Synthetic Oil

subaru
outback
cylinder

#1

Subaru is now recommending synthetic oil for 2011 Subarus. However, they still recommend changing the oil at 3000 miles, 7500 miles and then every 7500 miles or 7.5 months thereafter. Is it better to use synthetic oil than conventional oil for non-turbo engines with this oil change frequency?


#2

When under warranty, you have to use the fluids recommended by the vehicle manufactuerer or its equavalent.

But if you ask me? If the engine doesn’t have a turbo, it sounds like somebody is trying to raise their Corporate Average Fuel Economy.

Tester


#3

While I agree with Tester, I think I would go along with the recommend (recommended = what is printed in the owner’s manual, not what the part’s guy says) They may have found a weakness that needs the synthetic oil to keep things running well on the long haul. Let’s face it, it is not that more expensive.


#4

I believe you should use what’s recommended in the owners’ manual. Many of the newer designs are using the oil as a hydraulic fluid to operate variable valve systems, and while I don’t believe synthetic has better lubricating characteristics than dino under non-extreme conditions, it is possible that the synthetics are being specifieded now for better reliability of the valvetrain variable timing systems.

I see no “upside” to second guessing the design team. Only risk.


#5

It’s “better” to follow the recommendations in the owner’s manual.


#6

Here’s the confusing part:

The Owner’s Manual does not specify synthetic oil, but according to some scuttlebutt on the 'net, Subaru has recently started requiring synthetic oil for its new cars.

However, I just had my 2011 Outback at the dealership a couple of days ago for its first oil change, and there was no mention whatsoever of using synthetic oil. In other words, no attempt to “upsell” me to synthetic, rather than dino oil for the oil change.

Of course, there is the possibility that they are using synthetic oil without mentioning it, but if they are, then my $36.88 oil change (including tax) was a real bargain!

Until I get some communication from either the manufacturer or the dealership stating that synthetic oil is now required, I will continue to use Valvoline conventional 5W-30 oil, and to change it approximately every 4k miles.


#7

I think that where synthetiic is “recommended” rather than required, we all have different comfort levels with the two options. Some are perfectly comfortable using dino, others would worry over doing so. The average driver is only changing oil a few times a year, so synthetic is worth the extra cost if it helps one to not worry.

My understanding of the OP’s post is that he’s equating synthetic with longer distances between oil changes, and is wondering if synthetic is really necessary with oil change frequency still being only 7500 miles. The “recommended” rather than “required” gives him the option.

I’m a believer in “err on the side of caution”. If the manual recommends synthetic, even with 7500 mile frequencies, I’d follow the manual. Besides, I’ve never believed in extending the mileage between changes based on the use of synthetic anyway. It defeats the supposed “reduced wear” benefits of using synthetic.


#8

The owner’s manual says nothing about synthetic oil. The sales person told me that it is a new recommendation from Subaru; I have not seen anything in writing from Subaru. There was a sign in the dealership that said Subaru recommends their own synthetic oil for turbo engines and that it could be used for other engines as well


#9

The owner’s manual says nothing about synthetic oil. The sales person told me that it is a new recommendation from Subaru; I have not seen anything in writing from Subaru. There was a sign in the dealership that said Subaru recommends their own synthetic oil for turbo engines and that it could be used for other engines as well


#10

The owner’s manual says nothing about synthetic oil. The sales person told me that it is a new recommendation from Subaru; I have not seen anything in writing from Subaru. There was a sign in the dealership that said Subaru recommends their own synthetic oil for turbo engines and that it could be used for other engines as well. I could not find anything on the Subaru web site. If I’m going to change the oil at 3000 miles and again at 7500 miles, synthetic seems excessive; I’m not sure it will provide the engine with any benefit, Perhaps it is reasonable if the oil will be changed only every 7500 miles or 7.5 months thereafter as recommended by the owners manual


#11

There’s your answer. You don’t need synthetic since it is not mentioned in the owner’s manual.


#12

I stand corrected. In that case, I’d use dino. But if you feel more comfortable using synthetic, than I think you should do so. The added cost per year really is pretty small.

By the way, I tip my hat to you for being concerned and seeking an answer. Caring for your car the way you are is a really good thing and far too uncommon.


#13

Register at the Subaru web site as a new owner. Then see if there are any printed recommendations concerning synthetic oil for your car. If not, the saleseman is full of dog food.