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What kind of OIL do I use for my car

I have a 1998 Crown Victoria Police Int. What type of oil do I use? I live in NJ. Weather is not that cold here. Is it 5w-20? or 5w-30? Thanks.

1998 US made car. I would guess you would be OK with either. Does the owner’s manual make a recommendation. If so I would stick with that. If not I would go for 5W20 Winter and 5W30 Summer.

This car would run best with 5W30; the 5W20 is mostly an attempt by Ford to squeeze the maximum miles per gallon out of the vehicle to meet the Government CAFE standards.

As a used police cruiser, it no doubt has over 100,000 miles on it already, and the engine will be quite looose by now. A 5W20 and 5W30 behave the same in winter at STARTUP; that’s what thw 5W stands for. The other number is the viscosity at operating temperature, and 20 is too low for a well worn-in police V8.

If you use 5W20, I would check the oil at every tankfull of gas, and NEVER tow a trailer with it, unless the 5W20 is full synthetic.

Many posters here have gotten up to 300,000 miles of trouble-free service out of these vehicles, using standard, non-synthetic 5W30 oil. This is a case where the manual may not be your best guide. It was written with the CAFE in mind.

Thank you very much for the detailed response. I will go with the 5w-30. My car has 128,000 miles on it, and it’s been running great thus far.

It’s a US-DESIGNED car, built in Canada from parts from all over the world. Ford actually get this model classified as “foreign” for CAFE determination, based on the 50%+ non-US content. The Canadian plant was the last one making this model, as well as the Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car, and it is closing for good this year.

Awful THIN…in my opinion…you must have the utmost trust in all the engine seals as well as the bearings to use that water weight oil in that vehilce…I’d go no lower than 10W/30 in the winter and go up to 10W/40 or straight 40 in the summer…but thats just me…

I still use 20W/50 in the summer in some engines

Does The Car’s Engine Oil Filler Cap Have A Recommended Motor Oil Printed On It ? Some Have This Information And I’ve Even Seen It Embossed On Dip Sticks.


The choice of 10W30 in the winter will cause excessive engine wear on startup, unless the car has a plug-in blockheater or is stored inside. Straight 40 will cause excessive engine wear at startup in the summer; this oil is used in railway and other heavy duty diesels, who startup very infrequently and use oil heaters.

We lived in a tropical country and most cars used 20W50, since the nightime temperatures were 25C, 77F and daytime were in the high 90s!

We are trying to assist in OP in maximizing his engine life at reasonable cost. We are not rying to completely eliminate oil consumption. Most posters will go with 5W30 dino as the best all round oil.

If you really want the engine to last forever, go with 0W30 full synthetic, use a block heater in the winter (if car is parked outside), and change oil and filter every 4000 miles.

If you own a couple of old cars with leaky seals and they are on their last legs, the use of 20W50 and 10W40 may make some stop gap sense.

My wife’s 98 Windstar ran 5w-30 year round in South Jersey. No noticeable oil consumption between oil changes (4k interval) at 99k when we sold it. I think 5w-20 is recommended for newer Fords (not sure of start year).

Ed B.

I am the technical manager at Fram Filters. Here is what Ford says about what kind of oil for your CV-
Engine Oil Type

Type GF-1

Viscosity 5W-30

NOTE: Must meet Ford Specification M2C-153-F

Docnick is correct…If you live in the north…you want 5w/30 for the winter. 10w/30 is not recommended for temps below 10 degrees…At -5 10w is very very thick…

Actually, according to CAFE, if the domestic content % is below 75%, it is considered an import. From 2005-2010, the Crown Victoria was 90% domestic content, and was not considered “foreign” for CAFE determination… Do you know what it was in 1998? (I don’t)…

Actually Ford put out a TSB a while back retroactively recommending 5W-20 for the 4.6L/5.4L enginges.

I don’t know the exact % but a colleague in the late 90s had one with Spanish, Chinese, Taiwanese and other foereign parts. At that time these cars still had a high volume in sales, and the CV and its Mercury sister, the Grand Marquis, significantly influenced the CAFE ratings. Fuel economy was worse then as well.

The foreign content was considearbly more than 25% at that time.