Please Excuse My Dumb Question about OIl

I still have my low mileage 2002 Toyota Tundra which I bought new. I drive it now for about 3000 miles per year. It just passed 50,000 miles. I’ve been changing the oil every 6 months. It has extremely low mileage because I have 3 cars and with a few exceptions I now take this truck out once per week for a 40 - 50 mile freeway drive. Oh, yeah, I always change the oil myself and let it drain for at least an hour.

So, at the risk of boring everyone with a simple question, I’ll ask anyway: My Tundra uses 5W-30 dino oil. Is there any reason - or is it advisable - for me to start using synthetic oil? The truck runs just fine and is in very good condition so I’m not looking to correct any problems. I’m only wondering out loud quietly on my keyboard.

Thanks in advance.


Thank you, Tester.

I have used regular oil in my previous cars, and been fine with that. Both cars now require synthetic, so they get it. Going to get synthetic for the snowblowers, one wants it one does not care. I don’t think it would hurt to use synthetic, so it comes down to your choice, imhop. Sure maybe synthetic would have prevented 1 quart of oil every 3000 miles at 200k miles, who knows. Got rear ended and that vehicle is toast. I am superstitious I guess, always used to use mid grade gas, thinking, I was doing a nice thing, and would get return happiness, now just 87 and the cars are happy!

With that mileage and age, this car is not going to die from its engine failing, unless you let it go bone dry. Anything you do is fine. If you go to synthetic, you might be able to go one yr between changes. Not sure if it is worth it though. Seems like you enjoy doing TLC for the truck every 6 months and it is also good to give it a good look over twice a yr.
Nowadays, our local Wal-mart doesn’t have much dino oil in stock.


I use syn in the car that takes 0-20 and \dino in the other. No need to change.

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Your Toyota may last 500,000 miles with non synthetic oil and 600,000 with synthetic oil. Synthetic oil is better and not much more expensive so why not use it but unless you’re planning on willing it to your great grand kids it doesn’t really matter.

The 1993 Toyota I bought new 29 years ago ran with non synthetic for it’s first 25 years then switched to synthetic. 311,000 miles so far and it uses no oil.

And when it finally dies at 500k + you’ll always be haunted by that question “what if I switched to synthetic sooner?” :rofl: :joy: :rofl:


In answer to your question:
Current “dino” oils that meet the API SN and SP specs are really semi-synthetic anyway.

I also drive about the same yearly mileage and 1-2 drive per week pattern.
Use to bike to work, retired in April, less driving with pandemic.
I change oil once a year, do my own changes, don’t bother with long drains because the better part of a qt of oil stays in the galleries and pockets.

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Anything over 15 minutes is a waste of time . You should do what makes you comfortable as to oil changes . I think once a year oil and filter and mileage of no more than 5000 should be fine.


Normally, low miles like the OP drives would justify 6 month changes, even if it was only 1500 miles. But taking it out once a week for a 40 mile freeway drive is about as easy on oil as it comes, I’d go once a year for changes, as mentioned above.

The only reason I might switch to synthetic here would be if the truck’s parked outside in cold weather, synthetic would ease startups.


Lots of opinions here so let me add mine. You are not doing a lot of short trips so you do not need to change your oil every 6 months. Once a year is more than adequate, even using conventional oil. Synthetic would be overkill but if it helps you sleep at night, then go for it.

If you have a Costco membership, the house brand (Kirkland) synthetic oil is running $38 for two 5qt bottles. That is in the price range of most quality conventional oils. Although this does not apply to you but it is a particularly good oil for new direct injection vehicles as it has one of the lowest misting of all the commonly available oils. Oil misting leads to oil build up on the intake valves which direct injection engines are prone to.

IIRC, Kirkland oil is made by Murphy Oil Co which also makes other house brands including Supertech oil at Walmart.


As long as your current oil meets the manufacturer’s specs, no need to change. In fact best to always use the same brand of oil as well imo. Changing to a different oil in fact could introduce problems you currently don’t have. BTW, it’s a good question, not dumb at all.

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Thanks to everyone for your input… It has helped a lot and put my mind at ease . I decided I’d continue to use “regular” (non-synthetic) oil so I checked online at Amazon, Walmart and others for 5W-30 prices. I usually do that and go to a ‘brick & mortar’ automotive parts & supply store to buy it. What had surprised me is that it is now difficult to find a non-synthetic oil. So, after all this, I might end up needing to choose a synthetic blend or full synthetic oil.

Thanks again everybody!

I always bought my oil at the farm store but over the past year or so, the shelves have been pretty bare. I found some syn Mobil 1 at Walmart, but I ended up ordering the Dino from rockauto. The price was competitive but have to pay shipping. Ordered 3 jugs. I decided to up my inventory on hand to 2 to 3 years due to rumors of shortages. Same with filters.

You’re kidding, right?
It’s only in just about every convince store, gas station, truck stop, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, the list goes on. For heavens sake Amazon even has their own branded version.


Every store I know of that sells oil has all the Non-synthetic oil you’ll ever need. I’d say it’s 50/50 with most stores. Walmart’s shelves are stock full of it.

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Walmart lists about 17X as many synthetics/blends vs. regular oils at the store near me.

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Same here, but there are still many conventional oils offered.

More and more vehicles are requiring Synthetic oil these days. Mainly due to the weight. 0W-20 comes only as a Synthetic oil.