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#3336020 - 04/07/14 04:51 PM top off oil?
leroyd92 Offline


Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 391
Loc: AZ
Today while i was at oriley buying mercon v for my truck, a guy made a rude remark saying ( valvoline stuff is only good for topping off your oil )

Seeing him hold a oriley jug of atf in his hands i ignored his reply, but i got to thinking, do any of you use cheaper oil for topping off the oil levels instead of using high quality oil???

It just got me thinking, im not really partial to either side, but id like to hear what you all have to say.

It kinda makes sense, if the oil is breaking down, is there really a need to add costly oil back in, or just get the cheaper stuff ?
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#3336022 - 04/07/14 04:52 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
leroyd92 Offline


Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 391
Loc: AZ
Engine or tranny or gears, all of them, ect
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#3336026 - 04/07/14 04:56 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
silverrat Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 1497
Loc: Ontario
If the oil is breaking down wouldnt you want good quality to replenish the additives?
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#3336034 - 04/07/14 05:04 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 35172
Loc: Oz
Have oft maintained that an SAE30 would make a fairly decent top-off oil...simple add pack, and not much complication to go awry with mixing.

My Nisan runs 10,000km OCI, and somewhere between 8,500 and 9,000, needs nearly a litre...

I've had either house brand 5W-30 synthetic (turned out to be Caltex C-3), or currently house brand 10W-30 synthetic blend for that last 600-1000 miles. If I had a litre of what's in the sump lying around, it would certainly go in.

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#3336055 - 04/07/14 05:20 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 13040
Loc: Chicago, IL
I top off with what's already in there. I usually have some left-over from the change, and this way I don't have to play games with additives fighting one another.

I wouldn't overthink it. Just top it off with the same oil and be done with it.
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#3336057 - 04/07/14 05:20 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 6653
Loc: Ohio
Good question, the only recent time I was down a quart was with my 99 Accord 4cyl with 135k miles. I topped off with some Mobil 5000 and was quickly down a quart. Next I topped off with some MaxLife and never had to top it off again. Sold it with 166k miles.
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#3336068 - 04/07/14 05:30 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
leroyd92 Offline


Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 391
Loc: AZ
Makes sense. I like everyones points

For what its worth, at this point in time i have ST 530 in my 5.4 and thats as cheap as cheap gets... but my next change might be something synthetic, and if it were, id rather not use expensive oil for something that might be changed in a few hundred miles.

If adding good oil keeps weak oil stay strong, i say its a good idea
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#3336088 - 04/07/14 05:48 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
Brent_G Offline


Registered: 07/12/11
Posts: 450
Loc: Aberdeen SD
I think it would depend on the amount needed and what OCI you run. If its 3k into a 10k run same would be the best IMO, but if your only 1-2k shy of a change anything should do just fine,

I usually top off with whats in the sump already, but recently started using 15w40 rotella as I have 10 gallons laying around.
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#3336105 - 04/07/14 06:04 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: Brent_G]
leroyd92 Offline


Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 391
Loc: AZ
Originally Posted By: Brent_G
I think it would depend on the amount needed and what OCI you run. If its 3k into a 10k run same would be the best IMO, but if your only 1-2k shy of a change anything should do just fine,

I usually top off with whats in the sump already, but recently started using 15w40 rotella as I have 10 gallons laying around.


I thought about using hdeo.
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#3336168 - 04/07/14 07:09 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: dparm]
gathermewool Online   content


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 4977
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: dparm
I top off with what's already in there. I usually have some left-over from the change, and this way I don't have to play games with additives fighting one another.

I wouldn't overthink it. Just top it off with the same oil and be done with it.


Agreed on both points. In a lot of cars, it doesn't matter, especially if the spec is just a viscosity rating, without any special certifications, like our Civic.
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#3337001 - 04/08/14 05:09 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 13282
Loc: OH
I like to use what I've put in at oil change time or something close to it.
For example, I'll top up the Maxlife in the BMW with Durablend, since I have some clearance Durablend 10W-40 in handy quarts.
Most of our cars don't use enough oil to require adds, so I don't worry about what to add in most cases.
I would advise you not to top off obsessively.
The engine is perfectly safe down to the add line on the dipstick, which is typically one quart.
If you're a quart down at your planned OCI, you're golden.
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#3337179 - 04/08/14 08:11 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
gathermewool Online   content


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 4977
Loc: New England
Just topped the Civic off with 3/4 quart of T6. All those additives should get me at LEAST another 5k miles!


Edited by gathermewool (04/08/14 08:11 PM)
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#3337615 - 04/09/14 09:31 AM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
leroyd92 Offline


Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 391
Loc: AZ
I top off the fluids once a week, along with the tire pressure.

Managing uhauls at my work, its just normal to keep em full lol
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#3357369 - 04/30/14 04:27 AM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
Ducked Offline


Registered: 10/25/12
Posts: 2079
Loc: Taiwan
For the second time, I put Delvac 15W/40 in last oil change, and started topping of with CPC 40Wt. That's marginally cheaper than the Delvac, but my reason for using it was

(a) I had some, and I was out of Delvac
(b) It would compensate for any shear down of the VI in the Delvac, though at the very low miles I do in the car that's unlikely to be an issue. (Might be more relevant in the motorcycle.)

Moot point anyway since it initially used hardly any oil, but then it developed a massive oil leak after I removed the sump. I assumed this was the sump gasket (it was the rocker cover gasket) so it took ne a while to fix it, and the sump is now about 60 Delvac: 40 CPC 40Wt.

(Actually it'll be less, cos some of what I put in will have leaked out, but I've added about 40% of the sump volume.)

Perhaps not ideal, but its nearly summer. Can't say I notice any difference in the way it runs.


Edited by Ducked (04/30/14 04:34 AM)

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#3358207 - 04/30/14 08:43 PM Re: top off oil? [Re: leroyd92]
901Memphis Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 11937
Loc: Northern Kentucky
I top off with what's already opened. My Buick doesn't use any oil whatsoever currently but my Taurus drinks it. My last top off for this run of Mobil 1 High Mileage 5w30 was a gallon jug of PYB api SM that I got on clearance at O'Reilly. I think it's drank 3 quarts in 7k miles.

I wouldn't go out of my way to top off with the same thing, since it's all miscible and new additives are better than depleted additives. My next top off is going to be clearance M1 TDT 5w40, $2 each at AZ, after that on sale peak 5w30 I got at big lots cheap, $1.75 quart iirc.
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2002 Buick Century 125k - Built 4T65e(Maxlife) - Edge 0w40 + Fram XG3980
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