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Old 04-25-2003, 12:55 PM
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Question Recommended Motor Oil

I am the proud new owner of a 1987 560 SL with 66000 miles. I have been in the Porsche arena, but am new to MB. Can anyone recommend the proper motor oil to use, including weight? I am in favor of synthetics, but am a little unsure as to proper weight for the St. Louis summer. I will drive the car approx. 7500 miles/year.

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Old 04-25-2003, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
Oh, geez. Motor oil is probably the most controversial subject on this site.

Just do a search for "oil" or "synthetic", and you will have enough reading to keep you up all night for a week with no sleep.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 04-25-2003, 03:22 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,144
Do you have an owner's manual? The API service classification and viscosity range for the ambient temperature range you will see are listed in the onwer's manual, but the listed API service classification has been superceeded. It is currently "SL" for spark ignition engines.

A 10W-30 should be suitable year round for the temperatures you will see in St. Louis. There are all manner of myths and hype about motor oils, but the bottom line is that the only two things that count are the API spec and viscosity range. Within a given range of viscosity and API classification, there is essentially no difference between brands, but manufactures spend tens of millions in advertising trying to convince us otherwise.

The primary benefit of synhetic oil is longer service life due to the base stock's higher resistance to oxidation, and modern cars that are OEM filled with synthetic have oil quality monitoring systems that may not signal a change for up to 15,000 miles. OEMs also specify a time limit - usually no more than one year regardless of mileage. The interval for your car is 7500 miles, and I think the time limit is six months. Again, check the owner's manual.

On a older car without an oil monitoring system you don't know how much longer you can go on synthetic, and without running longer service intervals there is no real benefit for the higher cost. This is particularly true for cars that don't see rapid accumulation in mileage and reach the time limit long before the nominal mileage limit.

Thus my recommendation is to continue with Mercedes recommended oil change intervals stated in the owner's manual paying attention to the time limit and use a conventional mineral based oil with a "SL" API service classification in a viscosity range that is suitable for the ambient temperatures your car will see until the estimated date that the oil will require another change.

Since you report you will be driving about 7500 miles per year, my recommendation would be to change the oil twice per year - fall and spring. Use 10W-30 in the fall for the cold winter months and 20W-50 in the spring for your hot summers.


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