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What is the best oil to use in a ' 72 Chrysler New Yorker with a 440?

Hello, it’s getting to be that time of the year for car shows and cruises. I need to change the oil in my ’ 72 Chrysler. Most people who I’ve talked to have all agreed that the oil today is designed more for modern day cars with extra detergents and additives. I used to take my daily cars down the street to have the oil changed there. That was, until I asked the mechanic what viscosity he would use in my old car. He said, " I put 5W-30 in everything". I said, “wrong answer”. I plan on changing the oil myself in this car. What brand would you use in the ’ 72 440 that is not rebuilt, with 116k miles on it? I’m assuming 10W-30 is ideal. Thanks in advance, John

What did the manual call for? I assume that a 5W30 or 10W30 (for summer) regular mineral oil would be OK. Just stay away from those new and very thin oils.

The manual calls for 10w-30. Are there any specific brands better than others or any I should avoid?

I wouldn’t use any modern-day oil. The 10w30 for today wasn’t engineered to properly lubricate your 40 year old engine with slipper-type lifters. I would use an oil specifically designed for an older car, or personally I would use a diesel oil, 15W40, like Chevron Delo, Shell Rotella, Mobil Delvac. The extra zinc additives will be better for your engine.

Thank you ASEmaster. I just got back from Wal-mart and bought some 15W-40 Chevron Delo. Thank you Docnick too. I like to come here for my answers. Many other people don’t know what they’re talking about.

I’ve never looked, but there may be an additive for use with classic engines.
Classic car forums might be able to provide recommendations too.

In any event, I tip my hat to you for having the mechanic down the street the question you did. You’re right, he gave the wrong answer. Frankly, I don’t even remember 5W mulitiviscosity oils being readily available in the early '70s. And I was there! Everyone was using 10W oils back then.

@e86mopar The 15W40 is a good oil, but make sure you don’t start the car in very low temperatures. Since this ia a special vehicle I assume you’re parking it inside. If you park outside use a block heater if you live in a winter area.

I recommend this 15W40 oil for older pickup trucks that are used for trailer towing. My friend has an 80s F-150 with a 5th wheel.

The car has been a garage queen since new. I never use it in cold or bad weather. The road salt in the winter here is a killer.

This car’s engine definitely needs an oil containing the zinc additive that was used back in the day when the car was made. Otherwise the camshaft and lifters will suffer extreme wear. However, finding an oil like that will be difficult in some areas.

I think that the OP’s best options are either to use a ZDDP additive such as this one–

…or to buy the “Classic Car Motor Oil” that the Hemmings folks sell. The Hemmings oils all contain the “old-fashioned” zinc additive:

Of the 3 viscosities that Hemmings offers, I would use the 10w-30.


Was the mechanic down the street a very young guy

If he is, he probably doesn’t have much experience working on classics like your mopar

I’d get a ZDDP additive and use a high quality regular 10W30. That way you’re meeting the specs.

Id run a dual-rated (both API C- and S-) 10w30 diesel oil. It has the zinc you need, and the detergents will help with an older car that naturally runs a bit dirtier.////I wouldn’t be so quick to discard 5w oils, though…nobody ran 5w because viscosity index improvers weren’t very robust and you had to worry about “viscosity breakdown.” A 10wXX meant at least you’d have a 10 wt if the SHTF.////Today, impovements in base stocks means that much of an oil’s multi grade nature occurs without the help of VIIs, so you can “push” the lower number a bit more. (It also means really big spreads like 10w 40 aren’t the bad idea that they were in the '70s.)

I was using a 5 weight oil in the early 60s. It was Atlantic Aviation 5-W20. Yes it was made for autos, the aviation was just hype like Texaco Sky Chief. They made a 20-W40 for summer.