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If my memory serves me right, I believe once you have run more than a few thousand miles on your car, you should NOT switch to synthetics unless you move to Alaska or other climate where you operate a lot below 0 deg F. Then you want the oil to flow even at -30 or -40, where the synthetics do very well compared to traditional oil.

I believe the studies show that regular oil, changed every 7-10,000 miles, will provide adequate lubrication for the engine, and may do a better job of protecting seals/gaskets over the long haul in most conditions.

When I first bought my '84 T-bird new, I was told not to put Mobil1 in it until it had at least 6000 miles on it. This was to allow the engine to break in properly. After that, the synthetic was recommended with a 15,0000 mile change interval. I kept that car until it had 90,000 miles on it and it ran great 16 years. I sold the car because the body was suffering a meltdown.

I used to work for Mobil and visited their Mobil1 test lab during the eighties. I actually witnessed something they called an "instant oil change". They preheated Mobil1 to the same temperature as the blended oil in a running test engine. Then they changed the oil on-the-fly. The engine rpm started to increase but a controller kept it constant by backing off the throttle. The measured mpg and horsepower output immediately increased and the engine oil and water temps decreased over the next few minutes. I was assured that this would occur and that engines would last longer regardless of any engine variables. They would test run matching engines for the equivalent of 50,000 miles then tear them down and document the wear. Then they would rebuild them and run one with Mobil1 and one with regular Mobil oil. At 100,000 miles they would tear them down and document the results. The Mobil1 always helped, even with engines that went through frequent cold starts. They made a convert out of me.

Maybe test engines aren't applicable to real life, but I would have to see some hard data to convince me that synthetics wouldn't always decrease fuel consumption and wear. Oil consumption might increase because it's thinner and with the added cost, you don't want to run synthetics in an oil burner. You also have to watch the oil pressure. A "loose" oil pump won't pump thin synthetic oil as well. This is a danger when a high mileage engine switches to synthetic oil, because the pump is worn more from pumping blended oil.

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