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Old 01-11-2013, 12:01 PM   #1
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Red face Suspicious oil change

I brought my recently acquired Civic VX to a local shop in New Hampshire on Dec. 26, 2012 to have the oil changed. I called the shop and explained I needed just the oil changed--I didn't need fluids checked or topped off and I didn't need anything else checked. Just the oil changed with the GTX High Mileage blend oil and filter I provided. He said he could do it but that I needed to hurry to the shop since he was leaving at noon or something. So I got there in good time and left the car there and came back and picked it up an hour or so later. The guy left the key behind the front wheel.

I then embarked on a cross country road trip through a myriad of weather conditions (mostly snow and cold as I took I-80, the northern route). In Ohio I visited Rusty94cx who was kind enough to check various things on the car for me. The oil looked pretty clean at that juncture, about 750 miles into the oil change and the oil level was a little high. I had told the mechanic that it used a little less than 4 quarts but he put all 4 quarts in. I continued driving to California, over the mountains etc., and then drove around California for awhile. Somewhere in the trip I checked the oil again and noticed that the oil level dropped, which was surprising because the person who sold me the car said it wasn't using oil and the remainder of the oil change the car came with when I bought it (about 2500 miles or so into that oil change since I owned it--don't know when he had changed the oil before I acquired the car) the oil level did not drop at all. But now the oil had dropped. I checked it again a little later and it had dropped some more. It dropped all the way to the bottom of the range. I added GTX high mileage oil at a jiffy lube and they did check for leaks and found none. They said I should use 10w not 5w oil on an old car, but the former owner was using 5w 30 and it was working very well for him as it wasn't burning any oil (and wasn't burning oil before I did this oil change in NH).

Now, it is pretty well known that if you put in non-synthetic oil into an engine that has been using synthetic oil that it is bad for the engine. The Jiffy lube guy said it's bad for the seals. So I'm thinking, man... is it possible that the guy I brought it to in NH actually put in cheap oil and kept the stuff I gave him? It would explain why the oil was black now that I'm home again (about 8000 miles on the oil change) and was using oil. I realize 8000 miles is a lot, but the oil color didn't change much if any at all when I acquired the car before I changed the oil before going across country. Also, these were mostly highway miles at 65mph most of the time, so does it really make sense the high quality GTX oil would break down so quickly? My friend said he read on honda-tech that people said they have had this happen to them; where they bring their own oil and the shop keeps their mobile 1 and puts in some cheap crap.

So before I call the shop or visit to complain, I am going to change my oil and monitor it to see if the level drops and how quickly it loses its amber color and becomes black.

What are your thoughts?

Oh, and one very important question I have. If the shop did indeed put non-synthetic oil into my engine have I permanently damaged the engine by driving with non-synthetic after a life of synthetic? Will it continue to burn oil from now on regardless of the oil I put in? Or should I expect the engine to not burn oil when I put in the GTX high mileage back into the engine with the next oil change? :sigh:
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:13 PM   #2
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No you haven't damaged anything. Sustained high speed driving can be bad and 8000 is a bit much. Some cars handle longer changes. My wifes aunts car doesn't use a drop till 5000 then it eats it up any brand of synth. Change it keep an eye on it and see use the 5 30.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:50 PM   #3
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hi speed driving usually is pretty easy on the oil unless you are going over mountains where you put your foot in it going up the mountain and your braking with the engine going down the other side which sucks the oil past the rings. My Geo Metro used to use about a quart between oil changes of 7000 miles but on a long trip from Pennsylvania to Alabama non stop at 70-80 mile an hour speeds it went through more than a quart. Keep the oil when you change it and compare it to the same oil after you run it the same number of miles on the next oil change.
This is one thing I wanted to try with the Synlube in my xB, drive a really long trip and not worry about the engine oil changes.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:29 PM   #4
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:48 PM   #5
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well, I added a quart of gtx high mileage that I had in the car to replace the quart that got used/burned.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:13 AM   #6
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Use Valvoline high mileage oil. I believe it has some seal conditioners in it to minimize leaks. I use this oil in two of my 3 cars.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:43 PM   #7
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I personally use whatever they have on sale when i need a change. my personal favorite is Agip, but also never on sale and hard to find. my 2 cents are as long as it is a qualitly brand they are all very simmilar.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:52 PM   #8
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Did the previous owner use Castrol GTX high mileage? If not that could be the reason for the oil usage, some oils burn off faster than others and I think Castrol may be one of them, I know my motorcycle uses more oil when I used Castrol than it does with the Mobil I use now. If you don't know what the previous owner used and could find out try using the same brand/weight on the next oil change to see if It makes a difference or not. I also buy whatever brand non synthetic I can find the cheapest as long as it's a major brand good quality oil and it's brought my '88 Ford Escort to 518K+ miles on the original engine. I have about 20 cases of various brands of oil in my garage that I've bought during sales years ago when oil was still under $1 a quart. Using non synthetic oil shouldn't hurt anything. I sometimes use store brand oils, they are made by a major oil manufacturer and the store just pays them to put their brand name on the bottle. Several years ago I was told by a sales person at Advance Auto parts that their store brand oil was made by Valvoline. I've heard that changing a high mileage engine from non synthetic to synthetic will sometimes cause more leakage around gaskets and seals, but I've never changed over a high mileage engine so I don't know whether there's anything to this or not. I've never heard of any problems changing from synthetic to non synthetic. I've heard of some people using non synthetic during the summer and using synthetic during the winter when they want lower viscosity and faster oil flow because of the cold weather.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:19 PM   #9
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You are correct a high milage motor might develop leaks if switched to a synthetic, but from a synth to a nOn usually doesn't hurt and seeing as it was only a little bit don't sweat it.
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