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Is Premium Oil Really Worth It?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by cpel2004, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. cpel2004

    cpel2004 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    I have a buddy who just purchased a new mower, he was asking me is premium oil really worth the extra money, if he changes his oil every 50 hours. I told him I didn't think so but I wanted to check with the Gear Heads?
  2. Eric D

    Eric D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    This is a loaded question...meaning everyone has their own ideas and a simple yes or no will not do. There are far to many variables, like, is it a water or air cooled, is it worked in a dusty environment, are you going to keep the unit for a long time or trade it out after a year or two of use, etc.....

    For me, because my engines are air cooled I like using Mobil 1. It holds up well to high temps, this being my primary reason for using it. I change at 50 hours with fresh filter each time.

    I know guys that NEVER change to oil during the working season and just add if needed. They don't hang onto there equipement long and maybe that's the right thing to do for them. Personally I can't do that! But hey, that's just me.:dizzy:
  3. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Mobil 1 will not breakdown as fast as regular oil. However, it will get dirty and contaminated just as fast. Premium oil is a waste of money in most situations, especially in air cooled motors. Unless your mower has a Ferrari or Porsche motor.
  4. Ironic

    Ironic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    in all my cars at home I use Mobil 1. and all my air cooled 4 cycle gas burners at work get Mobil 1.
    It may get dirty just as fast, but the oil itself holds up much better, so I'll usually change the filter at 50-75 hours, then change the oil and filter between 100-150 hrs.
  5. cpel2004

    cpel2004 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    I appreciate your response, the environment is hot a dusty, the worse possible environment for an engine. I use standard oil ie manuf. spec but in the summer I change it every two weeks or every month depending on the hours.
  6. Eric D

    Eric D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    Keep in mind that lawn cutting equipment runs the engine near max output while cutting. Automotive engines are less then 50% output most of the time. If anything will destroy oil, lawn equipment will do it faster then most any other engine environment. Bottom line, they are extremely hard on oil. If you’re going to skimp, skimp on your truck, not the lawn cutting equipment.
  7. SLR

    SLR LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,210

    My neighbour always has me use his 2003 yard works riding mower for about 4hrs at a time @ 2 times a month...he has never changed his oil(gasps!) once!!and i have given up trying to tell him oil breaks down,gets dirty etc..$4000 and ever so stupid..thought that throw it in here.
  8. Juan_Deere

    Juan_Deere LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Although what you stated is true, I think your logic is backwards. Although an auto engine is operating at less than 50%, it is still at a much higher HP or torque figure than your lawn mower. Plus your car is usually doing stop and go, which is much more stressful on the engine and the oil, than the near constant speed running of your mower engine.
  9. Eric D

    Eric D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295


    It’s a mute point to argue this. As I stated in my first posting there are too many variables to allow one common logical answer that covers all situations. For example, if you have a person that drives 20 minutes each way on a good moving road compared to someone else in AL or NY stop and go traffic, both of us are right in our logic.

    What anyone decides, be it to never change their equipment oil to doing it every 50 hours or less is a personal choice. For me, I will stick to Mobil 1 in my lawn equipment and I change it every 50 hours.


    Eric D
  10. Juan_Deere

    Juan_Deere LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    You are 100% right. Different stroked for different folks. And here is my take on it.

    Synthetic oil costs triple what regular oil costs. The oil companies could get away with that, because they extended the oil change interval to triple what they recommend with regular oil. So you weren't really paying more for the oil, since the oil was lasting longer. The benefit was, you didn't have to stop and change the oil as often.

    So I would never use synthetic in a mower engine when I replace the oil and filter every 50 hours. That is a waste of oil that will easily pull 150 hours or more. The only way I would use synthetic, was if I got a super great deal on it, and then I would still change the filter every 50 hours and just top of the engine with new synthetic. I would then probably do a complete filter and oil change at 200 hours.

    The fact of the matter is, mower engines don't need the extra protection that synthetic provides. They simply aren't pulling the torque and loads to truly take advantage of the extra benefits. If they did, there would have been a much larger incidence of engines crapping the bed before synthetic showed up on the market. There wasn't. The reason being, synthetic is not superior to regular oil unless you want the benefit of extended oil change intervals. And even then, you are limited by how long your filter will last. Not by the oil going bad. The engine makers tell you to change the oil at the same interval, whether you are using regular or synthetic. Do you think that is due to any other reason than them owning stock in the oil companies, or because they sell oil with their name on the bottle? They just want you to buy more.

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