Earlier today I was talking with a really good mechanic who has been working on luxury brand cars for a really long time.  We were talking about how many newer vehicles today are running on synthetic oil.  Unfortunately, the public believes that all of these oils are the same because of good marketing and the fact that many dealerships and service centers have them believing them are the same.

What most of the public fails to realize is that some of this oil is just not very good and it breaks down fairly quickly. The service centers are not giving the consumer the entire story. The same brand of synthetic oil that you think you’re getting at the local quick lube shop or even a dealer service center is not the same oil that you think you would be paying $6 or $7 a quart for at the auto parts store. The manufacturers go in and cut deals with these places to give them really cheap oil at a major discount and they break down due to heat and wear much faster than some of their higher quality motor oil.

How do we know this?  This mechanic and I were talking, I will call him Eric, since that’s his name and he said he pays $30 to send oil out and get it tested at a facility that tests oil all the time when working on customers cars.  He explained that most of the time the oil comes back after being tested and it’s not working properly. It’s broken down.

People who race cars understand the importance of changing out their oil.  If you get into the racing circuit there are racers who will change out their oil after every trip to the track. They are pushing their machines hard and the oil breaks down fast.  Why would they do this?  Well, as Eric eloquently put it…

“My grandfather back in Iowa told me, “Oil is cheaper than metal.” and he was right.” 

He gave an example of the importance of changing out oil and doing it regularly.  He told about how he had clients who owned a pretty nice BMW X3.  They gave the vehicle to their son who said he was changing the oil regularly, but he wasn’t actually doing it.  He didn’t change the oil for about 25,000 miles and the engine was burning oil, running out of oil and what was left was broken down.  It wasn’t just moving around in the engine like a magical fluid as some people think when they are running synthetic oil.

What happens most of the time is that the parts in your engine will become too hot over time.  At first the engine will start running less efficiently, but as time goes on this can cause the engine components to warp and wear out. If the engine oil is not changed, which was the case with this client’s vehicle, the entire engine can shut down and it will have to be replaced.  That can be thousands of dollars to buy a new engine and get it installed. It also greatly depreciates the value of the vehicle.

This happens more often than many people realize. It is such an easy prevention by just changing your oil regularly.  It’s amazing that some information on the Internet and in the media tells people that they don’t have to change their oil every 3,000 miles.  I’ve seen blown engines numerous times with vehicles.  Which is why I wanted to write this post and hopefully save some people heartache and money. Change your oil regularly. It’s not that expensive to do it.

Unfortunately, there are dealers and service centers out there that are telling people that they are running one brand of oil and they are really putting in a less expensive brand.  This is totally unscrupulous, but it happens.  I know it happens because I know technicians at shops who have told me that they are advertising one brand and putting in something else.  The justification from management is that all synthetic oil is the same.  It’s not. Eric tests oil after it’s ran in a vehicle and they do not all wear the same.

It’s something you should be aware of and personally I do not go beyond 5,000 miles between oil changes with synthetic oil.  Most of the time, I’m changing oil every 3,000 miles because I am usually driving a turbo engine vehicle.   There are certain brands that I personally avoid because I’ve seen them gunk up engines over time.

Hopefully, this article will get you thinking about the importance of changing your oil regularly, especially if you are driving the vehicle hard.  And just remember that “Oil is cheaper than metal”.