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Passat oil change

I’ve got a 2004 Passat, which I generally like. Shortly after I bought it, I was informed that the car needed to use synthetic oil, which of course made the price of an oil change at the VW dealer here in Southern California about half a gazillion dollars. i seem to remember in the days when synthetic oil first came out that one of the big pitches was that it didn’t need to be changed as often as conventional oil. So the question is, anyone out there know whether I still need to change my oil every 5,000 miles, like the original recommendation for conventional oil, or is it perfectly safe to do it less frequently?

The Passat 1.8T(assume your engine) is very hard on engine oil hence the stress for synthetic and 5000 oil change interval. The original spec did not call for synthetic nor conventional but a spec that not a single conventional motor oil could meet so by default synthetic.

  1. Look in your owner’s manual for details. I believe that your car calls for oil meeting the VW 505.1 specifications (Maybe just 505) You need to use what is specified in the owner’s manual. Using anything else is just totally foolish.
I suspect that all 505.X oils are synthetic.  Many modern cars require synthetic.  Synthetic oils last longer and protect better and often will provide a little better mileage. 

As for how often to change your oil, again that is in your owner's manual.  I believe VW is calling for 10,000 mile changes in your car.  

If, as it is possible, VW has changed their recommendations since the car was sold, stick with the new recommendations, Some cars of various makes have found that they can develop problems (like sludge) with the recommended oils and change intervals.  However don't rely on the dealer's recommendation.  Find out if VW has changed their recommendation.
  1. Why are you talking about dealer? Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.
A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

I have the same car. If you don’t use synthetic oil you will void the warranty. The same will happen if you don’t follow the 5,000 miles schedule for changes. I figure it’s cheap insurance since this engine has a tendency to be hard on oil.

Even if the manual said nothing about using synthetic oil, I would still use it. I believe Mobil 1 meets the spec, and is generally rgrded as the best FULLY SYUBTHETIC motor oil. I would change oil at 5000 miles only if mny driving was mainly highway. GFor city driving I would chage at 3000.

You don’t need to go to the dealer for these oil changes, but make sure you get a VW approved oil and don’t exceed 5000 miles.