2001 Ford Focus Switching Motor Oils

  • 2001 FORD FOCUS

Engine Performance problem
2001 Ford Focus 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 115000 miles

For the life of my vehicle, I have used
Motorcraft ® SAE 5W-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil. When I switched to a higher mileage engine oil, I was not able to use Motorcraft ® SAE 5W-20 High Mileage Synthetic Blend Motor Oil because it was difficult to locate in my area. Currently, I am using Valvoline MaxLife 5W20 Synthetic Blend Motor Oil. Valvoline recommended their MaxLife Full Synthetic for my vehicle because of the hot temperatures during the summer, and the full synthetic would better protect the engine, but they don't manufacture the full synthetic in 5W20. Now that Ford has launched their FordParts. Com website, I am able to purchase their high mileage engine oil directly which is what I originally wanted to use. (That was probably more than you wanted/needed to know.)

Is there anything "special" for lack of a better term I should do before switching from Valvoline to Motorcraft? When I began using Valvoline, I spoke with one of their technicians, and they said there would not be any issues when switching.

Also, do you have a suggestion/advice on staying with Valvoline or possibly another brand of oil with better properties?

Thank you for your help.

Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 AT 9:20 PM

1 Reply


First of all, understand that manufacturers don't make oil; they buy it from a major supplier and have it packaged for them. I use only standard 10W-30 Mopar oil in my '93 Dynasty, but it isn't made by Chrysler. It has had a total of one oil change in its life. It just turned 4,000 miles last summer!

I have only used Valvoline 10W-40 in my '80 Volare, which I also bought new, only because in the '80s, it was the least expensive oil. I had good luck with it so I'm sticking with it. What I've found is there are more problems caused by changing brands than are caused by USING a certain brand. Oils have additives for seal conditioners, anti-foaming agents, and rust inhibitors. Changing brands of oil introduces additives that might not be compatible with some of the remaining additives from the old oil. A former student with a Ford F-150 never had a leak until he switched to synthetic oil. Every place he parked he had a 6" puddle. After switching back to regular oil, the leak continued for about a year, then cleared up on its own.

I haven't changed the oil in my '88 Grand Caravan in over 8 years! I add a quart about every 2,000 miles, and change the filter every two years. That isn't neglect. That's abuse. I pull an enclosed trailer twice a year that's bigger than the van. The oil I use? Whatever cheap stuff is on sale. I'm not recommending you neglect your vehicle like this, but that engine has never been repaired yet in 378,000 miles. That cheap oil is actually manufactured by a major company, but it might not have the same additive package.

At the mileage you listed, I would hardly call that "high" mileage. 150,000 miles was about what you could expect from an engine 20 or 30 years ago, but with today's engines, at 100,000 miles, you're just getting started. I don't think you're going to gain much by using synthetic oils except possibly a little better fuel mileage. With current fuel prices, you might save a few bucks in the long run on fuel costs off-setting the cost of the oil. As for a high mileage oil, the oil itself is basically the same. It's the additive package that is most different.


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Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 AT 10:13 PM

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