Synthetic motor oil?

boatme99

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Mid-Tennessee
I have a 2000 Continental with 118,000 miles on it.
I'd like to change to a synthetic oil next change.
Is it ok for an engine with this mileage? Is synthetic ok for this engine?
There's no mention of it in the owners manual.
Thanks.
 

Terrapin88

Member
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Cape Cod, MA
You might be opening up a can of worms with an oil thread. ;)
From all I've read you should be fine with synthetic. I tried it in my old Harley and did not notice any difference. Some say it may find seal leaks that you already have but are unaware of. (Google that) Some say that the only differences between synthetic and conventional oil are the oil change intervals and the price. Personally, I don't think synthetic has any magical properties in it that makes it worthy of it's cost, at least in my high mileage Continental or my Harley. But if using it gives you peace of mind, go for it.
 

boatme99

Member
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Mid-Tennessee
I used it my old BMW. It had 325,000 miles on it when I gave it away. Never had the engine opened.
Although, it had synthetic since New.
I was just wondering if it was worth changing over in the Continental. I have no intentions of putting that kind of mileage on it.
 

Terrapin88

Member
41
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Cape Cod, MA
If it were me I wouldn't bother at your mileage unless it had been getting synthetic oil all along, then I'd stick to the synth.

What was your BMW? I used to have an 2004 5-speed 325. That was a fun little car. I'd like to get a low mileage 2000-2002 540I with a manual tranny. I've always been enamoured with the 7 series cars too.
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boatme99

Member
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Mid-Tennessee
Yeah, I don't think I have to worry about it. Just curious, and I wonder why it's not even mentioned in the owners manual.

My BMW was a 1985 318I. Just a basic run around car. I bought it for $1, drove it two years, and gave it away in a tavern in Annapolis, Md. for a beer.
 

Dutchman

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I worked in the refinery and Chemical business for years and actually worked with some of the people who developed Mobil 1 . Synthetic oils are far superior. Oils are long carbon chains, the longer the better they lube. As they are used in motors and other applications, the chains break down due to heat and the gradually pick up suspended particles. Your filter system will take most of the particles out but eventually they build up. As the carbon chains break, the lubrication qualities decline. Synthetic oil is created as extremely long chains 10-50 even 100 times the length of conventional oil. As they break down, they become conventional oil which is why they have such long life. Another characteristic of the longer chains is their viscosity is not impacted by either cold or heat as much as conventional oil. That allows synthetics to properly coat an engine in seconds rather than minutes in 0 degrees. And it allows them to lube an engine at higher heats. One issue with the increased engine heat though is the oil reservoir should be bigger to shed that heat and you need an active oil cooling system. Modern engines have relatively larger per liter oil capacity than 40 years ago and have active cooling. Back in the early days of EPA mileage testing, the manufacturers used smaller oil sumps with no cooling. For them running the engine oil hot had the advantage of a thinner oil with a higher mileage rating. A 1-2 MPG increase was possible in the test and worth a lot of cash. Engine warranties were only 25,000 miles back then and they never suffered the penalties directly for higher engine wear and reduced life. That was when the rule of thumb was to change the oil at half the recommended interval and it mattered. When Mobil 1 was introduced, EPA modified the rules to require car manufacturers run the test with the oil they used on the assembly line.

All oil is going toward synthetics due to manufacturing costs anyway, but that is the history and the technical reasons why Synthetic is much better.
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