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Old 06-13-2019, 10:10 AM   #1
Patriots
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Default Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

I've got a 2002 SL2 with 175,000 on it currently. I got the car at about 160 and have been running conventional oil through it the entire time I had it. I'd been using Quaker State until recently switching over to Walmarts brand of oil. I don't cheap out on this filters though and use the Mobil 1 extended performance ones

I change the oil on this car every 5k. I noticed today that about 4k from my last oil change the "change oil soon" light came on. which is making me think that using cheap Walmart oil is not a good idea.

What I'd like to know is if switching over to synthetic will do anything bad to this car. I saw a youtube video about this saying it wasn't good for the engine but would like someone's real world opinion on this.

It already burns about a quart to a quart and a half every 5k. Dunno if adding synthetic will make it burn more.

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Old 06-13-2019, 10:12 AM   #2
RobertGary1
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

Using synthetic is great for these cars. In fact engineers had assumed it and its likely why there are no drain back holes on the pistons.

-Robert

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Old 06-13-2019, 11:26 AM   #3
Patriots
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
Using synthetic is great for these cars. In fact engineers had assumed it and its likely why there are no drain back holes on the pistons.

-Robert
What brand/ type would you recommend ?

Thank you for the response

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Old 06-13-2019, 11:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

RobertGary1.
Funny, if that comment was correct, then how come I don't recall synthetic oil being sold in common stores 25+ years ago?
Amsoil was available, but only through their dealers...

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Old 06-13-2019, 12:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

I remember reading speculation in the late '80s that the feds would require synthetic oils (and possibly ban conventional) in the near future.

The market was generally unenthusiastic about synthetics at the time, due to the expected expense and the fear / distrust of the unknowns. I don't recall seeing synthetics on the shelf much, either, but they were out there.

https://mobiloil.com/en/article/why-...obil-1-history

Quote:
More than 40 years ago, we introduced Mobil 1 motor oil to the marketplace, making it the first globally available full synthetic automotive motor oil.
Quote:
I change the oil on this car every 5k. I noticed today that about 4k from my last oil change the "change oil soon" light came on. which is making me think that using cheap Walmart oil is not a good idea.
The "change oil light" has no idea what kind of oil you are using.

The computer uses an algorithm based on your driving since the last light reset.

you could be using an extended oil (good for 20k miles) and you'd probably get that light several times during that period. You could also put one of the crappy, "does not meet min specs even when new" oils in there (or a straight 5w oil, if you can find that) and the change oil light would not go on until the calculated time. (you might get a low oil pressure warning, though )

I used synthetic for pretty close to 100k miles on my old SL2 with no issues.

...
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

The oil cap should say 5w30. Try Amsoil Signature Series 5w30 using the longer oil filter Wix 51516 XP. This holds a bit extra oil and has more filtering capacity. Rock Auto has good pricing on them.

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Old 06-13-2019, 01:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

I use the OE AMSOIL for my Insight. For a Saturn, I would only use synthetic if the engine doesn't burn much oil.


...
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
Using synthetic is great for these cars. In fact engineers had assumed it and its likely why there are no drain back holes on the pistons.

-Robert
This.

...
"What does a Saturn owner do, at the gas station?"

"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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Old 06-13-2019, 01:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
RobertGary1.
Funny, if that comment was correct, then how come I don't recall synthetic oil being sold in common stores 25+ years ago?
Amsoil was available, but only through their dealers...
http://www.obd-codes.com/tsb/1997/saturn/s_series/

The TSB was dated 02/01/2003, for the oil consumption issues with these cars. Mobil-1 Full synthetic was the recommended oil.

Sadly, the TSB was issued AFTER the cars were discontinued by GM.

Synthetics would have just been getting into the market in greater quantities.

...
"What does a Saturn owner do, at the gas station?"

"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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Old 06-13-2019, 05:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

Patriots, what no one mentions in oil discussions like yours about switching to syn oil late in a car's life are some heads up warnings.

With known oil consumption using regular oil, anticipate either more or less oil consumption with synthetic. Far too many expect syn oil as a miracle cure and ignore facts already known about their engines, not expecting more oil consumption. This was already proven years ago when M-1 was introduced.

Back in the Neanderthal age when gas was 50 or 75 cents a gallon, M-1 was trotted out for the car market. Its was created for the aircraft industry with engines exceeding normal oil breakdown temperatures from subfreezing high altitude to hot weather airports, idling away on lines before taking off. M-1 was great for aircraft engines when Mobil decided to introduce it to the car market. What car owners and racing teams discovered was engines weren't using synthetic gaskets with some serious oil leak issues. Front and rear crankshaft seals made of rubber expands with regular oil to seal. Syn oil didn't do this and engines leaked this expensive oil from incompatible seals. Oil burning wasn't the issue, seals were. M-1 oil was ahead of its time in the automobile market. Aircraft engines always use the newest products to increase reliability and a reason for expensive aircraft engines, adapting to technology improvements. Once car engine manufacturers realized syn oil was available, they scrambled to change seals compatible with regular and syn oil. It's safe to say engines made since the '80s have adapted to using syn oil with zero issues. This allows syn oil to improve on its cleaning abilities over regular oil, higher temperature resistance before breaking down while regular oil creates varnish, hard coatings on heated surfaces while syn oil remains stabil. The main point of syn oil is improved lubrication in severe temperature extremes. It will not help with worn piston ring sealing.

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Old 06-14-2019, 04:09 PM   #11
GTS350
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

I switched to synthetic on a Mazda with around 95k miles and an engine with Zero external oil leaks. Three months after switching to synthetic the engine developed several oil leaks of different sizes. It is a known issue that If you switch from a conventional oil to a synthetic oil on an engine with that type of milage you should expect oil leaks to increase and/or develop.

...
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

I bought my SW2 7 1/2 years ago with 124,000 miles on it. I immediately switched it over to Walmart's Super Tech 5w30 Full Synthetic. It did consume a moderate amount of oil initially and this gradually decreased to virtually no oil consumption* while sticking to as close to 3-4 k mile Oil Change Intervals.

Walmart SuperTech Full Synthetic Oil has recently experienced a price decrease on the shelf of my local Walmart (from just under $18.00 per 5 qt jug down to just under $16.00)

*I add less than 1 qt total while topping off between oil changes. Checking oil at every fill up.

I also switched to and use the same full synthetic oil in my other vehicles and experienced the same reduction in consumption.

I have written the same reply here many times over the years so I apologize for being a broken record to those of you who are sick of reading this from me.

NOTE: Your Results May Vary.

...
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2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:35 PM   #13
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

On my '97 DOHC (150kMi at acquisition in 2008), i ran conventional 15-40 until educated on this site... after which transitioned to "full synthetic" 5/30 & 10/30.

Lubeoil consumption was an issue on that car. The consumption Increased a little for about 10kMi, then decreased a bit, following the transition to synthetic. Leakage was not a problem initially, and did not become worse.

I'm pretty sure the consumption was due to intake valve seals, in that the car would use almost No oil at lower rpms (drove about 8 hours in blizzard conditions, No perceptible consumption at speeds below 45mph). At 55mph, consumption noticeable/tolerable. Above 60mph, consumption severe!

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Old 06-23-2019, 01:50 AM   #14
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Default Re: Will switching from conventional to synthetic hurt my SL2?

I've been using full synthetic for 15,000 miles (as long as I have had the car. Using Valvoline/Castrol and have not had any issues at all with oil burning/leaking. It's ok dude.

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