0w vs 5w in a typical winter.... Does it matter?

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28,192
Location
PNW
For most people no matter where they live, it’s the actual grade that matters, not the W rating. Nobody has a problem running 0wxx in mild temperatures.
In super cold temperatures, the W rating could matter quite a bit. You certainly wouldn't want to run a 10W, 15W or 20W in Alaska in the middle of the winter.
 
Messages
11,746
Location
Illinois
In super cold temperatures, the W rating could matter quite a bit. You certainly wouldn't want to run a 10W, 15W or 20W in Alaska in the middle of the winter.
Yet with Alaska having a population of under 750k in a nation of 330 million, or 0.2% of the US population, Alaska is practically an edge case, no a typical experience for US motorists.
 
Messages
902
Location
GA
Some 0W20's are thicker than 5W20's at operating temp, yet still thinner at cold start. I don't know if they stay in grade better or worse. For example, M1 0W20 HM has this property.

On paper, M1 5W20 HM is redundant.
 
Messages
28,192
Location
PNW
Yet with Alaska having a population of under 750k in a nation of 330 million, or 0.2% of the US population, Alaska is practically an edge case, no a typical experience for US motorists.
Well, my point was about extreme cold weather starting - Alaska being an example. There are plenty of places in the USA that can have very cold winter weather. When I lived in the midwest I recall seeing -25 to -30F nights. Some cars were not starting unless they had a block heater plugged in.
 

4WD

Messages
17,315
Location
Texas
In super cold temperatures, the W rating could matter quite a bit. You certainly wouldn't want to run a 10W, 15W or 20W in Alaska in the middle of the winter.
We run 15w40 all winter in Russia … it’s easy … let them run all day … park them in heated buildings at night !
(and have your own mechanics to rebuild them) … 😷
 
Messages
1,084
Location
New York
Here are two excerpts from the owners manual of a 2013 and a 2014 Chevy Silverado. In 2013 Chevy recommended 5w30 but if ambient temps went down to -20 F, they recommended using a 0w30. In 2014 the 5.3 and 6.2 V-8’s were redesigned and they went to 0w20 for year round use. This may have been due to CAFE or whatever, but they were not afraid to spec a 0w for year round use.

Going back to 2013, they thought -20 F was a good time to switch to 0w. Anything above that, the differences are small. I am running 0w30 in my Burb, but I will see a few -20 F starts after cold soaking all afternoon sometime during this winter.

Most pre-Dexos GM manuals stated something similar, I think they recommended a fully synthetic 5W-30 or 0W-30 at -22F and below...
 
Messages
11,746
Location
Illinois
In super cold temperatures, the W rating could matter quite a bit. You certainly wouldn't want to run a 10W, 15W or 20W in Alaska in the middle of the winter.
Yet with Alaska having a population of under 750k in a nation of 330 million, or 0.2% of the US population, Alaska is practically an edge case, no a typical experience for US motorists.
Well, my point was about extreme cold weather starting - Alaska being an example. There are plenty of places in the USA that can have very cold winter weather. When I lived in the midwest I recall seeing -25 to -30F nights. Some cars were not starting unless they had a block heater plugged in.
I'm not against 0W20. Heck, other than my son's 2010 Altima which uses 5W30, I'm using 0W20 in my Mazda as well as both oilBabe and my daughters respective Toyotas.

But I wouldn't be afraid of using 5W20 in them. I have some left over from my daughter's Ford Escape. I'll probably use it come this spring in my Mazda.
 
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17,886
Location
...
In super cold temperatures, the W rating could matter quite a bit. You certainly wouldn't want to run a 10W, 15W or 20W in Alaska in the middle of the winter.

And that is true but on the flip side there are millions running 0w20 and 0w16 in Southern California or other places that rarely see temps anywhere near freezing. That was my point.
 
Messages
28,192
Location
PNW
And that is true but on the flip side there are millions running 0w20 and 0w16 in Southern California or other places that rarely see temps anywhere near freezing. That was my point.
It was you comment: "For most people no matter where they live, it’s the actual grade that matters, not the W rating." ... that I was focused on. The W rating certainly can matter in the winter time depending where you live. And I agree ... you could run 0W-20 even in warmer climates.
 
Messages
17,886
Location
...
It was you comment: "For most people no matter where they live, it’s the actual grade that matters, not the W rating." ... that I was focused on. The W rating certainly can matter in the winter time depending where you live. And I agree ... you could run 0W-20 even in warmer climates.

Okay so I slipped.
 
Messages
1,551
I live in Michigan and have Michigan Winters. These are usually 20's-30's with occasional teens or even around zero.

I can see an advantage of a 0w in every cold weather, but is there really that big of an advantage in normal winter weather?
Whats your vehicle.. whats a typical Michigan winter and what does your service manual suggest?
 
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4,679

That's what mine says LOL

It literally just says... OIL.

lol. 👍
shopping (1).jpeg
 

4WD

Messages
17,315
Location
Texas
That's what mine says LOL

It literally just says... OIL.

lol. 👍
Just looked at a brand new Hemi in my driveway and could swear the cap said 5w20 … maybe I had my glasses fogged or that e-Box does so much work the oil is on vacation 🤪
 
Messages
2,841
Location
Caldwell Idaho
Some 0W20's are thicker than 5W20's at operating temp, yet still thinner at cold start. I don't know if they stay in grade better or worse. For example, M1 0W20 HM has this property.

On paper, M1 5W20 HM is redundant.
Viscosity improvers give the illusion of thicker.
 
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