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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There isn't such a thing as "best" as long as it meets the specs listed in your owner's manual.


Discuss.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,786 Posts
are you typing engine oil,...or olive oil?

140 character traditional Twitter rules apply.

Swear all you dag-nam-bit want.>:)
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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19,293 Posts
like most things car-related, it's a compromise.

does your car sit in 105*F heat for hours

do you need it to start at -40*F

are you towing it? racing it? any modifications?

changing oil by mileage? based on a used oil analysis? on the 'time' side of the schedule?
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i Limited, Twilight Blue/Ivory
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273 Posts
what's the best oil filter? :) neither the owners manual or factory service manual (for 2017 outback) that i looked through recommend a specific type of filter, or a certain "spec." but there's so much debate about "subaru spec oil filter with xyz bypass valve setting" when there is NO mention of it in the manuals as being recommended, suggested, or even hinted.
 

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SubaruOutback.org Founder
2021 Outback Limited 2.5L - 🍦The Ice Cream Man🍦
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5,825 Posts
Perfect example for a thread topic in this subforum.

BITOG would be proud of your contributions :29:
 

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Super Moderator
2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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3,172 Posts
Oil - Well the OM really doesn't have gospel inspired verbage on a definite oil viscosity. I don't mean the top off viscosities but instead, that part of the OM that says depending on conditions, a different viscosity is appropriate aka thicker oil. The problem is that it doesn't offer any guidance beyond that.

For my car, any SN 5w-30 will work fine. The last SN I used was M1 but currently I'm running Redline 5w-30. I found European Castrol 0w-30 (SL bc of zinc but otherwise SN) at my local CarQuest.

I have that because I'm going through SoCal deserts and into UT and AZ where it's been over 100 degrees outside with long grades and a full car. In similar environments you could also run M1 0w-40.

For less extreme conditions, run any SN name brand oil such as PP, PUP, M1 or M1 EP.

Very cold conditions might see benefit from M1 0w-30 but it would have to be awfully cold. You could run that oil year round if desired.

Filter - Run the OEM if it helps you sleep at night. If you want to venture off the rez, consider the M1, Fram Ultra or the Wix and Napa Gold. The reasons to stick with the OEM have been debunked many times over and staying with it because of the bypass setting is like being smitten with a 1 AM infomercial for ShamWow.

And even though the OP didn't ask, I'm sure he also meant to ask about favorite mustard for a hot dog. Plochman's for moi.
 

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2013 Outback, 2.5i Limited w/ Moonroof
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1,540 Posts
I do not believe in a best oil / best oil filter. I do believe there are a lot of bad oils and many fair to average oil filters. There are a few wise rules to follow when it comes to motor oil and filters.

1) Unless you have a degree in organic chemistry and / or automotive engineering, always use the weight of motor oil that is recommended in your owner's manual.
2) Always use a leading brand motor oil with the API rating recommended in your owner's manual. If you don't understand why, you need to visit this website. http://www.pqiamerica.com/
3) With apologies to Brucey, if you are going to use a cheap filter, never, ever, go over the recommended oil change interval. Cheap filters are designed to be, well, cheap. Cheap filters are not designed to hold up for very long. They are not designed to excel in any way. They are designed as an option for cheap people who are looking for cheap car maintenance. There are many a report of cheap filters failing when they are used for much over 6,000 miles. If you want to run extended oil change intervals, you better use a NAPA Gold / Wix, NAPA Platinum, Fram Ultra, Amsoil, Mobil 1, Micro Green, or some other filter that the manufacturer specifically states as being designed for extended oil change intervals.

There are over a dozen documented cases of owners driving more than a million miles on their car. Of those, there are two of them that the type of motor oil is documented. The others may be also, but I haven't been able to find anything on them. The best documented of the two is a BMW that was ran exclusively on Mobil 1. The reason it is so well documented is it was ran as part of a study by Mobil. The other is a '65 Volvo that was ran on Castrol until Castrol GTX was introduced in '67, and from that time on was ran exclusively on GTX. By the way, that Volvo has went over 3 million miles. So, I guess some could argue that Castrol GTX is the best motor oil on the market. It is interesting that none of the "premium" motor oil brands, such as Amsoil, Royal Purple, or Red Line, have reported being used in any of the million mile cars. You would sure think they would if they could. But they haven't. So it seems reasonable to surmise that, except for extended oil change intervals, there is absolutely no reason to spend your hard earned money on premium motor oils when Castrol GTX is documented as lubricating the longest lasting car on record.
 

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Super Moderator
2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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I have no doubt that any of the better know boutique oils could run a car for a million miles but unless there is a source of wealth or sponsorship, I think a private party would go bankrupt first. $11.49/qt for RL times 7 equals $80.43. That's 167 changes at $80.43 for a whopping total of $13,045. Not for the faint of wallet.

I agree that you don't need to go boutique to protect and run the engine but I see no harm if that's one's dalliance. If you want to run any of boutiques do so and sleep well but you're wallet will know it.
 
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Fresh Out of Outbacks!
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I still chuckle when I think of @grossgary's best comment in another oil thread. I can't find it now, but to paraphrase: fancy motor oil is like putting on a crash helmet to ride in an elevator. Sure, it might improve your chances, but it's likely you were already doing just fine without all that hassle and expense.

It's not 1950 anymore. You have to work hard to find a truly bad motor oil for sale in the USA now.
 

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06 3.0R JDM facelift SI Drive-shift paddles. 87 Brumby EA81 (Brat) 4MT D/R
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609 Posts
The best oil is what's recommended / follow guidelines ie correct viscosity for temperature variations during use, listed in owners manual.
Along with the best oil / filter deal at the nearest aftermarket auto parts / accessory (reputable) retailer.
And service regularly, interval dependent on use.
I change mine (oil + filter) every 3K miles or every 6 months - which-ever comes 1st.
 

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06 3.0R JDM facelift SI Drive-shift paddles. 87 Brumby EA81 (Brat) 4MT D/R
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609 Posts
At 3k you are wasting oil and money. The oil is barely being used at that interval.

The days of 3k are long gone
Oil / filters are cheap.
Oil is the life blood of engines .
It's Not worth the risk of penny pinching on this .
To put cost in perspective
eg cost of oil / filter is less than cost of a tank of fuel - if DIY.

I use oil colour / content as a guide.
Oil doesn't wear out - its whats mixed in it that matters.

Subarus engines being a flat (boxer configuration) are vulnerable to contaminated oil / coolant as well, being continuously in contact with head gaskets / seals which can/may eat away at these causing earlier failure.

https://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gasket-problems-explained/

https://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-head-gaskets-problems-explained-part-ii/

Agree, if I was doing continuous highway / freeway running of 30 minutes or more continuously then would extend interval to up to 5 K miles max.

But I'm not ie mixed with shorter running so I'm sticking to 3K intervals. which works out to every 4 months.

In 41 years of motoring and owning 12, 2nd hand cars ranging in age from 6 to 29 years old and having 60K - 230K miles on them and have only had one engine failure due to an inherent design fault , ie
74 HJ Holden 173 /202 - notorious for taking tops off pistons)
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i Convenience
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Hmmmmm, preferably new oil and filter is best! These days, oils are all quite similar in quality but have slightly different additives to be different from one another. As long as it meets API, it's good. As for filter, I just stick with Subaru's filter since, surprisingly, it is the cheapest filter for the OB around these parts.
 

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2016 Outback 2.5 Premium. Venetian Red : 2000 Toyota Tundra : 1985 Toyota 4WD pickup.
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It's Not worth the risk of penny pinching on this .
While it's true that "penny pinching" in the sense of trying to save money by buying inadequate lubricants (or inadequate anything) is a fool's game, this is a completely preposterous argument in this context, because so long as the lubricants used meet Subaru recommended specs, they are not in the least inadequate.

There is not one shred of empirically verifiable evidence to suggest that using oils graded in accordance with the recommendations in the Subaru manual, and changing them at the recommended intervals, will reduce engine longevity or performance by one single minute.

Putting this another way, there is no verifiable evidence of longer engine life from using expensive boutique oils or shorter OCI's than from using whatever is on sale—at the recommended OCI—so long as it meets the manufacturer's specs.

The "penny pinching" argument is simply a marketing ploy designed to make you feel like you're making a terrible mistake by shopping around for the least expensive alternative.
This is marketing 101.
First create anxiety by suggesting you're "doing it wrong" and taking a huge risk by "being a cheapskate", then offer your expensive product as the solution. People fall for it every day, then get irritated when it's pointed out to them.
 

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Super Moderator
2016 3.6 Limited with ES
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While it's true that "penny pinching" in the sense of trying to save money by buying inadequate lubricants (or inadequate anything) is a fool's game, this is a completely preposterous argument in this context, because so long as the lubricants used meet Subaru recommended specs, they are not in the least inadequate.

There is not one shred of empirically verifiable evidence to suggest that using oils graded in accordance with the recommendations in the Subaru manual, and changing them at the recommended intervals, will reduce engine longevity or performance by one single minute.

Putting this another way, there is no verifiable evidence of longer engine life from using expensive boutique oils or shorter OCI's than from using whatever is on sale—at the recommended OCI—so long as it meets the manufacturer's specs.

The "penny pinching" argument is simply a marketing ploy designed to make you feel like you're making a terrible mistake by shopping around for the least expensive alternative.
This is marketing 101.
First create anxiety by suggesting you're "doing it wrong" and taking a huge risk by "being a cheapskate", then offer your expensive product as the solution. People fall for it every day, then get irritated when it's pointed out to them.
That's a fair point although in my view the discussion can move beyond the standard recommendation.

What the OM and the SAE standards do not and cannot predict is environment. All the OM can do is give you their best view on normal and severe service. Clearly and without much consternation, the mere fact that SOA, and all other manufacturers too, gives you a recommended severe interval tells you that the normal interval isn't ideal because their recommended oil will break down or be unsuitable.

This is exactly why the OM goes further and says that for your environment you may need to change your viscosity. SOA just makes an educated guess on how and where most people will use the car but they also give themselves an out too. Smart by SOA but it still tells you that even they don't stand by one viscosity for a set length for all conditions.

One important thing to consider is that all SN 5w-30 oils are nearly the same. Nothing more than variations on a baseline standard and for the most part, one is as good as another and therein lies the problem.

Look at any of the VOAs on BITOG and then UOAs for the same oil. They all seems to lose their cSt values but also stay in grade although in the low end. Just a fact of life with oil.

If you run for distance where the oil gets up to temp and stays there then you're doing well but for me, I make one way trips of less than 3 miles on some days and the oil never gets up to temp aka I'm running rich which is the number one reason for diluted oil. The dilution thins it out and lowers the cSt value.

By running, in my case Redline 5w-30, a different oil than a garden variety SN oil, I get a much higher cSt so the dilution isn't as much of a concern. I think the highest cSt oil available at Wally World has a value of 11.1 and many oils are much less. The Redline has a value of nearly 12 and Castrol Euro 0w-30 has a value of around 12.2. These are all within grade for a 30w oil but at the upper end while still meeting the grade requirements. If M1 or Pennzoil offered a 12 cSt with a HTHS of 3+, I'd be tickled to death but it won't happen because thin oils help meet CAFE mileage standards.

So thick vs thin does have relevance to the analysis and SOA intimates that it does, depending on use.
 
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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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I don't recall any proof, but, there was speculation that European market OMs listed different (heavier) viscosity than US OMs and the thought was the difference was due to CAFE rules.

wonder if the engines that call for 0-20 here , also do so in Europe?
 

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2016 Outback 2.5 Premium. Venetian Red : 2000 Toyota Tundra : 1985 Toyota 4WD pickup.
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That's a fair point although in my view the discussion can move beyond the standard recommendation.

What the OM and the SAE standards do not and cannot predict is environment. All the OM can do is give you their best view on normal and severe service. Clearly and without much consternation, the mere fact that SOA, and all other manufacturers too, gives you a recommended severe interval tells you that the normal interval isn't ideal because their recommended oil will break down or be unsuitable.

This is exactly why the OM goes further and says that for your environment you may need to change your viscosity. SOA just makes an educated guess on how and where most people will use the car but they also give themselves an out too. Smart by SOA but it still tells you that even they don't stand by one viscosity for a set length for all conditions.

One important thing to consider is that all SN 5w-30 oils are nearly the same. Nothing more than variations on a baseline standard and for the most part, one is as good as another and therein lies the problem.

Look at any of the VOAs on BITOG and then UOAs for the same oil. They all seems to lose their cSt values but also stay in grade although in the low end. Just a fact of life with oil.

If you run for distance where the oil gets up to temp and stays there then you're doing well but for me, I make one way trips of less than 3 miles on some days and the oil never gets up to temp aka I'm running rich which is the number one reason for diluted oil. The dilution thins it out and lowers the cSt value.

By running, in my case Redline 5w-30, a different oil than a garden variety SN oil, I get a much higher cSt so the dilution isn't as much of a concern. I think the highest cSt oil available at Wally World has a value of 11.1 and many oils are much less. The Redline has a value of nearly 12 and Castrol Euro 0w-30 has a value of around 12.2. These are all within grade for a 30w oil but at the upper end while still meeting the grade requirements. If M1 or Pennzoil offered a 12 cSt with a HTHS of 3+, I'd be tickled to death but it won't happen because thin oils help meet CAFE mileage standards.

So thick vs thin does have relevance to the analysis and SOA intimates that it does, depending on use.
That's all fair enough, but so what?

Either there is empirically verifiable evidence for benefit (increased engine longevity or some other measurable metric in actual real-world vehicle usage) in using boutique lubricants and shortened OCI's, or there is not.

I do not contest that there may be measurable differences in various measurable oil properties with duration of usage from one brand of oil to another, but to my knowledge there are no studies showing that these differences translate to empirically verifiable improvements in engine longevity in real-world, on-road usage, provided that the recommended service intervals are adhered to.

Presenting empirical data which says "ooh look, this oil holds its cSt value (or any other value) over time and in certain conditions better than that one" is fine, and I don't contest any of it.

But that's not the same thing as presenting data which says an engine will last longer in real world conditions if you use this boutique oil rather than that "on sale at the box store" one, and so far as I'm aware there is no such data.

In other words, I'm aware of no evidence that "penny pinching" in the sense of simply saving some money by using recommended lubricants and OCI's in preference to boutique lubricants and shorter OCI's engenders any long-term financial penalty arising from shorter engine life.
 
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