What grade of oil do you use?

Wrenchgear

5 Star Eagle Camper
Aug 5, 2010
3,694
Near Elmira, Southern Ontario
I have to word this question very carefully, because I'm a Auto Tech. People come to me with these questions, I'm not supposed to go to you.
What I'm after is real world experience from guys in the warmer States like Texas, Arizona, New Mex, Cali, Fla, anywhere hot (forgive me if I didn't mention yours). Also places like Mexico or down under in The Land of Oz.

Scouring the internet with this question has lead to hours and hours of a spinning circle.

Here it is - What grade of oil do you guys use in your TV's.

I don't want this to be a "use Pennzoil/don't use Pennzoil...or...use Castrol/don't use Castrol". Thats not what I'm after. I'm also not really after synthetic vs blend vs conventional.

I'm after what grade you use in hot weather.

I recently changed TV's. The engine oil fill cap says 5w20. The owner's manual says 5w20. I called a couple of dealerships and they all say 5w20. And I ask "why?" No one had an answer other than - "thats what the book says". I hate that answer.

I live in Southern Ontario, so we get temp extremes during different seasons. We go from -5 F up to 95 F.

For the last 1000 years that cars have been around, everyone (I'll use that term loosely), used 10w30 in everything they owned. Then "they" said, "use 5w30 for easier starting in cold weather". People would swap between 5w30 (in winter) and 10w30 (even 10w40) for summer. Then "they" said "use 5w30 all year because you get the protection of a 30 weight oil in the summer anyway, why swap back and forth? The 5 is for winter, the 30 is for summer". Now in the last 10 years, everyone is swapping over to 5w20.

So here's what I'm thinking - I'm sitting on Hwy 401 in Toronto. It's the hottest day of July at noon hour (90 F), there's an accident up ahead that will take an hour to clear. It's 8 lanes of parking lot with a thousand cars around, blowing off all kinds of heat at me, and I have 20 weight oil in my new TV's engine. That oil is thinner than hot water. Is that what I really want in there at that time? (and those times seem to happen often enough). Just because "the book says so". I get it, Auto Engineers are supposed to be smarter than me, and advancements in modern day oil has come a long way, but I want a better answer.

Heres the next thing - I have piles of Brand Name oil (probably about 75 liters) sitting in my shop, however, none of it is 5w20. It's all 5w30 or 10w30. What am I supposed to do with all that stuff. I can only do so many oil changes on my lawnmowers and snowblowers. I started buying 5w20 (because the book said so), but I want to know if I will be alright using the thicker stuff. I'm trying not to over think this stuff, but it turns out that I am. I don't want to wreck anything in there if oil can't get somewhere fast enough inside that engine because it has to squeeze through an orifice, and the oil is too thick.

SO here it is - I'll use 5w20 in the winter,

but

Do you guys in warmer climates use 5w30 or 10w30 when the manufacturer specifically asks for 5w20?



A couple side notes.
1) This is a 2013 Ford F150 5.0L, and one guy said that there are screens that the oil has to go through before it gets to the variable timed cams. They want to make sure the oil can get through the screens easy enough = use thinner oil. (that, in my mind, is a better answer)
2) My DD's Hyundai manual states to use 5w20, but 5w30 is a suitable substitute. Duh!
3) I've been out of the trade for a few years and find myself asking other people some of these questions now.
 

natty bumppo

2009 F-150,1998 Coleman Westlake
Jun 22, 2008
436
Pilot Moutain,NC
I Googled ,here's a Yahoo answer.

Most makers have turned to apparently "thinner" oils. Research has shown that one of THE main lubrication problems is getting enough oil to the remote parts of the engine. As this takes a higher pumping effort due to restricted or longer passages, oil goes to the lower-resistance areas. As the oil gets older, it further thickens as it keeps suspended combustion and wear particles (not all get filtered). These tend to deposit and clog low-velocity passages, restricting them further. This shortens the life of some components. So the new philosophy is: get as much oil as possible (ie increase the flow) and keep it as cool as possible (water/oil heat exchangers in some cases). Besides, new oils are mostly synthetic and have different viscosity vs. temperature performance and longer service life.
Yes, as a side effect it reduces the effort and improves the economy, but not much. It does improve low-temperature starting and (another BIG problem) lubrication during cold-engine operation (ie until the temp gage gets to its stable position in any season, even summer), which alone accounts for almost 80 percent of the overall engine wear.
So don't worry, (engine and oil) manufacturers know best - and they definitely don't want any claims. Don't experiment with other than Manufacturer-recommended type and grade ("weight") of engine oil and all other consumables. Most stories you hear around are plain myths or someone trying to sell their wares to anyone willing to take the bait.
Two DON'Ts: don't use stand-alone oil additives - in many cases they can reduce the effect of the built-in ones and deteriorate the oil and, unless you have heavy-duty use (full payload, trailer, dusty environment) don't change oil before the Manufacturer says - the interval includes all the reasonable margins of error. This improves the overall $pg economy.
 

West Coast Canuck

Jumped to the dark side ......
Mar 3, 2005
1,683
I have the Hemi Engine and it was rated for 5w30 back in 2004 it was the recommended by Chrysler to switch out to 5w20 the following year because if the tighter tolerances and getting the oil where it need to get to quicker. They said Lifter noise during morning start up when it sits for a few days during the first year of ownership was the reason they switched it over to 5w20 and I have been running it ever since and switched to synthetics. My truck now has 176,000 kms and the engine does not burn a drop of oil. I have been pulling a 5500 lb TT for 3 years now.
 

fallsrider

Super Active Member
Nov 16, 2006
1,771
NC
Even worse than that is my DW's 2012 Toyota Sienna that we just bought in February. I did all the oil changes on her prior 2004 Sienna, using the 5w30 oil that Toyota spec'd. I went to change the oil in the 2012, and guess what? It uses 0w20 oil. What? I had never heard of such a thing. I trudged off to Walmart, though, and there it was on the shelf. You can tell a difference pouring it out of the jug. It is not quite like water, but not far from it.

I chalk the thinner oils up to oil technology and engine technology. Things change over time, that's for sure.
 

sgip2000

Active Member
Jun 16, 2010
540
Hillsboro, OR
natty bumppo said:
I Googled ,here's a Yahoo answer.

Most makers have turned to apparently "thinner" oils. Research has shown that one of THE main lubrication problems is getting enough oil to the remote parts of the engine. As this takes a higher pumping effort due to restricted or longer passages, oil goes to the lower-resistance areas. As the oil gets older, it further thickens as it keeps suspended combustion and wear particles (not all get filtered). These tend to deposit and clog low-velocity passages, restricting them further. This shortens the life of some components. So the new philosophy is: get as much oil as possible (ie increase the flow) and keep it as cool as possible (water/oil heat exchangers in some cases). Besides, new oils are mostly synthetic and have different viscosity vs. temperature performance and longer service life.
Yes, as a side effect it reduces the effort and improves the economy, but not much. It does improve low-temperature starting and (another BIG problem) lubrication during cold-engine operation (ie until the temp gage gets to its stable position in any season, even summer), which alone accounts for almost 80 percent of the overall engine wear.
So don't worry, (engine and oil) manufacturers know best - and they definitely don't want any claims. Don't experiment with other than Manufacturer-recommended type and grade ("weight") of engine oil and all other consumables. Most stories you hear around are plain myths or someone trying to sell their wares to anyone willing to take the bait.
Two DON'Ts: don't use stand-alone oil additives - in many cases they can reduce the effect of the built-in ones and deteriorate the oil and, unless you have heavy-duty use (full payload, trailer, dusty environment) don't change oil before the Manufacturer says - the interval includes all the reasonable margins of error. This improves the overall $pg economy.

It is true that thinner oil will pump easier, but thicker oil adheres to engine parts better and will take longer to drain.
 

BIGTOM

Active Member
May 15, 2013
349
I also am an auto mechanic and this is my experience. The first vehicle I bought that stated 5w-20 I thought it was too thin for Florida heat and changed to 10w-30 at first change. Lost 2 mpg and went back to 5w-20 and millage came back up. Ran that truck app 200,000 miles and gave it to my son. If the engineer says 5w-20, that is good enough for me.
 

HiFiDave

Singin round the campfire
Feb 1, 2012
1,069
Blazing desert here 10w30 year round on all our vehicles. Good nuff...no problems
 

gruss

Super Active Member
May 6, 2014
1,252
I still roll old school sometimes and run a heavier weight in the summer, and I'm in the same climate as you. Never had any problems and I drive an 02 and 03.
 

Bowman3d

Super Active Member
Apr 13, 2015
1,033
LaLa land (SoCal)
Bought a used Honda Element 2 yrs back. On the way home check engine lite comes on engine shuts down at 2700 rpm. Have it checked Vtech valve stuck. After research find its due to low oil pressure. I changed the oil but I used 10/30 figuring like you hot temp thicker oil. While I've not had problems with the valve any more I'm not happy with mpg. So maybe i'll try switching back to 5/20 and see.
 

nineoaks2004

Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday
Oct 15, 2006
8,241
Dukes, Fl
As per the manufacturer (Ford) I use 5-20 synthetic I live in Fl. BTW, the oil pressure always stays in the middle of the gauge as is normal since new.
 

Yak

Super Active Member
Apr 18, 2009
1,205
nineoaks2004 said:
As per the manufacturer (Ford) I use 5-20 synthetic I live in Fl. BTW, the oil pressure always stays in the middle of the gauge as is normal since new.

Because the gauge is just an on off switch. An idiot light in gauge form. Few Fords use a true gauge any more.
 

joet

Super Active Member
Mar 16, 2011
5,015
Elkins WV area
The vehicle manufactures are mandated to increase fuel mileages. They have to certify their engine packages. They use thinner oils to increase the MPG, A thinner oil will produce a slight increase. Had a Ford engineer to say, you will have better protection with a heavier grade.
I use 10w30 for winter and 20w50 for summer. If I can get 300k on and engine,,,who's to say its the wrong weigh/
 

skeetercampsintexas

Super Active Member
Jun 26, 2012
1,759
Wylie, Texas
Wrench, I had a fleet account at my shop and all they had were ford engines. I think everything gas/ford since the triton series has always been 5-20. Every oil change was 6 quarts of 5-20 and a P2 Fram filter. And that is here in North texas, typical summer temps easily 100+ every day, 93 is a god send in summer time. Now that I'm at a big red auto parts store here is my answer to people with viscosity questions....

Different motors, as an auto tech should know, have different tolerances in the engine. Forget about the screens and pressure sending units and vvt's for now, I'm talking bottom end. Manufacturers like audi, for example, are honing cylinders with lasers now instead of stones. This creates such tight tolerances that those motors are using 0-20 oil. If the manufacturer calls for 5-20, 5-30 or whatever, then use that viscosity, because there's probably good reason for that recommendation. With advances in tolerances, gaskets, seals, etc. the days of curing that tricky oil leak, or getting better performance by using a thicker/thinner oil are gone. I had a guy come in wanting to put 20w-50 in his 4.6L Ford pickup and obviously that's a real quick way to kill your engine.

Stick with what ford wants. If you're wanting the texas option, the viscosity is the same, for your Ford specificaly. Some other are different, like dodge. They go from 5-30 in cold climates to 10-30 in warmer.
 

real lite virgin

Rob,Suzanne & Jessie - Black Lab
Apr 15, 2010
773
With increased tolerances, needs to get lubrication to all areas of the engine as quickly as possible and oil pressure used to adjust things like valve timing on engine start up for emissions, oil needs to flow faster. Better fuel mileage is also another positive. Advances in oil technology mean that todays thinner oil probably protects much better than thicker oils of years ago. I can't remember the last time a customer complained of oil consumption issues when years ago oil burners were common. If the manufacturer states one weight for all conditions then you should have no problems. As you know being a tech, the main thing is to change it regularly.
Oh and don't build up too big of a supply of 5/20, as skeeter said 0/20 is already becoming more common.

Rob
 

russjbeck

Active Member
Jun 2, 2014
223
Go over to bobistheoilguy.com and they have everything you could ever want to know about oil. From what research I have read the 5W-20 is mainly due to emissions and fuel mileage. The thinner oil reduces resistance in the engine. The government is forcing automakers to squeeze out every last drop of MPG, and so they resort to every trick they can like shutting off cylinders (active displacement or whatever they market it as), reducing rotating mass, reducing friction, and that annoying auto stop-start (we rented a car with this and hated it). The Germans have been using 0W-xx for years. Ford has been using 5W-20 since at least 1999 because I remember the Mustang GT of that time ('99-'04) needed 5W-20 and it was only available from Ford at first.

One thing Bob the Oil Guy brings up is regardless of outside temp the engine stays around 200-220 anyway due to water cooling. Now after shut down with high outside temps the engine temp can go up a lot.

Personally I use 5W-30 in both vehicles I have. Both say 5W-20 on the 710 caps but my wife's van eats 3 quarts of 5W-20 in 3,000 miles, while the 5W-30 wlll last til the next oil change and only burn about a quart in 3,000 miles. Her van (a 2008 Caravan) has the old Dodge 3.8L V6 that was designed when 10W-30 was the norm.
 

HobieNick

Active Member
Mar 16, 2015
187
We have bought four new cars from three different manufacturers in the past four years. Don't ask why so many cars. Anyways, we had a 2012 Honda CRV: 0W-20, a 2013 Honda CRV: 0W-20, a 2013 Mazda 3: 0W-20, and a 2014 Ford Edge: 0W-20.

From what all of the service techs tell me during warranty oil changes the lower viscosity is due to tighter tolerances in the engine and the push for higher mileage. Just like mentioned earlier.

Before this rash of new cars we had cars from 2000 and 2001 that took 10W-20 or 5W-20 was OK too.

I'm looking forward to a battery technology breakthrough so I can finally go electric.
 

redneckgearhead

Active Member
Mar 30, 2015
375
0w40 in the wife's benze, 5w20 in the lightning, it has an oil cooler. And the wife and I recently moved from the hot and humid tulsa ok region.
 

turborich

Super Active Member
Jun 22, 2010
1,908
Las Vegas, NV.
I use 5w30 in all 3 of my vehicles, that's what they were intended to use when built. Sure there have been revisions to run 5w20 but this is only for fuel economy and no other reason.

Bottom line is that whether you use 5w20, 5w30, 10w30... your engine isn't going to suffer, break, etc. It's all personal preference when it comes to which brand, for the actual weight I would just stick with what's in your manual. [2C]
 




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