Guide to Correct Engine Oil Selection
There are many kinds of engines designed for various types of vehicles and driving styles. All have their unique properties, and are tuned for engine oils of a certain range of viscosities. Most of the modern engines built in Japan nowadays require ultra low viscosity oils, such as 0W-20 and 5W-20. Some high rpm NA-engines and most of turbo-charged engines require higher viscosity oils, such as 5W-30 or 10W-30.
However, besides technical characteristics of engines requiring certain viscosities, there are many other factors that influence the engine’s performance, and therefore need to paid attention to when choosing an oil. Some of the basic ones are given below.
What is the mileage of the vehicle? If it is much over 100,000 km, which is a normal thing for a Japanese vehicle operated outside of Japan, the oils of the OEM- recommended viscosities may not be able to maintain proper performance of the engine and provide relevant protection to its aging mechanisms as they used to when the vehicle was new. High mileage becomes a particular issue especially if the vehicle has been in extensive use. What kind of oil can solve the problems of high mileage engines and help extend their life? Generally speaking, high mileage engines need a thicker oil film and extra anti-wear protection. After a vehicle has done 100,000 -120,000 km, we recommend to step up to higher viscosity oils with increased thermal stability and extra cleaning package, or wide range synthetic oils, depending on your budget.
For example, the high mileage alternatives to 0W-20 would be 5W-30 (higher viscosity) and 0W-30 (wider range).
What is the distance the vehicle travels during a year? How severe is the driving environment? If the travelling distances are long and the vehicle is used in continuous high rpm operations, the engine ages faster and therefore needs a higher level of protection than the standard OEM recommendations can offer. The most effective way of protecting hard working engines, is using fully-synthetic oils with a sturdier oil film, or wider range oils with improved heat resistance characteristics and increased package of anti-wear additives. The standard OEM line-ups usually do not have high endurance synthetic oils and wide-range viscosities such as 0W-30, 5W-40 and 10W-40, that is why Japanese car builders simply offer more frequent oil change (1,500 - 3,000km) with the oils of standard viscosities. In our opinion, a more reasonable way to protect engines in severe service applications is using higher grade synthetic oils or wide range oils, which both can do the same job on standard drain intervals.
For example, the severe service alternatives to Runner 5W-30 would be Pro Runner 5W-30 (higher grade synthetic oil) and Pro Runner 5W-40 (wider range+higher grade synthetic oil).
What is the climate the vehicle is operated in?
The oil recommendations for the JDM models that the Japanese car builders offer in the owner's manuals, auto brand websites and oil data books, are based on presumption that the vehicle is operated in the mild climate of Japan. Is your driving environment more severe? The winters are longer and colder or, on the opposite, it is extremely hot all year round? Then you will definitely need an oil of a different viscosity that is capable of protecting the engine at the certain temperature ranges of your driving environment. Generally speaking, cold climates require low viscosity oils as of SAE 0W or 5W grades, while extremely hot climates require high viscosity oils as of SAE 40 or SAE 50 grades. To ensure effective protection of the engine at all temperatures ranges, we recommend using wide range synthetic oils, such as Pro Runner 0W-30, 0W-40, 5W-40 and 5W-50.
Depending on what the driver considers more important, fuel efficiency or high performance, we offer oils of different viscosities that will be appropriate for each particular style of driving. The OEM recommendations focus on minimizing fuel consumption, so if your goal is fuel efficiency, use our Primary Recommendations which correspond to the OEM-recommended viscosities. If you enjoy sporty driving and performance is your number one priority, then you need a high-endurance oil with a sturdy film and superior thermal stability, which can protect the engine in continuous or rapid high rpm operations and improve the vehicle's responsiveness to acceleration.
For example, Pro Runner 0W-30 would be a performance-focused option for the ultra fuel efficient vehicles where 0W-20 is recommended by the OEM.
A great number of the JDM models built after 2006 call for 0W-20 rated oils. Manufacturing of any 0W-20 requires use of PAO - an expensive synthetic additive, which raises the cost of oil. For some high performance engines the car builders recommend 5W-40, and a proper 5W-40 is not cheap in Japan either. What to do if the driver's budget cannot afford the OEM-recommended viscosities? Don’t worry - the below chart will offer you several options that will help you choose a price-reasonable replacement, within your budget.
Be careful of Over-spec!
“Over-spec” is using oil of higher specification than the vehicle actually requires, which results in poor performance, increased fuel consumption and often harming of the engine. Some drivers think the more expensive the oil is, or the more advertised it is, the better protection it can deliver to their vehicle, and choose an oil by price or brand name without checking its properties. Such attempts of drivers to choose “the best” oil for their treasured vehicle are understandable, but in fact they do more harm than good and often lead to very sad consequences. It is important to understand what is standard-good, what is better for certain applications, and what is “too good” and absolutely unacceptable. Here are some basic tips which will help avoid trouble caused by the use of Over-spec oils.
! 0W-20 can be used only in the vehicles where it is recommended by the OE Manufacturers, and cannot be used in vehicles calling for 5W-20, 5W-30, 5W-40 or 10W-30 rated oils!
! Avoid using 10W-30, and do not use 10W-40, 15W-40, 5W-50, 10W-50, 15W-50, 20W-50 and 10W-60 in the ultra fuel efficient engines calling for 0W-20!