Synthetic Motor Oil users?

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Forum topic by Chris posted 11-29-2012 06:06 PM 1424 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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364 posts in 4322 days

11-29-2012 06:06 PM

I have been running Havoline traditional motor oils in all of my vehicles for over 20 years. After having gone through a few of the motors for various reasons I have always discovered minimal to no mechanical wear. I usually change my oil every 3000 miles when running this traditional motor oil and have been thoroughly pleased with the minimal wear on high mileage motors. “Where am I going with this?”

Well, I have recently decided to give the synthetics a try, those made by the big three, and was wondering if you guys run synthetics? What are your thoughts concerning increasing the oil change beyond that of 3000 miles? I understand that the manufacturers advise against this. My thoughts are they do so for there own protection, i have heard of others running synthetics for 5000-7000 miles between changes.

Not sure?

Of course asking any associated engineer or tech rep is going to give one a biased response, to buy more oils, more frequently. I was wondering if any of you all have extensive experience perhaps in dismantling motors and working on them that could speak for the longevity of mileage between oil changes when using synthetics?

Thanks guys, Chris

-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

15 replies so far

View derosa's profile


1590 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 11-29-2012 07:12 PM

I go with semi-synthetic and 5k between changes for my wife’s toyota and synthetic for my volvo. Both my volvo and toyota recommend 5k between changes and both are designed to be 200k + mile vehicles, so I prefer to do what is better for both my wallet and the environment. Synthetic makes a bigger difference when performance matters more, with turbos and superchargers which are oil cooled (the oil really is a coolant, early turbo’d cars didn’t have any additional water cooling) and lubricated regular dino oil can break down fast and function less with the heat. For a regular engine the overall design makes a far more significant difference. I had a volvo 240 that had over 350k miles on it using dino and it was the body that went not the engine. Earlier American motors broke down faster due to using oil splashing to lubricate rather then oil squirters which were the big innovation in saab, volvo, bmw and mercedes. Tighter engine tolerances like tighter piston rings also reduced wear and contamination of the oil helping milage more then anything.
Honestly I’d be disappointed in any modern regular engine that didn’t make 200k+ miles on dino without needing a rebuild even with 5k mile oil changes. Only exceptions being an overheat or blown gasket which are outside manufacturer control.

-- A posse ad esse

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3521 days

#2 posted 11-29-2012 07:34 PM

I put a lot of miles on my vehicles and I’ve used Pennzoil full synthetic oil now for the past 10 years or so. Went from 3,000 miles between changes to 5,000. I’m on my fourth van, first one was a dodge (236,000 miles) traded for a Ford (250,000 miles), traded for a GMC (354,000 miles) and now a dodge mini van (228,000 miles). All were low milage vehicles when I bought them and they were all still going strong when I sold them ( still driving the mini van). Also put 230,000 miles on a Jeep Grand Cherekee.
Note: I always make sure to use a good quality oil filter each change.

-- John @

View xwingace's profile


228 posts in 2825 days

#3 posted 11-29-2012 08:05 PM

I design the stuff for a living ;) You should be able to do 5,000+ on synthetic no problem, I sure do it.
Motor oils are over engineered and the 3,000 recommendation is low, as you suspected for liability purposes. Also if you tell a lot of people to change at 3K it will end up being 4 or 5 anyway :P

-- I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1141 posts in 2471 days

#4 posted 11-29-2012 11:00 PM

I have used Amsoil with a bypass filter setup. The main filter is changed 12.500 miles and the bypass 25k along with the oil. My 1986 BMW 535i has 410k 0n it and my 1993 Ford Ranger has 325k.
I will stick with this oil.

-- Jerry

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3159 days

#5 posted 11-29-2012 11:21 PM

I bought a new Dodge Omni in 1980 and never ran anything but Arco Graphite in it. About the only difference I could tell was it was over a dollar more a quart!
Oil is the life of your engine, it needs to be kept clean whatever you use.

-- Life is good.

View madts's profile


1884 posts in 2576 days

#6 posted 11-29-2012 11:31 PM

I run My cars 10.000 between oil changes. One has gone 125.000 and no problems.( Honda Civic SI. 12 years old) The other honda fit. 50.000 miles and no problems.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3207 days

#7 posted 11-29-2012 11:43 PM

I run nothing but Mobile 1, full synthetic in my Suzuki SX4. It is non turbo, but is a high revving 4 banger. I change the filter every 5000 miles and top up to replace the oil lost with the dirty filter.
Then every three filters I drain and replace all the oil. So, for practical purposes I change the oil every 15,000 miles.

I have done it this way for my last three cars. Don’t know if it is causing wear on my engines because I never had an engine problem below 280,000 miles.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2426 days

#8 posted 11-30-2012 03:45 AM

i’ve always used conventional oil and changed every 3000 miles and has always worked for me.i have a friend that says oils cheap,when you compare it to an engine replacement.i think on conventional oil you can go 5000 miles as long as you keep it changed regularly.synthetics you shouldn’t have a problem going 7-8000 miles.i use to work at a “quick oil change” years ago and i’ve seen engines running,not be it long with the oil gummed up in the oil pan having to bust it loose with a screwdriver.the main thing is to change it regular.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Chris's profile


364 posts in 4322 days

#9 posted 11-30-2012 04:17 AM

guys you have done well….thanks for the overwhelming array of varied responses. Great stuff…All of the info has certainly given me a better feeling about increasing my mileage between changes. I can tell already however due to a small leak from somewhere near my pan gasket that the molecular chemistry of this oil is entirely different than traditional oils. I do not think it is a big deal, it has led me to wonder how those cork gaskets respond to this different chemistry if at all.

I really appreciate the helpful chat, means a lot.

xwingace: I like what you said…”Also if you tell a lot of people to change at 3K it will end up being 4 or 5 anyway :P”—- that is hilarious. so true with us homos…lol


-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 2869 days

#10 posted 12-02-2012 11:14 PM

I use synthetic and go 7K(ish) between changes. I wouldn’t feel comfortable going that far on conventional oil.
1- I change my own oil.
2- Using sythetic is more time/cost effective due to the longer service intevals.
3- Most shops charge an arm/leg for a synthetic oil change. I’m not sure it would be cost effective if I used a shop to change my oil.

View Chris's profile


364 posts in 4322 days

#11 posted 12-02-2012 11:45 PM

Thanks for all of the feedback and input guys i really do appreciate it. All of the great news has led me to the decision to run this stuff 5-7000 between changes. Sounds like the norm as I had already heard from many guys I had spoken with offline.

Tedstor, yeah that is one of the reasons I am switching to synthetics myself. I want a longer service interval to prevent me from having to change oil so often in cold weather, lying on the cold ground every month had a large bearing on this decision. (laughing)

Plus the longevity of the engine life created by usage of synthetics creates sufficient justification for the much higher price of purchase for an oil change.


-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2485 days

#12 posted 12-03-2012 01:23 AM

All synthetics are not created equal. When I was huge into drag racing, there was a big topic on a very large international car forum. One member actually ran 4 different brands of synthetic 5W40 oil for 5000 mile intervals in a VW 1.8t GTi and sent samples of the used oil to Blackstone Labs
3 were pretty good, one was terrible and not much better than conventional mineral oil. The terrible sample was Mobil 1. It had by far the lowest flash-point (10 times lower than the next lowest) and the greatest amount of contaminates (iron, lead, molybdenum and boron)
Blackstone labs noted the Mobil1 should have been changed about 1500 miles before it was. Valvoline synpower and Royal purple tested the best, and they mentioned he could have very safely gone 7,500 miles between changes. There may be better ones out there, but do not buy into the mobil 1 hype. I run the synpower in the BMW and Royal Purple in the fuzion.


View Chris's profile


364 posts in 4322 days

#13 posted 12-03-2012 02:08 AM

Thanks Lumberjoe for that! I was actually considering the Mobil 1…should have done my research i guess before deciding. Thanks a million for taking the time to respond, you just might have saved me much heartache in the future.

Very interesting- we need more studies like this to become readily available to the general populace. I know from college that oft times many studies are published in scholarly journals but if one does not know how to look, search and locate said news, they will indeed be without.

Great misfortune. So thanks for sharing.


-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3207 days

#14 posted 12-03-2012 03:24 AM

As I have said earlier I put a lot of miles on cars running Mobile 1. My daily commute used to be 108 miles.

The only time I ever had a problem with it was when I put it in a Dodge Colt Turbo that I bought used. That car had a Mitsubishi 1500CC engine. The owner before me had used Quaker State oil and When I switched to Mobile 1 the first oil change came out looking like black snot. Subsequent changes at 7500 miles looked normal.

I always felt like there was some kind of bad chemistry going on in that switch.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2485 days

#15 posted 12-03-2012 03:38 AM

Mobil 1 isn’t terrible, it’s just not nearly as good as some alternatives. My main issue is M1 usually commands a premium price (at least around here) and is actually 2$ more per quart than my synpower.

The Dodge colt with the 4G61T was a fun little car. Those go for big bucks now. You can easily swap in an AWD 4G63t drivetrain and make yourself an Evo3 clone.


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