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Car oil question
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besson3c
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May 8, 2016, 10:50 PM
 
Hey guys,

My last oil change I had synthetic oil put into my car. Is there any harm in switching away from synthetic oil, or is it best to stick with whatever was used last time?
     
OAW
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May 8, 2016, 11:20 PM
 
The question is does your car require synthetic oil? Mine does so that's all I used. But with previous vehicles that didn't I normally used regular oil and tried out synthetic a few time then went back to regular without incident.

OAW
     
mindwaves
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May 9, 2016, 04:55 AM
 
Once you put in synthetic, you cannot go back to dino oil. It will adversely affect your engine. However, dino oil users can always go to synthetic oil.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
Atheist
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May 9, 2016, 05:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Once you put in synthetic, you cannot go back to dino oil. It will adversely affect your engine. However, dino oil users can always go to synthetic oil.
Pennzoil seems to differ on that one:
Originally Posted by Pennzoil
This is one of the most persistent myths about synthetic oil—and completely untrue. You can switch back and forth at any time. In fact, synthetic blends are simply a mixture of synthetic and conventional oils. It is advisable that you use the same oil for top-ups if needed, thereby giving you the best protection from the oil that you have chosen.
     
P
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May 9, 2016, 08:04 AM
 
I think that cars delivered with synthetic oil to begin with should not switch to conventional oil, but if your car came with conventional oil to begin with, you are free to switch either way.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
And.reg
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May 9, 2016, 09:01 AM
 
Your car's sensor may not like that you're using synthetic after a while and so may throw an alarm. But it'll work fine. I had a 4x4 that I got rid of, but when it had ~40K miles I switched from regular blend to full synthetic, same weighting, and I didn't bother to refill it for 1.5 years. The engine worked fine even though the oil icon stayed on my dash panel. I would be hesitant to switch to synthetic if you have ~100K miles on it.
     
Laminar
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May 9, 2016, 09:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Once you put in synthetic, you cannot go back to dino oil. It will adversely affect your engine.
Totally false.

Originally Posted by And.reg View Post
Your car's sensor may not like that you're using synthetic after a while and so may throw an alarm.
Which sensor? The sensor that detects which base stocks your oil was produced from? Cars typically sense oil pressure and oil level at most. It's possible that a change in viscosity would affect oil-controlled engine components like variable valve timing, but as long as you're running the right grade (5W-20, for example) the engine can't sense whether you're running conventional or synthetic.

This topic is the biggest argument any automotive forum will ever have, and it will be nonstop, and most of the people having the argument will be wrong and dumb. Here's the short of it.

"Synthetic" oil can mean a couple different things; there are different grades within the umbrella of "synthetic," from synthetic blends, to "Group III" synthetics which are just normal oil with the sulfer refined out, to "Group V" synthetics which are refined from Esters, meaning that the base stock is high quality and uniform, leading to a high quality final oil.

So really, synthetic oils are just purer, more highly refined, more uniform oils. They're still hydrocarbon chains, just like regular oil, but with a more uniform molecule size for more consistent lubrication over a longer period of time, and higher resistance to breakdown due to heat and extreme conditions. Nothing about those characteristics prevents you from switching back to regular oil. But everyone has heard about someone's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate who went synthetic but switched back to regular oil and his engine immediately exploded. This is bullshit.

Now sometimes people will complain about all of the detergents that synthetic oils have, and how that will loosen up all of the garbage that is apparently holding your engine together. This is also bullshit. All oils (unless specified non-detergent, which are very few) have detergents. Being synthetic isn't a guarantee of any level of detergent content.

You're fine switching back to regular. If an oil change place put synthetic in your car, it was probably the cheapest synthetic they could find - a Group III - which is arguably not even a real synthetic oil, just a nice conventional.

If you'd like to learn more about your oil and your engine's health, you can do a used oil analysis. You order a kit for free from a place like Blackstone Labs and when changing your oil, capture a few ounces about halfway through the drain and send it to them with $25. They'll send back a report detailing the condition of the oil itself and also the health of the engine. Here's one done on the wife's car:



Her car has an oil life monitor and lets me know when to change it. This time the oil life got down to about 15% remaining after 8,223 miles so I went ahead and changed it. They analyzed all of the components of the oil, and also whether or not it still lubricated as well as it was supposed to, then wrote up a nice paragraph detailing their findings. As you can see, the Motorcraft 5W-20 synthetic blend hadn't broken down at all and they suggested I could go 10,000 miles between changes. The levels of copper (bearings), iron (cylinder walls and camshaft), and aluminum (pistons and engine block) were either within or well below spec, meaning the engine is doing very well and has a lot of life left.

With this information in hand, I feel great about keeping this car another year or two, and I'm confident in my choice of oil and my chosen oil change interval.

A good source for info is Bob is the Oil Guy. It's the only site I've found that ignores the ads and cares about the chemistry.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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May 9, 2016, 11:46 AM
 
Use what the manufacturer recommends.
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And.reg
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May 9, 2016, 11:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Which sensor? The sensor that detects which base stocks your oil was produced from?
Whatever the oil sensor was in my 4x4, it displayed a red "oil dispenser" light starting from a few months after I switched to synthetic to... until I traded the vehicle in.
     
turtle777
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May 9, 2016, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
This topic is the biggest argument any automotive forum will ever have, and it will be nonstop, and most of the people having the argument will be wrong and dumb. Here's the short of it.

snip
Thanks, I learned something new today

-t
     
Laminar
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May 9, 2016, 12:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by And.reg View Post
Whatever the oil sensor was in my 4x4, it displayed a red "oil dispenser" light starting from a few months after I switched to synthetic to... until I traded the vehicle in.
A few months after I switched to synthetic, my wife got pregnant.
     
Laminar
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May 9, 2016, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Use what the manufacturer recommends.
If the vehicle is new enough that the specification the manufacturer recommends is still available. Not all new oils are backwards compatible as different additives are phased out due to emissions concerns.
     
sek929
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May 9, 2016, 01:03 PM
 
What if my car's engine is vertically aligned?
     
turtle777
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May 9, 2016, 01:53 PM
 
What about SUVs ?



-t
     
Laminar
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May 9, 2016, 02:27 PM
 
I like any SUV that's fresh air boosted.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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May 9, 2016, 09:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
If the vehicle is new enough that the specification the manufacturer recommends is still available.
One built in the last 20 years? Most people don't drive classic cars, and those who do can have their needs filled by providers of said products.
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subego
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May 10, 2016, 07:26 AM
 
I know after years of synthetic, real butter on popcorn tastes weird.
     
Laminar
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May 10, 2016, 11:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I know after years of synthetic, real butter on popcorn tastes weird.
You're not supposed to switch back!!
     
besson3c  (op)
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May 10, 2016, 06:18 PM
 
Thanks for all of your sage advice, guys!
     
phantomdragonz
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May 10, 2016, 07:41 PM
 
Laminar FTW...

Run what the manual says (for the most part) and change at recommended intervals according to the manual.

Switching from synthetic to dino or back again will have zero bad effects.

Oil life sensors do not actually look at the oil, it's just the cars computer paying attention to how you drive and notifying you when you should change the oil.
Oil Life Monitoring Systems - Edmunds.com

Car engines are really not that sophisticated, they have a lot more sensors then they used to, and they are made with much much better materials and manufacturing processes This results in a MUCH longer lasting engine that has fewer failures.


Also, since we are near the topic. Higher octane gas is "premium" thing... total marketing BS. Most cars on the road today are fine with "regular." Only performance engines with higher compression ratios require higher octane (higher octane = LESS likely to explode or "detonate")


Basically, read the owners manual and follow what it says. If you are listening to your uncle and he says you need "X" or your car will fail then you are wasting your money.
     
ghporter
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May 10, 2016, 09:11 PM
 
Why did you put the synthetic in the car at the last oil change? It is (still) more expensive than "conventional" oil, but it has advantages like much better control of content (as in no sulfur, etc.). I'd stick with what the manufacturer says to use, either conventional or synthetic.

What's the make and model, and how old is it?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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May 10, 2016, 09:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by phantomdragonz View Post
Laminar FTW...

Run what the manual says (for the most part) and change at recommended intervals according to the manual.
Unless it's a late-90s, early-00s Bimmer and the manual tells you to change your oil every 15k miles (they honestly do). That's nuts. Split the diff and do it every 8k.
( Last edited by Cap'n Tightpants; May 11, 2016 at 10:37 PM. )
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phantomdragonz
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May 11, 2016, 09:02 PM
 
there are exceptions, but 5 minutes and a google search will tell you if you car has oil change problems, or any other problems for that matter. The vast majority of cars are just fine with what the manual says.
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 12, 2016, 01:57 AM
 
"father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate"

This cancels out to either your cousin's former roommate, or your own.

Thank you for your attention.
     
Laminar
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May 12, 2016, 09:42 AM
 
     
And.reg
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May 12, 2016, 11:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
A few months after I switched to synthetic, my wife got pregnant.
Lovely.
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 13, 2016, 09:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Yep. Great movie.

Doesn't stop a true smartass, though.
     
   
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