should i go synthetic? [Archive] - Nissan Xterra Forum

: should i go synthetic?

04-13-2009, 08:40 AM
i have always use dino oil but im moving from sunny southern cali to Connecticut and with the harsher weather i want my 07 xterra to run with no issues from the weather. i have heard really good things from synthetic, but i have some questions

oil and oil filter combo?

change oil 6k-7k?

also should i use the recommended 5w-30 with synthetic?

would it void my warrenty?


alpine spirit
04-13-2009, 08:43 AM
Hell yes go synthetic....

Lots of oils will have different mileages as to how far they can go. Follow their directions.

Just use a good brand oil filter or OEM, the air filter I prefer the K&N style.

And no in no way shoould it void your warranty. :)

04-13-2009, 09:18 AM
I run nothing but synthetic, it's good stuff!!! I started changing my oil every 5k miles instead of 3k and it still comes out looking pretty clean.

04-13-2009, 10:26 AM
Conventionals are still pretty good and are a good choice if your mind can't handle anything more than a 3-4k OCI because an 3-4k Synthetic OCI would be a waste for the price. IF you have access to Walmart and can get the 5qt jugs for 20 dollars for either Pennzoil Platinum or Valvoline Synpower your set as both will get you over 7k OCI's, PP up to 15k on the BITOG forums but I wouldn't go that high. Do a 7k OCI to be safe on either.

I go 5k on Synpower because I do a lot of stop and go driving, short trips etc. After my Synpower stash is gone I'm actually going to switch to Conventional and do 3,750 OCi's with the plain ol Valvoline white bottle. It will be cheaper per OCI and still just as good for normal everyday use, but for extreme / severe use like Offroading or lots of medium to long trips, highway etc use synthetic and you can go past 7k.

04-13-2009, 11:20 PM
5K on dino oil is alright. With a good filter synthetics will go 10k easy.

04-13-2009, 11:28 PM
what part of connecticut im in mass

04-14-2009, 01:24 AM
I'm curious... do you still change the filter every 3k with synthetic? I've heard yes from some people and no from others.

04-14-2009, 04:59 AM
No, the filter is to be used for the length of the OCI. I wouldn't use the same filter passed 7500-8k OCi's. If i was going to use the same oil passed that I'd at least swap out the filter and top off the oil. Just make sure its a good quality filter like Mobil 1, Purolater, Wix, Napa Gold/Silver etc. Frams are good for 3-3.5k OCi's but I wouldn't push em past that since its a cardboard filtermesh.

04-14-2009, 08:03 AM
west haven ct

i think im just going to stick with dino oil i will just buy a better filter i use fram right now. im going to get either tough guard or purolater. i change my oil at 3,000 firm and i do a lot of stop and go, so its not going to be worth synthetic for the money.

04-14-2009, 08:53 AM
Well you can run the dino oil for 3,750 safely, even 5k but I wouldn't push it more. If you know some friends who will let you use their home address for rebates you can pick up QuakerState QHP Synthetic 5qt jugs for $18 dollars, and send a $10 rebate in per address and it will only cost you $8 dollars for synthetic.

04-29-2009, 08:20 PM
i was told that synthetic was over rated. if its so great my did my boy tell me not to?

04-30-2009, 07:00 AM
Synthetic and Convention Oils are different in a few key areas.

One of the major differences between conventional and synthetic oils is that synthetics are treated with more additives that protect your engine for a longer amount of time before you have to change it. And that they also last longer in hotter conditions and won’t “gel" in colder ones, like conventional oil. In other words, synthetics have more additives, which greatly protect the car from viscosity breakdown. They are designed to withstand temperature extremes. Synthetics have better cold flow properties, cold starts are less severe with a synthetic than a conventional, for extreme traveling(long distance, highway interstate etc) a synthetic will yield better protection.

Examples would be the excessive towing/hauling often, running a S/C or Turbo as synthetics will not sludge as easily as a dino will under severe service. Synthetics hold their additive packs quite a bit longer than dino but remember your paying that price for it.

If your doing your own oil changes synthetics are quite cheap. You can buy QuakerState HP, Pennzoil Platinum, Valvoline Synpower and Supertech Synthetic Oils for less than 20 dollars a 5qt jug. Your savings can goto a high quality filter like Mobil1, Purolator, Wix or Napa Gold/Silver. In the end your oil change cost you what? $25? If you went to a Jiffylube place it would have cost 70+ dollars depending on the synthetic of your choice.

The difference between pricing on a synthetic and conventional is $10 dollars, and sometimes that $10 is important so your safe either way you go, use the oil that fits your needs. I tend to stay away from the Boutique oils like Redline/RP/Amsoil as I don't reap the benefits that they were made for so the cost seems high for what I need. I will be switching to whatever is cheaper for namebrand whether it be conventional or synthetic, and it will be awhile since I bought 2 5qt jugs of QState HP for $8 each! At 5-7k OCI's it will be a few years till i'm done with that and my Synpower stash. Gotta love buying oil on sale!

One last thing, its overated if you only do short driven oil changes. If you doing 3,000 mile oil changes and you didn't rock climb the andes or rocky mountains then a dino is good, hell its good to 5k miles. I do lots of stop and go, rarely get to drive my truck(only about 9k-10k miles a year on all my previous vehicles) I use the synthetic so I can run it a little longer, I do 5k changes on synthetic. I will be sending out my first ever UOA for the xterra to make sure nothing wonky is going on in the engine like everything else I found out about the truck. To point out I trust dino oil like I trust synthetic, it comes downs to your usage, needs, and the cost. BITOG busted alot of myths about alot of oils and you can be safe knowing that they are all good, some last longer than others but in the end its your decision, your money and ultimately you taking care of something you invested in.

04-30-2009, 08:13 AM
5 quart mobile 1 syn at walmart is 26$ plus another quart is 7$ napa/wix gold filter is 8$ thats double the cost from a dino oil cost. dino oil cost me 23$. if i can go 6k with syn then its worth it, i would just have to change the oil filter every 3k miles. my driving condiditons are stop and go short distance once a month long 60-70 mile drive to new york. im going to be living in west haven ct so i would have cold starts. right now i live in san diego, ca.

the only reason i would go syn since im going to be moving to cold weather which means i dont want my oil to gel or have to change my oil in the snow that often. also the cold starts would not me good for the alternator and battery. i have a 93 taurus with 78,000 i think im going to go with syn when i move over there.

what is your opinion?

04-30-2009, 08:56 AM
Just to clarify some points:

Synthetics have FEWER additives than dino juice, not more...because they can exceed the performance of the DJ w/o additives.

The limiting factor on oil change intervals is the oil filter, and, the AIR filter.


You see, the oil gets particles in it that were drawn into the engine, as well as precipitated out or coked particles from combustion, etc.

Most off the shelf oil filters are made fairly crappily, and, go to by pass mode relatively quickly.

By pass mode is a safety feature, so that if the filter gets clogged, the engine will still get oil, as the by pass lets the oil go AROUND the filter media (W/O getting filtered...) if the back pressure is too high.

As they are designed to "Fail-Safe", as in go to by pass if needed, no matter what (AS otherwise, you total your engine...)...they tend to do it a bit too eagerly.

Some go to BP mode w/in as little as 500 miles.

Purolater PureOne and Mobil1 oil filters for example can go about 7-8k miles, the other off the shelfers die before that from what I've seen. Some of the OEM-ers don't make it either, but Nissan's are ok ~75% of the time at 7.5k.

I've cut open a lot of filters (Involved with research projects on engine lubrication...its one way I pay the bills, etc...)...and that's pretty much the state of affairs.

Now, when we do engine tear downs, and measure wear, the good synthetic oils have NO measurable wear.

ALL the DJ's have measurable wear.

This would be on fleets of rentals, taxis and police cars...not X specific.

So - for all intents and purposes, the engine wears out using DJ, and doesn't for least as far as lube related wear goes.

The other benefit for Synths is the performance....its slipperier, so there's less friction, and less frictional you have better mpg, and better accel, etc.

It also films the metal parts it stays on long after you shut'r on the next start up, the parts are still lubed.

The performance RANGE on the synths is a lot better too, as the impurities in DJ are not there to thicken the oil when cold, like paraffins, etc.

So a synth can have a 0W-50 range...meaning that when cold, it pours like a 0 weight oil, and also sticks onto the metal as it gets hotter, like up to a 50 weight oil.

So the same oil flows when cold, and stays on when hot....meaning cold starts are easier, etc.

If you use it in the diffs, tranny, etc...shifts are easier too, esp when cold...and, there's less resistance/better performance/MPG when rolling too.

If you change the oil at double the DJ interval, using a filter than can go that far...the cost is similar.

Even if it cost more though, the money saved on MPG/Gas more than makes up for it.



For an average year, lets say I drive 20,000 miles.

With DJ changed every 3k, that's 6 oil changes.

With Synth changed every 6k, that's 3 oil changes.

If its $2/qt for DJ, and $5 qt for Synth...and to make the math easier...5 qt per change, $5/filter, etc.

So, 6 changes at 5 qt = 30 qts x $2 = $60 for oil, and 6 filters at $5 = $30

That's $90 for oil and filters for DJ

For Synth - 3 changes x 5 qt x $5 = $75 for oil and 3x $5 for filters = $15

So, that's $90 as well


OK, I went from an average of 18 to 20 mpg...I'll use 19 mpg to be conservative, as I also changed my diffs, etc.

20,000 miles at 18 mpg = 1,111.1 gallons of gas

20,000 miles at 19 mpg = 1,052.6 gallons of gas

1111-1053 = about 58 gallons saved with synth

If the gas is an average of $2/gal, that's a savings of ~ $117/year

That $117 can buy stuff you would not have with dino juice.


That also got you easier starts, less engine wear, better performance, etc.

So, all in all, the argument for synthetics is very strong.


04-30-2009, 09:14 AM
so mobile pureone oil filter can go for 7-8k before changing with the oil change? what about k&n filter?

04-30-2009, 09:37 AM
Time to switch to synthetic!

04-30-2009, 09:43 AM
I usually just go to Wal-Mart and pickup the crappy Fram filter, a 5-qt jug, and two 1-qt bottles of Mobil-1, and change out every 5,000 miles. My old oil is usually still pretty clean at 5k miles so it seems to be just fine that way. I'd suggest a better filter like the Mobil-1 filter for anyone else because Fram has a bad reputation, but I have a hard time finding a Mobil-1 filter on the shelf for my motor and I usually pick them up in the middle of the night instead of during the day when everyone else is open. :rolleyes:

04-30-2009, 10:34 AM
TJ some of them contain very high amounts of detergents(additives) and viscous modifiers and others do not due to their base oil stock being quite superb.

I will say again though that Dino oil nowadays is VERY good, and TJ is right that most of them contain obscene amounts of cleaners(Pennzoil yellow bottle) that can clean out an engine and make run like new. For very severe service go with what you feel is comfortable, typically people follow their owners manual for that. I do 5k comfortably for myself, but the best way to check is send a UOA at 5k miles to BlackStone Labs and have them run tests on it. They will send a result back stating how much additive and anti-wear material is left in the oil and also how much wear is occuring counting Fe,Cu etc.. If the results come back good they recommend a higher mileage like 6k and send another UOA in. Results are poor they will try to give you some insight(if there is coolant etc or the additive is poor).

For a free test kit:

You do not pay for the kit, but when you send the sample in you send a check with it to process the test.

I wouldn't push anything higher than 5-7k severe service without some insight as to what is going on inside your engine. Also remember that oil's get reformulated, what was once good could be bad and vice versa. I've seen some really good numbers with long OCI's and bad ones. Our engines are pretty easy on oil so I don't see why it theoretically couldn't go more than 5-7k but better safe than sorry you know.

For the filters, I listed those specifically because they are grade A filters. Their build quality and screen material is some of the best on the market. Fram filters on the low-end(meaning their super cheap ones) are typically ok for 2.5k-3k OCI's but pushing them further can result in some risk. There were some reports of the cardboard filter media actually breaking apart and being flushed through the system.

For 7-8 bucks you can get a Mobil1 filter, for about 4-5 bucks a Napa Gold/Silver and 4 bucks for a Wix/Purolator filter. There is a site called FleetFilter or something that sells them at very good prices, and savings pile up as you buy more.

And lastly Mobil 1 is a very robust oil and was tested against Amsoil. Below is a link to the test using a Camaro.

It should go far mileage wise even in severe service but again do what you think is comfortable and if you need a voice, grab a test kit, can't hurt.

04-30-2009, 10:40 AM
im think im going to go with mobile one syn next oil change with a mobile 1 oil filter and change both at 6k. does that sound good?

04-30-2009, 10:50 AM
im think im going to go with mobile one syn next oil change with a mobile 1 oil filter and change both at 6k. does that sound good?

I'd say you'd be good to go.


04-30-2009, 11:10 AM
Your safe with that, there is also a rebate going around for the Mobil1 oil, like 10 dollars off. Let me see if I can find it for you. I do the rebates and it does pay off, instead of $26 dollars it will be $16 dollars for 5QT Jug of Mobil1. And its good for two jugs I believe.

From Mobil1:
Use the "Sign in for Rebate Form" link at or the "Get Rebate" button below.
View additional details about the offer.
Download the rebate form; be sure to print your offer form now. These forms are available for a limited time only.
Purchase your Mobil 1 products between April 1 and August 31, 2009.
Mail in your Mobil 1 proof of purchase with the offer form to receive your $10 rebate check.

If you have a Cosco near you.

$10 off coupon at Costo - Mobil1 5w30 or 10w30

04-30-2009, 02:14 PM
ok now what oil weight should i go with syn 5w-30????

04-30-2009, 02:40 PM
ok now what oil weight should i go with syn 5w-30????

Get the lowest first # - highest second # that INCLUDES 5w-30

So 5w-30 is fine, so is 0W-50, etc.


If it gets really really cold where you are, go with a 0W-

04-30-2009, 02:44 PM
i dont think it gets below 0 were im moving. im moving to west haven ct

04-30-2009, 03:09 PM
i dont think it gets below 0 were im moving. im moving to west haven ct

Cool, but, yeah, It might.

One of my kids graduated from UNH in West gets pretty damn cold sometimes.


04-30-2009, 03:12 PM
I think you'd be good with 5w-30, good all season oil up there. I am in FL so I use 10w30.

I use mobile-1 10w30 and Purelator PureOne filters. Here in orlando the mobile-1 fiters are over priced, I can get the Purelator for like 4/5 bucks cheaper!

04-30-2009, 03:15 PM
with a mobile 1 napa gold k&n and pureone oil filters can they go 6k before changing them or do you have to change them every 3k

04-30-2009, 03:27 PM
i say go the distance, I am (with those filters you mentioned) also, ive heard that the Nissan OEM filters are really good too, and if you check your manual they even say you can go 7500MAX miles before your required by your warranty to do an oil change.

04-30-2009, 04:17 PM
You can use those filters with confidence, they are good for quite a while, wouldn't push em past 8-10k miles, but up to 7-8 they are solid. Most people who do 15k oil changes swap filters at 7500 miles.

04-30-2009, 05:37 PM
ok its final im going with mobil 1 syn 5w-30 and with napa gold (WIX) filter OCI every 6k firm thanks everyone for your input

04-30-2009, 09:17 PM
Go synthetic, but change it as if you were using dino oil. Thats the thing to do.

Its not a matter of going longer between oil changes, but the fact that synthetic will give you better performance and less friction and wear.

Thats the thing to do. Changing your oil and filter every 3-5000 miles (dino or syn oil) is the cheapest, best and easiest thing you can do to keep your engine happy. Don't think that going over 5000 miles with synthetic is going to do you any good. Just use it and change it as usual.

05-03-2009, 08:34 AM
I switched to 0w-30 Mobil 1 with a pulolator Premium filter after 10K of Dino oil (changed every 3K) and now change every 5 k miles in my 07. The filters are tiny and I wouldn't go much more than 5K with any kind of oil and that size filter. I wounder if there is a remote kit with bigger filters. Hmmmmm

06-02-2009, 01:00 PM
I switched to 0w-30 Mobil 1 with a pulolator Premium filter after 10K of Dino oil (changed every 3K) and now change every 5 k miles in my 07. The filters are tiny and I wouldn't go much more than 5K with any kind of oil and that size filter. I wounder if there is a remote kit with bigger filters. Hmmmmm

So 0w-30 will be fine for an 01 Xterra? I was gonna do 5w-30 but the 0w is actually cheaper.

06-02-2009, 05:14 PM
Synthetic is definitely the way to go. I would extend to 5,000 miles maybe 7,000 tops between oil changes. My fav Mobile One, but there are many good ones out there. Had a problem with the new Castrol Edge in an old engine, but that was likely due to pre-existing issues. Lots of other good sythetics too.

06-03-2009, 01:56 PM
I did a 3k OCI with synpower as I ran a two tanks worth of Fuel System Cleaner and it was my way of cleaning the engine of any dino juice/gunk the previous owner through in there. My current fill is Pennzoil Platinum 5w/30 and it seems to be a bit quieter than with the synpower. Going for a 5k OCI and running a UOA before pushing it more. 3.5Quart sump is awfully small so want some re-assurance before stretching it more.

Reasoning is that on BITOG someone had a 02 Xterra that went 5k on M1 and the oil was basically beaten and battered judging from the results. 1.1 TBN, it was done.

06-04-2009, 03:53 PM
My 07 Xterra was switched from Dino to semi syn at 7K and to full syn at 10k, I change the oil every 5k with a high end (K and N, Pureolator, Mobil1) oil filter. I just switched to Mobil 1 0W-30 with a very small increase in MPG from an average of 18 up to 18.4 mpg. The filter is small and I wouldn't want to go more than 5k with so little filtering area. I just found Castrol Syntec 5W-30 5.5 qt jugs for $18 at Autozone and bought 4 so it'll be back to 5W-30 at that price. Just use good oil and good sense. I drive about 35K miles a year so I change it often.

06-04-2009, 04:40 PM
Use a Purolator filter # PL14459 or LT14459.

It's bigger and fits pefectly