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Effects of the Wrong Oil?

edited December 2011 in Repair and Maintenance
I just left an oil change from a new mechanic with a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sure enough, when I checked the manual, I realized that the (organic) 10W30 he had used was not the 0W20 (usually synthetic) my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid's manual called for. I'm going to have him (or someone else if he balks) change out the oil and the filter. Did I just damage my engine by driving the 5 miles home with the wrong oil?


  • That distance probably caused no damage. Talk to the mechanic about changing it to the correct spec. He should be amenable, and depending on oil change cost you paid, there may be an additional charge for the OW20, which is more expensive that the 10W30 you got.

  • No damage is likely, just get the correct weight oil put in it as soon as possible.
  • "Mechanic" or quickie-lube worker? Or other "auto care" chain worker?

    Most actual mechanics know better. Most people who change oil at quickie-lubes & corporate chain places aren't mechanics.

  • No damage, none at all. You may even be able to drive until the next scheduled oil change with your 10W30 without concern. But since this is eating you, go ahead and have it replaced.

  • edited December 2011
    Steve is correct, there is not enough difference to worry about unless you live in a very cold climate..

    But as with any motor oil thread, you will get at least 50 replies with 20 different answers. Take your pick!
  • I agree with Steve...this is bugging you. Change it, and ease your mind. I doubt the overall impact of the oil will have any effect on the motor, though.
  • All motor oils are pretty darn good and their differences lie in there ability to handle extreme conditions of heat, cold and long change intervals, not normal driving conditions. This is especially true of organic vs synthetic oils. You have done NOTHING to harm your car. Your car will turn over more easily in cold weather with 0-20 synthetic oil on start up. Some increase wear over the life of the car will occur if you don't use it for it's lifetime. Nothing measurable in one oil change. I might do the oil change a little earlier before too cold weather sets in. That would be he ONLY reason I would worry...slightly.
  • The replies seem to miss the point that the one doing the oil change has to be held responsible for his mistake . The car may or may not be all right but the one that did the change is NOT alright .
  • If your car had a turbocharger, I would say change it out right away. However, your car uses thin oil to get that last little bit of gas mileage for the manufacturer to meet the CAFE standards.

    I would change it out soon if you live in a cold climate though, and put in what the manufacturer recommended. A 0W20 HAS to be synthetic; you cannot formulate a decent 0W20 from normal mineral oil.

    Once the warranty runs out, I would use 0W30 synthetic, which will give you the maximum engine life with only a tiny penalty in gas mileage.
  • The oil change places are running out of shelf-space to store all the different grades and types of oil..Next thing you know, they will have 10 or 15 different dispensing hoses hanging down from the ceiling..

    Or the computers that print out the customer receipt will be programmed to enter the correct type of oil regardless of what was actually pumped into the engine....Problem solved..Now we are back down to two or three drums of motor oil...
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