Can I use less expensive synthetic oil in my car?

The Car Doctor answers automotive questions from readers.

Always refer to your manual, but as a rule of thumb, the 3,000-mile oil change is so you can keep old clunkers lasting forever.
Always refer to your manual, but as a rule of thumb, the 3,000-mile oil change is so you can keep old clunkers lasting forever. –George Kennedy/Boldride

I would like to save a little money but don’t want to risk a problem. Can I use less expensive oil without risking the quality of the product?

Q. I use synthetic oil in all my vehicles, lawn mower, and snow blower. I have been using Mobil 1 synthetic oil, but it seems to get more expensive each time I buy it. I would like to save a little money but don’t want to risk a problem. One of my cars a hybrid and the other a truck, and they both have over 100,000 miles on them. Can I use less expensive oil without risking the quality of the product?

A. I tend to shop around for oil. It’s my understanding that all synthetic motor oil needs to pass industry performance standards, and that’s good enough for me. Over the years, I have used every brand of oil, and I have seen virtually no differences between brands. In my opinion, it is most important that your engine is full of clean oil, rather than what brand is used. If the synthetic oil meets your budget and the specifications for your car’s engine, then use it.

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John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.