Does anyone have any actual information on differences in oil quality? In the winter I use synthetic 0W30 for easy starting and fast lubrication, but I have taken to using anything the rest of the year. I don’t tow anything. I figure that anything on the shelves that meets the current warranty specs has to be fine, but maybe I’m wrong. Lately, anything has been WalMart Super Tech. I change it about every 3-5k miles. Not purely stop and go either.
I very much doubt that you’d improve things with some other oil, assuming you’re meeting weight specs for your car, and that it doesn’t specify synthetic year-round.
But facts? I got none…
If you want to obsess about Motor Oil, bobistheoilguy.com is the place to go…Last time I was in Wally-World, they were selling Quaker State “Defy” 5w-30 synthetic blend with, YES! Boosted Zinc! for less than Super Tech…Needless to say, that’s when you stock up!
Oil Quality has nothing to do with the "weight’ or viscosity. Quality is a specification for the duty expected of this oil. American mineral (non synthetic) are all pretty well the same spec for most cars. Some have more additives than others. Turbo powered engines require a higher spec., more like many European oils.
If you own a US non-turbo car, you can go to Walmart and pick anything off the shelf there. Oils have to meet standards set by the American Petroleum Institute (API), and various other bodies.
The viscosity you choose has to met what is in your owner’s manual. A 0W30 oil is already partially synthetic; anything starting with “0” needs to be part synthetic to give good protection at low temps.
If you are towing a trailer in the summer you need an oil with better film strength. A 5W40 synthetic would be a good choice.
For normal driving 5W30 is a good year round oil, unless you live in extreme cold. We have posters using synthetic but it’s mostly for extreme cold, heat, or heavy towing.
I guess the important thing is the rating ont he bottle and make sure it meets the specs for your car. For myself though, with $40-50,000 invested in cars, I use only Mobil standard oil in the cars taking 5-30 and Mobil 1 in the one taking 0-20. I don’t switch back and forth. When I changed oil every month I did the same thing and worked for me. I just can’t bring myself to use an off brand or what’s on sale.
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I usually use Pennzoil Platinum 5W-20 or Mobil 1 (whichever is on sale) in my Mustang GT and change it every 5k miles. The F-150 get’s whatever semi-synthetic (5W-30) happens to be on sale at the time, I only put maybe 1,000 miles a year on that, so gets an oil change once a year. The TR6, gets 20W-50 Castrol, it gets driven maybe 300 miles a year, so it gets an oil change once a year as well.
I do recommend getting a high quality oil filter, meaning a silicone anti-drainback valve, and a metal (not cardboard or “engineered media”) end caps.
I was a heavy user of super tech as that is what Walmart used in my Civic’s $15 oil changes and I sold running well engine never touched with 225,000 miles.
My wife drives a Subaru Legacy turbo and we put whatever dino oil in and change every 3k miles. It has been mechanically trouble free for 8yrs/150,000 miles. The Subaru mechanic favors Amalie. Our local gas station near wife’s work we for oil changes sometimes puts in generic oil out of a drum but it meets current specs apparently(I asked).
I have considered using synthetic in my Acura MDX since it tells me to change via oil life monitor out oil every 6k-8k miles.
Look in the owners manual and use exactly the oil with the specs they say to use. They’ll specify the weight such at 10-30, and the API grade, which starts with an “S”, it used to be “SG”, but I think it is something like “SN” now-a-days. As long as the oil you use meets both of those specs, you should be ok.
I agree with @George, Doc, Caddyman and others who feel that many motor oils are fungible. I would not be surprised to find out that some top named brands and off brand oils from Walmart and VIP came from the same spigot. I always used what was cheapest and certified and never had a problem…and I don’t have the frequent oil change fetish either.
Here’s everything you need to know about the API ratings:
I thing just about any oil on the shelf at the store will meet current API standards, they’re more important to avoid using old oil (lower standards) in a newer car that requires a newer oil.
The two major requirements are weight and type, if synthetic’s required use it.
One other requirement is that some makers (the Germans, and, now, some GM models) require oils that EXCEED the API standards, typically for synthetic oils. So make sure you meet the car’s requirements.
As usual, Texases is “spot on”. Don’t use old oil in a new engine (the formulations get updated), and don’t try to second-guess your owner’s manual. And, most critical, change it at least as often as the owner’s manual recommends.
And monitor its level routinely. Far too many engines get trashed because the owners don;t check the oil. It is not true that engines should not use oil between chenges. It IS true that if you ignore the oil between changes you may well end up replacing the engine.
For those who have engines that use oil, my advice is to try another brand. While Mobil-1 is proven to be excellent oil. (I doubt F1 teams would use it if it wasn’t), my vehicles use a little oil with Mobil-1 in the sump. They use a little less with Valvoline “Synpower” synthetic, and none at all with Amsoil on board. My older vehicle (a 1994) had its valve cover gaskets changed at around 220K miles after living most of its life on Mobil-1. Under the valve covers, the engine was spotless. It was clean enough to have just rolled off the assembly line with the factory fill. That, if nothing else is enough to make me a believer in synthetics.