what’s the advantage, if any, in synthetic over regular mineral motor oil?
There are many differences and many of them overlap.
Just picking out the more important IMO:
Greater stability over a wide range of temperatures without the addition of additives, Generally better detergency, better lubrication and longer life.
Other than cost, I can’t think of down side.
If you drive in abusive conditions, synthetic oil is a good alternative. Not that you abuse the truck, just that the conditions it has to perform in are severe.
If you would would like to read the extensive postings on this subject, try the “search” feature of this board. One thing for sure, synthetic oil is a profit center for everyone involved in its marketing…It does offer some benefits in vehicles used in extreme cold or heat because of it’s much broader viscosity range. Claims you can drive 10,000-12,000 miles without changing it need to be be taken with a grain a salt…
If you change oil every 3K miles, no advantage.
If you pull a trailer and the motor has to work harder than normal, lots of advantages. Synthetic oils do better under heat stress, the molecules break down slower and the oil lubes better longer in motors running hot and under heavier load.
If you pull a trailer all the time (or 80% of the time) with your truck and you want to go to the max recommended oil change interval, use synthetic.
In the early days of synthetics they were sold with the notion of longer oil change intervals, like 15K miles. Now the makers of synthetic oils have backed off these claims and recommend changing oil as per the vehicle mfg maintenance schedule.
If your truck is out of warranty and you want to stretch the oil change interval, that’s up to you. The longer the interval the more chances you are taking.
I’m sticking to regular oil with 5K oil changes in my Toyota Sequoia with 110K miles. I put about 10-15K on the truck a year. If I drove more miles and hauled my trailer more frequently I’d consider synthetic.
Use regular oil. If you drive in normal conditions and change your oil on a regular basis then synthetic is not needed. Synthetic oil is just a profit generator for the manufacturer. It’s a lot like using high dollar nitrogen in your tires. Air is about 70% nitrogen anyway.
Exxon/Mobil claims to use significantly more detergent additives in Mobil1, hence their claim that oil change intervals can be lengthened.
I don’t believe your Nissan pickup can benefit from using synthetic oil. I think you should check the oil requirements in your owner’s manual and make sure the oil you use meets those requirements and gets changed as often as the owner’s manual recommends.
Next time you are in the auto parts store, take a close look at the marketing claims on the bottle of synthetic oil. You will find mostly puffery and claims that are impossible to verify or substantiate (like “gets better fuel economy than the leading competitor”). Then compare the marketing claims on that bottle to snake oil type products sold there (like fuel line magnets or octane booster). You will find them similar because they have similar marketing strategies. Those strategies involve selling their products to people who don’t really need them.
It’s really pretty smart when you think about it. What do you do when the market for your product is saturated with competitors, and demand is flat because so few people really need your product? THE ANSWER: Convince more people that they can benefit from using your product, even if it isn’t true.
Whatever oil you use …get your money’s worth out of it. Unless you’re a geezer and driving from the doctor’s office and then to the rec center (short trip), changing it @ 3k only makes sense if the fuel consumed is a total mismatch with the odometer …like with a taxi. There the service isn’t severe at all as much as some would have you believe. 4k under their conditions would work out to about 6k of ideal conditions with the same fuel.
Just about anyone can manage 6 month oil change intervals. If the mileage in that time span exceeds the OEM recommendation, then consider a synthetic. Not just any synthetic, but one specifically designated an extended drain synthetic. Many are not promoted as such.
Good post Uncle; for normal driving in a moderate climate, synthetic has no great vantage. Unless you own a car that requires it. If I had a turbo engine I would use it, regardless of what the manufacturer says.
The standard SM spec oil, regular or synthetic does not allow extended drain periods, unless extra additives are present, such as Mobil 1 Extended Drain.
All European synthetics have added additve packages, since they need them for the long drain intervals used there.