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I own a 2011 Honda CRV. Since day 1, both the Honda on-line Maintenance Minder, and the printed Owner's Manual, make no specific reference about the engine requiring synthetic oil. All of a sudden, the dealer is pushing synthetic oil, saying its a manufacturers recommendation; it's not. The cynic in me says that the push toward synthetic oil is simply a high priced, yet unnecessary, profit booster @ $20+ more than traditional oil.

Question for the experts: is synthetic oil worth the extra cost, despite the manufacturer not recommending it? Thanks in advance for your responses.
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I'm a convinced user today... For years, never worried about oil, it was cheap, a little loss in a few thousand miles, a quart or so, no problem.

Back in the archives is my tale of a lemon '96 Chevy 350 V8, I was on to road too much, relied on quick oil changers, not real services, that cost me a couple transmissions, and an engine. From then on, after break-in of the Mr GoodWrench replacement, I switched to synthetics, and finally regular service at a real, independent, mechanic. That truck is gone, but the replacement as well as DW's cars have all been on synthetics ever since.. Not going back...

My mechanic retired, so I'm off into a new shop, but their records show synthetics for us. I'm overdue, so do check levels, but it is an extra safety margin, in the long term, cheap insurance...

weco
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We used to sell raw materials for synthetics. I have some technical background and have read quite a few articles on the subject.

Synthetics are based on the arctic engine oil specs developed for the military. Hence, they are best if you need low temperature starting. In places like Alaska and the upper Midwest (like Minnesota or Canada), people use engine heaters to keep conventional motor oil from turning to wax in winter. Synthetics are designed to have low pour point. Hence, they should be ok down to 40 below.

Mobil 1 advertised improved gas mileage. That was due to lower viscosity causing engine to warm up faster in cold weather.

They claim higher price of synthetics allows the use of better additives. Hence, better wear resistance.

I have had the experience of having a newspaper coupon for $20 oil change but have tire place issuing it claim it was not valid for my vehicle (2013 Ford Edge) as mfg recommended synthetic. They would only do an oil change with synthetic oil for $45. But my owners manual says no such thing. So I see it as a bate and switch marketing tactic. I left and went somewhere else.

I think synthetic is worth it if you have special requirement like low temperature. And maybe if you plan to keep your vehicle for over 150K miles. Otherwise, regular changes with regular oil are adequate for most users.
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I took a look at the owners manual for your car. (Pages 349-350) Looks to me like they say synthetic oil is ok if you want to use it, but it’s not required.

There are some situations where it might make sense to use it, but I doubt you are racing your CR-V. Outdoor storage when temps are consistently below zero would be another.

I wouldn’t use synthetic in your shoes.

—Peter
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I tried synthetic in my '76 Yamaha XT500, problem is, the engine & transmission oil is shared, OK for the engine, but the transmission, not so much, at least as far as how it felt to my shifter foot. Harsh, very harsh, surprised me, so the regular oil had more of a cushion effect, I went back to it... This reminds me I need to change oil in it, but it's out in the shop, getting dusty.. One of these days..

A side affect was my brother's 1945 Jeep 4 banger! He was using synthetic in his car (Subaru), but began filtering a bit to take out the big chunks, when he did his oil changes, using that in the Jeep. A few miles on it, it would always smoke after a downhill, sucking oil up past the rings, I guess, but once he used synthetic in it, that stopped, so either the synthetic has a higher smoke level, or it wasn't doing it any more...

Way, way back there was an article in Popular Mechanics or Popular Science that stuck in my mind. At high temps, regular oil of that time, they showed that it jellied, failed, but the synthetic never did, kept going... I can see it, the cover, but cannot find it online... Outdated today, no doubt, engine tolerances are a lot tighter than they were then, better materials, better oils..

As we tow a 28' trailer with our 5.4L F150, so I keep using synthetics, Amsoil, mostly when my original mechanic was still in business.. We have had a few Hondas, treat 'em right they keep on keeping' on..
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Question for the experts: is synthetic oil worth the extra cost, despite the manufacturer not recommending it?

It is better and worth the extra cost...but only if you it is required by your manufacturer or possibly if you frequently go well beyond the factory recommendations for time or mileage intervals. If your car takes conventional oil, you drive 10-15k miles per year and change your oil pretty much on the schedule the factory says, you most likely will not realize the benefit of synthetic oil.

What I frequently see in the business is that service providers will suggest semi-synthetic at a more moderately higher price than synthetic vs conventional but still with the 'synthetic' benefits. The problem is there is no official standard as to how the ratio of synthetic to conventional.
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I wouldn’t use synthetic in your shoes.

Who would put synthetic in their shoes anyway?
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Just as there is a wide variety of specifications for dyno oil, so too is there a wide variety of specifications for synthetic.

Just saying "synthetic is or is not better than conventional" does not address hundreds of variables.

I use Mobile 1's synthetic for turbo diesel applications in my naturally aspirated Toyota gasoline engine. I do it because of the Zinc content, which I want between the lobes of my camshafts and the solid rocker arms that ride/slide on them under quite a bit of spring pressure. The large majority of motor oils have had the Zinc content regulated out of them. It has been shown that the case hardening performed on the camshafts in that series of engines wasn't necessarily the greatest, and I want them to last as long as possible. The Zinc helps protect them.

I can't predict how much life it will add. And there are negatives to using it, which is why it's been mostly regulated out. Everything is a trade-out, and I'm certainly no lubricant engineer. I just figure I'd rather change out my catalytic converter before the top end of my engine. So I chose the oil I chose and I hope to get that outcome.

As a side benefit, the fully synthetic base is supposed to last longer, under harsher conditions, between changes, but that's not really going to apply to me because I change the oil in that car every five hundred miles or less anyway, because I'm running it between 6,000 and 8,000 RPM 75% of the time.

xtn
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The industry speaks of engine trials where they contract with firms like taxi companies to put on lots of engine miles. And they go so far as to take engines apart and weigh the parts to look for indications of wear. Also corrosion or other problems. Lots of careful research behind their claims -- at least for the majors.

Our stuff was used primarily in jet engine oils. They are all synthetic. Thats for low temperature exposure at high altitudes (and some places they fly) and for high temperature stability.

Some of our stuff got into Mobil 1 as an additive to reduce seal shrinkage. That's the main problem with the arctic engine oils. The base stock tends to shrink seals. So they formulate around that by adding other synthetics. They are a blend of polyalpha olefins (usually decene trimer) and polyol ester base stocks (or dibasic ester).
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Olefins - That stuck in my mind from home building - Tyvek is a polyspun olefin... We used similar material for envelopes at work, tough stuff... Makes odd noise in big sheets, rattles almost like sheet metal... Interesting..
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"polyspun olefin"

Yes, polyolefins like polyethylene and polypropylene are well known plastics. But these are high molecular weight materials.

To make polyalpha olefins, they react ethylene to make 1-decene, and alpha olefin, and then polymerize that to make a trimer. Its low molecular weight and lots of chain branching that gives an oily liquid with unique properties.
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Magic through science... So many nooks and crannies in every field...

So many paths kids can take if they happen across the right mentors along the way...
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Tyvek is a polyspun olefin.

Yeah, and it's crap too. Their own marketing literature says, "It resists moisture and air, but are highly permeable, to reduce the risk of condensation damage, wood rot or mold growth." Yeah. Look, it either lets air and moisture through, or it doesn't. As a vapor barrier, which is what you WANT for your building envelope, it's crap.

xtn
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Thx all for the suggestions.
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i was in a bmw club back in the early 70's and went to a presentation for ''all proof synthetic motor oil''. the presenter recommended doing a little experiment:

before you change the oil, bring the engine up to operating temperature and note the engine speed. turn it off, change the oil to ''all proof'', fire it up and check the engine speed.

changing to the synthetic i gained 2-300 rpm at idle.

i've used synthetics ever since. : >)

best,

mike
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That reminded me of an old test of STP, the additive of the 60s. Take a screwdriver, and dip it in motor oil, and then hold it by the tapered tip. Pretty easily done. Repeat it, but use STP instead... Impossible to hold onto that same screwdriver...

Not sure of their current product lines, but my gas station owner buddy was convinced, had us all using it at the time...
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A friend of mine use to race in CA. Every time he blew an engine, he was using synthetic. He isn't a big believer.

Myself - I doubt it makes that big of a difference. If your engine was designed to run on Dino oil, then it is OK. My Camry is designed to run on 0-20 synthetic, so that is what it gets. My Silverado gets 5-30 Dino. Both are around 120K miles. Both will probably easily make it to 200K, which is usually when I start thinking about a new car. Next one is either a hybrid, or electric.

V
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Likely normal for racers to use synthetics, in any case...

My '96 Silverado 4x4 K2500 350 engine, I figured had all the bugs out, however, it ate the tranny at 35k, another about 68k, the same year the engine flunked with a big end rod bearing failure, one of the rear cylinders. Other troubles were the 4x4 engagement setup was screwed up, I had it converted to a vacuum actuator, at least that din't fail again, but in that process found the dealer had bent a pin the last tranny they swapped. It was a nice Garnet red, roof & hood the clear coat failed, peeled away..

Overall, to me it was a lemon. I had always had 1.2T, 3/4T Fords, wanted an extended cab shortbed for towing, Ford didn't make one at the time.

No more Chevys.
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My Chevy is a 2007. GMT800. 4WD. 4.8L V8. It's OK. I did have quite a few warranty issues when I first got it. But oddly enough no real issues after the warranty period ended. knock knock knock.

It isn't great - just OK. It was $22K brand new in '07, so it was worth it. A used crew cab Tundra with 50K on the clock back then was $25K. I figured new, warranty, and $3k less, why not?

My next truck will probably be a Tacoma, but Toyota seems to be having quality issues these days. So who knows?
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Another headache with my '96 K2500 was it's A/C.. Failures over and over the pressure switch in the accumulator, meant it had to be pumped down to replace it, we, my mechanic & I, blamed it on bad switches, and half the time he'd replace it, no charge. In the end more of it pointed to a relay, cheapo GM used tinned connector where it plugged in, no gold flashed, so over time it wasn't a solid connection. replacing it was no better, but the final fix was to put a little twist on all the pins so they bit in better, and that finally kept it fairly reliable..

Overall, just too many flaky things, I was done.. I think the last great Chevy was my '57 2 door hardtop, Bel Air...two tone, white over powder blue... Need more HP, but for the day..

Current ride an '06 F150, it had it's share of issues, from the driver window switch wiring reversal, to carbon locked spark plugs, but overall twice what the Chevy was.. A keeper, maybe my final truck, now at 160k miles...
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changing to the synthetic i gained 2-300 rpm at idle.

That's probably another viscosity effect. Mobil 1 is 5w-30 rather than 10w-30 used by most of us.

Low viscosity often means more of the oil evaporates during use, but looks like synthetics have overcome that problem usually attributed to oil refinery basestocks. Lower viscosity does mean more will be lost if you have a seal leak or engine wear causing more space around the rings. High viscosity oil is the usual technique used to disguise a vehicle that burns oil.
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I have a regular, plain vanilla Honda CRV - by no means a "performance" car. Do I need some kind of special tool to measure engine speed, or is there some kind of IPhone app to do so?
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I have a regular, plain vanilla Honda CRV - by no means a "performance" car. Do I need some kind of special tool to measure engine speed, or is there some kind of IPhone app to do so?

Your engine speed is controlled and monitored by a computer so anything like mike described from the 70's would not apply.
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There are OBD2 port monitors, with associated Apps to see what is going on, I have one that works over WiFi (ELM), another later I found that uses Bluetooth.. Handy at times...

Here's where I started:

https://www.amazon.com/Arrela-ELM327-Wireless-Diagnostic-Sca...

There was a Ford module for the iPhone App, it helped me chase plug misfires before I eventually had the plugs/COPs changed... Also lets you reset the Check Engine light if you understand what caused it, or repaired the cause yourself.. We had to work at it to trigger the Check Engine as we chased misfires.. Old story, solved.

weco
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You don't have a tachometer? I thought that was standard.
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"You don't have a tachometer? I thought that was standard."

I'm a non car guy - where would I find that?
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I'm a non car guy - where would I find that?
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Seriously??? Don't be so lazy, google it.
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I'm a non car guy - where would I find that?

A tachometer measures the rpms of your engine. Internal combustion engines produce maximum power over a relatively narrow range of rpms. That is why you need a transmission to keep the engine turning in that range through various speed ranges.

Tachometers are most often used in high performance engines as for racing when drivers want to shift at the optimum conditions. For street drivers they are mostly a fancy do dad. Not very useful.

Either your car has one or not. But a shop may very well have the equipment to make the measurements for you if your vehicles lacks the gauge.
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"Seriously??? Don't be so lazy, google it."

I have more faith in the experts who post on this page than what I can find on a Google search.
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I don't know what year CRV you have - the tach is the gauge on the left

https://www.google.com/search?q=honda+crv+tachometer&cli...
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Mobil 1 is 5w-30 rather than 10w-30 used by most of us.


Um, Mobile 1 synthetic oils are available in several different weights. 10w-30 is one of them.

xtn
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"You don't have a tachometer? I thought that was standard."

I'm a non car guy - where would I find that?


Tachometer = RPM gauge in your dashboard.

xtn
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Tachometers are most often used in high performance engines as for racing....


Um, there are a lot more tachometers in regular street vehicles than there are race cars that exist.

xtn
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Um, there are a lot more tachometers in regular street vehicles than there are race cars that exist.

Every car I currently own has a tach. They are high performance stalwarts: Chrysler and Honda minivans and a full size diesel Sprinter. ;)

Thinking back, the last car I drove on a regular basis that didn't have a tach was my 1974 Mercury Capri, or perhaps my 1980 Chevrolet Citation. I'm sure the Capri didn't have one (bought an instrument cluster out of a wrecked Capri because it did have a tach, but I never managed to install it). I'm not as sure about the Citation, but I don't recall a tach there.

--Peter
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Um, there are a lot more tachometers in regular street vehicles than there are race cars that exist.

Yes, and how many drivers actually know how to use it? Mostly its for show. Looks good on the dashboard.

When was the last time you saw the needle in the red?
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"Tachometer = RPM gauge in your dashboard."

Oh - I did not know that that's what it was called. Thanks! I do have one, but to be honest with you, I have never even looked at it because I didn't have a clue what it was for!
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Um, Mobile 1 synthetic oils are available in several different weights. 10w-30 is one of them.

During the energy crisis, soon after the Arab Oil Embargo, Mobil 1 was new. One of its claims was better gas mileage.

That claim was attributed to faster engine warm up and less choke time due to lower viscosity.
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During the energy crisis, soon after the Arab Oil Embargo, Mobil 1 was new. One of its claims was better gas mileage.

That claim was attributed to faster engine warm up and less choke time due to lower viscosity.



Fine. 10w-30 is still one of the available weights.

xtn
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Oh - I did not know that that's what it was called. Thanks! I do have one, but to be honest with you, I have never even looked at it because I didn't have a clue what it was for!


I have very strong gut feeling that you're playing me for a fool. But, just in case...

Your brain never associated the fact that as you rev your engine that gauge follows along?

xtn
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Um, there are a lot more tachometers in regular street vehicles than there are race cars that exist.

Yes, and how many drivers actually know how to use it? Mostly its for show. Looks good on the dashboard.

When was the last time you saw the needle in the red?



Well, UP TO the red, not in it. It was a long weekend, so I saw redline on Thursday, on Friday, on Saturday, and on Sunday. I reference the tach 10x as often as I reference the speedo.

And that dozen times a week average includes the fact that I drive my F250 diesel Monday through Friday, which really doesn't need a tach, except perhaps as a diagnostic tool. I've only ever got it over 3.5k rpm once, and that was just to feel what "normal" was, so that I can more readily identify if something is not normal in the future. But my weekend cars have rev limits of 7200, 8500, and 9000, and I'm not shy with them.

I'll agree that most people don't need them. Most people seem to drive automatic appliances. But I don't think they're just for looks. I suspect they put them in for enthusiasts. Even though enthusiasts are a minor percentage of the market, they're generally the ones who write car reviews, and they probably don't want some popular reviewer, who shares my opinion that tachs are super useful, to voice a complaint over the lack of an important gauge. Could be wrong, but that's my guess.

xtn
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""Yes, and how many drivers actually know how to use it? Mostly its for show. Looks good on the dashboard.

When was the last time you saw the needle in the red? ""

We recently bought a used F350 with the V10. I was pulling a cattle trailer up a mountain with it for the first time. I was watching the tachometer, engine temp, transmission temp and oil pressure as I pushed the engine gradually.


c
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Fine. 10w-30 is still one of the available weights.

OK, and it's been quite a while since anyone claimed improved gas mileage from the use of synthetic motor oils.
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I'll agree that most people don't need them. Most people seem to drive automatic appliances. But I don't think they're just for looks. I suspect they put them in for enthusiasts.

I doubt any enthusiasts are driving a Toyota Highlander.

PSU
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I doubt any enthusiasts are driving a Toyota Highlander.

Costco enthusiasts might.
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Costco enthusiasts might.

Drove there last Friday in my Toyota Highlander.

PSU
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Drove there last Friday in my Toyota Highlander.

See you are part of the problem!
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Costco carries Mobile One! I keep a case on hand.. I'm stretching this maintenance interval, (overseas trip scheduled), so I've had to add a quart or two since the last change...
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Costco carries Mobile One!

It sure does at a high price.

Costco
$38.69/case
$6.45/quart bottle

Walmart
$7.88/quart bottle

Now that looks like Costco is selling it cheap compared to Walmart but that's only if you limit yourself to quart bottles. Walmart sells a 5 quart jug for $22.88. That works out to $4.58 per quart.

PSU
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I'll gladly pay the price to avoid the Walton empire..

In my many years, I can think of maybe 3 times I've stepped foot in one, never willingly... Never again, if possible.

Saw too many local Mom n Pop shops close when they came into the area.
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I doubt any enthusiasts are driving a Toyota Highlander.


Offroad enthusiasts?

I dunno. I'm not into that. I have seen a couple at the track used as tow vehicles. Heck, I've driven an F650 around the track. Was during lunchtime parade laps, where everybody can just cruise relatively slowly and take their friends for rides. My buddy had his F650 tow vehicle there, and I drove it. While everyone else in their sporty cars were just taking it easy, I was pushing that monster at 9/10ths to keep pace. It was a hoot! And yes, it had a tachometer.

xtn
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I'll gladly pay the price to avoid the Walton empire..

Saw too many local Mom n Pop shops close when they came into the area.



Did they reopen after you began your boycott?

xtn
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I'll gladly pay the price to avoid the Walton empire..

In my many years, I can think of maybe 3 times I've stepped foot in one, never willingly... Never again, if possible.

Saw too many local Mom n Pop shops close when they came into the area.


<rolleyes>

And Costco has zero effect on local stores.

</rolleyes>

I'm not paying $16 extra just to avoid Walmart.

PSU
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Offroad enthusiasts?

I would think any offroad enthusiasts would opt for the FJ Cruiser or 4Runner if running a Toyota product.

PSU
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"Your brain never associated the fact that as you rev your engine that gauge follows along?"

I'm not a student of the automobile, so I never really looked at that. I just pretty much want to turn the key, start the engine and drive it. For example, the biggest work I ever did on my car as a teenager was to change my own oil (very easy in my Father's hand-me-down 1965 Pontiac Catalina). On the other hand, my nephew (who now owns/operates an engine rebuild shop specializing in Subaru engines) had removed and replaced entire engines by the time he was 18. He has the natural affinity for mechanical stuff, and I don't.
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Many other reasons, to dodge the Walton empire, unrelated to the topic or the board...

Their choice on how they operate, my choice on who I support, deal with..
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I have very strong gut feeling that you're playing me for a fool. But, just in case...

Your brain never associated the fact that as you rev your engine that gauge follows along?

xtn
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Without a dought Inconclusivefool is playing you. He/she Troll's many boards and is not well liked.
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"Without a dought Inconclusivefool is playing you. He/she Troll's many boards and is not well liked."

Hey! But I like everyone else!
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