15W-40 dino oil in VW engine in Canadian winter?

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Sep 6, 2002
Mississauga, ON
Dealers REALLY **** me off when they do this: my dad just bought a 2002 VW Passat V6 4-Motion, and the manual recommends 5W-40 oil. All changes were done at the dealership at their recommended intervals, yet this car burns oil and it's only on it's 3rd scheduled change (it has 12,500 Km). Recently the car burnt 1L in 500 Km, and I found out by turning it on and having the engine shake like crazy and the check engine light flickering. I filled it up with Castrol GTX 5W-30 and took it back to the dealership (the engine ran OK after the top-up), they did some half-assed tests and filled it up with 15W-40 dino oil!! Instead of fixing the issue they put in this heavy oil and expect us to run it through winter (I live in Toronto, Canada and it gets pretty cold in winter)!

To make matters worse, this is the 2nd car my dad bought from this dealership, the 1st being a 2000 Jetta with a 2.0L 4-cyl engine. This engine burns oil like crazy as well, and the dealership recommends 15W-40 dino oil all year round as well! We don't really care about this car as it's leased, and we'll give it back in May 2003.

After the Passat's oil burning will be fixed (as my dad will have a word with the dealership's owner when he gets back from vacation), what oil would you guys recommend? Should I use Mobil Delvac 1 5W-40 diesel oil, or would the Amsoil 10W-40 be OK all year round?
Economically speaking, since the car is leased, I wouldn't put any expensive oil in it. Remind the dealership that the recommended oil is 5W40, not 15W40.
Either oil should be fine. Certainly better than 15-40. What were they thinking?

Mobil 1 0W-40 is worth considering as well.

I change my own oil because I personally have seen situations when a bad oil change has really messed up someone's engine. Happened to my mother-in-law and a car my wife had several years ago.....long sad story. On Car Talk a few weeks ago, some lady was calling in with a toasted engine that had been filled with ATF at some quickie lube place.
I'm in Toronto and using 15-50 year round in my BMW as my manual specs this grade to be OK for up to -20C. As far as your vehicle....it's hard to comment other than to say that unless there's an engine defect, 5-40 for Euro. vehicles (unless otherwise spec'd) is a min. and 15-40 or 15-50 should be fine. Keep us posted if the car runs better with this grade.

Originally posted by Ferrari:

After the Passat's oil burning will be fixed (as my dad will have a word with the dealership's owner when he gets back from vacation), what oil would you guys recommend? Should I use Mobil Delvac 1 5W-40 diesel oil, or would the Amsoil 10W-40 be OK all year round?

Go with the Delvac 1, it's a great oil and up here it's sold at just about every Walmart location too ($35 for a 4L jug)
Is the car a diesel? If so I agree with Delvac 1, but if it's a gas burner and you're seeing this much consumption...my guess is the consumption will continue with the Delvac and this is why I suggested going thicker.
the VW latest 2.0 engine is a source of problems for VW. It's a major oil burner due to a manufacturing defect ( oil pston rings ). You won't hear this from VW, but i heard from somebody who works for them. they blame it on early oil changes or they insist it's normal ( ???). Your Passat V-6 is actually an Audi engine. I hear alot of people have the same problem with this particular engine lately.
I suspect the problem is the same as the 2.0
( piston rings ) the reccomendation of the dealer to use heavier oil goes to confirm those rumors.
i wouldn't use 15W-40 if I lived in canada. i use that grade in my 16V in summer and i live in PA.
If you want an advice on the Passat, but you didn't hear it from me OK, drive it , let it run low on oil and let it seize. make sure the dealer has documented the issue and pass them the ball.
they know there are issues with their engines but avoid doing anything about it but only half *** measures. Why you think VW dropped the 100K powertrain warranty?

I'd try the Petro Canada 5w-40, Group III synthetic in this motor. I have been running it in an older Audi 100 and it works very well ....Delvac 1 is fine as well but the PC stuff is 1/2 the price.

A 5w-30 petroleum oil is going to have a fairly high evaporation rate at high temps - not what you want for this engine, or the 2.0L for that matter.
What service schedule are you following? My understanding is that you are suppose to change oil every 5000 miles on 2002 Passats so to be on your third in 12,500km is quite frequent. I have heard quite a bit about V6 Passat engines burning oil on Vortex, particularly if they switched to synthetic early (before 5000 miles). But my understanding is that this oil consumption reduces at around 20,000 miles for many of these owners. Still, it can't be comforting. I would see if the consumption reduces over time and just keep an eye on it. If not, then I would call VW directly.
Thanks for all the advice. I will try a dino 10W-40 or 5W-40 and see what happens, but I will not run 15W-40 all year round.

Thanks again.

These VW/Audi motors use a hard, chrome moly piston ring that takes quite a while to seat properly. In my experience it is best to run them for at least 10,000 miles on petroleum oil before using a PAO/Ester synthetic like Mobil 1, Amsoil, etc. I have broken in four of these engines using this procedure and have seen extremely low oil consumption in all of them, including a 1997 Jetta GL with the 2.0L engine.

Once you get this engine broken in and the oil consumption stabilizes, the Amsoil 10w-40 would be excellent to use, as would the Mobil 1, 0w-40. I have a number of friends who run the Amsoil 10w-40l in the VW TDI diesel engine for 10,000 miles between changes and it holds up very well - it is ACEA A3/B3 and VW 505 rated. I think that VW is recommending a 5000 mile oil/filter change interval on this motor, but I suggest using oil analysis to set the proper interval. I think you can safely go at least two times the VW/Audi recommendation and still have plenty of reserve capacity.

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