I received this Honda oil change question via email last week and thought others might be interested in the discussion:
“I just did the first oil change on my new 2012 Honda CRV. OEM recommends 0W-20 oil. All I could find in this grade at O’Reilly was synthetic. I called the dealer to confirm and was told that I could use 0W-20 mineral or synthetic and that they carried both at their parts counter. He also said I could use 5W-20 as my 2009 CRV calls for and is available everywhere in both mineral and synthetic. I have always used only mineral and my oil change interval has been 5,000 miles. This time I went with the Mobil 1 Advanced (blah blah) Full Synthetic from O’Reilly. It was pricey at $9 a quart.
Now I am trying to decide if sticking with synthetic is the way to go. Theoretically, I should be able to extend my oil change interval from 5,000 to 7,500 miles by using synthetic. Since I now maintain three cars with my teenage daughter driving, this would be a time saver. Although tire rotation/inspection and finding those little problems early would suffer with an extended oil change interval. I have also read that an oil change interval of 5,000 miles is probably excessive and I should just follow my oil life computer on the car. If that is so, 7,500 miles oil change interval is already OK even with mineral oil.
What about the filter? Can it go the extra mileage? Can you recommend a filter other than the very pricey Mobil 1 filter?
If I make this switch, I am considering switching the 2009 CRV at 60k miles as well. The ’99 Ody with 240k miles will have to stay on mineral and 5,000 mile oil change interval from what I have been told, is that correct?
Your thoughts and comments appreciated–Todd K.”
Here is my reply:
“Todd, I would use what the OEM recommends for weight and frequency. We look up each one with the OEM data. We have repaired variable valve timing (VVT) issues on Ford engines simply by putting the correct oil in the engine, so the weight does matter. The new VVT mechanisms have very small clearances and require thinner oil, but the rest of the engine requirements have not changed for many years, so modern oil has to cover quite a spectrum. Oil lubricates, cleans, inhibits rust and corrosion and also cools the engine. The more oil the better and that’s why oil pan capacities are increasing over time.
The biggest problems are due to sludge created from not changing the mineral-based oil often enough. Synthetic oil creates no sludge, so any API approved (starburst symbol) full synthetic oil works fine. API has strict requirements and not all oils are approved by them. Synthetic blends are mostly mineral oil with a dash of synthetic oil and I feel they are overpriced for what you get.
Always use good quality oil filters. If you took the time to cut them apart to see what we see at our shop in Overland Park, you would understand. We use AC Delco, Motorcraft, WIX filters for domestic and OEM quality aftermarket filters for imports. We recommend 6,000 miles on full synthetic and are a little conservative (better safe than sorry). Most oil change reminder systems built into cars are simply a calculation in the car’s computer, based on many different variables, like temperature, start/stop frequency and so forth. They do not account for the fact you may have the wrong oil.”
So whether you are in Overland Park or far away, I would be happy to answer your car maintenance and repair questions. Just send them to me firstname.lastname@example.org.