CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Synthetic oil

I have a Toyota 1996 1.6 engine 150.000 mi runs great well maintaned I am considering changing to mobile one extend performamice 5-30w synthetic oil went one line was informed oil should be changed at 15000mi or one year can I drive it more then one year since I only drive 5000 a year perhaps two or more years most of driving is in town also can I change back to non synthetic with out a problem should I change my mind latter, is mobile just trying to sell me more oil, thanks ever one

If you only drive 5000 miles per year, synthetic oil may not be for you. Change your standard oil once every 9 months to a year and be happy. You have one less thing to worry about.

I agree with dagosa. You do not need synthetic oil. Change it once per year and use a good mineral oil of the proper viscosity blend. Mineral oil got you this far, and it will take you a lot farther.

The information that you can go 15,000 miles between oil changes for your type of driving–5000 miles a year is absolutely incorrect. This type of service is considered severe service. It is much harder on the engine than if you drove 30,000 miles a year in highway driving. Change your oil at least every 5000 miles or once a year. You’ll be saving money to use the oil you have been using of the correct viscosity. With your type of driving, you would need to change the synthetic oil this often as well.

I agree with dagosa. I have a 1988 Supra with 276,000 miles and a 1992 Celica with 374,000 miles, both on steady diets of conventional oil at 5,000 mile change intervals. My Supra is the daily driver right now, and gets two changes a year. The Celica is the wifes putt-around car and only does about 5,000 miles a year and gets an annual change with conventional.

I drive 4000 miles a year and change the conventional oil in my 2006 Matrix twice a year.
When the warranty runs out I’ll go to once a year.

Mineral oil and synthetic oil are chemically the same stuff. The differences are that synthetic oil has fewer impurities and allegedly more consistantly sized molecules. You can switch back and forth freely. You can even mix them. You can even buy them already mixed, called “blended”.

As regards the question of swiitching, it really won’t help you. Synthetic oils, because of their greater purity and more consistant molecules, tend to withstand high stress conditions better than dino oils. Such conditions existi in vehicles that use turbochargers or high compression to enhance performance. Turbos spin at a few hundred thousand RPM and they’re heated (some would say “cooked”) by the hot exhaust stream. But your car doesn;t have these high stress conditions, so you’ll be fine on dino oil.

I’ve never worn out an engine in over 45 years, including having driven some for hundreds of thousands of miles, many of them Toyotas…including my current Scion with 189,000 miles.

You can continue with dino oil with confidence…or switch to synthetic if it makes you feel better…and back to dino again if you’d like. Your engine will run fine on either.

There will be no advantage to switching to synthetic oil. You can’t extend your oil change schedule in your owner’s manual just because you switched to a synthetic. Stay with regular oil since it will save money in the long run.

 As others have noted, just  follow the recommendations listed in your owner's manual, and everything should be fine. 

 As noted, make sure you are following the recommendations for YOUR car and YOUR type of driving.  If you don't see recommendations for your particular car, then you might want to check back.

Thanks ever one for the great advice,have used this site numerous times and has help me keep my old car going, Thanks again Ronny

I run Mobil-1 EP on my 2002 Sienna with 188,000 miles on it. I also extend the miles, to around 8800 miles. However, those are mostly highway miles, south of the snow zone. I tested my oil with Blackstone and 8800 miles it is still good. But, my estimates are it would cross the line at 10,000 miles, and leave a margin at 8800 miles.

However, in your low mileage case I do think you should replace at much lower mileage, and twice a year, unless you test it to prove it is still good. Oil contaminates very fast with cold starts and no real warm-ups.

There is also bad information in some postings. There are more than trivial purity differences between good synthetic and standard oil. No matter how much evidence we present, the usual folks keep on with their same opinions.

Great advice on having the oil analysis. I use a synthetic oil in all of my vehicles, including a truck with a dual bi-pass oil filtration system. Once a year I have the oil analysis done as recommended. I have not changed the oil in over two years.

I really like the comment from irlandes above; “low milage and oil contamination”, this is very true. I would stay with the twice a year or you could utilize a synthetic oil with the proper additives to stabilize the oil for a once a year oil change or 10k miles or longer. AMSOIL makes three blends for all vehicles, 3k, 10k, or 25k miles. You must use a filter that is recommended for the milage but it will save you money and you know that you have an oil and filter made for your type of driving and will protect your vehicle.

Check out the AMSOIL.com/miley website and price out your equipment, you can get the dealer price (about 20-25% off website prices!) by joining at the lowest level, (PC) preferred customer. I have used AMSOIL for over 20 years and did not know that I could get the products at dealer cost until I ran into a truely great AMSOIL dealer who turned me on to the dealer system. Just wanted to share this information for those that complain about the price of synthetic oils, a mostly mis-informed rational. Enjoy our vehicle for many more miles…

I Use Mobil-1 Extended Performance 5W30 In Our Fleet Of Family Cars.

I change it a 5,000 mile intervals. I always change my own oil, so for me the cost difference isn’t significant and I don’t need an appointment to get it changed. The full synthetics seem to keep getting relatively cheaper. I run 5 cars on this.

I like mobil-1 because my cars’ manufacturer (GM) specifies 5W30 oil year-around, but requires the synthetic 5W30 or 0W30 “engine oil” at extreme cold temperatures that we sometimes get where I live. Mobil-1 handles high temperature extremes very well, too. Why not just use one type and be ready for any conditions ?

5,000 miles per year is low mileage driving. If the car makes many, frequent short trips where the engine doesn’t run at full operating temperature for a period of time regularly, then I wouldn’t go a full year without changing the oil and I’d use Mobil-1 or other full-synthetic because I believe it protects better against engine sludge build-up in these driving conditons.

You can switch back to old-fashioned oil whenever you like, but why?

CSA

I wish it were that easy to just use one type. I rearranged my oil shelf today and I have 0-20 synthetic, 5W30, 10W30, and 30 weight for different cars and small engines. Not to mention all the other stuff and Honda and non-Honda fluids. I’m a regular hardware store.

I Stock Cases Of Mobil-1 5W30 EP And Several Of Each Type OEM Filter.

I use it in the snow blower, too. I stock straight 30 and I use that oil in mowers, lawn tractors, leaf vacuums, etcetera. I need a few boat, 2-stroke, and mororcycle oils, too.

I know what you mean about being a hardware store (or warehouse). I live a long way from town and stores and this is how we live. You should see my nuts and bolts and assorted hardware selection. We have two food pantries and two refrigerators. A forty mile round trip for a nut, bolt, or grocery item causes one to maintain an inventory.

CSA

I Stock Cases Of Mobil-1 5W30 EP And Several Of Each Type OEM Filter.

I do the same…and I’m only 5 miles from a Wallmart or good parts store.