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Old 11th July 2011, 03:23   #1
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Question The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Of late, I have been seeing a very strange and rather good(?) trend among the manufacturers and some dealers. Most of them are going the Synthetic Way. Meaning, most of the manufacturers have started recommending Synthetic Engine Oil for their cars. Maruthi, Ford, Volkswagen etc strongly recommend it.

Even 'aam jantha cars' under 5L are being pushed towards the synthetic way. This is a good thing for cars, there is no doubt about it, but then, how practical is this for 'aam jantha' to shell out 1000 bucks for a liter or ~4000 bucks just for oil every 10 k kms?.

Another aspect of this new development is that, almost all dealers charge much more than regular MRP/liter for these oils. And they don't allow us to buy oil from outside even if its the same spec, same brand and same everything. Moreover, with some companies placing placards on top the engines, SA's push the customers to use synthetic oil.

So
- How practical is this new Synthetic way for an average joe?.
- Does 50p/km oil expense (other maintenance extra) make sense to the 'aam jantha'?
- Is there a sensible way around it?


Placard on Ford Figo, insisting customers to use only synthetic or semi-synthetic oil:The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?-03072011045.jpg

Last edited by dhanushs : 11th July 2011 at 03:28.
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Old 11th July 2011, 03:43   #2
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

As for what I have heard, the molecules in synthetic oils are modified so they have better friction resistance especially in extreme climatic conditions also they have better cleaning properties as compared to regular dyno oils. That said, in the short term I don't think using synthetics has a major effect on the performance of the car but in the long term an engine driven with synthetic oil will last longer than one driven with dyno oil.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modify...neral-oil.html (ARTICLE: Synthetic oil vs Mineral oil)
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Old 11th July 2011, 04:03   #3
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

They've gone to a lighter viscosity for fuel efficiency's sake. Of course, they've improved lubrication hardware and engine design to compensate for this.

The 5W30 that these manufacturers are using as factory fill and during service is mostly semi-synth making them cost about as much as Castrol Magnatec. ie. 250-300 bucks a litre.

Synthetic is only "recommended" by SAs as the margins are far higher.

If every manufacturer pushes for full synth, it would translate to higher running costs and would reflect badly on the company.
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Old 11th July 2011, 07:16   #4
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post

Even 'aam jantha cars' under 5L are being pushed towards the synthetic way. This is a good thing for cars, there is no doubt about it, but then, how practical is this for 'aam jantha' to shell out 1000 bucks for a liter or ~4000 bucks just for oil every 10 k kms?.
If you are using synthetic, then 10K kms drain intervals are overkill. You should be able to go atleast 20K kms without an oil change. Some say 30K kms, but the minimum should be 20K.

But that still doesn't make them economical in India.

In the US, I have seen that other than for other reasons, some people use synthetic to save money & for convenience - the cost difference between regular & synthetic is not so much as in India.

I have seen Walmart Oil Change store offer synthetic & not too many rich people shop at Walmart.

Last edited by carboy : 11th July 2011 at 07:26.
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Old 11th July 2011, 10:32   #5
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Sorry to interject in, but I think this thread can be merged here? http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modify...l-oil-204.html (ARTICLE: Synthetic oil vs Mineral oil)

Makes it easier for others to follow a single thread.

@Mods, you can delete this post after decision is taken.

--Ragul
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Old 11th July 2011, 10:57   #6
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Lightbulb Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragul View Post
Sorry to interject in, but I think this thread can be merged here? http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/modify...l-oil-204.html (ARTICLE: Synthetic oil vs Mineral oil)

Makes it easier for others to follow a single thread.

@Mods, you can delete this post after decision is taken.

--Ragul
That thread is a comparison.this thread is about entry level cars having their service costs bumped up because of synthetic oils.

better not mix them both
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Old 11th July 2011, 11:08   #7
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Do the math.

Regular (Mineral) oil costs approx. Rs 1250 odd (incl labour) for one oil change. You'd do it every 5,000 kms. So assuming your car runs 10,000 kms per annum, you'll spend Rs 2,500 per annum.

As against this, synthetic oil costs Rs 3,000-3,500 per oil change and you are recommended to do it every 10,000-12,000 kms i.e. once every year.

I dont think a differential of Rs 500-1,000 is that big a deal!
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Old 11th July 2011, 11:33   #8
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantgandhi View Post
Do the math.

Regular (Mineral) oil costs approx. Rs 1250 odd (incl labour) for one oil change. You'd do it every 5,000 kms. So assuming your car runs 10,000 kms per annum, you'll spend Rs 2,500 per annum.
Most modern mineral oils(say Castrol GTX) do very well for 10000 kms atleast, if not more. They have been inspected after more than 10K kms running to see that there isn't much degradation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantgandhi View Post
As against this, synthetic oil costs Rs 3,000-3,500 per oil change and you are recommended to do it every 10,000-12,000 kms i.e. once every year.

I dont think a differential of Rs 500-1,000 is that big a deal!
What exactly do you gain by the extra 500-1000 Rs you spend?
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Old 11th July 2011, 11:36   #9
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Waste of money IMO. Would rather put in semi synthetic and change the oil every 5 thousand than have the same oil for 10 or 15 thousand kilometer's. Atleast there is fresh engine oil every 5 k.
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Old 11th July 2011, 11:42   #10
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carboy View Post
What exactly do you gain by the extra 500-1000 Rs you spend?
I gained:
1. Smoother revs and better drives
2. Elimination of engine running noise, esp. at high speeds on the highways
3. Normalized engine temp (my hood used to heat up even with 10 minutes of running engine when it was on mineral oil)

P.S. My car is a 2004 Hyundai Getz done about 64,000 kms.
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Old 11th July 2011, 11:56   #11
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantgandhi View Post
Do the math.

Regular (Mineral) oil costs approx. Rs 1250 odd (incl labour) for one oil change. You'd do it every 5,000 kms. So assuming your car runs 10,000 kms per annum, you'll spend Rs 2,500 per annum.

As against this, synthetic oil costs Rs 3,000-3,500 per oil change and you are recommended to do it every 10,000-12,000 kms i.e. once every year.

I dont think a differential of Rs 500-1,000 is that big a deal!
If you look at the newer Maruti's, all have an oil change interval of 10000 km with mineral oils. The SA's advise to change even synthetics at the same intervals. So, I did not find any appreciable motive to switch from mineral to synthetics.
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Old 11th July 2011, 11:56   #12
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Ford A.S.S. for Fiesta 1.6S recommends an oil change interval of 10,000 kms (or approx 1 yr) for a semi-synthetic Castrol Magnatec engine oil. If that's the case for a semi synthetic oil priced (in A.S.S) at Rs. 224/litre, IMO fully synthetic oils, which cost more than thrice that should have an change interval of 25-30k kms. Otherwise, I don't find a way to justify the extra cost of a fully synthetic oil.

I don't think that engine performance for a fully synthetic oil will be thrice as good as that for a semi synth oil to justify thrice the price. And also, I do not want to shift to a fully synthetic oil for my vehicle because AFAIK, you can shift from mineral or semi-synth oils to fully synthetic oils anytime, switching back to regular or semi-synth is difficult (and a long process) once you switch to fully synthetic oils.
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Old 11th July 2011, 12:02   #13
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Go for semi-synthetic if you don't want to pay for the fully synthetic one. Also you are not bound to get the oil changed at the A.S.S., even if the car is under warranty. As long as the oil change procedure follows the manufacturer's specifications (read user manual for same) and the oil used is the manufacturer recommended grade, your warranty stands valid. If your dealer is giving you a tough time, it would help to throw this gyan on his face. If he still doesn't yield, get it from him in writing that you cannot buy the oil from outside and get that in your car, and then write a complaint to the MRTP commission.
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Old 11th July 2011, 12:03   #14
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnrajdeep View Post
If you look at the newer Maruti's, all have an oil change interval of 10000 km with mineral oils. The SA's advise to change even synthetics at the same intervals. So, I did not find any appreciable motive to switch from mineral to synthetics.
The Maruti Genuine Oil which most Maruti A S S's use is API grade 'SF'. This is an obsolete Grade to be used only in cars made before 1998.

http://www.api.org/certifications/en..._March2010.pdf

I have been using Castrol GTX which costs similar - and is grade 'SL' which is a current oil.
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Old 11th July 2011, 12:14   #15
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Default Re: The 'Synthetic' Way: How Practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnrajdeep View Post
If you look at the newer Maruti's, all have an oil change interval of 10000 km with mineral oils. The SA's advise to change even synthetics at the same intervals. So, I did not find any appreciable motive to switch from mineral to synthetics.
That is completely wrong. If on mineral oil they are advising oil change every 10k kms, then you can easily go up to 20k kms on fully synthetic. That's a safe interval I feel. In any case, you can check the quality of oil through the dipstick as well. I noticed that even at 9k mark, oil was as good as new in my car.

IMHO, the 10k oil change interval advised by the SA would be on semi-synth.

P.S. One of the Mobil oil dealers in Mumbai advised me a change interval of 20-25k kms on fully synthetic Mobil1. He runs his cars on Mobil1 5w-50 Fully Synth and has not changed since the last 30k kms.
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