Oil Viscosity

What weight oil should i use in a 92 toyota camry with a 4 cylinder where the weather gets to -50

Engine has 170000 miles on it

Im coming up with 0-20

I would go with 0W-30, 0W-20 may be a little too thin when warmed up for this older, looser engine.


Thank You

and i went with Mobil 1 synthetic

For those temps…I’d stick with a pure synthetic. But I think ALL 0w is synthetic.

0W-30 is probably the best. And if you have the ability…I’d consider getting a block heater for the nights it gets that cold.

Block & oil pan heater installed


5000 miles for a change with synthetic?

I usually just change it when it looks ready

I usually just change it when it looks ready

No way can you tell by the way it looks…IMPOSSIBLE.

What does Toyota recommend for your car? If you don’t have the owners manual anymore, the information is probably on line; maybe at the Toyota site. I know that you can download late model manuals, but I’m not sure when the cutoff is. I wouldn’t be surprised if Toyota recommends 5000 miles for that era car. Also, if you have a block heater, the outside, overnight temperature is not as important as the temperature of the engine block. It might turn out that you could use a higher viscocity mineral oil since the block temperature is never even -40 when you crank the engine. Here are some thoughts on viscocity.


Toyota probably recommended 10W-30 or 5W-30 in 1992. The zero winter recommendations are for improved gas mileage.

I would go to a full synthetic 0W30. The owner’s manual probably says 5W30 mineral oil.

With a good battery and your block heater you should have no trouble starting and the oil will flow quite fast to the valve gear. I agree that 0W20 in such an old vehicle not designed for 0W20 will result in oil consumption.

I’ve used 0W30 for many years, starting with 0W30 Shell Synarctic, a partial synthetic.

Coldfoot, Alaska? Heh, heh.

I spent the night in coldfoot a few days ago. Wiped me feet on the pass and had to throw iron.

No owners manual and i cant seem to find one i dont have to pay for/

I know we have been here before but i find it real hard to believe that when oil turns brown, Dark brown or black that it doesnt mean its time to be changed. That to me means its dirty …

@badbearing, color of the oil is not always a good indicator. In some cars, oil will darken quickly , but still be good for 5,000 miles. Smelling it for fuel saturation is a better indicator. Sending it off for oil analysis at certain intervals is even better.

Agree with @BustedKnuckles and others. Oil color to the visible eye can’t be used to determine a need to change the oil.

If one’s goal is to have the oil appear cleaner longer, non-detergent oil can do that (but carries other ill effects).

Anyone remember Arco’s graphite oil???

It looked dirty right from the bottle.

Are there any SAE viscosity grades thinner than “0w” ?? Is zero the end of the scale for motor oil? Is there anything “thinner” than 0w-20 weight synthetic oil? Fifty below zero…I think I’d be looking for a new job…Someplace South of Latitude 40…Way south if possible…

Arco Graphite…Yeah, apparently graphite was not the answer…

I remember Arch Graphite. I bought that sales pitch hook-line-and-sink. My father tried to talk me out of it - but I was young and knew everything. Then it came out that the graphite and teflon buildup would lead to clogged oil passages.

In the past I’ve rubbed oil between my fingers to judge condition.
If it feels watery and/or gritty it’s overdue for a change.

One of my brothers had a ratty old van that cranked slow when hot.
Oil felt about as slippery as beer. Oil change fixed the problem.