consumption. Synthetic oil far superior to conventional oil. However…If you change your oil regularly with conventional oil then it’s probably as good as Synthetic. Synthetic oil allows you to increase your oil change interval and is really needed for Turbo’s. It also is much much better in really cold weather. It WON’T help if the car is already burning oil. And I really respect MB…any car that’s burning a quart every 1300 miles has a SERIOUS PROBLEM. I do NOT find that acceptable.

As for the Duralube or Slick-50…JUNK…pure and simple JUNK. I could run through a whole list of why NOT to use them…But I’ll just list ONE. Many years ago Slick-50 use to list the active ingredient as Teflon. Dupont Corp…The inventor of Teflon - did their own test on Slick-50 to try and find out how they were able to get Teflon to stick to metal parts in a moving engine while being suspended in oil. Their conclusion…it can’t be done. They then banded Slick-50 from using the name Teflon (which Dupont has a Trademark on). From then on Slick-50 used the chemical name…TPFE which no one can trademark. So if the inventor of the main component calls it junk…Who am I to argue.

Just stick with regular oil changes and MOST engines will last for several hundred thousand miles.

I have found that high mileage oil reduces oil consumption in my old car. You should try it. Use the same viscosity your car calls for on the oil filler cap.

As an owner of a Saturn (02 Silver Blue Special) here is what I do. I use the cheapest 10w30 oil and SuperTech filters (WalMart) and change it when the oil change light comes on. For my driving, thats about every 6000 miles. Now at 160 k miles, my Saturn also burns a little oil, not quite as much as yours, but getting there. I have three other vehicles that I maintain (wife’s, daughter’s and my truck) that all use Synthetic oil that I change about every 7500 miles. When ever I change the oil in them, I pour the used oil back into the containers and save it to replenish the oil in the Saturn between changes.

My son got a new car that he uses that really expensive purple synthetic in and changes every 3000 miles. I save his used oil and use it first in the Saturn.

We had an 86 Toyota Tercel 4WD wagon that my son drove before he got the new car (and even after he got the new one) that for many years burned a quart every 500 miles. This was the first car I practiced the oil “recycling” on. Funny thing happened. Right after an oil change with the cheapest 10w30 I could find, the engine would burn off the first quart in about 500 miles. As I poured in the used synthetic, the oil consumption would improve to the point that the last quart before the next oil change was due would go about 750 miles.

I’m not saying that Synthetic will not burn as fast in your Saturn as regular oil, this is just an observation I noticed with the Toyota. In fact, now that I practice it on my Saturn, I have not noticed any improvement in oil consumption as I add the used Synthetic, but I’m not down the 500 miles/quart yet.

As for the Slick 50 or Duralube. I won’t comment on the Slick 50, but DuraLube uses ZDDP and MoS2 as lubricants. Oil used to contain an adequate amount of these and the additive was not necessary. But last year sometime, the SM rated oils came onto the market. The ZDDP and MoS2 are all but gone in the new oils because they shortened the life of catalytic converters. For newer engines, including the Saturn, the absence of these chemicals does not affect the life of the engine, or so we are told. But older cars with certain designs of solid lifters (apparently not all solid lifters), need these lubricants or they wear out very fast. Diesel engines also require them so people with these cars usually use a diesel rated oil like Rotella. I suppose you could supplement the new SM oils with Duralube, but I don’t know how much you would add or if it would be cost effective against just buying Rotella.

"These engines are infamous for burning oil. Synthetic or blended oils will only empty your wallet faster."

An undeserved reputation I believe. I’ve known quite a few Saturn owners and I’m one myself. Yes, they do burn some oil, but not more that a lot of other cars out there including Toyota’s and Honda’s. And I don’t mean abused cars either but well maintained cars. Mine burns about a quart every 1800-2000 miles now, and I don’t think that is too bad for a car with 160 k miles on it. It went about 80k before it burned off its first quart and its been getting progressively worse since, but at the rate its going, I should still get to the moon (246k miles) before the oil consumption gets bad enough to do anything about. I consider 500 miles/quart the limit.

Nothing will help. I wouuld simply use the cheapest 10w30 that meets spec for your car and check the level every fillup. It is the standard accessory in a Saturn, a case of oil in the trunk :slight_smile:

It would probably be only a $25 lesson to try pure synthetic oil and see if it lessens the oil use. $25 more than a conventional oil change that is… (not that a quart every 1,300 miles is excessive–I’ve had many cars over the years that I could only wish used that little oil) I have a 94’ Chrysler, which used to use a quart or so between oil changes. (currently it has 234,000 miles on the original motor) Using Mobil One synthetic it uses the same amount in about double the mileage (6,000 miles), which is how long I let it go between changes—it could probably go longer with synthetic because the oil just doesn’t seem to get that dirty and it definitely uses less–and seems to run smoother to boot. I wouldn’t use an additive like Duralube or Slick50—I used to use Slick50 but noticed no real difference, and some of these products can clog your oil pickup and/or cause other damage. A properly lubricated engine will go for a very long time without resorting to any of these–far longer than you’ll likely own the car. I could honestly say that I notice a difference in how quiet and smooth my car runs with synthetic in it though–IMHO there’s no harm in trying it at least once–you can always switch back if you feel it gives no benefit.

Interesting stuff, keith.
I think much of my last 35 years of driving experience parallels your observation. I’ve always owned at least one small engined car as a beater - usually a Honda Civic or an Accord. Last 4 of them, 2 Accords and 2 Civics, all went over 200,000 miles before I donated them to charities. All of them “regularly” got oil changes every 40,000 to 50,000 miles or whenever the oil started to feel watery when I rubbed it between my fingers. I did change the filters whenever the oil began to look black - which, in DC area, can be every 10,000 miles or so. The only caveat is that all my Hondas used a quart of oil every 2,000 to 2,500 miles. And I considered this additional quart of new, quality oil as a partial oil change. As screwy as it may sound, all the engines still zinged when I gave them up for donation. The conclusion I’ve come to is that oil change is highly over rated.
Unless you drive in a real challenging environment (dusty sand, water, extreme heat) frequent (every 3 to 5k miles) oil change is, I think, waste of money and, more importantly, time. I’ve done the same with all my other cars, except for turbo-charged ones. So far, 15 years and counting, without any engine oil related problems.