That's always a loaded question because everyone has their preferances and there the constant debate of conventional vs. synthetic.
Nissan recommends 5W-30 in both the 4 cyl. and V6 and has for most of their models for a long time, so I would stick with that.
I don't think there's much argument that synthetic is a better oil vs. conventional as far as its physical properties, but some would argue the advantage vs. the cost of the oil. I used the cheapest 5W-30 conventional oil I could get and genuine Nissan filters for over 200,000 miles in my '97 HB KA24E. I changed it every 3700 miles +/- per the manufacturers recommendations and the engine still runs like day one with no engine repairs (knock on wood) yet and no "infamous" KA24 chain rattle (knock on more wood), yet. It also doesn't smoke. Would I have had better fuel economy with synthetic...enough to make up for the $4/qt. differance in price to use synthetic? Who knows, but I doubt it? Conventional oil has certainly served me well, so far. FYI, I bought a 12000 mi. '04 Tacoma 4WD a year ago w/ the 2.7 I-4. I noticed Wal-mart has their "house brand" sythetic at $13 a jug, which I've been using. I change it at the manufacturer recommended 5000 mile intervals and use either a Toyota or Purolator Pure-One filter. I'll see how it goes!
Is Mobil 1 good oil? Yes. Is it as good as Pennzoil's or Castrol's synthetic? I guess you'll need to look at Consumer Reports to find out. WHich is best for you?....You'll have to think that one over. Today's oils are far superior to what was available 20 years ago and more. The most important thing, IMO, is to change your oil at the recommended intervals and use a quality oil filter.
I will agree with the rest of these guys good oil is in the mind of the beholder. All of my cars I have had: (GM) malibu, (3) s10, corsica, and a olds ciera. I have used 5w30 valvoline and changed the oil and filter & 5000 miles religiously. All of these vehicles never had problems with engine wear, they mostly failed for other reasons.
However, with my new frontier my attitude is a bit different. I figure I change my own oil and parts and save money so I can spend a bit extra on what I feel is better oil.
Synthetic oil is proven to have better qualities than regular oil. Will those qualities make a big difference over 100000+ miles is hard to tell. You'll find out when the engine starts burning oil.
I think the best answer to your question is no matter what you use is change the oil and filter at least every 5000 miles.
I have 103K on my 2001 4 cylinder with no lubrication related problems (noise, oil consumption, leaks). I use Chevron 5W-30 and change it every 4 to 5K miles.
I use synthetics when I want its superior properties (e.g. heat resistance). An example is in air cooled engines (like my 1966 Corvairs). I agree with the previous posts that for most applications you'll see minimal added value for the added cost of synthetic.
The factory price filter vs the off the shelf filter is really not that much.
I pay about 5$ for the OEM from courtesy nissan. You can also get them cheaper if you go with a 3 or 5 pack from other online services.
I change my oil (mobil 1) and filter for around 20$. I do it and not a service center. Can a service center do my oil change cheaper? yes, but I get a better oil and filter and get it done quicker by not having to go there and wait.
Can I drive longer on synthetic oil than regular oil between oil changes?
Maybe. Oil changes are intended to do two things; they are removal of the "worn out" lubricant and removal of contaminants from the engine. Synthetics excel at resisting wear as their molecular chains are optimized against shearing and oxidation. That is a reason for their longer suggested interval between changes.
You also change the oil (and filter) to remove contaminants from the engine. Combustion creates water, raw gas, and acids that find their way to the crankcase. If the engine is not allowed to warm up completely, e.g. lots of short trips, the oil gets more rapidly contaminated. The rate of contamination depends on your driving habits (short versus long trips) and not on the goodness of the oil base.
So, if you drive the vehicle in a manner that allows the engine to always completely warm up (not just the temp guage coming up to normal but the oil warming up and having time to evaporate the water and raw gas) and not a lot of dust and dirt then you might go longer between changes. If you are a short trip driver where the engine never completely warms up and there is a lot of dust and dirt I'd stay with the factory severe service schedule for oil changes.
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