After buying a German car, I thought I would do the service & maintenance at a dealer that specializes in the same make. However, a simple oil change is $70 as they use European synthetic oil. I asked if they have a domestic option and they said the European engines need the European synthetic. My thought is that almost all engine oil now used is synthetic and a domestic synthetic is just as good as European. Are they full of hooey?
Believe it or not, the formulation of the European oils is different from the ones usually used in the US. The reason for this is that European auto manufacturers, in an apparent attempt to conserve resources, tend to use much longer oil change intervals than US-based car companies. The longer oil change intervals mandate a different formulation in order to prevent sludging of the engine and other problems.
You might be interested to know that VW owners who did not use European-spec oil in their engines frequently wound up with severely sludged engines. If you go to www.bobistheoilguy.com there is a discussion of the different specifications for motor oil in Europe.
Thanks for the info. I was aware of the longer oil change interval, but I did not realize about the sludging. I know in the U.S. there is debate about oil change intervals, so maybe we are heading in that direction as well. Thanks again.
“You might be interested to know that VW owners who did not use European-spec oil in their engines frequently wound up with severely sludged engines.”
So did the ones who DID use German Castrol if they bought into the extended drain intervals…5 quarts of oil can only absorb so much blow-by and moisture no matter where it’s made or who makes it…and bobistheoil guy is the premier place for oil obsessives to gather and BS each other…
I doubt if you need a “European” synthetic. However there is a answer, and it should be in the glove box of your car. It will be in the owner’s manual.
The manual will list the specifications it needs. For a Passat it should be something like 707.5 or SF(gasoline engine) or CF(diesel engine)
and it may also list. Generally, but not always, the larger number supersedes the smaller (SG is newer and supersedes SF.
Check your manual. [b] You don’t need special european oil. Some makes (not VW yet) do require you to use their maintenance and materials to keep the warranty active, but, if they do that in the US they are required to provide FREE maintenance.
Joseph; there IS a Eurpean synthetic spec. Mobil 1 and others makes it here for European cars. It will say so on the bottle. No need to go to the dealer , but an oil and filter change on a VW will set you back $50 or so even at Jiffy Lube, or other chain.
I recently rented a Vauxhall in England and the oil change interval indicated in the manual was an unbelievable 20,000 miles or 32,000 km!!! I agree with previous posters that these intervals are insanely long, and I would change oil on such a car every 5000 miles in England!
In summary, you can go to your mechanic for an oil chnage, but he will have to use European spec synthetic.
Find the exact specification for your oil, and google it, you should be able to find the list of oils that meet that spec.
No need to go to the dealer , but an oil and filter change on a VW will set you back $50 or so even at Jiffy Lube, or other chain.
I have a VW and my cost for an oil change (VW spec oil and new OEM filter) cost me about $15.00 total and I don’t need to go to the dealer for oil or filter.
It will depend on the VW model and year. A newer turbo VW here will cost $40 or more to have the SYNTHETIC oil changed, including thre filter and the “environmental” charge.
Older VWs do not need special oil, and the $15 special might be OK.
Your $15 buys about 2 1/2 quarts of synthetic, so we are obviously talking about a car very different from what OP wants to buy!! We’e trying to answer his question in this post.
I do my own oil changes on our Nissan, and 3 quarts of Mobil 1 and a filter runs me about $23. It’s money well spent.
Will a Briggs & Stratton 5hp lawn mower engine derive any benefit from using German Castrol?? If not, why not? I use the same oil in my car and my lawn mower and they BOTH seem very happy…
If engines need a very special oil to keep them alive, the question you should be asking is what’s wrong with the engine design or the materials used to manufacture it…Trick oil can only compensate for junk for so long…
According to the Mobil web site, Mobil-1 0w-40 is OK for your car, meeting VW’s 502.00/505.00/503.01 specs, but the Castrol site says you need to go to the dealer, so you need to get the specification out of the manual and find out exactly which oils are allowed for your car.
I think the European makers have created a real mess, with all kinds of different specs. Why? Change interval is what I’ve heard. Would seem a lot better to get the overall specs improved…
In England you’d think 20k miles would be a few years, since it’s a little island. But, I don’t really know how much they drive over there, only that they do it on the wrong side of the road.
Different engines may require different oils. I remember back in the 1950’s when some engines had hydraulic valve lifters. The owner’s manual in the 1954 Buick V-8 specified that detergent oil should be used. On the other hand, the Studebaker V-8 engine had solid lifters and its manual specified that non-detergent oil should be used. I’m not certain that one engine design was any better than the other. As I understand it, at the present time synthetic oil is required in some cars. I’m not certain tht this represents a poor engine design.
Different engines may require different oils.
Very true. Different designs have different needs. BTW I believe you will find that at least some US models also have model specific oil specifications.
“Some makes (not VW yet) do require you to use their maintenance and materials to keep the warranty active, but, if they do that in the US they are required to provide FREE maintenance.”
I noticed recently that VWs do provide free maintenance an all 2010 vehicles for 3 years or 36,000 miles.
The Studbuster V8 was junk at 50K miles no matter WHAT kind of oil you used…Aren’t these oil posts fun??!
You need a specific oil that meets VW’s special spec. Mobil 1 and others like Pennzol make a special synthetic blend that meets European spec usually labeled “European”.
I use the regular Mobil 1 sometimes(winter) in Subaru WRX and get charged $60/oil change. $70 is not terrible for synthetic especially at dealer.
That wasn’t the experience my family had with the Studebaker V-8. The car my Dad bought and later sold to my brother was a 1963 Lark V-8. That car was still running well, had no major engine work, and had traveled well over 110,000 miles when my brother traded it for a Buick. The institution where I am employed had a 1960 Studebaker Lark V-8 that probably racked up 200,000 miles. It was still used for highway travel when it had over 100,000 miles.
I recall it saying 20,000 miles or 1 year. The average Brit drives no more than 10,000 miles per year but sales and service types rack up quite a bit more.
Driving on the “wrong” side of the road in a driving rain storm is great fun; you need extreme concentration. I had an automatic since I was not looking forward to shifting gears with my left hand in a strange car!