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Modern Engines Require 0W Motor Oils

Pennzoil is active in the shift to low viscosity (0W) motor oils. Photo: Pennzoil

The development of zero-weight (0W) motor oils came as a need to reduce emissions, improve fuel economy and engine efficiency while continuing to provide engine protection. 

As governments propose significantly higher CAFE standards, vehicle manufacturers are focused on increasing fuel economy through the development of high efficiency engines, often with turbo charger and gasoline direct injection, designed to run on thinner motor oils.

To provide proper lubrication for these engines, which have tighter tolerances and higher operating temperatures, lubricant manufacturers developed modern day motor oils which focus on zero-weight (0W) grades such as 0W-40, 0W-30, 0W-20 and more recently, 0W-16.

“With more new vehicles requiring 0W oils, the number of 0W oil changes performed by quick lube operators, repair shops and auto dealers has increased substantially over the past few years,” said Don Moser, DIFM Channel Marketing Team Lead.

“As more OEMs require unique 0W formulations this will likely result in operators having to carry additional 0W products. Most domestic and many Asian import vehicles currently requiring 5W-20 may also use 0W-20. Offering a 0W-20 in place of a 5W-20 is an opportunity to offer improved fuel efficiency benefits to consumers and reduce the number of bulk tanks and oil varieties stored on shelves.”

Low viscosity motor oils enable easier flow upon cold starts to quickly reach and lubricate engine parts and provide better fuel economy benefits compared to higher viscosity grades such as SAE 5W and SAE 10W viscosity grade motor oils – and do so without any compromise in engine protection or performance.

Benefits of Low Viscosity Motor Oil made from Natural Gas

Lower viscosity grades made with Pennzoil’s synthetic base oils positively impacts fuel efficiency, provide outstanding performance in extreme temperatures and protect against engine deposits and wear. Unlike traditional synthetic motor oils that are made from crude, Pennzoil full synthetic motor oils are made from natural gas.

“At Pennzoil, our technology team understands that one way to achieve fuel economy benefit is to lower the viscosity of the lubricant and reduce the viscous drag for the oil within the engine,” said Sean Nguyen, Pennzoil Project Leader.

“So, our goal is always to provide the correct viscosity lubricant that still provides the highest level of protection and durability. That’s what we’ve done with Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum full synthetic 0W motor oils, which are made from natural gas. They are engineered to provide unbeatable engine protection.”

In 2018, Pennzoil introduced their Platinum SAE 0W-16 Full Synthetic motor oil in North America, recommended for use in all vehicles requiring SAE 0W-16 viscosity grade motor oils. This includes the Toyota Camry 2.5L and Honda Fit, to name a few. It is engineered to provide better fuel economy[1] and enable better performance with respect to oxidation stability, deposit control and wear protection than required by the toughest industry standards.[2]

SAE 0W-16 motor oils will not be suitable for use in older engines. We recommend that you consult the owner’s manual for the correct viscosity grade and motor oil recommendation required for your vehicle.

ILSAC GF-6 Oils in 2020

The industry’s ongoing push for improved fuel economy has driven the need for engine downsizing and has increased the application of Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection (TGDI) engines, which require increased protection against Low-Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI) and timing chain wear. The new ILSAC GF-6 motor oils meet the requirements of modern engines that were unmet by GF-5.

Pennzoil has already completed the ILSAC GF-6 testing protocol for its designated products. The protocol includes eight engine tests, seven of which are new. Test results determine whether a motor oil meets one of the standard’s two sub-categories, ILSAC GF-6A (which is backward-compatible to ILSAC GF-5 oils) and ILSAC GF-6B (which is a new standard specifically for SAE 0W-16 motor oils and is not backward compatible with previous categories).

Switching to a Low Viscosity Motor Oil

0W products are suitable for use in vehicles that recommend a heavier 5W or 10W viscosity grades as long as the second number matches. They offer the same engine protection as their heavier weight counterparts. They also provide added benefits of faster flow to reach critical engine components better than a 5W or 10W motor oil, especially in extreme cold conditions and at engine start-up. 0W motor oils provide improved fuel economy as compared to their 5W and 10W counterparts. Consumers can gain these benefits if they switch from an SAE 5W-20 to an SAE 0W-20 once their vehicles are no longer under manufacturer warranty. While the vehicle is under warranty, we advise motorists to follow the OEM recommendation.

1Based on Sequence VIF fuel economy test

2Based on Sequence III-H, IVA

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