Easier On Oil : V-6 or I-4 ?

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Sep 10, 2010
How would one predict / determine which engine would "typically" be easier on a oil : A V-6 or a I-4 both PFI , driven in the same conditions , same manner , same OCI - and both with automatic transmissions ? More specifically a Kia '07 3.8L (timing chain) V-6 vs. a '10 Hyundai (timing belt) I - 4 ? ...I'm thinking the wild card would be higher engine RPM's , less HP and less torque of the I-4 vs. the V-6 which beats it in all these categories . Conversely , the V-6 is pulling more weight (Sedona Van) vs. the I-4 (Elantra) ...Your thoughts ?
Timing chains can often be the source of stress on oil...vehicle weight is of little consequence. RPM matters more. Neither vehicle you've mentioned has a reputation for being hard on oil, so I don't think there is a discernible difference between the two that are mentioned. But honestly, there are so many other, more important, factors in choosing a car than the relative, and highly subjective, "easier on oil" that I just wouldn't worry about it...
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I agree, since we have no shortage of premium motor oils available for the most extreme use in NA, how hard an engine is on oil should be of zero concern. BTW, given the choice I would choose an engine with a timing chain over a belt, less maintenance.
Thanks for the replies - both use 5W20 so what ever I buy for one I will buy for the other and continue to run the same conservative OCI (6 months or 6500 miles using 5W20 synthetic) .
Both configurations are "shakers" so it comes down to design and materials. Good oil is a given today and oil swirl vibration problems were solved so long a go that today most people have never even heard the concept. Today there is hardly a bad engine left on the market.
Originally Posted By: Astro14
But honestly, there are so many other, more important, factors in choosing a car than the relative, and highly subjective, "easier on oil" that I just wouldn't worry about it...
Huge +1
I cant believe the Hyundai had a T belt! Is not the world engine a belt engine? In any event - T-chain are one of the biggest oil stressors on a NORMALLY loaded engine. Otherwise it would be how heavy the vehicle is laden and how loaded (% throttle) the engine is over time - a more useful discussion med duty Lorries rather than passenger vehicles. Regardless, Hot pistons and EX port roof in the head are oil toasters.
These are many situations, look at comparing a gm 3.8l V6 to a Nissan 3.5l V6! Both are chain driven but one is much harder on oil then the other. Too many broad variables to have an exact answer.
What engine is in the 2010 Hyundai? From everything I see the 4 cyl. for 2010 are chains as well. Have you checked the manual for maintenance of a timing belt? If there is no mention of it, it's a chain system.
Originally Posted By: ChrisD46
More specifically a Kia '07 3.8L (timing chain) V-6
I have a few opinions on the 2007 Kia/Hyundai Lambda 3.8 engine which might relate to your question, but only regarding that engine, and not the 2010 unit. They are just opinions, so I don't intend to flame anyones ride or anything, just share some info. Firstly, and in summary, I consider the 3.8 Lambda to be tough on its engine lube oil. It has a generous output, and has some mechanical components which will shear, sludge, and cook oil if left too long. Also, as you might know, the timing chain tensioners on that engine are its Achilles heel. The 3.8 Lambda engine is smooth, powerful, and has truly excellent driveability, but the original (and often defective) chain tensioners can fail completely, causing slack chains to eat the guides and case, then throw off the cam gears resulting in destructive failure of the engine. I have seen it happen. Rattling at startup, followed by increasingly extended chain knocking means the grim reaper has come for the engine, and it must be fixed immediately. Given that the updated chain tensioners are in place, the early 3.8 will run great with 5w-30 and 10w-30, the 10w-30 even listed by the mfg as an option. I don't like the 5w-20 in this engine at all, although severe cold might warrant it. Also absolutely critical is the strict utilization of genuine OEM filters. If, for instance, the VIN calls for filtration kit #26320 3C100, then I strongly suggest its use. Installation of the filter post o-ring, the cap o-ring, the post into the housing, and cap to the housing should be done with precision. The Assenmacher Specialty Tools HY 8815 Oil Filter Wrench is excellent for the task. General notes: This engine will often leak at the timing cover, oil pan, etc. due to much RTV sealing. Surge tank (intake plenum) must come off to do spark plugs at 100,000 mi. VVT engine with the concommitant oil valving, combined with the timing chains and some internal hot spots means it demands quality, clean motor oil. Sludge will not be tolerated by this unit. The VVT system in this engine is another reason to use OEM filtration, as aftermarket out-of-spec oil flow rates have impaired its function. The oil filter here is not a "equivalent fit" brain dead spin-on situation. TPS can go bad, so if your auto shifts weird, don't suspect it without confirming the updated TPS is in place. Do not neglect coolant changes. Guzzles fuel, but this engine is great fun to drive!
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