Tag Archives: castrol

Mazda MX-5: Miata Spring Maintenance

Been a while since I did any work on my car. For most of the winter I didn’t even drive it. But after starting anew job it’s once again my daily.

So at almost exactly 5k miles I got to do my first oil change of 2018.

Car feels great with fresh fluids. Over the last 5,025 miles no oil was burned by the engine, it was still fairly brown and viscous which is great. I’ll be putting about 100 miles a week on it now going to work, so I’m assuming next oil change will be end of the year.

Mazda MX-5: Diff Fluid Change With Castrol Syntrax 75W-90 Synthetic

Another unseasonably warm day this February with tropical like heat wave weather so I did some more maintenance on my Miata in preparation for the Road Trip to Florida next week.

Was the gear oil due for a flush? Nope… not necessarily. I was about 9k miles short of the scheduled change. However, I thought I heard a little whine coming from the rear end on a recent trip down the Jersey Shore for the Millenials Miata meet, so I decided to flush out the Mobil 1 I put into the diff at the end of 2015 and replace it with Castrol Syntrax 75W-90 synthetic.

As usual this was a two step process. Once I decided on the Castrol (and part of my decision was based on the engine oil I just started using – Castrol EDGE… not that engine oil has anything to do with the diff, I figured I’ll keep things consistent), I researched where I could buy it. First I found O’Reily Auto Parts sells it for about $14 bux but we don’t have any of those stores around here. Pep Boys and Advance Auto did not advertise it on their web site, Walmart could place an order for me for about $13 but surprisingly Auto Zone had it in stock for $9.99! I still wanted it cheaper, so I went on CardBear.com researched AutoZone gift cards and bought one from Raise.com saving about $3 bux! The gift card showed up in just a few days since I ordered it and as soon as it arrived I rushed out the door to my local Auto Zone to pick it up.

It was definitely convertible weather today!

It took no time to jack the car up and get it leveled to do this job, but once it was in the air I could not (for the life of me) find the necessary 23mm and 24mm sockets to do the actual job! Fucking hell…. I searched everywhere, wasted more than an hour looking to no avail. So I went to the local Lowe’s to pick up two sockets so I have them for the future. I stopped by my local Sears to see if they had Craftsman in stock since I have some Shop Your Way rewards points to burn but the 23mm socket is a high commodity only available for online orders… the price for the 24mm socket was $12 or $13, I picked up both sockets at Lowe’s for under $10! I think they were $4.88 each plus tax which seems very reasonable. (Though I’m sure I could have bought them for way less if I had the luxury of time).

Anyway, the job itself took no time. Very easy to undo the top bolt, then the bottom to drain the diff. Cleaned everything up. Put the bottom bolt back on. Jerryrigged a device to pump the new fluid into the diff, and then tightened both the bottom and top bolts. Surprisingly I was able to pump almost the entire bottle in this time, I think I pumped less with Mobil 1 a year ago, but I could be wrong.

So there it goes. Easy job. I’m hoping this one lasts more than 20k miles before the rear end starts making whining noises again. I should mention I was very surprised how dark the Mobil 1 gear oil got… many of you will remember I said the same thing about my Mobil 1 engine oil the first two oil changes I did. I just don’t know what makes that oil turn so dark so soon.

Some people claim that the oil is so good it takes all the dirt out of the system that’s why it turns so dark. And that the other oils I use are not as good and therefore not as dark when I flush them. But I call BS on that! There’s no reason why the rear diff fluid should be this dark at just 20k miles. I think it should have lasted longer. I guess time will tell when I flush the Castrol Syntrax for a direct comparison.

I took a short 2 mile drive down to the local Advance Auto to responsibly dispose of the used oil, and the diff feels just fine. Nothing to talk about… it’s smooth, there’s no noise. It’s good!

Will follow up again when it’s time to flush it in 30k miles.

Mazda MX-5: Oil Change at Almost 5,000 Miles with Castrol EDGE 5W20 and K&N HP-1002 Filter

Finally! Took advantage of a 59F winter day to do some oil changes in the household. First the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan which just hit 3,500 miles since the last oil change in August and the Mobil 1 synthetic I put into it looked awfully black. Happy I didn’t wait longer to say 5,000 miles because it would have been unnecessarily dark. The van is only used for short trips and the start/stop engine wear probably contributed to the condition of the oil (as opposed to say higher highway mileage). The Miata too got an oil change earlier than what I planned. It was about 724 miles short of the 5,000 mile interval I have determined to be ideal for my Mazda. Like the van the oil was dark. I used Pennzoil Platinum 0W20 on the last oil change so I’m going to speculate that my car doesn’t  like this oil. It doesn’t burn it as in oil disappearing between oil changes, I never had to top off oil. But it certainly burns to change color from brown to very dark brown. It wasn’t all that black, but it was terribly dark.

Anyway, I’m excited about this oil change because finally I am using Castrol EDGE synthetic motor oil. I mentioned this oil several years ago when I first tried Mobil 1 and prior the time I started using Pennzoil Platinum in order to make an apples to apples comparison between the top readily available oils for my Miata. Sure there are other oils out there that some may consider “better” like Red Line or Royal Purple, but the premium trio: Mobil 1 / Pennzoil Platinum / Castrol EDGE are the most readily available and affordable options on the market here in New Jersey. So finally… Castrol EDGE is in!

My opinion about this oil will realistically be made about 5,000 miles from now when it’s time to replace the oil I just put in, but first impressions are good. There’s no difference in engine sound or feel since changing from Pennzoil Platinum to Castrol EDGE, so I’d say so far so good.

Here’s some pix:

It’s worth noting that I followed Chris’s advice and only hand tightened the K&N HP-1002 filter. Unlike in the past when I turned the 1 inch wrench to tighten it and noticed oil seepage on the top of the filter where it bolts up to the engine, there was none of that this time where Chris did the last oil change for me. So I looked at the way the filter say after he did it, and tried to match the same with my oil change. Looking up at the filter you see just the white side, none of the K&N stickers are visible. That seems to work best. It’s nice and tight by hand-tightening, and that seems to work well.

I also took the time to adjust my front license plate Cravenspeed mount. Lately after driving on the highway it seems the wind was moving the plate out of position (it was askew) so I lowered it about half an inch down to also match the way Chris has it on his car. I think it does look great. Hopefully it sits in place as it should.

Support Motorsport Sponsors?

This post is about motor oil and the holiday season shopping, shall we say- opportunities? Yes! It’s all about great deals on products from companies that support Motorsports through their sponsorship. I don’t know about others but when it comes to effectiveness of Motorsport advertising, I’m a sucker for buying things that are promoted on race cars. In this case it is Castrol EDGE motor oil for my Miata. I think I actually bought too much!

A little back story… I have been posting a lot of Miata.net about what oil is recommended for our MX-5’s. The answer is – surprising! People say it doesn’t really matter what you use in the car as long as it is changed regularly because most modern oils sold in the US right now are “good” and therefore no one is better than the other. That said many on the forums use Mobil 1 in their cars. And Mobil 1 sponsors quite a lot of Motorsport. So like sheep I went ahead and bought two 5QT jugs within the first year of ownership of my car and that is what I used. Until I became puzzled by the dark/black look of that oil when I changed it at 5,000 mile intervals. It did not seem right to me especially since Mobil 1 advertised the oil is good until up to 15,000 miles. Yikes!

The two Mobil 1 5QT’s that I bought were mysteriously priced low, at just $5 a jug… which is ridiculous. Normally the price is $25 at Walmart and $35 everywhere else from AutoZone to Advance Auto Parts. My alternative to Mobil in the second year of ownership turned out to be even cheaper to source. I decided to go with Pennzoil Platinum because again Pennzoil sponsored a lot of racing, some people on the forums swore by it (although there weren’t too many of those people, not nearly as much as Mobil 1 evangelists) and it was fairly cheap! Regularly priced at $25 to $30 from Walmart to the parts stores, but constantly on sale and with promotions from both Pennzoil and other sources that at some point cost me as low as $4 for a 5QT jug or in one case, I basically was paid to take the 5QT jug from the store after all the promos and rebates. (Pennzoil is famous for it’s $10 rebate or rather $2 per QT rebate up to $48 per calendar year, which is a lot of jugs). In 2016 I used Pennzoil Platinum exclusively. I liked it so much that I even got the Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage ATF for my JWS-3309 Aisin Transmission. Mostly 5W-20 felt amazing during the spring, summer and fall months. But using 0W-20 in the winter made the engine sound louder, which really perplexed me. I bought another 5W-20 jug to use later but also started considering alternatives, and now decided to start sourcing Castrol EDGE to try next.

There is a post I made two years ago after my last Mobil 1 oil change that I was contemplating trying Pennzoil Platinum and Castrol EDGE, and sharing that plan in a post created a goal which I am now going to meet. In 2017 I will run Castrol EDGE exclusively in my car and I’ve already sourced enough oil for 3 oil changes which is basically the 15,000 miles I plan to do in the coming year. I decided to go with the 5W-20 weight standard black bottle and not the gold extended performance bottle since I am only daily driving the car and not tracking it or using it in any kind of extreme situations. I do plan to make several trips to Florida which will rack the mileage up quickly, but also probably won’t require me to make as frequent changes as short trips in New Jersey would require with stop and go traffic, cold weather, etc. I am very much looking forward to giving this oil a go, and seeing how I like it compared to Mobil 1 and Pennzoil Platinum I already used. So far the standard has been set pretty high, but I have heard nothing but good things about Castrol and they are one of the big sponsors of the IMSA Mazda Prototype program which makes me feel like I’m supporting it directly now.

Price wise though I think the retailer is losing money selling me the oil because I’ve been taking advantage extensively of the Sears/Kmart ShopYourWay rewards program. Every time they sent me 5,000, 6,000 or 10,000 in points (where 1,000 points = $1) I immediately redeem them for another 1QT bottle or 5QT jug of the Castrol EDGE oil which they have in stock. Regular price for the 1QT bottle is $7.99+ tax. (Which seems ridiculous) Last one I bought with the 6,000 surprise point redemption only cost me $0.87 cents. Before that I redeemed 10,000 points and $5.50 for two bottles. The 5QT jugs which Kmart sells for $37 regular price I paid about $7 bux out of pocket after purchasing it in store on sale for $22.99+ tax, and redeeming some regular points and 4,000 surprise points. All in all an oil change will cost me under $10 for the oil and another $9 for the K&N HP-1002 filter which I sourced from Walmart. The good part about the four K&N filters I bought they were still Made in USA and not the newer style which are made in Korea (and for some reason people are complaining that their quality has dropped).

Now all I got to do is keep driving more so I can use up the oil quickly. 2017 is going to be an awesome year…

I should mention some of the other companies I support by using their products thanks to all the Motorsport advertising I’ve been exposed to:

  • BFGoodrich tires – I have two sets, one summer one winter
  • Sunoco Ultra 93 fuel – official fuel of NASCAR & IndyCar
  • BP 93 Ultimate – I know they sponsor loads of Rally racing
  • Mobil 1 lubricants in rear end, power steering, etc.
  • K&N oil and air filters, also official sponsor of NASCAR
  • Bilstein shocks – huge sponsor especially during Nurburgring 24h

I’m sure there’s more that I’ve used or will use in the future.

For those of you that support Motorsport sponsors in your shopping – kudos to that! If you don’t, and use the argument – why pay more when there are cheaper options? Well, as I’ve demonstrated above, it is possible to use brand name and pay less, way less. You just need to shop around… for me it’s a challenge that I enjoy! I especially like buying branded gift cards, like those from BP, ExxonMobil or Sunoco with 5% to 10% discount for each dollar spend, making my expensive Sunoco Ultra 93 fuel (which is typically more than a no name brand) a bit cheaper… considering fuel is about $2.60/gal at the moment, I’m paying 26 cents less a gallon, which brings the price right down to a low-cost option, and I’m buying a better product! That makes me feel good.

Support Motorsport Sponsors, please 🙂