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Looking for advise on switching from regular oil to synthetic. Pros and cons
 

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2007 Element EX AWD AT (two!)
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Isn't most "regular" oil these days a synthetic blend anyway? In general, pure synthetic is supposed to not break down as quickly and maintain its viscosity longer. It doesn't thicken up as much at low temperatures, so starting should be a little easier in the winter. I think it also holds dirt in suspension better so it the engine doesn't sludge up as easily. Costs more. I use Mobil1 High Mileage in everything we own; engine mileage varies from 89k to 236k.
 

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Isn't most "regular" oil these days a synthetic blend anyway?
It's more the other direction. Most of the oil being sold as "synthetic" is really just highly refined petroleum pumped from the ground and that includes the lower grades of Mobil-1. Good luck getting the makers of Mobil-1 to admit that. Some of the higher priced stuff like Royal Purple, Amsoil, etc are really synthetics. Oils like Pennzoil Platinum are synthesized from methane so you could call it synthetic. Blah-blah-blah...

The point of using what's sold on the market as "synthetic" is that more of the normal impurities are gone so the base stock is more stable and doesn't break down as fast. The big advantage is that synthetics tend to have more of the extra "modifiers" added and when they work together, they don't break down as fast as the old stuff - especially at temperature extremes in Summer and Winter. Oh - and they're a LOT cleaner in the engine block.
 

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Looking for advise on switching from regular oil to synthetic. Pros and cons
That's a loaded question. You can't just say "synthetic" and get a clear answer. On the other hand...
Have you been running your engine for a long time between (cheap) oil changes or have you kept it up? If it's still tight and clean, if you run at temperature extremes or heavy use like towing, etc, most "synthetics" will be a good idea. You might want to stay away from Pennzoil Platinum because it has a reputation as being super-detergent. I'm a long time user of Mobil-1 and have never had a problem - although I tend to switch engines to synthetic as soon as break-in is finished.

My opinion is that if you want to and your engine wasn't heavily abused, you'll do fine. If you live where the temperatures are either hot in summer or cold in winter, you'll like synthetics. I am, of course, speaking of something like Mobil-1 and not a house brand from the Dollar Store, etc.
 

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My Hondas have been running on Mobil-1 for a long time without issues, but both were switched to that fairly early in the game. From a different context, I can offer you this. My Jeep was switched to synthetic don't quite remember when, but certainly when it had over 90K on it, and no issues. Has about 160K on it now. The Volvo 240 I used to have came to me with over 180K, and then went to synthetic. I did need to replace the engine seals at some later point, but that's pretty normal for 25 year old car with well over 200K. Sold it at about 270K, no engine issues.
 

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If you don't need to add oil between the book schedule changes you should be able to use a synthetic without any issues. The only benefits are that a first tier synthetic oil will provide easier cold weather starts and resist breakdown better, giving you extra protection if you can't do changes "on time".

It might be worth the extra $2 to use a synthetic for high mileage vehicles (+70K or +10 years is considered high mileage) for the extra additives. If you do use a synthetic, spring for a filter made for synthetic oil. Good oil and filters are the cheapest auto insurance you can buy.

I switched the +80K 2008 E I bought in 2015 to synthetic because it doesn't get driven much and mostly on short
trips. I'm currently using Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage, 5 Quart, $22( W-lmart)
 

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2004 EX 2WD AT with 362k and have run API approved 5-20 conventional oils with 8k OCI. Spotless inside when adjusting the valve lash. Unless you're in a very cold climate, synthetic oil isn't necessary with the K24 IMO...
 

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I would stay away from any oils specifically designed for high mileage cars. They have seal and gasket conditioner additives in them that cause engines to build up sludge over time. I use Mobile1 extended performance 20,000 mile oil myself. However, I change my oil and filter every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. The added detergent in the extended mile oils remove oil deposits more effectively within the engine keeping it clean and clear of any buildup, but that only works if you change your oil and filter at or around the intervals I change mine at. 20,000 mile oil is a big farce. It's the oil industries sketchy way of marketing misguided convenience to the consumer. Oil is cheap, engines are not.
 

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I would stay away from any oils specifically designed for high mileage cars. They have seal and gasket conditioner additives in them that cause engines to build up sludge over time. I use Mobile1 extended performance 20,000 mile oil myself. However, I change my oil and filter every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. The added detergent in the extended mile oils remove oil deposits more effectively within the engine keeping it clean and clear of any buildup, but that only works if you change your oil and filter at or around the intervals I change mine at. 20,000 mile oil is a big farce. It's the oil industries sketchy way of marketing misguided convenience to the consumer. Oil is cheap, engines are not.
There is a large difference between a conventional oil with high mileage additives and a first tier high mileage synthetic. Sludge isn't from the conditioner additives, but from the base breakdown, top end blow-by, and recirculation of exhaust gases. Seal conditioners primarily protect the seals that are there to prevent fluid loss through leaking out of the engine..

Yes 20,000 "miles" is a farce for real world vehicles. It might have some application for stationary motor-generators that are promoted from the environment or motor tested in labs.

I wouldn't suggest that anyone extend oil change intervals for an Element beyond the calendar and miles schedules that Honda published for the first gen, and most North American drivers fall into what Honda classifies as severe usage.

The Maintenance Minder is unreliable and nearly useless for a DIYer. It can't do selective resets without a HDS and it does not accurately calculate "normal" and "severe" usage.*

The better base durability of synthetics means that they will perform more consistently through the recommended operating interval. If you want "clean" oil free of sludge and carbon, then you need to keep the engine from wearing metal on metal, and the oil changed more frequently than the schedules call for.
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*I know my usage pattern is severe. - short stop and go trips in bad weather where the engine does't get warmed up . The 2008 HMM calculates my oil life as if it were normal - and show 50% oil life at one year. The footnotes to the explanation of the HMM codes say "1. If the message ‘‘SERVICE’’ does not appear more than 12 months after the display is reset, change the engine oil every year."

When a "Maintenance (Re)minder" is off by 100% in its suggested maintenance display from actual need, it's useless.
 

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I read a great article on synthetics but can’t remember where I read it so this reply is pretty much useless. However, the bottom line was don’t use it for the one reason they listed in the article. I’m sure most of the erudite members would probably have a good argument against the conclusion of the article but I stopped using it especially considering the cost. I just change my oil regularly and my 2006 has 135,000 and the motor purrs. I live in Los Angeles, which is very hard on cars due to the traffic conditions and poor air quality.
 

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The simple answer is yes you can switch, but follow the owners manual for change intervals (hint: you can't go any longer on synthetic than conventional contrary to popular belief.)
 
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