Can I Trust Synthetic Oil? - Kia Forum

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post #1 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Can I Trust Synthetic Oil?

Since I've received several PMs and E-mails about applications etc. and hey, that's fine keep em' coming, I thought for the benefit of all I'd post this.

There’s’ a lot of mis-information on this "Trust" subject that has lingered for many years. What’s interesting is the mis-information campaign started from the very people that are now Amsoil competitors.

But back to the question.

Yes, of course.

Did you ever stop to think what might have been used in the engines of that last airplane ride you took?

After world II synthetics slowly became the major lubricant base in most of the US military planes and have since became very widely used in tanks and other equipment. Some of my experiences in the late 60s were with equipment using synthetics and they seldom got serviced other than for topping off fluids and greasing track rollers, sliders etc.

While the extreme conditions most military equipment sees are seldom seen by the average highway driver those fluids do allow extended engine, tranny & differential drains, which aside from the added protection given, the extended drain issue is part of the reason the military uses them.

Imagine you’re in a hot zone and a service comes due. Do you wave a white flag, take a time out, smoke em' if ya' got em' & service your vehicle?

Then the question comes up, "How can paying twice the money for a synthetic save me money"?

The short and sweet answer is you can in most cases double if not triple your service periods with confidence. That alone did the trick especially when you factor in labor.

Ok, I do my own service. Now how does it save me money? If my math is correct I’m breaking even, right?

Nope.

First off just knowing you are doing the best preventative maintenance possible with a superior product gives one comfort if you’re sincere about doing proper maintenance.

You can usually save a buck by increasing fuel efficiency 2-5%. Some say 8% but that’s extreme even if you were running sludge. 8% might be possible for an extremely short trip type driver in very cold weather. My personal experience driving on the Interstate is about 2%. I will also add driving styles make a difference. If you race from light to light the odds are you'll not see much if anything in fuel savings but you're still ahead if you think about it!

General maintenance will be lower by keeping lifter, valve trains, rings etc. in better condition by simply keeping sludge down from the higher detergent base in a good synthetic.

Engine gasket & seal life will typically last longer. This has always been an issue when running cheaper oils for years and switching to a synthetic. The synthetic cleans out the crap and then the seals &/or gaskets leak because the crap is gone. It's not the synthetics fault!! It's the maintenance procedures followed that's at fault!!

I've even had people tell me they switched back to their old oil and the leaks slowed. Sure, think about it. Once you put a cheap oil back in, the deposits that are still lingering will float around and replug the leak if it's not severe.

If you have a severe oil seal leak the odds are you would have had to eventually fix it anyway. The synthetic's high detergent base simply found it for you.

Some say, “I have no sludge in my engine”. While it may appear so only removing an oil pan or valve cover will make that statement 100% certain. In my work I’ve found crap inside an engine that I didn’t expect to find.

But why risk getting sludge? Either change your oil all the time or step up to the plate, use the good stuff, help the environment if you give a darn about your future and your children's future in any way and guess what? Life will still go on and it won't cost you extra!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You'll still have money for CDs, beer and all that other stuff that does nothing for you anyway.

The real value of using a high grade synthetic is the ability to give your equipment the best chance for the longest life possible.

Then the question will come up something like, “But I trade cars every 5 years or I only put on 100K miles and it’s gone.

OK,

Users of a high grade synthetic realize they are lowering their impact on the environment, reducing our dependency on foreign oil plus having lower down time and maintenance issues.

When you really think about it, using synthetics simply makes sense. In the long run not only will it not cost you extra or just break even, it will actually cost less regardless how long you keep your car.

I trade cars, for the most part, every 2-3 years & the last one I traded only had 20,000 miles on it but I don't care. When any of my vehicles has 1,500-2,000 miles on it seldom have I not switched to a synthetic oil and filter. I actually have to do other little things like checking fluid levels every month just to give me something to do! What a shame.

There’s also the discussion of what’s the difference between conventional oil, a group III oil and a group IV oil. The common answer is with a group IV oil you go a year or 12-15K miles between oil changes. Well, ya’ but in reality it’s much deeper than that. However, the answer is basically correct if all you’re interested in is a benefit. But that’s only one benefit & I've touched on others above.

Conventional oils most are familiar with. We see them all time including on grocery store shelves. They are, in the industry, “USUALLY” referred to as a group II oil. These are your 3-5,000 miles oils that most quick lubes also use.

Group III oil sits between a conventional AKA group II and group IV oil when it comes to the benefit. Group III will generally give you the 5-7,500 mile service interval.

Group IV will normally give you the annual or 12-15,000 mile service interval.

Some group IV oils will also give up to 35,000 mile service levels. Unfortunately I see this being marketed to the wrong people. This oil I’ll only sell to people that live in their car, like a sale person for example or someone that has extreme cold start issues like 30-40 below F.

I am using our Amsoil SSO 0W-30 in one of my vehicles now to see how it goes. So far I like what I'm seeing.

Then there is the group V, which few have a clue about & today I don’t have time to get into. But I’ll say that some 35K mile oils are a mixture of Group IV and V bases.

Then the question comes up about trusting my oil filter for 12K miles. If you’re using those cheap filters I can understand your concern. However, for the most part any filter can withstand being saturated in oil for a year. Now, if you think a filter will plug in 12,000 miles, you’ve got more problems than most.

In my work I’ve seen small automotive filters cut open after 20 and even 30 K miles. Not a problem but again the engine had proper maintenance from the beginning.

Regardless of the above there are only 2 filters on the market I’ll use in high mileage periods. They are both synthetic based. Amsoil EAO and Mobil 1.

I’ve had questions recently about some of the other extended filters on the market. All I can say is I now have 4 units testing them. When I have more data I’ll comment, which will likely not be until mid 08.

Then I get questions about warranty and extended drains. This is a legitimate concern and one the inexperienced get all screwed up.

Use the Amsoil EOA filter, when available with Amsoil’s oil, in an engine that was in good condition, Amsoil will put their neck on the line when it comes to extended drains while under warranty. The only issue is proper application, which is where some get it screwed up. I also suggest to those with a fair amount of miles to do one internal clean with our engine flush. It only takes 15-20 minutes and is simple to do.

Time permitting I’ll add to this but my schedule for the next few days is pretty tight. Answering questions until Jan. will be very limited.

These’s more info on my blog including some fun stuff, that I’ll be updating as time permits.

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Last edited by cmhj2000; 11-25-2007 at 12:03 PM.
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post #2 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I had a few minutes so here's some more info for you.

Earlier I referred to oils as being grouped. Also, I had touched on the basic benefits of groups II-V. So where did group I go?

Be aware I’m not a chemist but can get the general idea across as to what the differences are between the groups. Also, I’ll keep it short & simple. Too much information can at times be self-defeating.

Group I is for the most no longer available, as engine oil, but is generally a mix of hydrocarbon chains with little uniformity and are used in low stress environments. So, we’ll not waste any time here.

Group II, which most are familiar with is common mineral based oil. They have improvements over group I mainly thru reduced volatility and oxidation. Pour points for cold weather are the biggest draw back for normal service intervals.

Group III gets a bit more interesting. These oils start somewhat as a group II. The refining process is known as hydroprocessing much like group II but then another process called catalytic dewaxing is used.

The process with group III chemically arranges the oil molecules to give us the shear resistance needed in extended services plus making the oil less volatile.

Group III oils are typically marketed as synthetic oil.

Many will buy what is sometimes called a synthetic blend. The word blended should give you a clue, as it is almost that simple. Take a quart of synthetic, add 3-4 quarts of conventional and that’s “sort of” your blend. I never suggest using a blend.

Group IV oils again start out much like a group II with PAOs added or polyalphaolefins. When you combine these with additives much like what groups II & III use only in higher amounts even than a group III has and BTW in different combinations too, you have a very highly stable product.

Group IV oils are typically marketed as extended synthetics. Amsoil and Mobil both have these as do a couple others.

Group V. Oh yes what’s that behind door #3?

This grouping has all the combinations of synthetic and non-synthetic oils including white oils, esters, silicones and polyalkylene “come on you can pronounce it just drop your jaw a bit and twist your tongue” glycols.

All of these agents are commonly referred to as esters and exhibit a wide variety of properties. This allows the manufacture to get very specific with their oil applications. They typically are used as additives to enhance other base oils.

So there’s a general & very basic description of what makes one oil “different” from another.

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post #3 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 02:20 PM
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I have been using synthetics in all my vehicles for years now and have had nothing but good things come of it. Very good information. Thanks for the write-up.


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post #4 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Glad you found some value in it. I just had to lay out the facts for those with an open mind and willing to learn.
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post #5 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 07:23 PM
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1. Using inferior oil or going too long between drains will cause deposits in the engine. Two things are constant, engines are hot and heat dries things out. Oil contains seal conditioners that keep the seals from drying out. However, if a seal is covered in deposits, new oil can't reach it and do the said conditioning. Therefore, the seal dries out and shrinks. Using a nice synthetic oil at this point would remove the said deposits. Now you have a gap oil can escape through.

Placing the conventional oil back into engine doesn't slow the leak because it causes more deposits. Deposits don't happen over night. The leaks slow because conventional oils flow more slowly than the synthetic. The slower flow can't sneak out as quickly as the synthetic. Synthetic performs better at lower temps.

At this point, you need to replace the engine seal, or use an ester based seal swelling agent like Auto-RX.



2. You are way too hung up on oil groups. I can name about 50 different oils that perform better than Royal Purple (Group IV) and they are alleged inferior group II+ and III oils. Just drop it. People get wound up on it and make poor decisions when purchasing oil. About 2% of the population on BITOG has common sense, and the other 98% talk about pointless garbage like this.

I appreciate you sharing your knowledge, but with the right additives, a group I oil would do a better job than a group IV with a poor package. Some areas it actually excels like additive solubility. People should talk about the final products and their performance, not the composition. I would pour diarrhea in my engine if it did the best job. Again, websites like BITOG would do better if they focused on which oils are lubricating best instead of speculation about base stock composition. Half the companies don't tell anyways and the endless speculation and needlessly waste breath on debate continues. Let it go, just like they should.



3. Synthetic blend oils are just marketing fluff. Many contain 10% or less synthetic compounds and cost twice as much as a quality conventional. You'd do better by just spending the extra $5 and getting a fully synthetic product.

Do not mix one bottle of synthetic with a few quarts of conventional to make a home made blend. Believe it or not, synthetic oils actually have LESS additives because they don't need Viscocity Index Improvers or need to compensate for the amount of sulfur in the base stock, or well... You get the point.

That said, they use different kinds of additives as well. Some of these compounds are formulated to work with PAO. What happens when the fluid it calls home is now only 20%-25% PAO.

Don't mix. Oils are formulated by these really smart people called chemists. The additives and chemicals they mix are done so with precision and reason. Don't screw with perfection. It would be like taking a bowl of award winning cookie dough and mixing it with 3 rolls of the store bought crap in a tube. Perhaps the award winning cookies had a special agent to help the cookies rise better but it doesn't work with the coarse crappy flower that the other cookies are made of. The cookie dough tube often don't contain egg as well and use other agents to get a similar effect. You get the point.

During an interval. Don't mix if you can help it.



Please continue to enlighten us with what you know, but don't get caught up in all the ignorance out there on the internet. I actually went to College for Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Petroleum Engineering, but I haven't finished yet. Everyone is on the internet now, but unfortunately the guy that dropped out of high school and currently sucks #$% for coke has just as much ability to post as I do.

I look forward to more stuff from you cmhj2000. Thanks.

P.S. I use Mobil 1 High Mileage 10w30 in all my vehicles. Despite the 10w, it does very well at colder temps.

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post #6 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ICellKiaz View Post


2. You are way too hung up on oil groups. I can name about 50 different oils that perform better than Royal Purple (Group IV) and they are alleged inferior group II+ and III oils. Just drop it. .

I mentioned the 5 general groups to give people an idea of how oils are classified. Nothing more nothing less regardless of what you might know of oils.

Good luck.
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I know, but when that is one of the few things you talk about, and you have an oil related blog, people assume that the it is important, when in actuality it is fairly irrelevant.
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Originally Posted by ICellKiaz View Post
I know, but when that is one of the few things you talk about, and you have an oil related blog, people assume that the it is important, when in actuality it is fairly irrelevant.
Yet items have to be catagorized to assimilate some type of order, making it relevant. The degree of such could be debated. However, without some sense of order most people would not know where to begin.

When one knows how a library is organized, you than can begin to acquire knowledge.

If one thinks everything there is to know about oil will be done in this forum overnight, sorry but it won't happen. I have too many other things to do.

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post #9 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, I'll step back in.

So, I’ll assume most believe it’s safe to use synthetics. FWIW the leak situation I mentioned above is a proven fact.

Everything that I’ve brought up and will bring up is coming from over 35 years of in the field hands on repair & field research. I’ve run so blasted many lab tests & field tests I would be lying if I told you how many have been done. After all, a Midwest tech college didn’t come to me to be their engine instructor because I’m overly pretty but that’s for another day.

Now I’ll briefly, very briefly get into why most quick lubes use 10W-30. Keep in mind most use, ah yes you’re paying attention now, group II oils.

The problem with using a 5W-30 versus a 10W-30 is generally 2 fold. One is the manufacturing cost. The other is the shear resistance or in simpler terms, the ability for an oil to hold its viscosity over usage.

Volatility & thickening also play into this with some oils but I don’t want to get any more long winded today. Since you now know how to use the library, we'll slow things down a bit.

5W-30 will normally break down faster, during similar running periods and conditions than a 10W-30 will. Without getting technical the 5W-30 breaks down easier because it’s molecular chain is longer and thus more prone to abuse.

Thanks to chemistry this problem has been mostly overcome thru the use of different additives, which are typically group V components. This is why 5W-30 costs a bit more to produce regardless of its group.

The quick lubes are not only saving a buck but more importantly are also covering their hinders just a tad by using 10-W30 whenever they can.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Notice, I have not mentioned the addition of additives now or earlier. Yet??????

I know many that use oil additives and to be frank I usually just walk away and shake my head.

I myself use an additive mixture I’ve developed when I’m breaking in a new engine. Most engine builders do use different assembly additives. Since I usually dump oil within the first 1,500 miles I use my mix in the first oil change or in a rebuilt engine. But yes, I do know what I doing so don’t worry, be happy. Oh BTW don’t ask what my mixture is & no I won’t sell it.

Additives you find in auto parts stores are in most cases a big waste of money. “Most” additives are little more than a viscosity enhancer with, in most cases & for the most part some type of moly along with zinc and calcium. The moly, zinc and calcium are fine but the viscosity thickener is a bunch of bull. Marketing is a wonderful tool when you have the budget.

If you need to use or think you need to use an additive, find out why. In most cases use the money to get a better grade of oil &/or a higher viscosity oil.

I'll be back in a couple days if not shot in the back first.

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post #10 of 81 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 08:08 AM
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We were just talking about this subject on mustang forums.. Now a few things I seen from over there. Ill quote you on some things...

Quote:
Engine gasket & seal life will typically last longer. This has always been an issue when running cheaper oils for years and switching to a synthetic. The synthetic cleans out the crap and then the seals &/or gaskets leak because the crap is gone. It's not the synthetics fault!! It's the maintenance procedures followed that's at fault!!
False:
There's nothing bad about it per se', however you may find that engine seals that were only "misting" on dino oil will weep or leak with synthetic (it has smaller molecules and can get past sealing surfaces that are able to hold back dino oil).
So its not about the sludge sealing the seals.

Quote:
You can usually save a buck by increasing fuel efficiency 2-5%. Some say 8% but thatís extreme even if you were running sludge. 8% might be possible for an extremely short trip type driver in very cold weather. My personal experience driving on the Interstate is about 2%. I will also add driving styles make a difference. If you race from light to light the odds are you'll not see much if anything in fuel savings but you're still ahead if you think about it!
False:
Just changing your oil will in no way increase fuel mileage. Oil doesn't have a thing to do with your fuel economy. I haven't ever seen any article or any proof to this saying. Plus all oil is for is to keep everything lubricated. Doesn't have a thing to do with how the fuel is being used in motors.
The only advantage is if, you used it from the beginning in your car, it "MIGHT" last longer. MIGHT. Theres also no solid proof that using syn. oils make it last longer. You see 300K mile cars only use conventional. You see 300K mile cars using syn. Its better for hard applications like race cars and such but for the daily driver, its not saving anything.

Quote:
I've even had people tell me they switched back to their old oil and the leaks slowed. Sure, think about it. Once you put a cheap oil back in, the deposits that are still lingering will float around and replug the leak if it's not severe.
THis is TRUE:
Like said before its not the sludge that is sealing the seals, its the bigger molecules in the conventional oils that can''t get bye the aged seals.
If we were using your terminology, where does all this sludge go? It would go to the pan. If you drained the oil (to change to syn) then you would drain some/maybe most of the sludge out. So then if you went back, how would it re-seal it? You drained it. Most of it anyways. Don't make sense does it...

Also in a car like my mustang, which you don't drive for half the year its actually bad. Synthetic oil sticks great to metal and makes for better startups but it don't stick worth a **** to seals. So when it sits for 5-6 months (even with starting it monthly) you run the risk of all the valve seals dry rotting which will lead to the destruction of my engine.

Quote:
But why risk getting sludge? Either change your oil all the time or step up to the plate, use the good stuff, help the environment if you give a darn about your future and your children's future in any way and guess what? Life will still go on and it won't cost you extra!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok what? How will using a syn oil help the enviroment? It doesn't create less pollution, thats your catalyst system. And this has nothing to do with oil. It has to do with you exhaust and cat system. Also syn oils don't last longer, even with syn, your supposed to change your oil every 3k. It doesn't save to use oil that cost 5+ bucks a quart over a 2 oil quart. Over a period of 100K miles using convertional oil will save you a bundle. Me personally I have never in any of my cars had a problem because of the oil Ive used. In some of my more beater cars I use the cheapest possible and guess what? Never a seal or gasket problem. Ive saved a bundle just using cheap oils.

Maybe ill come check out this thread later to post more, but now I dont have any more time. THanks




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