Stupid Mistake

I wasn’t paying attention and emptied 6 quarts of Valvoline MaxLife 5w20 in my 02 Silverado 1500 with 130k. If I was paying attention I was supposed to used 5w30. Do I need to drain the oil and replace it with the correct one right away or can I run the 5w20?

I would leave the 5W-20 in and run with it until your next oil change. The thinner oil might help your mpg, but also might burn off faster. Just check your oil level a bit more frequently and top off as needed until your next oil change.

Compared to the doozies we see here, this is a minor slip-up. I was expecting you to say you put the oil in the coolant tank, that kind of thing.

I guess I’d leave it in, unless you use your truck for heavy duty hauling. If so, I’d change the oil.

I’ll second that, texases. If the hot oil pressure is adequate and the truck is just an every day driver move on to the next mistake. If you’re in a hurry to worry you can have one of mine.

A couple of years ago, our independent garage put 5W-20 in the crankcase instead of 5W-30 on our 2003 Toyota 4Runner. This was in the fall and I decided to live with it. We did make a 750 mile trip to visit our son and his family. The 4Runner didn’t know the difference. It didn’t use any oil in 5000 miles when I changed back to 5W-30. Heck, my 2011 Sienna runs on 0W-20 year round–that is the oil that is specified in the manual.
Back in the 1950s, Les Viland who drove in the Mobilgas economy runs would use 5 weight oil in the crankcase and drive cross-country. I do remember him saying that in his own cars he used 10 weight all year round. I used 30 weight in the summer in those days–I wasn’t driving the Mobilgas economy run. The point is, he made the trip with oi much lighter than specified in those days. I don’t think your Silverado will know the difference between 5W-20 and 5W-30 for one oil change cycle.

If it’s going to get cold where you’re at soon, you may be doing it a favor by using the lighter weight oil. But if you live more down south, I’d probably change it and put in what’s recommended, especially if you do a lot of highway driving. As so many have said, oil is cheap, engines aren’t.