Automotive Column 33 Engine Oil Weight
Syndicated Newspaper Column
Do you know what weight engine oil your vehicle uses? It is important to use what the manufacturer recommends for oil type and weight to make sure your engine is protected.
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Dear Motor Medics,
I have a 2011 Honda Civic and it specifies that I use a fully synthetic oil of very low weight. I have never seen oil with this low of a weight rating so I worry about protection and it’s also very expensive as compared to regular conventional oil. My question is this, can I use conventional oil and go with a heavier weigh like a 5w30 and get the same protection at a lower cost? I want to protect my engine but also be as economical as possible.
Brad in Williamsport Pennsylvania
No, that’s about as easy as I can put it. The manufactures have gone to lower weight oil to increase fuel mileage through less drag and also reduce emissions due to stricter government standards and a demand for better fuel economy. When they changed to the lower weight oil they also engineered the engine to run with it. This means that the engine will not lubricate properly with heavier weight oil. As for the synthetic part there are many reasons that it is required, some of which are reduced friction for the mileage and emissions, better stability to protect at the lower weight ratings, and less sludge buildup in the engine. If you were to switch to higher weight oil or use non-synthetic oil you could risk damage to the engine that would not be covered by the warrantee. Always use the manufactures recommended oils in your engine.
Take care, the Motor Medics.
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Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.