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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
 
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Synthetic versus Regular oil

I don't really know the pros and cons of synthetic oil versus regular oil so I was just wondering what most people on this forum use or recommend in their trucks. I thought I read somewhere that Rangers in the US come from the factory with synthetic while those in Canada get regular oil. I'm probably mistaken as that sounds kind of strange to me. Maybe someone could straighten me out on that issue and enlighten me as to which type of oil is superior? I was talking to the parts guy at the dealership and he said my truck uses regular oil and when I asked him about using synthetic, he didn't seem to know very much about it.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 05:55 AM
 
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Synthetics in some cases, not all, have a better ability to flow at much lower temps, and stay within their viscosity range better at higher temps. As a result they can reduce start-up wear better than a conventional oil. 20 years ago their was a major difference in the performance between the 2, not so much today. Their is also a myth that you can run longer between oil changes with a synthetic oil over a conventional, only a few oils advertise this and less will pick-up the tab in a warranty dispute. It really comes down to what kind of use your truck gets, if haul a trailer near the edge of our max. tow rating, live in Arizona or NWT then you might need a synthetic oil, but if you don't and you change your oil every 5K kms then a conventional oil will serve your engine just fine. So far as Ford is concerned, the recommend using a synthetic blend but do not require it so far as the oil your using meets Ford's WSS-M2C929-A spec. which most quality conventional oils do.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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A lot of it comes down to personal preference - a lot of the info out there suggests you can run synthetic longer than conventional, but the limiting factor would probably be the filter you're using.

Synthetic has the edge over conventional (IMO), in the fact that since it's man made in a controlled and monitored process, it's consistent in it's chemical composition.

Conventional oil has the wild card of being drawn from organic sources, so even after being refined, it can't have the consistent makeup that synthetic does.

With that being said, Maritime Storm has a valid point that routine maintenance, under normal driving conditions, should only really require conventional.

Again, it all comes down to personal preference - some guys like to pay the money and run synthetic, and others have peace of mind with conventional.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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Frazzle, lots of good points mentioned in the two posts above.

Myself, I've run synthetic in all three of my Rangers from new; I also change my oil every 5,000 kms (which usually works out to about a 10 week interval for what it's worth)

As I don't tow anything, or do much driving in stop and go traffic (80% of my driving is open highway) I could comfortably run on conventional oil with little or no issues. However, I prefer the "peace of mind" provided by the synthetic oil - I know that when the temperature dips below zero my engine is going to turn over easier and also lubricate better as the oil is better suited for it. Likewise if I do get stuck in traffic where I'm idling for a long period of time in an elevated temperature chances are my oil is going to perform better.

As Maritime suggests, if you're operating your truck at a more "extreme" condition than normal you are probably warranted to make the switch. Or, if you're okay paying $75 for an oil change instead of $30, it's your personal choice. Myself, I'm a believer in synthetic.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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I agree with Maritime Storm, he summed it up pretty well.

The main difference with synthetic oil is it's ability maintain a more consistent viscosity at extreme temperature. And by extreme temperature, I mean like the temperatures you're never going to see in the Lower Mainland, I'm talking < -30.

That being said, when I was living up in Fort St. John, we used conventional oil in all our work trucks and I never heard of a problem from that either. Mind you, the trucks get replaced at around 100,000 km. The engines seem fine, but the rest of the truck is completely thunder-f*cked at that point.

On my personal truck I use synthetic. The only difference I notice is that starting it in the minus 30's is a little easier, when it hasn't been plugged in. But with the block-heater, I honestly don't see any difference.

Personally, in the Lower Mainland, I wouldn't spend the extra money, any more than I'd buy a set of expensive snow tires if I lived in Florida. For me, the purpose of owning a Ranger is, in large part, to save $$. Spending it on stuff that probably wouldn't make much difference sort of defeats the purpose, in my opinion. I'd rather use the money for other maintenance items that will crop up eventually.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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I've actually never seen synthetic oil. Is it identical in appearance to conventional oil or is it easily distinguishable. My concern here would be mixing the two by mistake if topping up became necessary. I would assume this would probably not be a good idea. Thanks for the feedback guys, I learned a thing or two. Didn't realise the synthetic was that expensive!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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Change my regular oil every 6 months or 8,000 km as per the owner's manual (severe condition)....don't drive that much, ends up around 6,000 km every 6 months (for the first two oil changes since it was bought new).

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 08:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frazzle View Post
I've actually never seen synthetic oil. Is it identical in appearance to conventional oil or is it easily distinguishable. My concern here would be mixing the two by mistake if topping up became necessary. I would assume this would probably not be a good idea. Thanks for the feedback guys, I learned a thing or two. Didn't realise the synthetic was that expensive!
Synthetic oil looks just like regular oil. You can mix the two with no problem. People who say you shouldn't are just repeating an old wive's tale.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b4000 View Post
I agree with Maritime Storm, he summed it up pretty well.
Yup. Unless you're racing or towing hard, I personally wouldn't worry about it. Synthetic ATF is one that I would use, but that being said its still just good ol' Mercon V in mine compliments of Ford.

Even in extreme cold, a good quality oil will be ok if you run a lower viscosity (same with gear oil), and I actually recommend that too. Pretty much any oil will have molybdenum in it (which is one of the best lubricants available), and I've yet to see any proof of any regular engine lasting any longer simply due to it using synthetic. I'm not personally convinced that paying 2-3x as much for oil actually nets you any more protection. LR

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-06-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b4000 View Post
Synthetic oil looks just like regular oil. You can mix the two with no problem. People who say you shouldn't are just repeating an old wive's tale.
True story there b4000 - memory serves me correctly, I believe you can even buy semi-synthetic that's essentially a blend of the two.

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