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"What to do when your car reaches 100,000 miles"

I was wondering what people thought of the following article I found on yahoo: http://aut…00-miles/. I thought the article was pretty good, but I am curious about the advice Lauren Fix gives about using synthetic oils. I was just about to put 0W-30 synthetic oil in my 2010 Yaris because winter is approaching here in Minnesota. However, my mother was just at the Toyota dealership the other day (she just bought a 2003 Camry) and they advised against using synthetic oil in a car that it is not recommended for use in, especially older cars because oil leaks can develop. My (long-winded) question is should I put 0W-30 synthetic in my car or not? (And yes, I know there are many threads on synthetics and it is controversial).

There is nothing special about 100,000 miles. You don’t need to worry about special oil etc. All you really need to worry about along these lines is that you are following the maintenance recommended in the owner’s manual. That one exception (IMO) is the need to change (NOT FLUSH) the transmission fluid about every 30 - 50,000 miles, BEFORE it starts to have problems, not after.

Many cars today have a timing belt.  Failure to change that belt as recommended (Usually around 100,000) miles is likely to destroy the engine  This is why you need to take care of that maintenance stuff now.  

I know there are many threads on synthetics and it is controversial)

[b] It is not really controversial.  Just follow what is listed in the owner's manual[/b].  

    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.

“What to do when your car reaches 100,000 miles?” -keep driving

I’ve been using synthetic in my car for the last 160,000 miles, and I’m fairly sure the previous owner used synthetic too. It is now approaching 260,000 miles, and the only leak I’ve had has been the valve cover gaskets, which is pretty much expected on a 17 year-old car, in my opinion. When the gaskets were changed 2 years ago, I got a good look at the valve train underneath–no sludge whatsoever, nothing but clean oil. In fact, it looked like it could have come from the factory.

This is what you can expect if you use synthetic and change it regularly–a clean, long running engine. Of course the rest of the car has nickle & dime issues, and I’m getting pretty bored with it, but that’s another story.

Thank you for your response. When I said the topic of synthetic oils are controversial, I meant in cases like mine where the owner’s manual recommends conventional 5W-30 oil. I have already decided that there is really no reason for me to run synthetic in warm weather, but I am leaning towards putting 0w-30 in at the next oil change for improved cold weather performance.

One other thing. From the article:

In choosing oil, Fix advises buying full synthetics. They “actually will lube the engine better. It’s designed for longer life. There are less emissions, so it’s greener. There’s slightly better fuel economy and better performance,” she says. "There are no negatives except it costs a little more.

I would consider that entire statement controversial. Fix is advocating that everyone use synrthetic oil for their vehicles regardless of whether the owner’s manuals recommend it or not. As to cost, synthetic oil changes can cost twice as much as conventional oil changes.