Do Ford/Mercury motors require a synthetic or synthetic blend oil? Is there any reason why I shouldn’t use a conventional oil? Will using a conventional oil mean I have to change it sooner, say, around 3,000 miles? This is for a 2003 Ford Windstar.
To the best of my knowledge your car does not require synthetic oil. Fords do have a rather strict oil weight requirement (5W-20 or 5W-30 depending on the engine)
This PDF concerns 2004 Ford vehicles, but I am sure it also applies to earlier vehicles.
Bottom line is you can use any oil that meets the weight and quality requirements for your car. Look for a 0W-20 oil that has the API rating SL or SM. Dino oil is fine.
Thank you. I was suspicious when the guy at Valvoline was trying to upsell me on the DuraBlend stuff for an extra $15. He also told me they couldn’t be held responsible for any engine damage from the conventional oil, and that it would “burn out” after 3,000 miles and I’d have to have it changed.
And I don’t have any more to say about that that’s appropriate for this forum.
I heard something similar when I had the oil changed in my 2001 Taurus last time. When I looked at them oddly, they asked if it was a leased vehicle. (Yeah, I always take the 7 year leases). Then they said that they always recommend the synthetic oil from Ford in leased vehicles. Sounded way fishy to me.
For a 2003 Windstar, my info shows the specified oil is 5W-20 synthetic blend. In this case, you were properly advised.
Oil change intervals normal/severe are 5,000/3,000 miles. While use of synthetic or synthetic blend vs. conventional can affect oil change intervals, that’s not the only difference. There is a risk of premature engine wear or failure in using conventional oil where sythetic (or blend) is specified.
If I were servicing the vehicle, I would refuse to do it with conventional oil.
For a 2001 Taurus, the specified oil is 5W-20 - no mention of synthetic.
My research is about 2 years out of date.
However, I can safely say that 99.9% of motor oils meeting the spec that Ford has for acceptable 5W20 oils happen to be synthetic blends.
The problem is that the phrase ‘synthetic blend’ is nearly meaningless.
I think we’ve covered this before, and don’t have time or inclination to rehash the relationship between base oil types and advertising oils as conventional, semisyn or fully synthetic. Due to changing oil specs, petroleum pricing and refinery economics, more and more oils are favoring higher-quality base oils. This is forcing some brands to produce ‘conventional oils’ that would qualify as synthetic blends under the standards that were employed by industry 10 years ago.
My direct response to this situation is that no name brand motor oil company would even consider selling a 5W20 oil that doesn’t meet the relevant Ford specs.
I spent some time looking for a 5W20 that didn’t meet the spec, and the only one you could find was the Coastal brand 5W20 sold in Autozone.
None of the big boys like Pennzoil, Valvoline, Castrol, ExxonMobil, etc would risk it…