Why use a 0W- weight oil?

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Oct 12, 2003
I am not an oil guru. I come here for common sense advice. I am on the "beginner" level. What I have missed here is a simple explanation as to the advantages of a 0W- weight oil. In all honesty, what I have read here on the issue is too complex for my little brain to understand. I have a 2000 Honda Accord 4 cylinder with about 76,000 miles. Up to this point, I have used dino oil, either Havoline or Kendall, with 4,000 mile oil changes. I use 10W-30 or 5W-30. The 5W-30 is what Honda recommends, and the 10W-30 is their secondary recommendation. There have been no issues with oil so far - everything works fine. Tomorrow I am switching to synthetic. Is there any advantage to going with a 0W- weight? If so, what? And, can you keep the explanation simple? Right now, I have pretty much decided on Mobil 1 5W-30.
In your mild climate there is no real need for a 0W oil. As a general rule the 0W's need a lot of viscosity improvers that will shorten the oil's service life. The M1 5W30 and 5 to 6K OCI's should do you just fine in TN. [ January 13, 2004, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: KW ]
I understand what you are saying, but .... The new M1 Racing is supposed to be a 0W30 isn't it? If the viscosity improvers cause a shorter life expectancy, wouldn't it be logical that the high temp, high load racing oil would be more stable? Certainly a racing application is not going to be in cold weather, unless you are racing snowmobiles, then I think Amsoil has the 4-stroke oil for that application! Mobil has no official comment on this when you call the tech line. They keep saying "they are both the same quality" or "buy whichever you want" or "whats on sale". Thanks, Doug [Confused]
Originally posted by KW: ... The M1 5W30 and 5 to 6K OCI's should do you just fine in TN.
I would go to 7k the first time and do a UOA (Used Oil Analysis).
Did you see the one thread here where people were putting oil in the freezer? Going along with KW, it seldom gets as cold outside in Tennessee as inside a freezer. If an oil is too thick because it is too cold, the bypass opens and it is just pumped straight back to the crankcase. The engine must make do on what oil is left from when it was shut down. The more extreme, 0W-, multigrades are meant for colder weather. Your synthetics naturally have a flatter viscosity/temperaturee curve, and need less in additives for a given grade rating. They also continue to perform better outside the rated range where additives reach the limit of their effectiveness. Your synthetic 5W-30 will be thinner than a 5W-30 dino when record setting cold hits Tennessee. So a synthetic 5W-30 is a good choice in Tennessee for a car that the manual suggests a 5W-30.
With easier start up means its easier on your battery and other engine related parts as well. Like flowing to the top of the heads quicker. You will also see increased gas mileage when using the 0w30 formula. Just casue you dont live in Alaska or Wisconsin doesnt mean it wont benefit you.
If you do not need a 0Wt. for artic conditions their is absolutely no advantage over 10W30 or 5W30. 0W30 is a marketing gimik. It is a soulition looking for a problem. The only possable advatage is that some companys use much better base stocks to formulate their 0Wt. oils. To date we have not really seen a statisticly significant difference in wear from one companys synthetic 5W30/10W30 as compared to their 0W30. The possably execption might be Castrol. In your climate you can easily run Synthetic 10W30 year round! As far as easier starting is concerned I am running Castrol Syntec Blend 10W30 in the wifes buick and it starts just fine. I have 5W40 in my car and it also starts fine. I live in Michigan so I am sure Tn. has much milder winters then we do. The gas milage difference is not signifacant unless you operate a fleet. No matter how you slice it you still have a 30Wt. [ January 13, 2004, 10:14 PM: Message edited by: JohnBrowning ]
Originally posted by scooter996: You will also see increased gas mileage when using the 0w30 formula.
Cha chiing!!! I have a turbo-charged motor (Audi/VW 1.8T) and noticed that gas mileage improved by 2% with thinner M1 5w-30 and 0w-40. However, they also burn faster. With 10w-30 and especially with 15w-50 for the hot summer, there's no need to add.
Don't do it! Just keep doing what you've been doing before, you are very much on the right track. In Tennessee you can use 10W-30 year around, which will keep your engine nice and clean. In a couple hundred years the global temperatures will rise enough for the Gulfstream to shift and Eastern US will freeze over. Until that time, no need for 0W anything in your area [Big Grin]
The one big advantage to the 0/5-30 oils no matter where you live is cold start ups. The thin oils pass threw paper oil filters much easier along with flowing threw out the engine much faster at start up thus oiling everything much sooner. The easier the oil passes threw the filter, the less the bypass opens thus you get more filtered oil more often. Even cold start ups at 60/70 can kick open bypass valves especially with the heavyier weight oils. The more dence the paper in the filter, the more back flow resistance to the oil getting threw the filter especially when the oil is cold. Thinner oils flow threw easier.
Originally posted by labman: If an oil is too thick because it is too cold, the bypass opens and it is just pumped straight back to the crankcase. The engine must make do on what oil is left from when it was shut down.
If the bypass valve opens, the oil bypasses the filter element, but still goes to the engine, albeit less efficiently than if the oil were thinner.
[Cool] I'm using M1 0W-30 just for winter since I live pretty close to work and it doesn't get warmed up. Later in the day I drive around more to do estimates and check on my people (I'm a contractor of sorts) so it gets warmed up. The rest of the year I use M1 in the recommended 5W-30.
A significant increase in fuel efficiency - compared to even a 10w-30 synthetic - particularly in trips of less than 20 miles in length.... My VW/Audi engines get about 3% better fuel efficiency with the Amsoil 0w-30 than with their excellent 10w-30 synthetic - even on long highway trips .... Tooslick Dixie Synthetics
Even if your area doesn't get down to -20F, you'll still benefit with 0w30 over 5w30 in cold weather. With all the sub 0F we've been getting here in Toronto this month, a lot of people would have an easier time starting their engines with 0w30, especially those with marginal batteries. So while 0w30 might be overkill for some climates, it's definitely worth it. And some 0w30s are simply just better built oils than the 5w30 of the same brand (for instance 0w30 Amsoil is a better built oil than their 5w30, German Castrol 0w30 is a considerably better built oil than their 5w30 Syntec)
My 03 Honda recommends 5w20 but I’ve been using M1 0w20 in the winter. I’m one of those fanatical people who also use a block heater even when I don’t live in the arctic north. This week the car’s heater didn’t seem to come on as soon as before so I decided to check the block heater this morning. I have it on a timer. This morning it was 7F. I started the car first then check the heater. Today the car took over 3 seconds to start (it normally takes less then 1 second) so, as expected, the block heater was cold and not working. It was really the timer not working. I know I’m rambling but my point is, why not use the 0w oil. It cost the same (at least M1 does) and IMO is does not hurt but may help if you need it.
Mikey, you and I think alike, I also run a block heater on my car every single morning, even with 0w30 in there. I started doing it around the end of October, even when it was still 40-50F overnight. My main reason was to see if I can elminate the effects of winter on my oil this year. My car will almost never see a true cold start, because of being plugged into the block heater every morning, and because at work I have underground parking, and even on the coldest day this year it hasn't gone below 50F in there (it's usually closer to 60F)
With my first run of German Castrol 0w-30, I notice a dramatic difference in the way my truck starts in the morning. Most cold mornings (say around 30 degrees F) the truck would tick for a second or two on 5w-30 Mobil 1. GC doesn't tick at all. If you have read a post of mine bashing this oil,I did have a problem with a bad filter on this run of oil, but it was definately the filter's fault. Since the filter change, my truck has never run better in the cold climate. This morning was -10 degrees here with a wind chill of up to -35. My truck started right up with a few extra cranks! This is compared to my girlfriends car which needed some coaxing and would barely turn over with 5w-30 dino.
[Off Topic!] Packman, I use to live on Grand Island in the Niagara River so maybe it’s the drinking water that makes us think alike. [Smile] I now live in the Boston, MA area where my car has a nice garage but because of the job market, I’ve been working in CT and have to park outside overnight during the week. So, I got the block heater. I also use the heater on weekends when I'm home and the car is in the garage.
I use Red Line 10W30 in my '97 Escort with 238K miles (though I'm planning to change to RL 5W40 since my main source in Baltimore now carries it in gallons). It does not have a block heater. I work nights, and last Saturday it got down to 6 deg F here, which is unusual bitter cold for this area. The car sat overnight at work and got a complete cold soak, as you could imagine. When I started it just after sunrise, it started within 1 second without hesitation, excess noise, or problems. You would have thought it was 75 deg F outside. Thank you, RL! So: if 10W30 synthetic is more than sufficient for temperatures below 10 deg F, perhaps 0W is sheer overkill except in the very coldest areas. Just a thought . . .
Hehe, sometimes on the weekends my car gets parked in the garage too, and I'll still plug in the block heater, even though our garage at home is usually 40-50F. Yes, I'm obsessed. I need to make this engine last a super long time to prove to TooSlick that not all GM V8s are unreliable! [Smile]
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