Engine Damage caused from 0W20/5W20?

Has anyone heard of any documented evidence or even credible rumors that someone running 0W20 or 5W20 has had engine damage or increased wear? Reason I ask, with all the oil change shops changing oil, and misinformed customers, there are an awful lot of people asking about it because a shop put the wrong grade oil in (xW20 instead of xW30). But I haven't found anyone who has had a shop do it and it actually hurt an engine. Plenty of stories of places like Walmart/Jiffy Lube, etc who did it to a customer for a long time and they never knew until they looked closely at the records and found out much later. The more I study it, and it is a deep topic, very deep, I would be surprised it would hurt. Unless it is an engine that is either already in sad shape or a just a sloppy built engine. Anyone?
 
Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
Gosh! Isn't this myth been debunked after it (5W20, etc.) became a reality a decade ago? back in late 90s, internet posters would be chicken-little crying over the use of thinner grade (e.g. 5W20) in engines will grind them to a pulp, or die prematurely (in a few years time? or a few thousands of miles?) Fast-forward to 2012 where 5W20 is a norm for most consumer grade gasoline engines operated in NA: how many of them die prematurely and ended up in the wrecking yard? Better yet: ever heard of an automobile manufacturer making massive recall RE: oil too thin, need thicker oil on TSB to save their reputation? 2 solid examples I can bring forth: 1) dad's 7th gen civic (that oddball 1.7L 4) has been on 5W20 factory spec since 2000 (bought it as 2001 model) and it has over 163KK in it, still pass local emissions testings, engine runs really well (smooth) and no oil burning whatsoever. 2) past several years Ford F150 gasser spec'ed for 5W20 and no one, even those who let dealerships maintain their vehicles and does towing on a regular basis ever lead to massive recall due to too "thin" of the oil. Lastly: after a couple of thousands of miles in 5W30, it would typically shear down to 20weight anyways...so what's the difference in this case? Q.
 
Never heard of any short term damage or even very bad UOA results. Using the wrong viscosity is more of a long term problem and a 30 weight oil will often have thinned out to a 20 weight towards the end of an extended OCI. Most engine wear is cold start related, so using a 20 instead of a 30 would make no difference. It would do more harm if you changed from a 0/30 to a 10/30 in terms of engine wear factors, BUT when an engine is hot the 30 grade will offer better long term protection to the turbo bearings in particular than the 20, so if the book says 30, use a 30!
 
Messages
8,859
Location
Texas
Depends on the engine. I'd bet almost any production engine of today wouldn't really notice it. On the other hand, my 60's big blocks might not fare so well. Just the cam area probably- the bearings and cylinder walls might be better off to be honest. One of these days I'm going to convert those suckers to roller cams/lifter sets- there are tons available and its not that big a job. Just gotta have time, but I haven't even started the '66 since May, nor the '69 in about 2 weeks :-(
 
Messages
367
Location
SW VA
My 2005 Honda Accord V-6 has been fed a steady diet of 5W or 0W-20 since new and it has 183K miles on it with no engine issues. Granted, I've only used PYB, PP, or M-1 since day two.
 
Messages
495
Location
Montevideo, Uruguay
Originally Posted By: EyesofThunder
Has anyone heard of any documented evidence or even credible rumors that someone running 0W20 or 5W20 has had engine damage or increased wear? Reason I ask, with all the oil change shops changing oil, and misinformed customers, there are an awful lot of people asking about it because a shop put the wrong grade oil in (xW20 instead of xW30). But I haven't found anyone who has had a shop do it and it actually hurt an engine. Plenty of stories of places like Walmart/Jiffy Lube, etc who did it to a customer for a long time and they never knew until they looked closely at the records and found out much later. The more I study it, and it is a deep topic, very deep, I would be surprised it would hurt. Unless it is an engine that is either already in sad shape or a just a sloppy built engine. Anyone?
All depends on your engine. Mine wouldn't last 5 mins with that oil. Min specs are 10w50!
 

EyesofThunder

Thread starter
Messages
80
Location
North Central Illinois
Sort of my thoughts, a modern engine really doesn't matter much unless it is a loose tolerance engine or the factory is trying to doctor up a problem (BMW requiring 10W60 or Cadillac on the 4.9L "Main Bearing Thump") So basically if the engine isn't already worn out, xW20 won't make beans of a difference, if the oil pump can keep up, it won't matter.... Still looking where a case has been that xW20 was the cause of an engine's demise.
 
Last edited:
Messages
236
Location
California
Using the wrong viscosity won't cause any dramatic effects anytime soon. It isn't as life and death as people make it out to be. I've known people to use 20w50 for years on a worn out 5w30 engine without a problem in all that time. I do believe you have more leeway going too thick than you do going too thin. But I'm sure I could put 0w20 in my car and it wouldn't blow up. Doesn't mean I think it's optimal.
 
Messages
445
Location
Orlando, FL
Originally Posted By: mechtech2
Normally no.. no problems. But all sorts of turbo cars would fail or wear prematurely with 5-20 dino instead of a heavier full synth.
Exactly. My wife's Accent specs 5W20, 5W30 or 10W30. We use 5W20 with no issues. My Mini specs BMW LL01 approved 0W30, 5W30 or 0W40. I would never put 5W20 in the Mini.
 
Messages
6,614
Location
southeast US
I did get abnormal engine noise after dealer used 5W20 oil instead of specified 5W30. The noise is irreversible as far as I could determine.
I don't think it was a coincidence as I found exactly the same issue with noise started while on 5w20 on the same engine on a toyota forum.
 
Messages
35,625
Location
NY
Originally Posted By: friendly_jacek
I did get abnormal engine noise after dealer used 5W20 oil instead of specified 5W30. The noise is irreversible as far as I could determine.
I don't think it was a coincidence as I found exactly the same issue with noise started while on 5w20 on the same engine on a toyota forum.
They probably spec'd 5W30 for a good reason.
 
Messages
6,614
Location
southeast US
It doesn't matter, I was responding to a specific question by OP:
Quote:
Reason I ask, with all the oil change shops changing oil, and misinformed customers, there are an awful lot of people asking about it because a shop put the wrong grade oil in (xW20 instead of xW30). But I haven't found anyone who has had a shop do it and it actually hurt an engine. Plenty of stories of places like Walmart/Jiffy Lube, etc who did it to a customer for a long time and they never knew until they looked closely at the records and found out much later.
 
Messages
1,400
Location
Sarasota, Florida
I have been running 20 grade oils in 600 BHP twin turbo cars for almost a decade, Bentleys, Maybachs and in non turbo cars, Lamborghini and an Enzo. Wear appears to be less than normal. All spec'ed 40 grade oils, the Enzo a 60 grade oil. Most recently the Enzo is running a 0W-30 grade oil that shows essentially no wear at all. This might help as to why: The first one is unedited: http://ferrarichat.com/forum/faq.php?faq=new_faq_item#faq_haas_articles Original (but edited by others) version: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/motor-oil-101/ aehaas
 
Messages
2,935
Location
wi
Originally Posted By: AEHaas
I have been running 20 grade oils in 600 BHP twin turbo cars for almost a decade, Bentleys, Maybachs and in non turbo cars, Lamborghini and an Enzo. Wear appears to be less than normal. All spec'ed 40 grade oils, the Enzo a 60 grade oil. Most recently the Enzo is running a 0W-30 grade oil that shows essentially no wear at all. This might help as to why: The first one is unedited: http://ferrarichat.com/forum/faq.php?faq=new_faq_item#faq_haas_articles Original (but edited by others) version: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/motor-oil-101/ aehaas
Is this WOT in all gears or Grandpa driving around town.
 
Messages
14,821
Location
Illinois
Originally Posted By: AEHaas
I have been running 20 grade oils in 600 BHP twin turbo cars for almost a decade, Bentleys, Maybachs and in non turbo cars, Lamborghini and an Enzo. Wear appears to be less than normal. All spec'ed 40 grade oils, the Enzo a 60 grade oil. Most recently the Enzo is running a 0W-30 grade oil that shows essentially no wear at all. This might help as to why: The first one is unedited: http://ferrarichat.com/forum/faq.php?faq=new_faq_item#faq_haas_articles Original (but edited by others) version: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/motor-oil-101/ aehaas
As I have said before, I used 20wt. M1 in the late 70s in engines calling for 10-40 and the engines were fine. As for the Toyotas, well???
 
Top