Briggs & Stratton SAE 30W

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My own "unscientific" observation and comparison of some oils at about -13. Went into my unheated garage last night in Lincoln NE temp of -13. The 5w20 conventional Traveler oil that I use in both of our Hyundai poured very easily which I would expect with a 5w winter type oil The Traveler 5w30 that goes in our Forester also poured equally well which I expected since the 5W( winter) designation. I also had 2 qts of Honda dual pump fluid and it was sloshing around quite easily.I had a bottle of subaru power steering fluid and it would pour easily. Also had a bottle of Prestone Asian power steering fluid that I had from before I traded out our CRV and it was thicker than molasses and would have barely poured out had I tried. Also had 2 qts of shaaffer 75w90 ( for our forester rear diff which was thick but certainly not frozen solid. I was a bit surprised that the Prestone Asian PS fluid was so thick. Used it for years in our Honda in very cold temps with no power steering issues, but its thickness at that temp compared to Subaru PS fluid was a stark contrast. Also had a qt of Briggs & stratten SAE30 that I keep around for my mower and power washer. I expected it to be like molasses but it flowed almost as easily as the 5w oils. It flowed very easily at that temp. I did not have any other SAE 30 oils to compare it to, so my guess is that since Briggs SAE 30 is an oil used not only in lawn mowers, but also in snow blowers, that Briggs SAE 30 oil must be able to pour in low temps since snowblowers must start and operate in very low below zero temps. I would have expected a straight 30W to be a bit thick at a -13 temp, but to my surprise it was not.
 
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I know farmers who ran 30w year round and would only change it if the temp was below zero. Typically its only suggested above 32-40 degrees. Usually when its below 20F, 30w looks pretty thick. new oil may flow better, but after its heated up a few times, the lighter oils boil off and its pure syrup in the winter. I used synthetic 30W in my snow blower and a small car, both started OK down to 10 degrees F, the pour point was around -30 much like a 10w30 conventional oil.
 
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Originally Posted By: BJD78
Prestone Asian PS fluid was so thick.
I just saw some last night at Walmart, and it was labeled as synthetic. Is your synthetic as well, or an older conventional formula?
 
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Is it also -13 in your garage? My unheated garage is about 25 degrees warmer than the outide temperature so it would have been around 12. That makes a difference.
 
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Originally Posted By: 6starprez
Is it also -13 in your garage? My unheated garage is about 25 degrees warmer than the outide temperature so it would have been around 12. That makes a difference.
+1. My garage is attached but unheated. This morning the outside temp was -7F, the garage temp was 35F.
 

BJD78

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It is a detached garage, and this was at night. it might be a couple of degrees warmer on a sunny day since the roof has dark green shingles and will absorb some heat. It is hot as blazes in the summer and cold as ___ in the winter. our house was built in 1941 and so i imagine that the garage was as well. A single car garage and I do not park the vehicles in it as it is so narrow that I can touch the side when the car doors are open. Built back in the days when the when dad worked and mom stayed home and 1 income was more than enough to be solidly in the middle class.
 

BJD78

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It was in a yellow bottle, I do not recall if it said synthetic on the bottle. I kind of want to go out and check, but right now it is so cold that motivation to leave the nice warm house tonight is severely lacking. Good question though. I know I used it for about 10 years in our old 2002 Honda CRV with no issues in very cold weather. No longer have the honda as traded it for 2010 Forester. Never noticed the PS pump laboring , but maybe it gets thick and the PS pump action and engine compartment heat warms it up quickly... that would be my guess.
 

BJD78

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Yep, before multigrades became mainstream, ( probably about early 60's) it was quite common for people to run 10W in the winter and 30W in the summer. i can recall my grandpa talking about putting in some marvel Mystery oil which he said would thin the oil down for somewhat easier extreme cold weather starts. Also added "heet" to the gasoline as well. Of course nowdays when you use 10% ethonol gasoline the "heet" is already in the gas... though some people still must use "heet" if they use non ethonol gasoline.
 
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Today I had a jug each of VML 10w30 and 10w40 that was at about 10*F when I started pouring it out checking and changing the oil in some of the in-laws' rigs. Both were thick - actually getting that "pouring hot fudge" ribbon effect as the stream from the bottle hit the pool in the funnel - but the 40 weight was noticeabley thicker. It technically shouldn't have been because they're both 10w oils, but it probably poured 15% slower than the 10w30. Instructive, if nothing else.
 
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