CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

5w-20 or 10w-30

A Sable with a v-6 and 85000 miles uses a quart or so between oil changes and does not leak. Would changing to 10w-30 instead of 5w-20 help this?

What year and what engine does this Sable have?

Not enough to bother with.

2001 v-6 Duratec

Stick with the oil that is called for by your owner’s manual; 5W-20. Using a quart of oil every 3000-5000 miles is not unusual by any stretch.

You could add a can of STP Oil Treatment or Lucas Oil Treatment. This will increase the viscosity of the oil and maybe cut down on the amount used between changes. Check for leaks under your car after it sits overnight. Put a sheet of cardboard under the engine to isolate the leak areas, if any.

Try it and see…Can’t hurt anything…Especially in the summer…

I am not a fan of STP. It does increase the viscosity of the oil, but the oil may be too thick at start-up. I’ve seen engines where STP has been added and, over time, the oil consumption has actually increased. The suggestion of putting a cardboard under the car to isolate any leaks, however, is a good one.

As others have said, 1 quart of oil between changes in nothing to be concerned about.

In 2 of my vehicles (one a Ford, there other an Olds) the owner’s manual specifies that 5-20 is recommended no matter what, but also gives 10-30 if the air temps stay above 0 deg F. Since I have never seen 0 where I live I run 10-30 w/out a second thought. Check the manual to see what it says about this, and certainly run the 5-20 in the winter if you’re in a cold climate.

I have also switched to high mileage oils. It has extra additives for higher mileage cars.

One quart, even 2 quarts between oil changes is not a big deal. Just buy a couple of quarts of oil and keep it handy in the garage for topping off.

The problem with heavier oils, is less mpg and perhaps less lubrication on start up and in cold weather. What you might save in using less oil, will be negated by using a bit more gas.

Sometimes changing the brand of oil you use can make a difference. Some oils of the same weight but from different brands can “burn off” faster or slower than other brands.

You could try a “high mileage” oil, but use the viscosity recommended in the owner’s manual and printed on the oil cap or on the dip stick.

Why not try 5w-30?

If you’re only using a quart in less than 3,000 miles, that’s really nothing to worry about.

Right on I think. I wouldn’t use 10W-30 in Winter in a cold climate. I once tried to pour a quart of 10W-30 that had been sitting overnight at -18F(-27C). More like Vasoline than motor oil. Not what I would want to be using for lubricant while the engine was warming up.

I am not a fan of STP.

I’m not a fan either. It is way to thick to do any good. In fact it’s been shown to harm some engines because it doesn’t flow well.