Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Is 5w30 ok to use on a new CRV?

I have a new 2012 Honda CRV. I just had the oil changed at 760 miles from 0w20 to 5w30. The tech said that the 5w30 is ok to use. Is this oil going to cause problems? I live in Phoenix where daytime temps go upwards of 110 for days at a time. I was thinking that the 30 weight might give some additional high temp protection.

Do what the manual says to do but I think you’ll find that it says 0-20 for all temps. O-20 means that it should be a full synthetic. I wouldn’t rely on the tech with a warranty at stake.

If you use an oil other than what’s specified in the owners manual, and then there’s an engine problem the manufacturer can deny the warranty. This is the most common mistake new vehicle owners make.

Once the vehicle is out of warranty, you can use whatever oil you want.


Is there a performance difference at startup between 0w20 and 5w30?

When deciding what oil to use and confronted with listening to the manufacturer’s recommendation (and they have hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D invested) or a “tech” (who likely has not even graduated college and has no knowledge of the technical development and requirements of your engine) I know who I would listen to…

But, hey, it’s your warranty. For what it’s worth, listening to advice about modern engines based on information that is five, ten or 20 years old is asking for trouble.

It is okay to use. Honda does recommend you keep the original oil to whatever the oil life moniter states. They have special additives they apply to certain components of engine during manufacture to help with break in. You basically drained them out.

Are you sure that Honda insists you use only 0W-20? Read your owner’s manual more carefully. Most manuals list several options – a preferred weight and one or more alternatives that are perfectly acceptable. Often they factor in the owner’s climate.

Considering that you live in Phoenix, 5W-30 might even be the weight that Honda recommends for you.

did you read the owners manuel?

Read your owner’s manual TODAY. There may have been special “break-in” oil put in at the factory that may need to be in there much longer than 760 miles. If this is the case get it done ASAP.

Was this the “tech” at the dealer? If so, maybe he has been instructed to push 5W-30 oil because the service department buys it in bulk. On our 2003 Toyota 4Runner, the manual calls for 5W-30 but said that 10W-30 could be used, but should be replaced with 5W-30 at the next oil change. The service department at the dealership put in 10W-30 when he changed the oil. The 4Runner was on warranty at the time. However, I had my trusted independent do the next oil change and that dealer never saw me again. We did get a new Toyota dealer from whom I bought a 2011 Sienna. The service department is very strict about following the recommendations in the owner’s manual and use the specified synthetic 0W-20 at each oil change.

The manual says “Use genuine Honda Motor Oil or another commercial engine oil of suitable viscosity for the ambient temperature as shown.” the temps shown are -20F to +110F. The oil I had put in was Shell synthetic blend 5w30. The shop owner that did the oil change says that the protection from the 5w30 is equivalent to the 0w20.

What are the special chemicals used for the break in oil?

I also noticed the engine idle and running were smoother after the oil change, less vibration and noise. Here is the oil used:

In addition to that statement in the owners manual will be a chart or wording telling you the viscosity to use. I’m quite sure it will say 0-20 like our Acura now does. 0-20 is only available in a full synthetic that I have found not a synthetic blend like you put in. They won’t tell you to use a synthetic specifically but you can’t get a 0-20 in non-synthetic or a blend as far as I have determined.

Whether it is in Arizona or Minnesota, the summer oil temp when it is cold is going to be fairly close such as 70-80 degrees. The 0-20 has a cold viscosity of 0, whereas the 5-30 has a heavier cold viscosity of 5. Using a 5 instead of a 0 on a cold start whether in Minnesota or Arizona will be too heavy to provide proper lubrication. When it warms up to operating temperature, like 200 degrees, the 20 oil will be thinner and provide the necessary lubrication to the tight tolerances in the engine. The 30 is a heavier oil again. Does it ever get to 200 degrees outside in Arizona? If not the whole arguement for using 30 vs 20 is academic. (I understand this is not totally correct to an engineer but close enough for a normal car owner.)

While they do have special break-in additives, there is no way still I would keep the original oil in beyond 5000 miles but did consult with the dealer on that. They agreed it was fine to change it at the first 5000 miles with no problem. Changing it before that though might not be advised.

So at any rate, re-read the manual and look for the specific viscosity of the oil recommended. If its 0-20, switch to full synthetic and get the 5-30 out of there Just IMHO of course, but anyone else get 530,000 on an original engine? Now I need to talk to my son about changing oil more often than once a year in his BMW.

According to the Owner’s Manual, page 299, only 0W-20 is recommended.

As an aside,
I found it interesting Honda recommends only Honda DOT-3 brake fluid, no other brand.

Don’t worry about what brand it is…Any Major brand will be fine.

If the owners manual only suggests using 0w-20…and no other motor oil then I suggest you change it back your next oil change or sooner.

The engineers designing your vehicle have a lot more knowledge then owner of a oil change garage…

Two things, A) WHY would you change the oil with less the 1000 miles on it?? B) while the 5/30 will not do any damage it will cost you a little in MPG… One of the changes they made going form 2011 to 2012 was the oil in the motor and trans are thinner. This along with aero-dynamic changes resulted in a 4+ MPG upswing in 2012 CRV’s… Your Mech probably does not stock 0/20 which is why he used 5/30…

Ok, I give up. I took the vehicle back to the garage and had them drain and fill it with 0w20 synthetic. I spoke to Shell tech support today and they told me the 2012 engines have smaller oil holes and tighter bearing clearances and need the lighter oils to lubricate properly. The Honda tech support said the same thing. I changed the oil at less than 1000 miles to remove any metal shavings, etc., from the break in process. I am planning on keeping this vehicle a long time and want the engine to be broken in with no problems.

The mechanic does stock the 0w20, but they sell it at $10 per quart. If I change the oil at 7500 miles, which the Shell engineer told me is ok, then the oil change costs the same as changing every 3000 miles with conventional or synthetic blend oil. The Shell engineer told me the 100% synthetic oils can go 10,000 or even 15,000 because they do not break down or leave deposits like conventional oils.

The Honda dealers sell the Honda 0-20 oil for ~$7.5 per quart and it can be found even cheaper online. Walmart has Mobil full synthetic 0-20 for ~$25 for a 5 qt jug. The oil change might be cheaper at the dealer. Granted, mine put Pennzoil in it…

Just follow your oil life monitor, just know that it is also due to be changed at one year mark, so if you drive less than 8-10K miles a year, you have to go with the yearly schedule.

Modern engine manufacturing does not leave the kind of metal shavings in your oil during break in like it used to. In addition, car manufacturers start and run engines (and many even drain the oil and refill after initial starts and testing). I have spoken to numerous service advisers and even some manufacturer techs and all of them have concurred that it is unnecessary to drain the oil before the first normal change interval. As mentioned by others here, many cars come with an oil package meant to assist with break-in and should be left in for the normal oil change interval.

The difference between how engines are made now and how tight the tolerances are, compared to engines from 10 or 20 years ago is amazing. Oils and filters are also much more advanced. While some of the “retro-grouches” may not like it, much of this technological advancement has caused most of us to rethink our maintenance. I used to change oil every 3,000 miles without fail. Now I routinely go to 7,500 miles or more. I still change all fluids but I use the extended intervals shown in the owner’s manual since I drive all highway miles. The dealer always tries to encourage me to come in more often but reluctantly admits that it is not really necessary.

Incidentally (since I know all the old-timers will react in horror) my vehicles have the following mileages with zero mechanical issues related to fluid changes (oil, trans, coolant, brake, power steering): 199,000; 142,500; 108,500; 3,300 (my new Mazda 3i).