Volvo Engine Oil Requirements

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313
Location
Lugoff, SC
I was digging through our diagnostic, service and parts information system today and came across something interesting. I put in my vehicle information (2004 Volvo S40 with a B5244S non turbo engine with a 5 speed automatic FWD gearbox) and the oil requirements for all markets was displayed in the service category (I never go in there because all I need the system for is diagnostics). Something interesting came up: For cars in the EU, the oil requirement for the B5244S (my same engine) is a 0w30 ACEA A3/B3/B4, but in the US the requirement is a 5w30 ACEA A1/B1 and ILSAC GF-4 API SL. Why would the exact same engine require two completely different oils (A1/B1 compared to A3/B3) in different weights? My understanding is that A3/B3 is for extended drains, so I run Mobil1 0w40 for the full 7500mile service interval. When the oil comes out, it isn't even cloudy. It is dark, but almost a dark red color. What do you all think about this information?
 
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39,806
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Great Lakes
You're probably right. In Europe, those cars are expected to go 20k km (12.5k miles) between oil changes, so that's probably why ACEA A3 is required. What is the oil change interval according to your owner's manual?
 

KLowD9x

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313
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Lugoff, SC
 Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
You're probably right. In Europe, those cars are expected to go 20k km (12.5k miles) between oil changes, so that's probably why ACEA A3 is required. What is the oil change interval according to your owner's manual?
My manual states that under normal service I should go 7500 miles between services. The manual only "recommends" synthetic oil, but states that dealers do not use full synthetic and it must be purchased at additional cost. I think I have done two synthetic oil changes in the last year on a customers car. They also got M1 0w40 ;\) Since I drive nothing but highway, 200 miles a day, I do go the full 7500 miles. I feel like I could go longer since the oil comes out just dark, not cloudy. But, the inside of my engine is unbelievably spectacular for a car that has 106K miles on it. The first 50 were put on over the span of 4 years, the last 50 were put on in the past year.
 
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39,806
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Great Lakes
Yup, it sounds like you could easily go longer. If they can do it in Europe, why can't we do it here in the US, especially with relatively easy driving, such as in your case. I'd do a UOA to see how much more you can extend it. The 12.5k miles they do in Europe sounds pretty reasonable.
 

KLowD9x

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313
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Lugoff, SC
I always thought about doing some UOAs to see if the lab says it is ok for me to go longer, but an oil change costs me 35 bucks. I'm sure an oil analysis is about that same price. And, in the end, isn't clean oil in an engine better than pushing dirty oil to the limit?
 
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39,806
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Great Lakes
 Originally Posted By: KLowD9x
I always thought about doing some UOAs to see if the lab says it is ok for me to go longer, but an oil change costs me 35 bucks. I'm sure an oil analysis is about that same price.
I get mine done for $19 from Wearcheck. Besides, you only need to do it once. Once you know the oil can go the distance, you don't need to keep sending it for analysis.
 Quote:
And, in the end, isn't clean oil in an engine better than pushing dirty oil to the limit?
Well, certainly, but in that case, why not change your oil every day? That ought to be even better for your engine :) Seriously though, it's a personal choice. For some of us, changing oil early helps us sleep better at night, so we do it. That has its value, too. But if I was accumulating miles as quickly as you are, I'd look into ways of not having to change my oil every month and a half or so.
 

KLowD9x

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313
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Lugoff, SC
I know this is going to be off topic, but I keep seeing advertisements on this site for LC-20 from LCD, inc. They recommend adding their product to the engine at the initial oil fill and every 1000 miles after, then changing the oil at 10,000 miles. I rarely see any discussion on this product, and searching yields about the same results every time (maybe I'm doing something wrong?) Is this a good additive? My 270K mile 850 burns some oil and has a notable amount of varnish in the engine (I think someone filled it with dino oil and took the oil my mom brought in for them to use (Mobil1) and drove 10,000 miles on conventional oil, because before I left for school (when I did the work) that engine was immaculate. Do you think LC-20 would help?
 
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39,806
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Great Lakes
I have personally used LC20 and have mixed feelings about it. Another words, I can't really tell if the use of LC20 has helped or not. Early on, I did a UOA on my car at about 5k miles. The lab recommended that I use LC20 to extend the life of the oil. So I ran the next interval with LC20 for about 5.5k miles, and the oil appeared to have taken a pretty good beating as well. It didn't look like LC20 helped it stay in shape. But who know, maybe the UOA would have been even worse if I didn't use LC20. All in all, I don't use it any more. There are plenty of oils out there that can go 10k miles without help from any aftermarket additives such as LC20. M1 0w-40 that you're using is certainly one of them.
 

KLowD9x

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313
Location
Lugoff, SC
 Originally Posted By: shanneba
Take a look at the differences in the ACEA specs with the Lubrizol Relative Performance tool - http://www.lubrizol.com/EuropeanEngineOils/RelativePerformanceToolIntro.html A1/B1 will get the mileage up for the US market. The HTHS is less than 3.5, the A3/B4 HTHS will be greater than 3.5 and may have more sulfated ash <= 1.6% I would consider the Castrol Syntec 0w-30 aka GC, it is ACEA A3/B4.
GC is what I was running for the past three oil changes. However, at 3 dollars more a quart than Mobil1 0w40, I have decided to stay with M1 0w40. There are quite a few people on here that swear by M1 0w40 too.
 
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601
Location
sweden
"30k km or 18K miles using Castrol SLX Longtec for Volvo Cars A5 B5 0W-30" One om my working mates just lost his engine due to sludge in the suction area of the pump. I wouldnt try the "long" oci strategy.
 
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3,558
Location
SE Pa
Volvo's oil specs are a pet peeve of mine, so I can't resist jumping in on this. VCNA's oil requirements are notoriously lax, given the differing engines they attempt to apply it to. The NA and turbo engines are worlds apart. For the OP, a 7500 oci with a premium full synthetic is ample. The NA engines such as his 2.4i are not that hard on oil. The VCNA spec works. He should likely be able to get by on a less robust oil if he wanted to save money. Where the spec gets problematic is with the turbos. Particularly for the higher pressure T-5 and R engines, running a conventional for 7500 miles is not a good idea, even though VCNA allows it and dealers do it. These engines are much harder on oil. Depending on conditions, even a full synthetic at 5k can be stretching it. For the turbos, I wouldn't go much longer than 5k on any oil without confirming UOAs. Although many should be able to do so on the more robust synthetics. I think it unfortunate that VCNA lumps all these engines together under a single standard. I'm sure some of it is "me-too" marketing. But many US dealers pump the cheapest oil they can get away with. These specs allow them to do so without consequence, whether it's a 2.4i or an R on the lift. If VCNA wants to compete with VW/Audi maintenance schedules, then they should come up with similarly rigorous oil specs.
 
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canada
Good summary on Volvo. FWIW my R's engine is very happy on GC 0W-30 with 8k kms OCI. These engines are HOT. Pop the hood after a drive and it is an oven. The P1800 sees regular old Rotella 15W-40 once a year. Happy as a clam.
 

KLowD9x

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313
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Lugoff, SC
 Originally Posted By: Volvohead
Volvo's oil specs are a pet peeve of mine, so I can't resist jumping in on this. VCNA's oil requirements are notoriously lax, given the differing engines they attempt to apply it to. The NA and turbo engines are worlds apart. For the OP, a 7500 oci with a premium full synthetic is ample. The NA engines such as his 2.4i are not that hard on oil. The VCNA spec works. He should likely be able to get by on a less robust oil if he wanted to save money. Where the spec gets problematic is with the turbos. Particularly for the higher pressure T-5 and R engines, running a conventional for 7500 miles is not a good idea, even though VCNA allows it and dealers do it. These engines are much harder on oil. Depending on conditions, even a full synthetic at 5k can be stretching it. For the turbos, I wouldn't go much longer than 5k on any oil without confirming UOAs. Although many should be able to do so on the more robust synthetics. I think it unfortunate that VCNA lumps all these engines together under a single standard. I'm sure some of it is "me-too" marketing. But many US dealers pump the cheapest oil they can get away with. These specs allow them to do so without consequence, whether it's a 2.4i or an R on the lift. If VCNA wants to compete with VW/Audi maintenance schedules, then they should come up with similarly rigorous oil specs.
I completely agree with this. We do pump semi-syn 5w30 Castrol, but even that is not enough for the 7500 miles and beyond most Volvo drivers do with their cars. However, Volvo has started a new LOF program where we do changes for something ridiculous (about 20 bucks) so parts is cutting the oil back to GTX conventional. We will also change the stickers back to 3750 miles on conventional, but we all know that no one pays attention to the sticker, just the SRI.
 
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14,729
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Santa Barbara, CA
 Originally Posted By: ktm_525
Good summary on Volvo. FWIW my R's engine is very happy on GC 0W-30 with 8k kms OCI. These engines are HOT. Pop the hood after a drive and it is an oven. The P1800 sees regular old Rotella 15W-40 once a year. Happy as a clam.
My R gets GC, i change the oil when the light comes on. I drive the car hard, and have tracked it. I dont alter the OCI depending on driving style or weather.
 
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3,558
Location
SE Pa
 Originally Posted By: ktm_525
FWIW my R's engine is very happy on GC 0W-30 with 8k kms OCI. These engines are HOT. Pop the hood after a drive and it is an oven.
If I'm planning to work in our garage during the winter, I will sometimes take our R out for a milk or bread run, wheel it in, and pop the hood. I usually don't have to fire up the garage heater on those nights until the next morning. Another reason to keep an R in the garage: because they hold their heat for so long (all night), they attract chronic rodent damage if you leave them out on cold nights. When parked outside, we went through several coolant hoses and an $1100 firewall insulator on one of ours, while they completely ignored other nearby cars that had grown "cold".
 
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94
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
Do you know if it is the oil level or the oil quality that is causing your oil light to come on? The R has a dual level/quality sensor, so if either the level or the quality crosses its respective threshold the oil lamp gets lit. If it's the level, what is you consumption rate like per 1000 miles? Cheers, J 04 V70R owner
 
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KLowD9x

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Lugoff, SC
 Originally Posted By: SL8R
Do you know if it is the oil level or the oil quality that is causing your oil light to come on? The R has a dual level/quality sensor, so if either the level or the quality crosses its respective threshold the oil lamp gets lit. If it's the level, what is you consumption rate like per 1000 miles? Cheers, J 04 V70R owner
I'm sure he means the service reminder indicator light.
 
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