Updated spec oils in older spec engines

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Is it overkill using higher priced, top of the line, modern oils in engines that were designed/manufactured years ago under older, now outdated, specifications?

For example - my engine is a 2016 Ford 3.5L Ecoboost. The oil spec in 2016 was SN. The industry has now gone through not just one, but two, more advanced specs since then. So I’m pouring in SP/GF-6 oils when I do oil changes now. Any SP/GF-6 rated oil should therefore be far superior to the SN oil my engine is “expecting”.

So, isn’t it safe to say that using ANY SP/GF-6 rated oil (of the correct viscosity) will be absolutely great in this engine? Why spend more money on something like Castrol Edge, Mobil 1, Pennzoil Ultra, etc, etc, when a less expensive option is available (Motorcraft, for instance)? If Motorcraft 5W-30 SP/GF-6 already exceeds the design parameters for my 2016 engine, what good is it to spend additional money for a “more advanced” synthetic oil? Heck, even SuperTech SP/GF-6 oil should be better than any oil from 2016, right?

The oils themselves continue getting better, but an engine will be stopped in time, at THAT particular oil industry standard.

Serious question, and replies would be much appreciated.
 
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Any newer grade oil is backwards compatible toolset specs.
After along period of time good luck even finding an oil meeting older specs and not newer specs.
Any quality oil manufacturer will upgrade their product and labeli5 and marketing to the newer and better quality oil.
I just randomly walking through DG the other day their no name generic motor oil was still API rated SN.
Granted it's not newest with API SP the norm now.
 
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The newer SP oils have improved timing chain wear protection so that would be a improvement to consider especially with your Ford EcoBoost.


I don't disagree with you there. The fact is the manufactures aren't even up to date.
I own a 2020 Goes vehicle with an Ecoboost engine. Owners manual suggests Ford Motor craft oil. Or specs an API SM or SN oil in 5W-20 or OW-20.
It's a 2020 and the owners manual isn't even up to date with the newer API SP specs.

But I agree, newer is better.
 
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Maybe use a VW507 oil if worried about timing chain wear? IDK; My gut reaction is the with that motor I'd consider a proper API oil as a secondary consideration. I could be off base here
 

ZiTS

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Just to clarify, I don’t want to limit this strictly to my engine and SN/SN+/SP oils. Those are simply my particular situation. I would like to discuss this for any/all engine and continually advancing oil specs.

I definitely don’t want to compare SP to SN, either. I’m wanting to know why a person would spend more money on the most advanced oils out there for an engine that was never designed for it.
 
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Just to clarify, I don’t want to limit this strictly to my engine and SN/SN+/SP oils. Those are simply my particular situation. I would like to discuss this for any/all engine and continually advancing oil specs.

I definitely don’t want to compare SP to SN, either. I’m wanting to know why a person would spend more money on the most advanced oils out there for an engine that was never designed for it.
Because what choice do you have? Once a spec is obsolete, it is obsolete.
 
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The difference between SN and SP is an incremental one, not a massive leap forward or anything. Plus, after a short transition period, everything on the shelf from cheapest to most expensive will be SP... not something you need to worry about.
 
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I definitely don’t want to compare SP to SN, either. I’m wanting to know why a person would spend more money on the most advanced oils out there for an engine that was never designed for it.


I don’t think a newer spec has anything to do with the price.
 
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ZiTS

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Because what choice do you have? Once a spec is obsolete, it is obsolete.
You clearly don’t understand what I’m trying to discuss. I couldn’t care less about SN not being available or obsolete. I am wanting to know what benefit there is to spending more money on a top-tier, advanced, modern motor oil when a lower-tier modern motor oil already exceeds the specifications an engine was designed for.

Forget about my engine for a minute. Pick whatever older engine you want. Let’s say it’s a Chevy small block from 20 years ago. Why not just use currently available conventional instead of spending more for currently available fully synthetic “extended performance” oil? They both should exceed any oil that engine was ever intended to have put in it, right?
 
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The engineers who designed your hypothetical small block Chevy chose to specify the best oils available at the time. Since then, oil has improved a whole bunch, so why not take advantage of those improvements which will help that engine stay cleaner and last longer with less wear to critical components?
 
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You clearly don’t understand what I’m trying to discuss. I couldn’t care less about SN not being available or obsolete. I am wanting to know what benefit there is to spending more money on a top-tier, advanced, modern motor oil when a lower-tier modern motor oil already exceeds the specifications an engine was designed for.

Forget about my engine for a minute. Pick whatever older engine you want. Let’s say it’s a Chevy small block from 20 years ago. Why not just use currently available conventional instead of spending more for currently available fully synthetic “extended performance” oil? They both should exceed any oil that engine was ever intended to have put in it, right?
Which is a different and separate question from specifications and licenses. Which are you asking about?
 
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You clearly don’t understand what I’m trying to discuss. I couldn’t care less about SN not being available or obsolete. I am wanting to know what benefit there is to spending more money on a top-tier, advanced, modern motor oil when a lower-tier modern motor oil already exceeds the specifications an engine was designed for.

Forget about my engine for a minute. Pick whatever older engine you want. Let’s say it’s a Chevy small block from 20 years ago. Why not just use currently available conventional instead of spending more for currently available fully synthetic “extended performance” oil? They both should exceed any oil that engine was ever intended to have put in it, right?
You're blaming me for your poor communication skills?

The benefits to using better oils have always been the same, especially if a manufacturer doesn't specify more than an API Rating. Better performance, deposit control, heat capacity, extended drains, etc.

Your small block Chevy was designed with API SF in mind. API ratings are still a minimum spec and there are oils that exceed the minimum by a good margin. So will a modern conventional that just meets the minimum for API SP exceed the best oil produced when API SF was current? Maybe. Probably. It's a range. There's overlap.
 
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ZiTS

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I don’t think a newer spec has anything to do with the price.
Never said it did. The only price that I’m talking about would be SP Motorcraft compared to SP Castrol Edge, for example.
 

ZiTS

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Which again is different than "Why not just use currently available conventional instead of spending more for currently available fully synthetic “extended performance” oil? "

Which one is it?
Really? How’s that?
 
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Really? How’s that?
Are you asking about "Why not just use currently available conventional instead of spending more for currently available fully synthetic “extended performance” oil?" or are you asking about current API licenses as your title says?

The end answer is that every API license is backwards compatible, and unless you are intending to operate with an extended OCI then an "extended performance" oil is unnecessary.
 
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