Doctor Diesel

An oily problem

DD 1I’m sorry that it’s been a while since I last contacted you regarding the kangarooing problems on my 2006 Altea (see issue 342). I have since then, as you urged, had the automatic gearbox (DSG) oil changed on the Altea, and I have had no more problems as yet. I have had the car from new and, yes, it really has only done 20,000 miles, as I also have a motorcycle and freedom bus pass to get me around. The reception staff at the SEAT garage I use thought that the information that you sent me was a bit over the top. The garage told me that the oil is usually changed at 40,000 miles and not on a time basis. Talking of other oils ñ at Halfords, top-up Mobil 1 and Castrol engine oil is about £20 a litre, and Shell has a new engine oil at just over £20. But at Euro Car Parts some Petronas oil is available for only just over £10 a litre. What is the difference in price and quality? I need some top-up oil (the first time), so what do I buy? Thank you for your help. 

Robin Chapman

As I said, if you put your trust in your garage, as you might expect to do if you pay full labour and parts prices at a franchised garage, you in turn expect them to use their sense about such things. With all the various problems that have surfaced with the DSG transmissions, were they going to wait another eight or nine years for you to hit the official 40,000 miles before they suggested that you should have a DSG oil service? It’s most surprising though that there apparently is no official time based interval for this service, as I have now discovered, and as there obviously should be!

Reference engine oils in small one-litre packs, these are nearly always something of a rip-off, and mostly sold to desperate drivers at roadside filling stations, and at a very nice profit margin. Petronas are a respectable Malaysian oil company, and are known primarily as sponsors of the Mercedes F1 team. I think I had presumed for some years that they were a Spanish bank, or something like that. Having looked more deeply into it now, I don’t think there’s any good reason why you should not use this Petronas product, as all these ACEA and manufacturer listed oils have to pass tough tests to receive approval. I guess that Petronas have done a deal with Euro Car Parts that avoids expensive advertising and allows them to sell it relatively cheaply. You want the Syntium 5000 AV 5W-30, which meets the VW 504/507 specifications. Similar grade oils Syntium 3000 and 7000 are specified by Mercedes-Benz, which I think should assure us pretty well of their good pedigree.

The Doc

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