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Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Car Safety, Sedan
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#5055 of 7297 Here's what I found out re 4K oil change
Nov 14, 2001 (12:23 pm)
I am sure everyone knows all this, but I did not.
I spoke to a tech at Mobil 1. He told me that my 320 should have 0-40 and this is what it had at delivery. However, the 0-40 is not available to the public but should be available at my dealer, because they use 0-40 for the AMG. My service advisor told me Mercedes was still under contract to Penzoil -- the Mobil 1 tech told me that contract ended approx the end of 2000 or beginning of 2001. He suggested that if I cannot get the 0-40 from my dealer I should try another one. I remember so many posts here re 3K or 4K oil change that mentioned bringing their own oil to the dealer. If the 0-40 was what was needed and the dealer had the oil for the AMG, there was no need to bring their own oil, so why did they do so?
Summary: Approved MB engine oil in the booklet with the 320 manual: OW-30 (not available in US); 15W-50 (available but not what is needed). Not listed in booklet is 0-40, which is what came with the car and is what I should use -- except it is only available from my dealer who tells me they are under contract to use Penzoil.
#5056 of 7297 Update to 4K oil change
Nov 14, 2001 (3:10 pm)
My service advisor tells me they use only Pennzoil and do not use Mobil 1 for any cars at their dealership -- even for the AMG. I am totally confused by now since Pennzoil is not on the C320's approved list for engine oil. Is this how it is at all dealers out there? I am thinking about just forgetting the early oil change and waiting for the FSS scheduled one. Even then, they will still not be putting Mobil 1 into the car.
Nov 14, 2001 (4:14 pm)
Your note of mild frustration is understandable. MB actually told the Club [MBCA] that they stopped trying to publish approved lubricant lists as it applies to engine oil because they couldn't keep up with all of the new products being introduced. Mercedes tells you [and the service people] via the manual what SAE rating [SJ, I assume] and the various viscosities that are OK for this car. After that, ANY oil that meets the SAE spec is not going to harm your engine or affect the warranty. No dealer is going to put anything in the crankcase that has the potential to do any harm.
Now, my understanding is that MB has advised all of its dealers to start using synthetic oil on all FSS-equipped cars, period. Which synthetic, no matter what you hear, is mostly irrelevant. Pennzoil, Quaker, Castrol, Mobil and others all make synthetics that pass all of the relevant technical specs and are just fine for this or any other car.
IF, and this is a big IF, it matters to you, then purchase the oil from an independent source and take it to the dealer for the oil change. I have always [for all of our cars since the purchase of our '94 C220] brought the appropriate amounts of Castrol Syntec 5w50 to the dealership. They cheerfully put it in the crankcase, and credit me for the equivalent of whatever they charge for whatever they are using at the time. I have had techs tell me they think the Syntec is an excellent choice, but I think any synthetic will do just fine.
For SoCal, if you absolutely HAVE to have Mobil1, then I would recommend 5w30 or 10w30, which should be available at all of the usual sources [discounters and auto supply places]. Nothing wrong with the 15w50, either, though I personally prefer a cold viscosity of 10 or less. Castrol Syntec can be had from discounters in 5w50 viscosity for around $3.75-4.00 a quart, depending on sales...I buy it whenever the price is right to use in our cars.
What the dealer is telling you, in a fashion that is less than straightforward, is that any SAE approved oil with an appropriate viscosity range for your climate is fine...which is completely true, but counter-intuitive to a lot of people who have strong beliefs on this topic. Mercedes doesn't care whose label is on the bottle as long as it is SJ and a reasonable viscosity for the ambient temps.
This generalization DOES NOT apply to a lot of other fluids for their cars - they have extremely specific and short lists of providers of differential oil, ATF, coolant, PS fluid, brake fluid, etc. But we were told they no longer try to make lists of approved crankcase oils because it takes too much effort to try to keep up to date.
Nov 14, 2001 (4:38 pm)
Drop me an email and I'll point you at the approved list of oils from MB. Can't post URLs here because they censor them...
#5059 of 7297 Gasoline octane
Nov 14, 2001 (4:38 pm)
My question is how low in octane can one go. I have a C-230 and use 91 octane but sometimes I throw in a tank of 89 is this practice OK? or should I be using 93?. Does using gasoline with ocane below 91 damage the engine in any way?
Nov 14, 2001 (9:46 pm)
Since my '00 C230 says "Premium Fuel Only" on the dashboard and fuel door, I've never used anything less than the top grade available - 92 or 93 octane. I'm one to follow the MB rules strictly and have never experimented with any other grade.
Interesting that for my 1993 Toyota truck, using anything less than premium gas causes the engine to ping horribly on acceleration. I've checked the timing - and retarding it to eliminate the knock would put it out of specs. All I can figure is that the truck must be jealous of the MB, and is demanding the same preferential treatment. After all, they do share the same garage!
#5061 of 7297 #4819 of 4821 Miki by kenyee
Nov 15, 2001 (12:16 am)
Ken -- I tried twice to get an E-mail to you at the address in your Edmunds profile, but both times they came back with system errors. I have your Web address, but there is no way to contact you from there.
#5062 of 7297 4818 of 4822 Miki by jrct9454
Nov 15, 2001 (1:04 am)
>Your note of mild frustration is understandable
Oh, John, it is more than "mild" LOL. Thanks for the great overview and education on the subject. I appreciate this very much.
>Now, my understanding is that MB has advised all >of its dealers to start using synthetic oil on>all FSS-equipped cars, period.
The MB Service and Parts Operations Manager told me in January that all dealers would be using Mobil 1 Synthetic. That said, my dealership's Parts manager orders only Pennzoil.
>or SoCal, if you absolutely HAVE to have Mobil1, >then I would recommend 5w30 or 10w30,<snip> >nothing wrong with the 15w50, either, though I >
personally prefer a cold viscosity of 10 or less
Now I am down to three weights I can use and armed with
the knowledge that it is a personal choice -- lotsa lessons learned here -- I don't have to go by the book, since the dealer does not -- and maybe I should lighten up a bit, except one can only do that when they have the experience of trial and error. Incidentally, why do you like a cold viscosity of 10 or less (C or F?) Do you play in the snow?
Thanks again for your patience with me past and present.
Nov 15, 2001 (5:32 am)
I prefer the lower viscosity index for cold starts; the lower the number, the easier the engine cranks and the faster it warms up. For really cold climates, the new zero cold viscosity oils are the only way to go; for everywhere else, the automakers generally specify a 5 level index.
Gasoline: Virtually all cars these days [but not the early 90's Toyota truck engines] have knock sensors and electronic engine controls that assure the engine is protected if you have to use a lower octane fuel. The computer detects the knock, and dials back the ignition timing to compensate for the lower octane. The price you pay for this behavior is a slight loss of power, and a slight increase in fuel consumption.
You can't hurt any modern MB by occasionally using lower octane fuel - but it is NOT a good habit to get into. Don't confuse the octane recommendation with the fact that in high altitude locations [most mountain states], it is often true that the highest octane available is 89. This is fine to use in any car with a low altitude requirement of 91, since higher altitude reduces the octane requirement for the engine to behave as designed.
Generalization: Use the highest octane fuel available at any given time in these cars. But occasional use of something less than optimum will do no harm - the engine electronics will compensate.
#5064 of 7297 sorry miki
Nov 15, 2001 (6:07 am)
I updated the email addr. Not sure why the zdnetmail one is bouncing.
You also might want to ask your dealer for a copy of the notice. Everyone got one...