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Old 11-30-2012, 03:35 PM   #1
dalesalignment&brake
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Default Synthetic oil explained and why you should stick to your OE maintenance squedule

There is a lot of info on the 'net concerning oil change intervals and if you can go longer between services when using synthetic oil compared to coventional.

Here is some info that we can all understand:

Synthetic oil expained?




Myth # 1 is the claim that you don’t have to change Synthetic oil as often as regular motor oil. Remember when Mobil 1 said you could go 25,000 miles between oil changes with synthetic oil? Notice they haven’t said that for a good number of years? Keep that thought on the back burner for now…


Myth #2 is that synthetic oil causes oil leaks. In this article I’m going to try to dispel these myths for you with the cold hard facts about the differences and similarities between dino vs. synthetic oil.

Let’s talk first about what “dino” oil is (Dino is short for Dinosaur, which is when it started forming). Dino oil is created from something called “Base Stock”. Base stock is refined mineral oil that contains no additives. It is the interim product that is reached after crude oil (that comes from the ground) has undergone refinement. From there, additives are combined with the Base Stock, to create our motor oil. There are 7 main additives which include anti-foaming agents, anti-corrosion, etc, etc. At the molecular level, dino oil contains molecules of varying sizes. Imagine the floor of a gymnasium covered with basketballs, baseballs, volleyballs, and beach balls. Now imagine that all those different size “balls” are moving around, flowing past the floor. Every time a ball surface contacts the floor surface, the ball absorbs heat from the floor. That is how oil removes heat from your engine components, from surface to surface contact.

Now imagine the same gymnasium floor covered in uniformly sized golf balls. Smaller, more uniform molecules can absorb more heat from a surface, because there are more of them AND they have a larger surface to volume ratio which means they have more surface area contact. That’s what synthetic oil is. A man-made “Base Stock”, where all the molecules are the same size, and smaller than those in dino oil. Better heat transfer, better lubricating properties, and a lot wider temperature range without breakdown, are now obtained.





Synthetic Oil Myth #1 debunked


Oil does not break down under normal use. This is true of both dino and synthetic oil and is also the reason why you take oil to the Recycling Center and not the trash dump. So if oil itself doesn’t ever degrade, why do we have to change it? The answer is twofold: additives and contamination. It will probably surprise you to learn that synthetic oil has all the same additives that dino oil has! The additives in oil DO break down, which is part of what necessitates oil changes. The other reason for regular oil changes is that with use, motor oil becomes contaminated (dirt, water, acids, etc). Using synthetic oil does not protect against either of these problems, which is why you CANNOT go further between oil changes when running a synthetic. You should still change your synthetic oil at the same intervals as you do with dino oil. Anyone want to guess how many claims Mobil 1 had to pay to people that were going 25,000 miles between changes?




Synthetic Oil Myth #2 debunked

Synthetic oil causing oil leaks is another commonly spread myth. The truth of the matter is that if all your engine seals and gaskets are in good condition, synthetic oil will NOT leak in your engine. The myth started because on occasion, an engine will leak with synthetic oil, but not dino oil. The reason for this is that the smaller molecules of the synthetic are able to get past very small crevices, where the larger molecules of dino oil cannot. But this does not mean that the synthetic oil has caused the leak, it simply has “discovered” an infant leak, and regardless of what oil you are running, this infant leak will eventually grow to a size that will allow dino oil to occupy and pass also. Synthetic oil has not been shown to deteriorate engine seals or gaskets. It is not some evil solvent that will break down sealant, or anything like that. Like was said earlier, it is just a man-made base stock, that is uniform and smaller in molecule size than dino oil. Nothing more, nothing less.




Hope this answers some questions.....



Reply from "theurgy" on BC Mazda3- more useful info


Great information Jay, to add, which oil is best for your car depends on a number of factors.
When selecting a brand or type of oil, (either synthetic or dino) what may work extremely well in one car may be the wrong oil for another.
As an example for here, one of the biggest problems when selecting oil for the Mazdaspeed3 MZR DISI engine is fuel dilution.
This is caused by the nature of the direct injection engine found in the Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed6, CX-7 and now more recently any of the SkyActiv Mazda3's
Special consideration had to be made in selecting an oil that will have additives that will resist fuel dilution, which is the state in which the engine oil has a high concentration of gasoline mixed in.

Now one question here is how does one tell if you are affected by fuel dilution and what oil is best to serve us in this case.
The answer is to have a Used Oil Analysis performed on a sample of oil taken from your engine during your regular oil change.
There are local UAO testers in the lower mainland that can help you out with this, as this is a common test for fleet vehicles and larger diesel engines in getting a diagnosis as to the health of your engine.
Another way is to go to Blackstone Labs: http://www.blackstone-labs.com/ and get their free sample kit, send in the sample and pay the $25 for the analysis and this will give you an insight for the health of your oil.
This is like getting a blood test done for your car.

Further to this, many vehicle specific online forums have been gathering UAO results, comparing them side by side, and determining some interesting conclusions.
For the Mazdaspeed DISI engines, most people have specifically been running and recommending Pennzoil Platinum 5W30, and Rotella T6 5W40.
Both have shown absolutely excellent results in tests.
For Mazda 3's I would recommend doing your research beyond what the oil companies' PR teams try to feed you and deciding on an oil and getting your own UAO to determine its effectiveness.

I guess the lesson I'm trying to convey is the old adage of "Well if such and such race team uses it, it is good enough for me" or "Well my buddy has been running this oil in his muscle car/tuner car for years without problems..." is absolutely useless.
The proof is in the test, and you should be more informed as to the blood you decide to run in your engine.
Not all oils are created equal and what you run is probably one of the most important decisions you make to maintain the life of your engine for the long term.





Please contribute to this thread if you have something informative to say.

For ex. "we do not care if you do your own oil changes or how cheap you can get it"






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Old 11-30-2012, 03:51 PM   #2
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but even the car manufacturer that put synth oil right from the factory are saying the oil change interval are now 12000KMS instead of 5000. BMW recommend oil change @15000 miles which was really weird the first time I reset the maintenance light

Quote:
BMW, and some other automobiles, now have sophisticated oil-drain-interval systems built into their electronic engine management systems. The combination of these electronic systems, better and even more robust engine designs, and the long-lived protection of fully synthetic motor oils allows these automakers to recommend such long drain intervals. There are two caveats, however. First, if you tend to use your BMW in a manner that could be considered "severe service," you should definitely consider shortening the drain interval from 15,000 miles. The second, and perhaps the most important, is that it is even more important for you to check the oil regularly. Modern engines can easily go 3,000 miles or more between oil drains without needing a top-up, but with oil drain intervals of 15,000 miles, it is much more likely that you will need to add a half quart or more between oil changes. Individual engines vary. It is also not uncommon for a high-performance engine to require a top-up of motor oil every 2,000 miles. (Most manufacturers consider anything better than 1,000 miles between top-ups as "normal.") In sum, yes, you can drive with confidence using Mobil 1 for such long drain intervals, but it is incumbent upon you to make sure that your BMW's engine always has a full lubricating system.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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Nice thread as usual, I'll chime in.

Keep in mind, the OE scheduled maintenance is there as a base, it does not serve everyone equally.

eg.

Person 1 drives hard every day, the street is his track.

Person 2 babies the vehicle, warming up his car, taking it easy, and cruises steadily.

The difference in driving habit varies on your oil quality after maybe 5k, may not be the best idea for Person 1 to wait till the standard 10k, while Person 2 will have no problem.

As oil deteriorates, chemistry comes into play, and viscosity is lost. The longer you don't change your oil, the harder it is to keep the engine "lubed" up (as I like to say). Contamination also plays a big factor into this.

edit add on: Everyone drives different cars with different habits, I would assume driving a corolla hard every day is less taxing then boosting at red lights on an STI. Can anyone school me?
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:18 PM   #4
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You never have to do an oil change if you car burns it at the same rate as gas so your forever topping it up .... Right ?


OK in seriousness synth oil has had this mystic to it. Thanks to dales for posting use full info. Blackstone labs is good. Lots of folks use it round here.

VW is also one that claims obscene intervals between changes. Regardless I change my FXT every 6 month (about 5-6k km) and its been synthetic since day one.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:10 PM   #5
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And then to throw a wrench in the works, the amount of mileage is another factor to consider on top of the type of car, and driving habits
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakar View Post
You never have to do an oil change if you car burns it at the same rate as gas so your forever topping it up .... Right ?
Welcome to my world
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:27 PM   #7
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Excellent posting and one I have spend some time thinking over .

My understanding is subie is now recommending synthetic for all new cars and recommending 10k change intervals . The old intervals were 6 K .. To me that says the subie engineers think synthetic is good for roughly a third more mileage than conventional .

This posting is saying no ... stick to the same change intervals . Subaru seems to be saying its good to go a bit further .. Are they on the middle ground or way out there ????

Personally I change my oil more often than recommended especially in the first 10k and if I have driven it hard .
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:42 PM   #8
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recommended changes are based on .... potentially .... the longevity of a motor to the length of warranty.

we recommend you change your oil enough times that when it's out of warranty it breaks?


yes it's conspiracy .... but most things today are maybe with shelf lives of 3 years or less before something breaks. (technology that is)

yes? no?

Just tossing this one out there for fun.


with that said , perhaps we need to go back to simple carbs like the Cuban's .... they'll have the last laugh soon enough eh
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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5000km and out with the old and in with the new.

Last edited by alan ling; 11-30-2012 at 10:26 PM. Reason: missed a letter :)
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by alan ling View Post
5000k and out with the old and in with the new.
Yup, every 5,000,000 miles I change my oil whether it needs it or not. Can't be too careful.

****, I'M IN CANADA. I didn't mean to get here. I'll duck out now.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:38 PM   #11
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My gf's Mini Cooper S has a 25,000 km oil change interval that's monitored through the computer. 5w30 castrol synthetic is recommended. I did the oil change this summer. Had 24,000 km on it. I should have sent it off to black stone. Really curious as to what was in there.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:02 AM   #12
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I am a cynic at times and believe mananufacturers set high OCI's to set themselves up for juicy profits later.....when the warranty runs out that is. A 25,000 km intervals is insanely high. Show me any Castrol oil that is good for 25K. I would have loved to see that UOA too.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:21 AM   #13
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At the end of the day, much of the conversation about oils and their apparent benefits and myths is speculation. Not saying I don't enjoy it, as it provokes thought.... But scientific data is king.

I was driving so much for work that keeping a 5000-6000km change interval had me crawling under my car every 6 weeks. This was getting expensive, and I really didn't want to spend that much time doing it. So I sent samples to Blackstone, who encouraged me to try longer intervals. After a few tests, they determined the rates I was making contamination and burning up additives and that a 10,000-11,000km change interval was about right.

I encourage everybody to have their old oil lab-tested once. It's cheap, and gives you hard data from the workings of your machine. It's the speculation killer.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:22 AM   #14
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I'm going to change it again when she hits 10,000km. It's an 04 MCS with 130,000km on it. Pulls super strong still. If the UOA shows below average wear at 10k I'll be a happy camper.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbits View Post
At the end of the day, much of the conversation about oils and their apparent benefits and myths is speculation. Not saying I don't enjoy it, as it provokes thought.... But scientific data is king.

I was driving so much for work that keeping a 5000-6000km change interval had me crawling under my car every 6 weeks. This was getting expensive, and I really didn't want to spend that much time doing it. So I sent samples to Blackstone, who encouraged me to try longer intervals. After a few tests, they determined that my contamination levels and additive package quantities in the oil meant that a 10,000km change interval was not doing any damage to my car.

I encourage everybody to have their old oil lab-tested once. It's cheap, and gives you hard data, from your machine.
+1. I did 3 oil samples during 2007 and 2008 when I first got my car. Engine was still bone stock just stage 2. Sent in the oil after I went synthetic. 3,000km on it and basically they said it was so good still it barely showed any wear. Did another one at around 5,000 with some track days and same thing, still below average wear. Hence why I do them at around 8,000km.

But that's just me
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoolaid View Post
My gf's Mini Cooper S has a 25,000 km oil change interval that's monitored through the computer. 5w30 castrol synthetic is recommended. I did the oil change this summer. Had 24,000 km on it. I should have sent it off to black stone. Really curious as to what was in there.
You know what... I have a mechanic friend who works at a Bimmer dealer. I'm gonna give him a sample bottle and get him to collect a 25k-old sample. I think they're still $25 for the basic test and $10 for the additives test...

Anybody wanna kick in $5 to satisfy their curiosity? Or does somebody have a 25k car they wanna test?
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:02 AM   #17
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from my own experience:
i spent 14 years rallying on special stages - it was long time ago
and we run "dino" because synthetic wasn't available then
so pretty much after every second if not after each rally we had to rebuild engines
(re-bore and change all the bearings, rings and pistons of course)
but once i visited some guys who's rally car was on the hoist and cylinder head was off
so, i touched the cylinders surface and i asked - did you guys just changed the block?
they said - no, we have about 10 rallies on it and we run synthetic
and it was the beginning of new era. we bought it though it was $17 per liter but never looked back ever since
funny but i still remember it was "Castrol" 10-30 =o)
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:50 PM   #18
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Think about this-

auto manufacturers are in the business to sell cars. They do not care about vehicle lifespan anymore unless its their marquee people mover. The market avg is 4-5yr(or lower) new car ownership and then dump to buy a new one. The 2nd and 3rd owners of these vehicles understand and expect to pay for higher service bills when they purchase these vehicles but hey they save 50-60% over buying new. Do these people have a clue that the recommended service intervals of the car they purchased were at 25k km? no. So when a major item fails they chalk it up to the previous owner not servicing the vehicle properly. Now the manufacturer isn't getting the blame and do they even care if they did, no because 9/10 the person who buy used will never purchase new. If the failure is something the owner cannot afford then the car is simply hauled off to a scrapyard or what have you but what an easy way to recycle a car out of circulation.


Mini??? 25k km intervals?? how safe is that?? Not just for potential engine wear etc but when are the tires and brakes inspected??

We had a Mini Cooper S(S53) with 110K km come in the shop and it was owned and maintained by a non-car enthusiast but they follow the maintenance plan to a tee. They know nothing about doing maintenance themselves or care to learn how. They were informed by the dealer that the car was burning oil and to check the oil level very 5k km so they tried to check this.

This is what we found at the 10k km mark of a 25km service interval:

1) tires were severely worn down to the cords(installed last year approx 25k km)
2) front lower c/arms bushings were worn causing the result above
3) 2litres down on oil
4) air filter needed replacing

etc.etc.


How safe are these long awaited service intervals? not all people who "drive" cars are enthusiasts searching and trolling the forums finding out what is best for their vehicles. Oil analysis etc. is for car nerds not everyday men and woman who only use their vehicles for transportation.





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Old 12-01-2012, 01:17 PM   #19
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It's pretty tough who to believe really.

Just sharing my experience here. I have had my WRX for 10yrs and it is at 186k km's and has been at stage 2 for 8yrs.

Despite many people saying not to bother I put a turbo timer in as I knew I would be autox ing and driving it hard, I figured better safe than sorry.
I have run Motul for everyoil change except for 2 which I ran Royal Purple.

Over the years I have run every grade of oil Motul made with intervals of 8-10k km's. I haven't ever sent the oil to Blackstone but the car has never burnt oil, and even at 10k km's the oil comes out looking like dark honey, never black and gritty. (with the age of the car now I try to keep it close to 8k).

I recently had some major work done (at 172k kms, long story, not a mechanical issue) and they did a leak down and where blown away at what good shape the bottom end is in and what little wear there was inside.

From my experience, I wouldn't ever tell someone to change the oil at 5k km's. For a daily driver, who periodically checks levels etc I would say 10k is more than enough for synthetic. For someone who autox etc, depending on the amount of events I'd say 7-8k kms.

Again, not scientific by any means but just 10yrs and 186 000 kms of experience.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buster View Post
It's pretty tough who to believe really.

Just sharing my experience here. I have had my WRX for 10yrs and it is at 186k km's and has been at stage 2 for 8yrs.

Despite many people saying not to bother I put a turbo timer in as I knew I would be autox ing and driving it hard, I figured better safe than sorry.
I have run Motul for everyoil change except for 2 which I ran Royal Purple.

Over the years I have run every grade of oil Motul made with intervals of 8-10k km's. I haven't ever sent the oil to Blackstone but the car has never burnt oil, and even at 10k km's the oil comes out looking like dark honey, never black and gritty. (with the age of the car now I try to keep it close to 8k).

I recently had some major work done (at 172k kms, long story, not a mechanical issue) and they did a leak down and where blown away at what good shape the bottom end is in and what little wear there was inside.

From my experience, I wouldn't ever tell someone to change the oil at 5k km's. For a daily driver, who periodically checks levels etc I would say 10k is more than enough for synthetic. For someone who autox etc, depending on the amount of events I'd say 7-8k kms.

Again, not scientific by any means but just 10yrs and 186 000 kms of experience.

"I would never tell someone to change the oil at 5k km's''


You are an auto enthusiast that understands vehicle maintenance and know how to check your air pressures, tire wear or if something is wrong with your car. But your experience should not guide someone in how they should maintain their car unless you are servicing it for them. Majority of the population does not know how to do this or care to, they rely on a service facility to do so. Now extending the service intervals will/could compromise safety.

Its not only about oil change intervals, its how the car is being maintained and how often it is checked for safety issues. Servicing a vehicle also includes inspection and rotation of tires , brakes etc. When people see a 25k km oil change interval this is the only time, in most cases the service facility will see the car and other services are neglected over that period.

Speedy lube shops are another bad source for vehicle service and not just for over selling. They do not maintain the whole vehicle. I have never seen them inspect brakes, driveline, tires, exhaust, suspension etc. I cannot count howmany times people have had their cars towed into our facility because of suspension/brake/tire failure and then seeing a Jiffy Lube sticker on their windshield.




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Old 12-01-2012, 05:09 PM   #21
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Haha, fair enough. True, being an enthusiast means I take care of my car on a pretty regular basis and inspect things for wear, and proper setup.

20-25k is far too extreme I agree but I don't see that being the norm from most car companies yet.

I respect your viewpoint and for the most part agree about the abuse and ignorance of many car owners. But I don't think in general that changing oil at 5k intervals is at all needed. Keep in mind I was also talking about oil specifically, not "service".
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:28 AM   #22
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Well we can always agree on one thing, oil intervals are always going to be a he said, they said, debate. For me personally, I don't have cash burning in my pocket. But I'll sacrifice a movie and dinner night out for an oil change every 5,000 kms. For myself it's a peace of mind. Sure, after an oil change my car feels 'smoother' and 'richer' but we all know that's purely psychological. However, I like that feeling. I like knowing I'm doing my car good. Even if it means I'm over doing it, even if it means I'm wasting my hard earned money on extra oil changes, I don't care. For myself, it's a satisfying feeling knowing that I've got fresh oil, full tank of gas, maintenance done and wherever I can go I know 99% my car won't fail on me. That's another thing, I never let my gas drop below 1/4 tank. My dad always ingrained it into my head that if you let the gas go to E, your overheating the fuel pump because it doesn't have fuel to cool it and in the long run it;s not good for the car. Your also sucking up the gunk that's at the bottom of the tank. Now I don't know how much of that is true/myth but I've followed that rule ever since I've been driving. as soon as I get near 1/4 tank, I'm filling up. Sure, maybe I'm wasting more money this way as well. I don't know but at the end of the day it's about how YOU feel about your car. If it makes YOU feel better to change the oil every 1,000 kms or every 10,000, do it. It's your car. You can read articles/graphs/data on oil change intervals all you want but at the end of the day it's your car and it's your neck if something goes wrong. I prefer to 'overpay' if I am doing that for a peace of mind.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:10 AM   #23
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I change my oil every 8-10k or basically twice a year. Once in the spring/summer and once in the fall/winter.

German Castrol 0w30 in the winter.
Rotella T6 5w40 in the summer.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:24 AM   #24
dalesalignment&brake
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Originally Posted by ShiftGear View Post
Well we can always agree on one thing, oil intervals are always going to be a he said, they said, debate. For me personally, I don't have cash burning in my pocket. But I'll sacrifice a movie and dinner night out for an oil change every 5,000 kms. For myself it's a peace of mind. Sure, after an oil change my car feels 'smoother' and 'richer' but we all know that's purely psychological. However, I like that feeling. I like knowing I'm doing my car good. Even if it means I'm over doing it, even if it means I'm wasting my hard earned money on extra oil changes, I don't care. For myself, it's a satisfying feeling knowing that I've got fresh oil, full tank of gas, maintenance done and wherever I can go I know 99% my car won't fail on me. That's another thing, I never let my gas drop below 1/4 tank. My dad always ingrained it into my head that if you let the gas go to E, your overheating the fuel pump because it doesn't have fuel to cool it and in the long run it;s not good for the car. Your also sucking up the gunk that's at the bottom of the tank. Now I don't know how much of that is true/myth but I've followed that rule ever since I've been driving. as soon as I get near 1/4 tank, I'm filling up. Sure, maybe I'm wasting more money this way as well. I don't know but at the end of the day it's about how YOU feel about your car. If it makes YOU feel better to change the oil every 1,000 kms or every 10,000, do it. It's your car. You can read articles/graphs/data on oil change intervals all you want but at the end of the day it's your car and it's your neck if something goes wrong. I prefer to 'overpay' if I am doing that for a peace of mind.


I know the feeling!!! cars seem to gain 15hp, handle like its on rails, all the hot girls are looking at you after an oil change, car wash and full tank of fuel.


is it purely psychological?
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:40 PM   #25
Mr.Anderson
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Originally Posted by dalesalignment&brake View Post
I know the feeling!!! cars seem to gain 15hp, handle like its on rails, all the hot girls are looking at you after an oil change, car wash and full tank of fuel.


is it purely psychological?
On the weekend I changed the oil in my car and filled it up with 94 octane then washed it.. The feeling that occured afterwards was almost as good as better than sex
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