Honda and the 5W-20 Myth

Messages
117
Location
Arlington, TX
We bought a Honda Pilot a few months back. I took it to the dealer for its first oil change as we had a free oil change coupon. In both the owners manual and the service manual is tells me to use 5W-20 oil. It does not give a choice of viscosities for different temperatures. It says use 5W-20. I was surprised when the dealer used 5W-30 (of unknown brand) Now I know this did not do any harm but I thought why would the Honda Engineers specify 5W-20 and then the dealer use 5W-30? I did a little research and found this document EPA .pdf doc Any comments?
 
Messages
1,130
Location
California
Interesting reading indeed. Apparently Ford and Honda have reason to believe that 5W-20 motor oils provide some improved fuel economy visa-vis the EPA tests. The EPA mandatated that in order for Ford and Honda to be allowed to use 5W-20 motor oils for certification, they must write the owners manual such that no other grade of oil is even mentioned (except for thinner still oils in brutally cold climates). The EPA also mandatated that Ford and Honda jump through hoops to force the various retail outlets to stock and promote 5W-20 oils AT THE SAME PRICES AS FOR MORE COMMON GRADES. All of this lends great credibility to the notion that the specification of 5W-20 oils entails a great deal of politicing and gamesmanship. John
 
Messages
1,619
Location
WA
Dealers put in whatever they get the cheapest. When I had my VW's and Audi's. The manual stated to use 5W-40 in the VW and 0W-30 in the Audi. Both only come in synthetic. Well both dealers used Havoline 5W-30 dino oil for their free 4/50,000 free services. Both cars had the 1.8T engine.
 
Messages
2,480
Exactly! Dealers use whatever they can get the cheapest of...unless upper management eg. Honda USA steps in and mandates dealers to use a certain oil eg. Honda 5-20. But, that will happen after engine problems begin to occur on a large scale. eg. BMW M3.
 

Fred Bear

Thread starter
Messages
117
Location
Arlington, TX
I understand dealers would use whatever is cheaper. But what about the EPA? I suppose they get a benefit by using 5-20 for CAFÉ testing but as per the letter from the EPA they MUST use 5W-20 at the dealers. Dealers however, are independently owned and operated
 
Messages
211
Location
Florida Panhandle
quote:
Originally posted by Finklejag: Dealers put in whatever they get the cheapest. When I had my VW's and Audi's. The manual stated to use 5W-40 in the VW and 0W-30 in the Audi. Both only come in synthetic. Well both dealers used Havoline 5W-30 dino oil for their free 4/50,000 free services. Both cars had the 1.8T engine.
[Razz] I got 10W30 for my free oil changes in my 1.8T Jetta... Castrol dino I think.
 
Messages
3,704
Location
Chattanooga, TN
If you really want the 5W20 from the dealer write to Honda and explain that the dealer does not carry the recommeded weight for its customers. I will bet within a month they will carry it. I had this issue with Toyota and the dealer quickly started to carry the correct viscosity once corporate got wind of their deception.
 

Fred Bear

Thread starter
Messages
117
Location
Arlington, TX
BTW you think your dealer is using 30W because they believe it is better for your car? Or could they be trying to make a few extra bucks and or simplify their inventory by stocking fewer oils. Maybe it was put in by mistake? I sent a letter to Honda of America, they told me they should have used the 5w-20, and it would be taken up with the dealer. When I called the dealer to inquire as to why they used 5W-30 I was told “The 5W-30 is actually better for your engine than the 5W-20”. This was not the issue. At issue is why did the DEALER not use an in spec oil. The point is moot as far as I am concerned as I do all of my own service; I only wanted to use my free oil change coupon. (And at the first oil change it is sometimes very hard to remove the oil filter) This was interesting in light of the EPA directive. Mark
 
Messages
555
Location
south texas border
quote:
I'll admit I was a 5W20 skeptic for over a year when this stuff was first announced. However, the UOAs on this board do not lie. The stuff works quite well and I bet the MPG savings is closer to 5%
That is about right. Except for havoline 5w20, which I would go as far as maybe 7 -10 % in my ford pickup. (2mpg / 18 mpg = 11% in my case ) [Cool]
 
Messages
413
Location
Marietta, GA
Fred Baer, I have a 2004 Odyssey that is coming up for an oil change. I will be using a dino 10w-30 based on ambient temperature for Hotlanta. I am sure the Metroplex is as hot if not hotter. It annoys me that Honda and others do not use a chart of recommended oil viscosities based on ambient temperature. That being said, I would chose a good 5w-20 over a dino 5w-30 any day of the week. The 5w-20 is much more shear stable than a dino 5w-30. Since I want more shear stablility in a dino oil, I prefer the 10w-30.
 
Messages
223
Location
New York, NY
We have been running Pennzoil 5W-20 in our 02 Accord V6, doing just fine. The UOAs here show that the leading 5W-20s are good oils. If you're concerned about the effects of your hot Texas summers, you might consider adding the "MolaBrew" mix to the oil (combination of Schaeffer's 132 and Lube Control). Has been shown to be an excellent additive.
 
Messages
2,480
I thought CAFE was in reference to vehicles being sold as new. ie. it is a government regulation applying to new vehicles only. After you buy it, CAFE doesn't really apply...other than Honda's recommendation of a 5-20 for eg. warranty purposes.
 
Messages
7,409
Location
Austin, TX
quote:
Originally posted by STSinNYC: We have been running Pennzoil 5W-20 in our 02 Accord V6, doing just fine. The UOAs here show that the leading 5W-20s are good oils. If you're concerned about the effects of your hot Texas summers, you might consider adding the "MolaBrew" mix to the oil (combination of Schaeffer's 132 and Lube Control). Has been shown to be an excellent additive.
Just curious...how do you know how well that oil is working in YOUR vehicle if you haven't done any type of UOA? Also, why recommend anyone go thru the hassle of mixing up a "witches brew" when he could simply move up to a high quality semi-syn or full syn to compensate for the Texas heat?
 
Messages
9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by Bror Jace: I'll admit I was a 5W20 skeptic for over a year when this stuff was first announced. However, the UOAs on this board do not lie. The stuff works quite well and I bet the MPG savings is closer to 5% I think this is a dead issue. We know it was EPA driven. But we now know the stuff works very well. [I dont know] --- Bror Jace
For me it's almost dead, but I still have one nagging problem. On one hand, I've long heard, and experimented successfully (or at least not disastrously) with the one-grade-up-or-down rule. On the other hand, I've seen a bottle of 5w-20 that had a warning that it was not to be used except in a car specifying the use of 5w-20 (I think it was on a black Havoline bottle, but I'll need to return to that store to check for sure). As we all know, oil bottles are usually slathered with vague and meaningless slogans vouchinng the the quality of the contents. A specific DO NOT USE warning is a rarity. I'm wondering, is this a legal CYA or is there something about oils verging into this range of thin-ness that we need to know more about??? If someone can adequately explain the DO NOT USE warning, then I'll join the dead issue crowd.
 
Messages
454
Location
Cheyenne
The UOA's on this board alone clearly show that 5W-20 is superior to 5W-30. Why do some people continue to think they're getting some kind of safety cushion by using 5W-30?
 
Messages
9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by bottgers: The UOA's on this board alone clearly show that 5W-20 is superior to 5W-30. Why do some people continue to think they're getting some kind of safety cushion by using 5W-30?
Are you willing to give me a warranty on my Toyota V-6 which calls for 5w-30 (and reluctantly allows 10w-30)? I doubt it. My question remains unanswered: if it's so clearly superior, then why does at least one company who makes the stuff put a bold warning on their own product that it's absolutely not to be used unless the car specifically calls for it. Ever seen a warning like that on a bottle of 5w-30 or 10w-30 or any other grade for that matter??? This warning didn't just find its way onto the bottle by accident. They put it there for a reason. Someone please tell me what that reason is.
 
Messages
223
Location
New York, NY
427Z06: To your questions: The 5W-20 UOAs from other Honda V6s under comparable driving conditions have been very good. We'll do a UOA sometime this year, but based on what we can see, (no oil consumption, oil in good shape (to the eye) when changed, engine looks clean), we're doing fine on dino 5W-20. As to whether or not to switch to a semi-syn or full synthetic oil: The UOAs for those oils in Honda engines that I have seen have not been significantly better than the UOAs for the good 5W-20 dinos. So why spend more than twice as much per quart? But if you or others bring in some UOAs showing that the semi-syns and syns do better in the hotter conditions, Texas et al, then I would agree that the additional cost would be worth it. I don't think MolaKule would agree with your comment that his additive formula is a "witches brew". 132 and LC are both proven additives, there are UOAs posted here to show that. Lower wear metals and improved viscosity reults.
 
Messages
4,478
Location
Southern California
The 5W-20s are already at least a semi-synthetic at essentially dino pricing. If the 5W-30 die-hards wanted something equivalent in quality, they'd have to go to a semi-syn. at about $3.00/qt. [ April 20, 2004, 10:26 PM: Message edited by: Ray H ]
 
Top