hot weather, different oil? maybe not?

Messages
43
Location
Florida
I see that there are comments about different (heavier) weights of oil for the warm seasons. On the past two cars that I have owned, the temp gauge has always stayed in the lower quarter of the range no matter what the season. Does this indicate that the engine is, in fact, maintaining a stable operating temperature regardless of whether it is a hot summer day or winter? More importantly, does this stable temperature negate the need for heavier oils for hot weather? My Honda CRV '04 in stop-go traffic and A/C "on" does not go above the lower quarter of the temp range on the gauge.
 
Messages
582
Location
South FLorida
I also live in FL and have an 04' Mazda6 V6 and am going to switch to Mobil 1 0w20 on the next oil change. I've heard good things about this oil and from what i have read it is able to handle the extreme temps. [Smile]
 
Messages
4,632
Location
Decatur AL USA
quote:
Originally posted by Kelton: I see that there are comments about different (heavier) weights of oil for the warm seasons. On the past two cars that I have owned, the temp gauge has always stayed in the lower quarter of the range no matter what the season. Does this indicate that the engine is, in fact, maintaining a stable operating temperature regardless of whether it is a hot summer day or winter? More importantly, does this stable temperature negate the need for heavier oils for hot weather? My Honda CRV '04 in stop-go traffic and A/C "on" does not go above the lower quarter of the temp range on the gauge.
Actually it is the reverse. You can use the ideal weight for engine protection at normal-high engine oil temps in the summer because you do not have to worry about flow at low temps like you do in winter. Oil temps do however run higher in the summer due to higher ambient and underhood temps. A large amount of oil temp is regulated by air temp instead of coolant temp. In Florida a 15W40 would be fine all year in many vehicles. In the Honda if you are happy with 5W20 and feel the dealer might give you warranty grief for using another weight keep using it. I would however consider doing 5000 ml (6 month) drains. If you want to stay with light oils and go with 10,000 ml (12 month) a quality full-synthetic 0W20 or 5W20 should work. Personally if I had the above vehicle and had no factory guidance I would use a quality 10W30 syntheitic and 10,000 ml drains in Florida as long as you got at least that many miles yearly. The drawback to heavier oils is you may experience a slight loss in fuel economy. BTW most factory gauges are "Dummy Gauges" that function like idiot lights. They are designed to only move from a given place on the gauge if a dramatic change in temp occurs. A real gauge will vary in temp a lot just in normal stop and go traffic ie it will drop when you coast and go up while sitting at redlights. This led to a lot of uninformed consumer complaints so the redisigned the gauges to act more like a "Idiot Light". In some cases you can replace the sending unit to a true full-range sending unit and this will convert the gauge to full function. Gene K
 

Kelton

Thread starter
Messages
43
Location
Florida
So the needle gauge in most cars is just a dummy light of sorts? I was curious about the accuracy of this gauge. I'm not sure if Honda's gauge is as crude as that, but it might be. I learned about engine maintenance from a VW bug and van, so oil was a huge issue (air cooled) especially in summer....and so I still get the creeps driving my new car in the blazing humid heat of summer with this thin oil. If I were to 'send my oil in' to be checked, what would I look for in the results that would indicate that heat is putting undue wear on my engine because of thin oil?
 
Messages
47,769
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
The times I advise climate viscosity juggling: a) when the manufacturer says to do so (rare, very rare nowadays) b) older well worn cars, may have less consumption with a XW-40 (15W-40, my fav) or even a synthetic 20W-50 in HOT weather.
 
Messages
3,118
Location
San Antonio, TX
When you park the car, take the filler cap off and look for smoke. Pull out the dip stick. Some of the hot oil should drip off like water if it's in good condition. Smell the oil. You can wait till it's cool to smell it because burned oil still smells burned when it's cold.
 
Messages
78
Location
East Tennessee
quote:
Originally posted by DEWFPO: If you use a good quality synthetic oil, there is no reason to change weight by season. Pick something your happy with and just stick with it. DEWFPO
I don't think synth has anything to do with the decision. I always find these conversations about high temps and oil silly. People always go on and on with the I live in texas or florida crap. Texas and Florida are only a few degrees higher than Nebraska in summer! You car can not tell the difference between 95 and 100 anyway. The temps where I live are above 90 all summer long and the cars take a way worse beating than a Florida car has ever seen. People make it just fine with common oils. On a side note the style of driving, elevation, and hilly terrain have way more effect on oil than a few degrees. I have spent a little time in south Florida. Yep it is hot. Hard for me to tell the differnce between 100 degrees in the everglades and 95 degrees in east Tennessee. I don't think the car would notice either. The vehicle WILL notice that in south Florida it has a way easier job to do. The roads are all level (no mountains-TN has those), south Florida is 1000x's more remote than E. Tennessee, I can't remember ever seeing a curve in the road(very straight roads-E. TN has more curves than a Playboy party so you are always in and out of the gas when not on the interstate). Just had to say this. HEAT in the lower 48 is NOT a issue! Also to you TX and Florida guys, the temps don't drop at state lines. The South and mid west are just as hot during the summer.
 
Messages
555
Location
south texas border
Yup, had some of that nebraska cool weather move in this weekend it dropped down to 104 in the afternoon. down from 109 last week. But I agree with the gentleman on oil. I still run a 5w20 in my vehicles (motorcraft if you are interested). Later, time for another glass of gatorade [Big Grin]
 
Messages
3,118
Location
San Antonio, TX
I used to live in florida. Most of the fl coast is jammed up like rush hour traffic in a big city. Stop and go traffic in 95 degree heat is when I worry about things like hoses and radiators(and air conditioning) the most. Use an oil you think can stand up to the most severe service.
 
Messages
47,769
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
I agree on the hot end.......heck it was over 80° F here yesterday and under 70° F in L.A......... That said, when I say things like "...you be in Fla-ra-duh..." or "......ya'll lives in Tech'sass..." I'm talking about winter cold starts....and you must know the difference between a Mn winter and a Fl winter....
 
Messages
4,478
Location
Southern California
As for stop and go driving, the same thing can be said about New York City, Lincoln, NE; Phoenix, AZ; and L.A., CA. North America is <i>hot</i> during the summer months - in a way maybe a bit worse in the northern lattitudes because the sun sets so late. (ever been to Calgary in July? I have - 98 F. in the shade till 10:00 P.M.) and rises earlier in the A.M. I live inland about 60 miles in SoCal so I'm familiar with heat, too. Always used 10W-30 conventional. Never wore an engine out yet. I'd worry more about maintaining the cooling system properly than the viscosity weight of the motor oil during the summer months.
 

Kelton

Thread starter
Messages
43
Location
Florida
Of course I know that a summer in Florida is not much hotter than a summer in Manhatten. However, our hot weather lasts much longer...with people complaining about the heat as late as Thanksgiving. The idea here is that the car is enduring the heat much longer in the most southern areas of the lower 48. So my question was more directed at questioning the importance of, say, 98f temps to an automobile engine (it's obviously significant to the human body...ugh!)....are temps like that significant to an engine that will run, even on a cold day, much hotter than that? Are we just being simple in thinking "gee, it sure feels hot outside to me!....I guess it's hot for my car too!"? Is any discussion of changing oil weights based upon the season just old fashioned silliness?
 
Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
Before CAFE owner's manuals oil recommendations went through a list of weights, each heavier weight covering a warmer ambient temperature range. Often the use of 5w30 was condemned for ambient over 60 F. So I think ambient temps do have something (a lot) to do with it.
 
Messages
4,872
Location
MN
Oil temp does not equal coolant temp. In the summer and in traffic the oil temp can rise even if the coolant temp stays the same. Also most people only change the cold temp weight. Many like me, need a 5w or 0w in the winter, but would like a more shear stable oil in the summer. Seems like a perfectly good reason for me. It's even what's recomended for most GM cars, 10w30 above 0deg, 5w30 when temps drop below. -T
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
5W-20 ? For any weather and load ? I'd like to see the test criteria for an OEM to recommend such a light oil, and will guess that it includes some of the following: 1. Gotta improve the fleet milage in order to keep selling gas powered vehicles, trucks and full size SUVs. 2. Maybe with the exception of trucks, the 'life' is only thru a current or planned warranty of 100k miles for some adequate percentage of vehicles. But, it's just a guess. I notice that for my diesel truck a 15W-40 is recommended.
 
Messages
542
Location
South Central Texas
I agree that 95 degrees in New York City or East Tennessee is the same as 95 degrees in Texas or Florida. I think the distinction being that most of the time Texas, especially in the south, and Florida see 90's well into November and December, and 90's earlier in the year also. Also fewer days at or below freezing, because of being the southernmost points of the continental USA. Geographic and atmospheric conditions combine to make a slight distinction in these two areas of the country, in my opinion. I dont think any disrespect was ever intended.
 
Messages
562
Location
Austin, TX
Basically I still think the cold start period is where most (80-90%) of wear occurs. Better to error on thin from this perspective, particulary if you do a lot of short trips where the oil never warms up anyway. Close tolerance engines (like Honda) need fast lubrication. Once up to operating temp, I don't think its the oil thinning at high temps that is the problem for most people. Its the boiling off, distilling out the viscosity improvers (that make the 5w act like a 30) and waxes, and leaving sludge that is. Thicker oils are not as volatile and work better in these conditions. This isn't such an issue with synthetics, but is with dino oils. I have personally seen sludge problems here in Texas with 4.7l Jeeps, Land Rovers, Toyotas. Its from the hot weather, not cold. The solution is to change the oil more often, not necessarily go to a thicker oil. The fresh oil has more capacity to dissolve the sludge away. Having said that the new Xw-20 oils might be pushing too far the other way IMHO. Keep watching the UOAs. [ June 21, 2004, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: Geoff ]
 
Messages
7,409
Location
Austin, TX
quote:
Originally posted by Geoff: The solution is to change the oil more often, not necessarily go to a thicker oil.
Sorry, but I just have a hard time believing that BITOG's regular visitors are guilty of not changing their oil enough. [LOL!]
 
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