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Hello everyone,

I'm coming up to my first oil change and I read little snipets about synthetic oil and the benefits of it. Can anyone let me know if it is worth going that route and what I should see as a result?

Thanks,
Todd
 

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California Hotrod said:
Hello everyone,

I'm coming up to my first oil change and I read little snipets about synthetic oil and the benefits of it. Can anyone let me know if it is worth going that route and what I should see as a result?

Thanks,
Todd
Do you have a 2003 or 2004 Prius that
is coming up on its first oil change?

If you have a 2003, that maintenance
visit is free from Toyota (which
includes the oil and filter change).

Don't forget to rotate your tires
per the manual when you change the
oil, for either vehicle!
 

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I have clearly seen a minor MPG improvement and read about many other whom have experienced the same (1 to 2 MPG). That alone is enough to cover the extra cost. So whether there is also protective benefit or not (I strongly believe there is), you're even anyway.

Then when you take into account the fact that you are consuming less petroleum (both from the synthetic itself and the gas savings), you come out ahead.

So why wouldn't you want to use synthetic?

And for those of you that have the dealer perform the change service, there's yet another benefit. Most dealers don't carry synthetic. So the only way for them to put it in is for you to provide the bottles. Handing them a total of only 3.6 quarts, guarantees they won't overfill since the physically won't have enough to do that. And as we know well now, overfilling reduces MPG and can potentially harm the engine.
 

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You can start here for information: http://neptune.spacebears.com/cars/stories/oil-life.html and keep looking and you'll find lots of stuff.

I just had my first oil change today in my 2004 Prius at just under 3000 miles. I ultimately chose to go synthetic. I had my oil changed by the dealership service dept. and it cost $18 for that + ~$20 for my 4 quarts of Mobile 1--ultimately about $8-10 more than it would have cost to use mineral oil. I bought my own oil at Wal-mart for $4.77/quart. They quoted me something like $58 for the Castrol Synthetic oil change at Toyota!

It boiled down to this, for me. I'm convinced using synthetic is a little better for the environment than using mineral oil. I'm convinced that it provides a little better wear protection, although probably not enough to prolong the life of the vehicle for the time period I would keep it--IOW, I get a new car every 6-7 years anyway and I have no doubt mineral oil is more than adequate for any car up to 200-250K miles--maybe synthetic will take you to 300-350K on the engine, but I'll be darned if I'll ever own a car that long.

The minor, annecdotal, improvement in MPG is not enough to make up the difference in cost, but I felt that the cost was marginal. The annecdotal improvement in HP isn't enough to justify it either. But, in aggregate, I felt that the environmental impact, MPG impact, HP impact, and wear & tear impact were enough to justify a high tech product in a high tech vehicle like the prius. At this point I haven't decided if I'll push my luck with 7500 mile oil changes which would help balance the cost of the oil by extending the time b/w changes...but I probably won't b/c I'm afraid I might have warranty issues if I haven't gotten them done 'by-the-book' every 5K miles. Once I'm out of warranty I'll probably extend to 7500 though.
 

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For anyone interested - Mobil 1 5W-30 is available at Sam's Club for about $3.88 a quart in the 6 pack, which is a very good buy. Changing the oil in the Prius is a really easy task and can save quite a bit of money, plus it gives you a chance to check out the underside of the car for any visible problems. One thing I have invested in is a Fumoto valve, which will make the change even easier and if I happen to overfill, it will be easy to drain a bit out. I know right now I am just a bit over the full mark and maybe that is affecting my mileage, but at 44.3 mpg right now, I'm pretty happy.
 

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Jerry,
Not every Sam's has the Mobil 1--I've checked 3 times at my local one and they don't have it. I checked online as well, but they don't sell any oil online at all. Wish I could find it for $3.88.
--evan
 

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john1701a said:
I have clearly seen a minor MPG improvement and read about many other whom have experienced the same (1 to 2 MPG). That alone is enough to cover the extra cost.
What kind of synthetic oil?

If you are using Mobil 1, note that Mobil 1 in *W-30 is on the thin side of the SAE 30 viscosity range (in cSt at 100 degrees C). That may account for the slightly better fuel economy compared to other *W-30 oils.
 

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Which model of Fumoto valve for 2004?

Jerry,

I want to purchase a oil drain valve from Fumotovalve site also.

However, when I select "passenger cars" and "Toyota", it presents me with 2 options which seem to apply.

1) '93 & on - all models
7) All other models

The first option gives me two choices:
F103 and F103 N (w nipple)

The second option also gives me two choices:
F104 and F104 N (w nipple)

Raymond

I tried sending a message to the company asking which would be the best fit and have yet to receive any response (holiday schedule, I guess).
 

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On my '02 it's the plain old F-103 (no nipple), and I strongly suspect the same for the '04 as it's the same engine. Better to wait on an official reply. By the way, be sure to get the safety clip ($1); it adds an extra measure of security at little cost or inconvenience.

I've had a Fumoto valve on my '02 all this year, and it's the cat's meow. You can't seem to prevent dealer service from overfilling, and the drain makes it a snap to correct this. I'm looking forward to doing my own oil changes, but the ground clearance is tight under the pan!
 

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I chose the regular one ( F103,no nipple) since the pan and drain are fairly low and out in the open under the car. With the heavy snows we get here, I was afraid the extended valve might drag and get broken.
 

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Sorry, Jerry, that *was* addressed to you, wasn't it? I can't seem to refrain from putting in my oar.

I was so pleased with the Fumoto valve on the Prius that I ordered the F-106 for my '91 Exploder. The independent mechanic who services it also overfills the oil! Whaddaya gonna do?

Happy New Year!
 
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