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Can you go from synthetic back to normal oil?

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles' started by fsu23phd, Jun 15, 2012.

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  1. fsu23phd

    fsu23phd New Member

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    So I generally do the oil changes on our two Priuses (an 05 and a 2012). The 2010 was ready for a change, and my wife offered to do it as I had a busy day planned. I printed her a $20 coupon from Meineke at 3401 south Western street in Amarillo, TX. I am sure that they stereotyped her, as my wife is an Asian woman with little knowledge about cars. They insisted that Toyota recommends synthetic oil for Priuses. She agreed to the synthetic without being given a price, then they charged her $70.

    Ok, annoying but no biggy, now I have 2 questions:

    1) Do we have to use synthetic from now on? (they gave us 0w-20)
    2) Does this mean we can drive the car longer before the next oil change? The sticker still indicates that we should bring it back after 3,000 miles (i usually go about 4,500 with regular oil).

    Thanks for your help
  2. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    The required oil on the 2010 is 0w-20, which is usually only available as a full-synthetic. The revised oil change interval on the 2010s is 1yr or 10,000 miles.

    Why have you been using conventional oil on the 2010?
  3. Tech_Guy

    Tech_Guy Class Clown

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    Meineke was right when they said "Toyota recommends synthetic oil for Priuses".

    And The Critic was right when he stated that Toyota's oil change interval with the Prius is now 10,000 miles (with synthetic oil).

    Keith
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  4. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Your situation turned out better than many others on this forum. While it may be unexpected, it was correct that the (expensive) 0W-20 synthetic was used, what would have been worse is for the totally wrong cheap oil to have been put in. What you need to really be aware of is that you only need to have the oil changed on the 10,000 mile interval (or two resets of the oil change due light). The 3000 mile recommendation is just to make money off of those that don't do what you just did.....ask around.....or read the manual.
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  5. Jon Hagen

    Jon Hagen Active Member

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    Yes, you want full synthetic 0-20 in the 2010, and would be a big advantage in your older Prius.
    My 2010 Prius is ready for oil change #3. It had 0=20 synthetic in it from the factory, but they still recommended 5000 mile changes. They told me that Toyota had just gone to 10,000 mile changes for my car. I was amazed at 15,000 miles (10,000 on the second fill of Toyota synthetic 0-20 oil), the oil still looked almost new at those miles, just dark enough so it is easier to see on the dipstick. I am just a few ticks from 25,000 and ready for another change, the engine does not use any oil (still 1/8 inch above full) and again looks nearly as clean as when it was put in the engine.

    About every 14 months my dealer changes oil, checks and tops up everything and rotates tires for about $60.
    Great worry free service for the money.

    I am a 30+ year user of Mobil 1 synthetic oil. Mobil 1 says there is no problem changing to or away from synthetic oil at any time, although I don't know why anyone would want to, considering the advantages of synthetic oil.
    I have started them on Mobil 1 at the first oil chang and another to it at 180,000 miles, all with no problems at all.

    On another faithful old rig that ran 250,000 miles with mobil 1, It is now use only for short cold runs in winter, so it never warms up and evaporates moisture from the oil.
    I switched that one back to cheap mineral oil so I can change often to get rid of the cold condensation / combustion moisture. No problem except the mineral oil is not as good for cold starting.
    schorert and fsu23phd like this.
  6. DecimationX

    DecimationX Junior Member

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    Most all Toyota's recommend OW-20 (However not all and I don't know the list)

    To answer your question though!

    I used to sell Toyotas. Some people didn't like the idea of going longer and paying more for the oil. (Older folks not used to the big changes with cars today) So instead they were the type who wanted to change it themselves or go to mom and pop lube shops and have simple penzoil or quakerstate put in the car 10w-30 or what have you.

    This seemed to be OK for the vehicles they rolled on BUT they needed to change it every 3-4000 miles. If you think about it now.... A general oil change at my local shop for very GENERIC oil is about 35 dollars for an up to 5 quart oil change and filter service. Recommended to be done every 3000 miles. However if I get on my prius an 0W-20 synthetic change for approcimately 65 dollars. I can go 10,000 miles on that.

    Math wise...

    generic mileage if I go 30,000 miles I spend
    $350 dollars on just oil and filter change (Stopping for 6 separate services)

    If I do the OW-20 method and go 30,000 miles I spend
    $195 (Which is less money for same service being oil and filter and 3 less stops for service) Time is precious and that's cool!

    Plus newer synthetic oil is just better quality for your engine anyways!
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  7. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    Prius manual aside, more frequent oil changes are always better for an engine due to more frequent removal of the contaminants.

    Many manufacturers have specified 7500 to 10,000 mile drains on conventional GF-4 oils for a number of years. I see no reason why this would not work in the Prius if the car is out of warranty.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  8. DecimationX

    DecimationX Junior Member

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    True, but I beleive his Prius that he was getting the oil change is a 2010 So unless he drives a lot, it is probably signifigantly within warranty.
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  9. fsu23phd

    fsu23phd New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys, if I can really drive it 10K miles, then actually it's a great idea, the hour in the shop isn't worth the difference. Now for my warranty, I still need to change it every 5000K I suppose? It is still in warranty (about 20K miles).

    So actually I think I might keep the OW-20, and put it in my 2005 prius (which is about 75K miles). Quick question: if I did decide to go back to regular oil in my 2010, would I be able to do that or is the decision already made for me?

    Also, I don't know what kind of 0w-20 Meineke used. For next time, is there a good brand that I should seek out?

    if Meineke used the cheep stuff, is 10K still a good idea?

    Thanks again!
  10. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    Toyota has never said it was OK to use regular oil in the 2010 Prius - other than it emergency situations where you are allowed to use it once for 5,000 miles.

    0w-20 is OK for 10k per the owner's manual supplement that you should have received. The 10k interval is allowed with a full-synthetic 0w-20, which most 0w-20s are.

    The 2005 Prius was never approved for 0w-20 oil; these engines should only be using 5w-30.
  11. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Well we know only loosers read the manual :D BUT please YOU actually doing the wrong things to your car engine (on 2010 of course)... if something happens you better NOT tell toyota that you were using regular non-syntethic oil (there is no 0W-20 which is requried ) just wondering since you claim to do the oil change yourself ... what is written on YOUR Oil cap mine says 0W-20 ... and what were you using ... ????

    Meineke was NOT stereptyped your wife but was giving the RIGHT information BECAUSE they do RFML. but thanks for making a real educational post here .... (yes it is CHANGED btw 2004/2010 I HAD both car as well). When you choose a really paradigm changing car YOU must educate yourself ...

    Right from the beginning the required oil for 2010, was 0W-20 I bought my '2010' in 2009 July ... and even the dealership was confused at my first oil change so much so that I had to go back several times and get it on the record that even though the receipt said otherwise they used the toyota required oil ... (I did not believe them the price was for the regular but they WARRANTED if something is wrong they did the right thing) and then I get it changed at 10,000 and made sure no mix up that time ... that actually coincided with the change official chage from 5000 to 10000 change period PROVIDED it was synthetic 0W-20.

    You better check what your are doing to you car (it is yours if you think this is a better course of action than what toyota suggest feel free to do it). I had the oil analyzed and according to those tests it had a lot of life in it even after 10,000. I consider my use is average not much hard driving and drive enough to get way less then a year for the 10,000 miles so I WILL follow what toyota says ... (I would suggest to change oil after 12 month regardless of mileage ... but that just me ...)
  12. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Critic,

    Just wondering can you quote/link something regular motor oil which is listed as 0W-20 ??? I could never find one ... not that I really want to use it ... just TO MAKE sure this is not a a misunderstanding .. I had bit run around with toyota dealers who were insistin at my first oil change that although they did not use synthetic but used 0W-20 ... so I went to the head of department who could NOT show me what brand that was TOYOTA only supply synthetic 0W-20 !!! I do not think there is any .... :) maybe possible
  13. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    The dealer was probably misinformed, as the Toyota 0w-20 product clearly says full-synthetic on the label.

    However, there are 0w-20 oils on the market which are not full-synthetic. The only one that I have seen is the Genuine Honda synthetic blend 0w-20, which is carried by almost all dealers in bulk and in bottles under part #08798-9036.

    [​IMG]

    Other than the Honda syn blend 0w-20, I have not seen other non-synthetic 0w-20 oils on any shelf. Valvoline, ConocoPhillips (Honda's supplier) and Castrol do make non-synthetic 0w-20 oils, but I have never seen them. Here are the links to their respective data sheets:

    http://www.conocophillipslubricants.com.hk/images/oil/product%20pdf/eng/76%20Super%20Syn%20Blend%20MO%20TDS%20Web.pdf

    http://www.valvoline.com/pdf/durablend.pdf

    http://www.castrol.com/castrol/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9040510&contentId=7061133
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  14. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Well the issue was that according to the service receipt thy used by part number and by price the regular 5W-30 like then regular prius (2004) this was still in 2009 so the new prius 2010 was very new. Now I bought toyota car so toyota would have reimburse them right so MADE NO sense charging less and using the wrong part number. They were insisting that the "new" oil what they used was not in the computer so they used the old. So I did go in again and demanded this in writing so they actually made a note on the service record to say that 0w-20 was used.



    Thanks for this ... I did not know. For now the oilchanges are paid for of course if I knew the 10,000 change I probably wouldn't consider toyota care ...
  15. fsu23phd

    fsu23phd New Member

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    Huh, you are right, the manual specifically says to use 0w20. My bad. I do have a Ph.D. from a top 40 business school, but that doesn't mean I know everything.

    I've never tried to change oil myself, I wouldn't even know where to start. My message was confusing: I said I generally 'do the oil changes' what I mean is I generally take the cars to the shop and sit there while they do it. In this case my wife did it. Sorry about the confusion.

    So I've been using the wrong oil for a year now, great, good to know. I'm actually happy to hear that the interval is now 10K, that will make my life much easier. This is the first time any mechanic has noticed that (I've taken the car to three shops, and this is not the first time I've been to this one).

    My maintenance schedule that came with the car indicates an oil change every 5,000 miles with 0w-20, but the Toyota maintenance website indicates 10K, so I'll go with that.

    Now for one more question: The 2005 prius maintenance schedule on the Toyota website calls for 5w-30 every 5K miles. Is it a good idea to switch to ow-20 every 10K? Or should I follow the manual?

    Thanks for the help
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  16. SoCalBPrius

    SoCalBPrius Active Member

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    As Critic & others have suggested, ow-20 is for 2010+ prius Only. 5w-30 is required for your 2005. If you want to change it less frequently, u can switch to 5w-30 synthetic.
  17. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    I guess you do not ready maintenance schedule either. I specifically says that if the 0W20 not available you can use 5w-30 BUT you switch that in 5k to 0w-20. At least this is how I read it.

    But if you want you can do other things of course.
  18. szgabor

    szgabor Active Member

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    Fair enough ....



    This is really strange because the oil cap has the marking 0w-20 ... but if customer says otherwise I guess mechanic will just do that.




    Yes that WAS the original schedule not sure if the manual/schedule was ever reprinted. But Toyota changed it I actully got a new maintance schedule in the mail about 6 month after I got my car 2010 bought it in July 2009. I have toyota care so maybe that is why I got the new booklet (not the full user manual).




    As someone else said that engine was not designed for 0W-20 so I would stick to the manual (it is also cheaper) ... I had a GenII before this car. You can actually ask on the GenII forums there are a lots of experience by now. But generally speaking you would provide the engine both in cold and running temp less lubrication ... which engines, also generally, don't like on the long run.

    PS I only have an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering so the above are only general ideas not automotive expert advise.
  19. yeldogt

    yeldogt Member

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    That Honda oil is interesting -- I was under the impression that all of the 0w oils were synthetic -- although I have not really looked. Many of my cars specify M1 0w-40 -- I always have that around. When 0-40 first came out the manuals always had alternatives (with a lower service interval) because it was often hard to get. So I bet that is why Toyota lists the 5w-30 - since it is always available. We had a situation years ago when Ford switched to 5w-20 from 5w-30 for fuel saving -- the oil was never available at any of the local quick lube shops. They listed 5w-30 as an alternative but kept the same interval.

    Some of our cars get a lot of miles -- and putting 7k on a car in three months is a lot different than 5k in two years. I used the M1 extend in one of the Lexus vehicle at last change and it is so clean at 10k its really surprising -- and this is a car that has about 75k on it and has used regular oil most of its 5 years.
  20. SoCalBPrius

    SoCalBPrius Active Member

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    Are u typing on your phone because I can barely understand anything u write. If you're trying to ask, have I read the manual? Yes, I have & I know about the temporary grade change that Toyota specifies. I was trying to be as short & brief w/ the answer as possible:).
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