CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Changing to synthetic oil

Wanting to make my toyota truck last as long as possible I have decided to make the switch to synthetic oil. My question ishow do I know the oil change place has actually put synthetic oil in the engine? It all looks the same. Unless I actually see the guy break the seal on the bottle and pour it in, which never happens by the way, how do I know? Is there a test to make sure he hasn’t put in 99 cent a quart, 30 wt. and then taken his wife out for a steak dinner with my money?

You can’t know. If that “oil change place” is a quickiy lube they’ll probably be pumping the oil from a barrel. And we’ve ahd so many posts on problems with these places that I’d recommend not using one.

By the way, I use only dino, and my Toyota pickup lasted 338,000 miles and 17 years with no major work before it got hit and totalled. And it wasn’t even using excessive oil, about a quart every 1200 miles.

At Walmart, I see them grab the Mobil 1 off of the shelves. I’d bet most oil change places have regular oil in bulk, and synthetic in bottles.
If you really want to be paranoid, how do you know what the manufacturer put in the bottle?
Your truck is a great candidate for do it your self oil changes. Easy to get to the filter and drain plug. If you really want to keep your truck a long time, roll underneath it and get acquainted. If you do your own changes, you will see any new leaks or loose hoses, etc. That is also a good time to check the coolant and the wiper fluid and the tire pressure.

There are several good oil tech web sites. Bob the Oil Guy is a good site.

Later

I would say maybe 3% of vehicles are junked due to engine wear when proper oil spec/change interval is used.(Toyota likely specs dino grade at certain change interval).

Usually something else happens before engine worn out like an accident, owner boredom or outgrow need of vehicle, or expensive repairs unrelated but never performed.

You’ll never know. If you don’t trust the oil change place time to find a trusty independent.

30 weight is too easy to identify, but other oils are not. I know what you mean but you don’t need synthetic oil anyway. It’s not worth the money they charge. I do the oil changes on the truck myself, except when I don’t of course. When they do it, I ask for synthetic and forget about worrying. I do have synthetic in the newer Yaris but I know that I don’t really need it. Twice a year on the Yaris (2000 miles) and every 3000 miles on the truck as recommended by Chevy and the oil comes out dirty. I have roller lifters in the truck so I’m not taking any chances.

You don’t know, and you can’t unless you change the oil yourself. I think you’re wasting your money on synthetic. Unless the owner’s manual specifies it there is no benefit to using synthetic, despite all the advertising claims. As long as you use the recommended oil and change it at the proper frequency you will get the maximum life from your truck’s engine. Synthetic won’t make it last longer.