Is syntehetic oil bad at draining particles from the engine?

Fraggable

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Jul 20, 2005
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I just bought a 07 Malibu LT V6 new about 7 months ago, and recently changed my oil. When I went to buy it, I intended to get some synthetic stuff in the interest of engine longevity and not having to have it changed every 3 months. A employee told me he doesn't recommend synthetic because it's thinner and doesn't suspend particles to allow them to drain with the old oil and results in more engine wear.

Now I know synthetic oil can make your engine last longer, but what he said made a little sense so I went with some normal high mileage stuff which is supposed to be better than the normal cheap stuff. Is what he said true? I drive my car kind of a lot, nearly 18,000 miles/year and I want it to last a good long time.
 

randomlinh

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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a) 3 months oil changes are stupid. base it on how you drive and how much you drive. Follow what the manual says.
b) non-synthetic is pretty good these days. Unless you're racing your engine, I don't think there's a real need for synthetic, other than maybe piece of mind.
c) the employee is on crack
d) if you really want to know when to change your oil, you need to do a use oil analysis (UOA).
 

Fraggable

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Jul 20, 2005
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Well my car has a display that shows mileage, MPG, etc. and it also shows oil life. The manual says it's based on engine temp, driving habits and such. It told me to replace it at around 6K miles and about 4.5 months. I don't drive it hard, maybe spirited sometimes if I'm in a hurry. No racing.

So you're saying that what he said isn't true? It seemed possible, but not likely.
 

Gillbot

Lifer
Jan 11, 2001
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Originally posted by: Fraggable
Well my car has a display that shows mileage, MPG, etc. and it also shows oil life. The manual says it's based on engine temp, driving habits and such. It told me to replace it at around 6K miles and about 4.5 months. I don't drive it hard, maybe spirited sometimes if I'm in a hurry. No racing.

So you're saying that what he said isn't true? It seemed possible, but not likely.

Your car's computer is doing a calculation based on pre-programmed generic assumptions. If you want a true oil sample interval, get the oil tested.

Otherwise, that employee is quite misinformed and synthetic is fine. Is it worth the extra cost for you? I can't say without knowing more about your actual driving habits and etc. Saying you "don't drive the car hard" means nothing as city or stop and go driving is considered severe duty.
 

Fraggable

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Jul 20, 2005
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No, I was going to get the same weight as regular oil, I think it's 5W-20.

My drive to work is pretty evenly split, 50/50 city/highway. Maybe 10 stoplights, then 6-7 miles on the highway. However, in the near future I'm going to be driving a lot more to clients, most of that will be highway driving. As I said, around 18,000 miles/year, I'd say 70% highway.

It's worth the cost to me if it's going to help the car last any longer.
 

Gillbot

Lifer
Jan 11, 2001
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Synthetic has the ability to last quite a while but conventional oil has come a long way in the last few years. I use synthetic in the car in my sig but I also get the oil tested regularly to determine when it needs changed. That way I get max life out of it. For my regular driver, I just get regular oil and change it every 5k as the oil testing would cost about the same as an oil change.
 

jagec

Lifer
Apr 30, 2004
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Originally posted by: Fraggable
No, I was going to get the same weight as regular oil, I think it's 5W-20.

My drive to work is pretty evenly split, 50/50 city/highway. Maybe 10 stoplights, then 6-7 miles on the highway. However, in the near future I'm going to be driving a lot more to clients, most of that will be highway driving. As I said, around 18,000 miles/year, I'd say 70% highway.

It's worth the cost to me if it's going to help the car last any longer.

If you're doing mostly highway driving, you have even less of a need for synthetic. A long drive to work with lots of highway is about as light duty as you can get. Regular oil will do just fine, and save you some money.

As for engine wear...no car ever wears out due to the type of oil being used. As long as the oil is changed often enough, it doesn't matter if it's regular or synthetic, tons of other components are going to fail before you get significant engine wear.