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ThosL

Walmart motor oil

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I've been using Walmart's own brand of oil for years, ever since Walmart came to town.

I've never had an oil-related problem with any of my cars.

However, I do frequent oil & filter changes; at least as frequently as recommended, and usually more frequently than that.

 

Just make sure that it has the API 'sunburst' logo, and is the correct viscosity.

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It doesn't matter.  This is like asking if driving 74 mph on the interstate is safer than driving 76mph or if wearing a helmet in an elevator reduces your chances of injury.  it's about that worthless of a discussion.

 

Yeah make sure it's properly API rated - but Wal Mart wouldn't sell it as such and i've never seen oil not properly rated - you'd have to be intentionallydoing somethign weird to find an oil that isn't meeting those standards. 

 

You'd get more "protection" by adding additional oil.  If it calls for 5 quarts - add 5.25 to protect against oil loss (i know, i know old subaru's never ever in a billion year leak oil).  Granted - here again this recommendation is sort of silly - but that's just my point - it would offer more quantitatively robust protection than oil brand choices - but it's silly and no one is doing that. 

 

Technically you should be doing a UOA and then there's no wondering or guess work.  They tell you the actual physical properties of your oil and give recommendations on it.  But...again (yawn) - it's such a pointless discussion and decision no one is doing that because it's overkill.

 

Take that helmet with you to the next elevator or escalator ride.  

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In short, no it's not a decent oil.

 

https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/850370/1

 

If you are running a 2.2, and you run it like grandma and you change if FREQUENTLY it might only due minor damage in the long term. Probably cause spalling of the camshaft, followers, and roller rockers if equipped first. And plug up all your oil drain back passages in the pistons. Although with 2.2 pistons they have a huge slot so.... ultimately it will just end up burning an exhaust valve or throwing a rod from running that garbage.

 

That oil will not handle heat, or heavy loading, and has no longevity. TBN less than 8???!

 

If you have a 2.5 or you want to see more than 200k out of your engine internals - run a quality synthetic. I use Amsoil in all my engines. Including all my engine builds. The 2.5 has severely diminished piston oil return capacity and it takes very little carbon build up to cause major oil consumption problems. A few oil changes with non synthetic that go over the 3k mile limit and it will be a mess. I see oil consumption on engines with less than 100k of this abuse.

 

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder
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Basing an opinion on TEN year old oil ratings is pretty foolish. Maybe try to find something done in the last year, because oil companies change formulations fairly often. If we were going to go by 2007 oil ratings Rotella T6 would still be the way to go for turbo subarus.

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walmart may even have a different supplier by now.

 

it may be fine for a lot of people who; A. are easy on their cars. or B. don't have one of those 7mm oil pump engines!

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My statement is not meant to say the oil is good or bad. Just to state the flaw in your arguement about why it is bad. Oil testing is done quite regularly these days. Find some up to date results to back up your statement.

 

Supertech, carquest, and a few other "house brand" oils are currently made by the Amalie Oil Company. That should give you enough information to look up some current test results and make an informed decision.

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It may not be too bad as far as dino oils go, but none of them work well long term on Subaru motors made after 98 or any of the 2.5's. The oil return passages in the piston will clog and it will burn copious amounts of oil. Synthetics are the best way to prevent this long term.

 

GD

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Synthetics are great but many folks get 200k+ over and over again without issues without it.

 

Lucky? H6s are awesome? I'm awesome? Haha

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The engines will keep going long after they should be fixed if you keep pouring oil into them. But they will be down on power, pinging and pulling timing, and the oil consumption will lead eventually to burnt exhaust valves. And I have seen spalling and pitting to camshaft lobes, in addition to rod and main damage from all the carbon build up.

 

The older engines (pre 99 2.2's, and pre 97 2.5's) have large oil slots in the piston skirt behind the oil control valve. These tolerate dino oil, and less frequent oil changes. The newer ones do not.

 

GD

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I'm not an engineer and my exposure to the EJ engines is limited to my own vehicles.  That said I lean towards what is specified in my OM.  All of my cars have over 200K miles so I use high mileage synthetic and OEM filters.  I change my oil at 5k miles simply because it's easier for me to calculate when it's due next.

 

I must say there isn't a more discussed topic on most car forums that engine oil/filters.

 

The nice thing is we can each do our own thing and it has no impact on others.  My opinion is mine and I certainly have no expectation that anyone will change their oil change habits based on what I say  :)

 

The experience of others that work on these cars every day is certainly worth listening to IMO.

Edited by Mike104
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I just did a re-ring on a 2005 Forester:

 

Customer came in complaining of noises from the engine when accelerating and especially uphill under load. I've never worked on this car before.

 

I drove the car with the customer in the passenger seat. Immediately recognized the unmistakable sound of pinging (detonation). I drove a bit more and he filled me in on how it only does it after it gets warmed up, etc. At the end of the test drive I asked the customer "How much oil are you adding between oil changes?".... he says "How did you know?".... he's using a quart every 1k miles.

 

So this Forester has about 100k on it. It already had a burnt exhaust valve and the DEALERSHIP sent the heads out to be repaired and did HG's, timing belt, and water pump. Now I'm in the position of having to tell this customer that all the work done previously - two head gasket jobs and a burnt valve repair - was a waste of time because the engine is burning oil, creating carbon deposits in the cylinder, plugging up exhaust valve stems, and making cylinder hot spots that are causing detonation, knock sensor goes wild, computer pulls timing, and basically it's just a huge mess and he needs new rings.

 

So we do rings. Birds chirp, sunshine breaks through the clouds, etc. He called me on an unrelated and says it's never run better. More power than it's ever had, no pinging, and smooth as glass.

 

When you have seen this sequence of events play out a thousand times.... You won't buy non-synthetic oil anymore. Just a matter of vast amounts of experience, that's all.

 

Also - remember the owners manual is written by the people that want to sell you a new car every few years. They have an interest in your car lasting through the warranty period - after that it's not as much of a concern. 7,500 mile oil changes with non-synthetic will kill these engines VERY quickly.

 

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder
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I have an '05 forester with almost 210k on it, it's been dealer dino or castrol since we've owned it starting at about 20k or so.

(or am I just assuming the dealer didn't use synth or synth blend in their $20 oil changes?)

It leaks far more out the head gaskets (replaced by dealer at 60k) than it burns!

That doesn't mean that engine doesn't have a much higher probability of burning oil if it doesn't get synthetic, of course. Could just be luck.

 

Now, wal-mart.

Doesn't mean it's true in this case, but those SOBs have products on the shelf labeled exactly the same as sold elsewhere, but it will be a special blend/model/construction etc just for wal-mart, so wal-marts required price can be met.

 

Sometimes it literally isn't the same product when it's cheaper at wal-mart.

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Are H6's less susceptible to this? 

 

It's clear that dino oil does not cause every engine to fail.  I have 280k (H6 2002) and I'm by no means an exception.

 

Why?

I don't believe in luck - there are quantitative physical reasons things happen on this kind of scale.


Individual cases are hard to assess as they are frequently caused by prior overheating, low oil, infrequent changes, abuse, derived from past failures, etc.  

 

i defer to GD's experience, not trying to change anyone's mind, and am taking notes.  i'm just mining for factual representation of failure modes and causation and this is about the only forum on earth where this can even be attempted to discuss this logically! LOL

 

And I don't believe in luck, so the question remains:  why?

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I can't attest to Walmart oil in a Subaru, but I used in in my 2002 Saturn from new till I sold it two years ago with 275k miles on it.  Still ran like new.  I did on occasion use a different brand if I found something cheaper on sale, i.e. I got a case of Pennzoil for $12 once and two cases of Shell oil for $.50/qt on clearance.  Change when ever the oil life monitor light came on, about every  5500 miles.

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It has a lot to do with how it's driven, and how often you let the oil go past it's useful life. With cars that are religiously maintained, you will be much more likely to not exceed the life of dino oil before it gets changed out. It still doesn't make it cheaper though because you could go twice or three times as long for less than double the cost by just moving to synthetic. Not to mention the labor savings.

 

Then there's the people that have some kind of cooling system malfunction, overheat the bejesus out of the oil and the rings. Lose all the ring tension and turn the oil to burnt garbage.

 

There's lots of reasons, but ultimately synthetics provide much better protection, greatly increased oil life, and withstand much higher temperatures for a lot longer. And all this is free if you just increase your change interval commensurate with the product guidelines. You will do less work, you will spend less money, and you engine will last longer.

 

I'm not seeing the drawbacks here? To me it makes absolutely no sense to run dino oil unless the consumption is just too high in which case you need new rings anyway and this conversation is moot because your engine is a broken mess.

 

GD

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It has a lot to do with how it's driven, and how often you let the oil go past it's useful life. With cars that are religiously maintained, you will be much more likely to not exceed the life of dino oil

 

Then there's the people that have some kind of cooling system malfunction

 

I'm not seeing the drawbacks here?

Thanks GD. That make's sense logically, I do agree with you, just want to understand the underlying cause and effect. And I totally agree about fewer changes, less oil to manage, go dump at the store, etc.

Edited by idosubaru

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The leaks from the head gaskets don't actually amount to much. They look bad, but if you are topping off the oil, then 99% of what you are adding is going out the exhaust.

 

GD

 

The leaks off the head gaskets are enough to create a blue cloud off the exhaust at a red light, it's pretty considerable.

Bottom of the engine and cradle are soaked!

Valve covers seem pretty tight, could be the oil filter o-ring under the cooler adding to it though. Both sides about the same.

No other signs of burning oil, no crud on plugs, no pinging, etc.

 

But as I said, the dealer oil for the first 175k miles could have been semi-synth.

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Yeah I've seen them that bad. And had this same discussion with customers and warranty companies. They don't want to pay for rings. So we gasket it up and amazingly it doesn't leak or stink anymore but still adding oil. Virtually the same amount too. Never fails - every time someone believes they know better than I do that their rings are fine.... They aren't.

 

GD

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All I can say is other than needing a quart in between my at-5000-mile changes at 207,000 miles with a pretty oil-wet engine it doesn't have any other oil burning symptoms, the plugs were in there a bit too long and other than electrode wear they were in great shape- no crap on them from burning oil.

 

That's not to say it's not burning any oil, just that I'm adding about as much as I had to add to my 2003 H6 with its similar magnitude leaks.

 

I think my epoxy patches on the oil pan are starting to leak again too.

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I bought a 5 quart container of full synthetic Valvoline 5w 30 (another car, not a Subaru) and it was $25 for the jug at Walmart. Has all the modern ratings. Car actually needs 6 quarts, so bought a 1qt for $7. So $32 for enough oil for a V8. That's a bargain and giant piece of mind knowing it has good oil running through it.

 

FWIW, there was an exposé years ago about motor oil that was ending up in I think Dollar General stores or something similar (conventional oil at very cheap prices), and it's was actually meant for either farm vehicles or cars from 40 years ago and it had NON of the modern ratings of approval seals or whatever nor were there warnings NOT to run it in modern engines. And I believe people were using it in newer cars and it was killing their engines.

 

Even if you are on a budget, there's no reason not to run the full synthetic oils. @3k miles, conventional oil will almost always be black. Synthetic? Most likely will still be caramel until 4-5k unless you red line the thing constantly and are doing stop sign drags at every chance. 

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