Honda 3.5 liter V6 oil choices

Joined
Jul 17, 2003
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864
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Ohio
I've been around here for a long time and I know this topic has been discussed to death, but I still have to wonder about the following:
All Honda engines specify 0w-20 oil. In particular, the current Honda Ridgeline, Passport, etc. with the 3.5 V6 specify 0w-20 regardless of ambient temperatures, and regardless of vehicle use. What if you're towing a 5000 lb. trailer in scorching heat and hilly terrain? I find it hard to believe that a 0w-20 would do as well in those conditions as would a heavier oil. Honda's only stipulation, other than 0w-20 weight, is that the oil must be energy conserving. That's their only concern apparently.
So, my inclination is to use a heavier oil, in the summer at least, but are these engines really designed so that heavier oil could cause problems? I think there used to be Honda websites from Australia, Europe, and other parts of the world that specified heavier oil for use in these same engines but I couldn't find any of them. I don't think there is a consensus of opinion on this website but I still would like to hear some educated opinions on the subject.
I'd appreciate it if the condescending, sarcastic comments didn't show up here, but I know some people just can't resist.:)
 
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May 25, 2020
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797
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I've been around here for a long time and I know this topic has been discussed to death, but I still have to wonder about the following:
All Honda engines specify 0w-20 oil. In particular, the current Honda Ridgeline, Passport, etc. with the 3.5 V6 specify 0w-20 regardless of ambient temperatures, and regardless of vehicle use. What if you're towing a 5000 lb. trailer in scorching heat and hilly terrain? I find it hard to believe that a 0w-20 would do as well in those conditions as would a heavier oil. Honda's only stipulation, other than 0w-20 weight, is that the oil must be energy conserving. That's their only concern apparently.
So, my inclination is to use a heavier oil, in the summer at least, but are these engines really designed so that heavier oil could cause problems? I think there used to be Honda websites from Australia, Europe, and other parts of the world that specified heavier oil for use in these same engines but I couldn't find any of them. I don't think there is a consensus of opinion on this website but I still would like to hear some educated opinions on the subject.
I'd appreciate it if the condescending, sarcastic comments didn't show up here, but I know some people just can't resist.:)

Is that 3.5 V6 in your Honda Accord?
 
Joined
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I'd use 0W-20 for the first 12K miles for warranty reasons
Why 12K? The powertrain warranty is for 5/60K.

The Honda J-series has been using 20wt oils for over 15 years. The change interval is more critical than the viscosity. Plan to change the oil at least every 5K if you want to minimize the likelihood of oil coking and consumption with VCM.
 
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I used to run 5W-30 in my '08 CR-V which called for 5W-20 since I towed my popup camper with it. As an experiment, I kept a year's worth of gas purchases and mileage from the 5W-20 before switching over. Result? No noticeable difference in mileage. There was so much variation I couldn't make any determination, and I even once achieved a sustained 32 MPG on the highway using 5W-30 (officially, I think it was only 28 highway). If anything, the K24 was a little less clattery with the the 5W-30.

The J35 ran 5w-30 for years before 0W-20. I'm sure it will do just fine either way. I'd be more concerned about the VCM causing issues, which is why VCM disablers are a popular modification.
 

JHZR2

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Why 12K? The powertrain warranty is for 5/60K.

The Honda J-series has been using 20wt oils for over 15 years. The change interval is more critical than the viscosity. Plan to change the oil at least every 5K if you want to minimize the likelihood of oil coking and consumption with VCM.
5/60k at minimum. OP should also look into the vcmuzzler if they don’t already have one. No idea if 2021 is set up the same as ours is, but it would be a good addition.

I started both our van with the 3.5 and our HAH with M1 EP when bought new. The van ends up at more like 5k OCIs, per the computer, so I changed to whatever the best deal is. Since I only change the filter every other time (I have confidence in a Honda filter for 10k), I make it a habit to run the same oil for both OCIs... but am not afraid to change.

In our 3.5 we have done well with:
M1 EP
Valvoline synthetic
pennzoil platinum
napa synthetic
rotella gas truck

On occasion the deal has resulted in 5w-20 oil, but I just run that when the OCI will be over the summer months, so the 0w-20 is in use when it’s colder. Works out great.
 
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No, it's in a Passport. I just updated my signature.

If you're going to abuse the motor then obviously you want to go to a thicker oil. Usually something with an HTHS of at least 3.5. Mobil 1 0W-40 is a good choice because it's really a 0W-30 oil. I'm not aware of Honda GDI engines having any issues with soot so that would be one choice. Use your best judgment, consult the international owner's manuals as well, since US oil recommendations are heavily influenced by the EPA requirements for fuel economy and emissions.

[Edit]

If that motor was in a sedan then I'd say that 0W-20 is just fine.

Valvoline Extended Protection 5W-30 has an HTHS of 3.2, however, I have no idea how good that motor oil is.
 
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I have several vehicles that were designed for 0W-20, several more for 5W-30 and motorcycles that use 10W-40. All have been fed diets of their required oil w/o ill effects. I'll defer why the differences to the engineers that created the engines.

I don't understand the reasoning for wishing to second guess what the owner's manual specifies.


Would anybody try to stuff a 9mm round into a .38 special revolver?
1622562741074.jpg
 
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I have several vehicles that were designed for 0W-20, several more for 5W-30 and motorcycles that use 10W-40. All have been fed diets of their required oil w/o ill effects. I'll defer why the differences to the engineers that created the engines.

I don't understand the reasoning for wishing to second guess what the owner's manual specifies.


Would anybody try to stuff a 9mm round into a .38 special revolver?
View attachment 59001

The 2020 Sonata in my signature has a 2.5 GDI+MPI motor. The owner's manual allows me to use anything from 0W-20 up to 10W-30. What do I choose?

For the 2021 model year, Hyundai increased the sump capacity from 5.5 quarts to 6.12 and replaced the dipstick. The rest of the motor is exactly the same. One more thing they did was to limit the viscosity to just 0W-20.

In South Korea, there is already an ongoing scandal about these Smartstream motors. Meanwhile, we're left holding the bag.

I wanted to use this as an example to say that you can't always trust the manufacturer. Yes, Honda and Toyota for example designed their engines around the idea that they shouldn't rely on motor oil to fix any potential shortcomings. Not all manufacturers are the same.

The second example is FCA (Stelantis). For RAM trucks they specify an undersized oil filter and combined with a 202F thermostat and stupidly programmed grille shutters, it leads to engine issues, shaved cams, and blown lifters. The discussions are endless, with many (including myself for a while) thinking that oil viscosity can somehow fix this. Well, it doesn't. Using the old-style filter (now used on SRT vehicles), a 180F thermostat, and doing a grille shutter delete is what actually fixed this reliability nightmare. Leave it to the manufacturer to make your life a living hell. This was another example.
 
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Why 12K? The powertrain warranty is for 5/60K.

The Honda J-series has been using 20wt oils for over 15 years. The change interval is more critical than the viscosity. Plan to change the oil at least every 5K if you want to minimize the likelihood of oil coking and consumption with VCM.
Why 12K? If there was a manufacturing defect in the engine it would likely show up by then.

With respect to your OCI comments, I agree.

Even though I said otherwise, 0W-20 in that engine will work well.

Scott
 
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I may knock on Honda from time to time, but the J series engine has proven to be reliable over the course of the last 25 years with really the only flaw being in the VCM. Use a VCM muzzler and that engine should be just fine for the long haul. There's no need to overthink the oil. A properly specced oil and a reasonable interval should be all you need for 200k+.
 

4WD

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Sep 21, 2010
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Texas
I have several vehicles that were designed for 0W-20, several more for 5W-30 and motorcycles that use 10W-40. All have been fed diets of their required oil w/o ill effects. I'll defer why the differences to the engineers that created the engines.

I don't understand the reasoning for wishing to second guess what the owner's manual specifies.


Would anybody try to stuff a 9mm round into a .38 special revolver?
View attachment 59001
I was thinking about but finally gave up and paid “bang for the buck” price 😷
 

harrydog

Thread starter
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Ohio
I installed a VCM Muzzler II a couple of days after I bought the Passport. I have also almost made turning off the start/stop feature an ingrained habit but I do forget sometimes. What a ridiculous feature.
my current opinion is that while using only 0w-20 will not cause problems with the engine, it is also probably not the optimum choice if longevity is the main objective.
Like someone more or less said, the engine will probably outlast the rest of the vehicle. But if I wasn’t obsessive about things like this I probably wouldn’t be here on this site in the first place.
Oh, the 9mm/38 Special ammo analogy is not a very good one. Maybe using 38 Special in a .357 Magnum revolver would be better. Less performance but longer life.
 
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Aug 17, 2016
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Texas
I have always used a 0W20 oil that is high in moly both in my Accord J35 and my Tundra. I live in South Texas and have done UOA samples in both vehicles. No issues with 0W20 on both vehicles and I do tow a lot on my Tundra. Now you are going to have people talk about the VCM and tell you need to get a VCM Muzzler. Honda has had issues with VCM in the past. There are 3 generations of VCM. The current generation doesn't have the issues of past generations. Me personally, I had considered a VCM Muzzler at one time but after putting 200k+ miles on my last VCM-2 engine with no issues, I felt it wasn't necessary. I have always used use a good synthetic oil and top tier gas (mainly Shell) on very fill up I'm not talking about higher octane rating i.e. Super unleaded. Top tier gas is a higher detergency gasoline standard than what the government requires and I have never had an issue with VCM-2 and now VCM-3. I am not an engineer and I am just sharing my experience. You will have people try to scare you and say if you don't get a VCM Muzzler you are going to have issues and your engine will blow up. Take it with a grain of salt and do you. There are many people who have had no issues with using a VCM Muzzler but I just have an issue with manipulating coolant temperature and the computer thinking the car has not fully warmed up. Engines are complex and who's to say that that manipulation is not harming things. Again, I am no engineer but the guy who invented the Muzzler supposedly is one and I haven't heard of any issues using a Muzzler at least that I know of. I just never had the issues people are talking about. Not to say there are not any because Honda has had issues with early iterations of VCM. Just do your research and do what will help you sleep at night. I just want to say there are people out there that don't use VCM Muzzlers and have gotten many miles on their vehicle with no issues. My recommendation, it is very important to use top tier gas for the J35 VCM plus the Passport is Direct Injected. I recommend sticking to a high quality 0W20 oil that has a lot of moly. I just have had outstanding results with my J35 when I use 0W20 that is high in moly. Most if not all Japanese car brands has high moly in their own branded oil to include Honda and Toyota.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
2,016
Location
Crawfordville FL
I've been around here for a long time and I know this topic has been discussed to death, but I still have to wonder about the following:
All Honda engines specify 0w-20 oil. In particular, the current Honda Ridgeline, Passport, etc. with the 3.5 V6 specify 0w-20 regardless of ambient temperatures, and regardless of vehicle use. What if you're towing a 5000 lb. trailer in scorching heat and hilly terrain? I find it hard to believe that a 0w-20 would do as well in those conditions as would a heavier oil. Honda's only stipulation, other than 0w-20 weight, is that the oil must be energy conserving. That's their only concern apparently.
So, my inclination is to use a heavier oil, in the summer at least, but are these engines really designed so that heavier oil could cause problems? I think there used to be Honda websites from Australia, Europe, and other parts of the world that specified heavier oil for use in these same engines but I couldn't find any of them. I don't think there is a consensus of opinion on this website but I still would like to hear some educated opinions on the subject.
I'd appreciate it if the condescending, sarcastic comments didn't show up here, but I know some people just can't resist.:)
You can and should go up a grade for towing. My opinion.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
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498
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Cypress, Texas
30 grade oil is considered resource conserving too and is hardly any thicker than 20 weight but a bump in hths helps in the high ambient temps for sure. id run pennzoil platinum 5w-30 in it without being scared, probably euro L its a great oil. And yes outside of the US that engine can run a 30. besides a cold morning 0w-20 is still many times thicker than a 30 grade at operating temp. engine is smooth and quiet until the oil thins.
 
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