Motor oil shortage and alternatives?

Both my girlfriend and I own a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage. They are identical except for color. Both take a 0W20 synthetic oil as well.

I have always used the Mobil 1 Extended Performance but now it seems this grade of oil is unavailable locally. Motor oil as a whole is really picked over at all the stores so I guess this is a new thing in short supply. It will be something else next week. I had a hard time getting tires last time I needed them. It wasn’t just this car with 14 inch rims but one of my trucks as well.

I see that the Pennzoil Platinum lines get good ratings. I see regular platinum, as well as ultra platinum, then just “full synthetic” whatever that means. It used to be conventional, synthetic blend, and then synthetic and now we have 3 grades of synthetic in just one brand.

I used the Mobil 1 EP on the recommendation of mechanics and other DIY folks and saw no reason to change until this happened. I can look inside the valve cover through the fill cap and see that all the bare metal is as clean and shiny as when the car was new. There is no sign of sludge or deposits ANYWHERE so I feel this oil is doing the job of keeping the engine clean.

I am thinking about ordering off Amazon or similar and just getting whatever is a good deal on high-rated synthetic. I just changed my oil with some that I had bought a while back but my GF is due or overdue for a change.

Anyone have good suggestion for an alternative oil in this weight?

There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of Mobil 1 0w-20 at Costco.
If you are not a Costco member, you can order it online, with no shipping charge added to the price.

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Royal Purple, Castrol Syntech, SuperTech (the WalMart cheap synthetic), Pennzoil synthetic, LiquiMoly

Really any of them are good oils. The “cheap” synthetic is Group 3 base stocks, the more expensive use the Group 4 base stocks. The Group 3s are just fine unless you are racing or heavy towing then I’d suggest the Group 4 based oils like Amsoil, Mobil 1 European Formula, Royal Purple HPS and the like.


My suggestion is any 0w20 full synthetic with the API “starburst” and rated SN or above.
All the various marked major brands won’t make the engine in a stock Mirage last one extra mile difference between them.
I myself keep a 1 year supply of oil available at all times to bridge over any shortages that may come up.
That consists of one 5qt jug of SuperTech full synthetic 5w30.

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I mentioned this over a year ago when the Mobil oil shelves were bare where I usually bought oil. I ordered Mobil Dino from rock auto finally instead of driving around.

Interesting… Keeping the Supertech on hand as backup is a good idea. Maybe I wasn’t looking for anything but the big names or this wasn’t available when I went in yesterday but is looks like this is in stock at my local store.

As you say, the Mirage isn’t a performance car so anything meeting the specs is probably just fine. I am on a forum for the car and several people who work in the service dept at dealers are also there. This is a cheap car so a lot of people who buy them choose not to spend any money on maintaining them. I have seen multiple reports of people going about 60,000 miles on the factory oil fill and not even opening the hood during that period. I am not sure of the exact failure mode but somehow the timing jumps, bending the valves. They are chain-driven so don’t know if the tensioner fails or the chain wears and stretches, allowing it to jump, when the oil changes are neglected.

I find it funny though that I could actually sell my car for more than I paid for it right now. Of course these are not normal times. Part of that is the car shortage but it also gets great mileage so am guessing both play into this.

I am a big fan of the Mobil 1 0W40 European as well and there are people who run this in Mirages. The 0W20 spec in the US is to meet CAFE standards and extended change intervals. The same engine is specified to run 10W40 conventional with 3000 miles (or equivalent in kilometers) in other countries without stringent fuel economy standards. I don’t bother with this in the Mirage but I do run it in anything calling for 5W30 or 10W30. So far this has worked out well in other engines including one that was pretty neglected and sludged up when I got it. Oil consumption continues to drop between changes and I assume crap is being cleaned out and removed from the rings, etc. that caused the oil burning.

You are right that the Mirage likely isn’t too picky about oil. Just changing it is the most important thing and I will be picking up the Wal-Mart oil soon as it appears to be available. Wal-Mart isn’t my favorite but it can be convenient in times like this.

Quaker State is also available at a higher price. I am going to run grab this now and will get the Wal-Mart brand unless it isn’t available, then QS will be the backup. How does QS rank out overall in the tests?

I would use any name brand 0w-20 that meets spec without a second thought.


I second that plus many house brands will also be fine . Do you think Autozone - Advance Auto - O’Reillys would risk selling an inferior oil ?

I figure I am worried about nothing on this. On the other hand, I have been burned firsthand with tires and batteries from Wal-Mart. There is a quality difference and the cost of buying cheap at Wal-Mart isn’t worth it with these products.

Also, the electronics from Wal-Mart are the same deal. You are getting lines made just for Wal-Mart. An HP computer from Wal-Mart isn’t the same as Best Buy. I dealt with several customers over the past year who bought a laptop from Wal-Mart. Many of these were only coming with a 90 day warranty and they were brand new. So, when they failed at 102 days after purchase, the customer was out the money. Also, if you have one fail within warranty, the process is different at Wal-Mart. You must provide your own shipping box and pay for shipping. Then you send it in and MAYBE it comes back within 6 weeks. Models not sold at Wal-Mart get the white glove service. They send you the shipping box sized just for your laptop and padded with the proper inserts FREE OF CHARGE. A return label is packaged inside for you to peel and stick on the box once you have it all packed up. Even strips of box tape with backing to peel off are contained within the box although I give it a little extra just to be sure. Basically, there is a huge difference in the experience of getting a unit from Wal-Mart serviced under warranty vs. one bought elsewhere.

I am about to the point where I don’t even want to service equipment from Wal-Mart for a variety of reasons. It just isn’t worth the cost to repair and some of the clientele that buy stuff like this at Wal-Mart are really disagreeable to deal with and not worth my time.

I guess these experiences sour me on buying anything you want to last at Wal-Mart. On the other hand, I dated a girl once who bought all kinds of stuff at Wal-Mart. She was terrible with money and threw tons away buying cheap junk, not taking care of it, etc. This was a major factor in why I am no longer with her. She would let her car go thousands of miles beyond the longest oil change interval suggested for her car. She was using Wal-Mart conventional oil. I basically forced her to change it a couple times, WAY beyond the change interval of course. Each time I was amazed that the insides of the engine were still clean. I could see clean metal within the valve cover under the oil fill cap. The old oil would be as black as night of course but it seemed to be doing its job and holding all the dirt in the oil so it could be removed when drained. I was not so against Supertech oil after seeing this in person.

No idea about the oil, but just curious, what events led to your both owning the exact same car?

I was actually considering buying one of these. My girlfriend’s old car needed a ton of work and then the head gasket just blew. I told her enough was enough and to just trade it on. She wanted something simple and basic and this fit the bill. The old car was a Suzuki Reno which is the same as a Forenza. It was a Daewoo and used lots of cheap parts. I understand the head gaskets weren’t much better than a cardboard gasket and that this was a common failure point. All the common failure points went bad on the old car and there were a lot of them.

I actually waited and the same dealer knew I was interested as well and called me when a deal that was too good to pass up came along. Mine cost just over $10,000 brand new.

Her car is a few months older than mine and she had a job where she drove a lot so it has 84,000 miles on a 2015. It has needed brakes, two sets of tires, and routine fluid changes. That is it. The battery seems a tad weak and I told her it would probably be best to change it soon. I already changed mine a year or so ago.

Overall the cars are what they were sold as. They are basic cheap transportation but have been very reliable and solid. Car enthusiasts love to hate them but owners who understand the limitations like them.

I do not think I would pay the current going rates for a Mirage though. Spend $5000 more and get a much better car. The used ones with 90,000 miles are going for more than I paid.

A new 2015 Mirage for $10,000? That seems like an unusually good deal, even 7 years ago. Good for you!

Yes, I paid like $10,200 for it and yes it was a SCREAMING DEAL even back then. I remember reading a car review at the time and they basically said, yeah it is a cheap car but inflation adjusted, it is cheaper than all the other budget cars of the past and offers way more in power, creature comfort, and safety. This thing isn’t a Rolls but I knew that going in and I haven’t really had any real issues. Finding brake parts was an issue for my car and I am sure the pandemic helped with that. Once I got that figured out I went ahead and took care of the GF before they were needed.

I saw some reviewer recently acting like a Mirage was a great deal at like $18,000. A new Chevy Trax isn’t much more than that. If a new Mirage was $12,000, then great. At $18,000, I think there are better optiosn.

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Mitsubishi’s uncommon in this area, but your Mirage deal seems interesting, want to know more. What’s the car’s configuration? Engine displacement, cylinders? Direct injection or port? Trans, auto or manual? If manual, how many forward gears? Brakes, disc all 4, or front disc, rear drum? ABS equipped I presume. I presume it also has A/C. Gadgets and gizmos category: Roll up or power windows? any dashboard and console weirdness? back-up camera? collision avoidance, lane departure warning?

Just Google 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage and you will have all the answers .

I got a DE which is the base model. I wanted it as simple and basic as it came, especially with a car this cheap.

I got a manual transmission which seems to be the way to go. Autos/CVTs tend to fail at about 120,000 miles or so. Manuals go forever if you drive them right and change the fluid once in a while. The engine is a 3 cylinder 1.2 liter. These also live long lives if treated decently.

It has automatic windows, bluetooth radio although that is cheap, ABS, front disc/rear drum, port injection, AC/heat, etc. There was no touch screen although higher end ones come with that (no thanks). Also, I think a backup camera was optional but became standard in the next model year.

The dashboard is pretty straightforward but nothing fancy at all. It uses about as cheap of a plastic as they come. The factory radio is complete junk. It is AM/FM/CD. The buttons failed and got a mind of their own. This is like the ONE THING not covered by the pretty extensive factory warranty and they were going to charge me $200 to replace it with the same garbage. I bought a Kenwood for like $100 which is a much better deal. I guess that is really the only problem I had with this car.

It is a pretty simple car but has been dead solid reliable for both of us. Those wanting the ride of a Bentley should go elsewhere but for basic transport without a lot of complication, you cannot go wrong.

Probably not as basic as my 50 year old truck. Sort of hard to believe, but the entire instrument cluster is attached by 4 screws, w/the Phillips heads showing front and center. Takes about 5 minutes to remove it, requires only a screwdriver. Many would be car-purchasers would complain about visible fasteners in the passenger compartment, but you know, I never noticed those screw-heads for 40 years, until one day I had to remove the cluster for a look-see. Then I was very thankful for the simplicity they provided.

Wonder if folks buying a new car these days, if they had the option of one with visible fasteners vs no fasteners showing, if they’d choose the visible-fasteners-ok option if the price was $2500 less? And the expected hourly labor charge over the life of the vehicle was also $2500 less, for a total saving of $5000?

Thanks for providing the technical info, looks pretty good to me. Of course I’d be perfectly happy w/one of those foreign-job 2CV’s with 30 hp engines as my daily-driver too … …lol …

One more query if you don’t mind, what sort of wheels does your Mirage come with? Steel or alloy? 13" or other?

My base model came with 14 inch STEEL tires/rims. They sell upgraded 15 inch alloys in the higher trim levels. I considered upgrading to better rims when I needed new tires the first time as the 15 inch tires are more common, have more options to choose from, and cost less. I couldn’t find any decent prices on rims and I didn’t know what used or generic steel ones would fit so just stayed with the stock rims and bought more 14 inch tires. If I ever came across 15’s, I would go for it but have never seen a decent price and don’t really actively look either.

The dash on the base model has a replaceable radio which I like. I agree that maybe my tastes and yours are not for everyone but the simplicity of this car was one reason I went for it. Fasteners are not visible but you have to pop little clips loose and it just comes apart. I seem to recall some screws holding the radio and brackets in position under the bezel you pop loose but that was it. Fasteners were hidden as you mention. It is definitely more complex than a 50 year old dash but not like many modern ones that require several thousand dollars just to work on the dash. I changed the radio myself like I have done in 1990’s-2000’s era cars.

The plastic on the dash is cheap but for a car that costs this little, I wasn’t expecting a Bentley interior. It is either that real shiny black plastic or a matte type black. Think of the casing on a basic consumer laptop. It is probably ABS plastic just like that.

This is definitely not a piece of junk and seems like all the owners have been happy with them overall. My biggest complaint is probably the radio issue I had with the factory unit although that is nothing important. The radio in my girlfriend’s car is failing in the same manner and this is a known problem on the forums.

The biggest defect is probably the CVT that dies after 120,000 miles or so. This turned a car this cheap into a “parts car” in the days past but with car prices, I am not sure what this would mean. It sounds like labor to change these isn’t too bad and a DIYer can go it. I have done it on a Geo Metro in days past which is another good basic car if that is what you like.

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Although the CVTs on these cars are a known weak link, here is one that was an outlier. I did find that it was a CVT and not a manual somewhere else. I think an enthusiast went to the dealer to look at the car on display and confirmed. 414,000 miles in a Mitsubishi Mirage … and ready for more