Consequences of Using 5W-20 Oil in an Engine That Uses 5W-30?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertConsequences of Using 5W-20 Oil in an Engine That Uses 5W-30?
Emma Matthew White asked 3 months ago
I recently put 5W-20 oil in my GMC Yukon XL '06 with a 5.3L V8 engine, which typically requires 5W-30 oil. I live in Southern California. I'm curious about the potential effects this might have on my vehicle. Could it lead to any significant issues, or is it generally a safe choice?
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 3 months ago
Hi there, Emma! Most of the time, using 5W-20 oil in an engine that requires 5W-30 is generally pretty safe, but there are a few nuances to consider and take into account before interchanging two different motor oil types:
  1. Fuel Economy and Engine Wear: You might notice a slight increase in fuel economy due to the thinner oil. However, this can also lead to slightly increased engine wear.
  2. Engine Temperature: There could be a marginal rise in engine temperature, which is usually not a concern for most driving conditions.
  3. Oil Change Frequency: The thinner oil might necessitate slightly more frequent oil changes.
  4. Towing and Heavy Loads: Avoid towing heavy loads with a lighter-than-normal oil in the engine.
  5. Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Systems: Some engines with VVT might not perform optimally with the wrong viscosity oil.
  6. Extreme Deviations: It's crucial to avoid drastic deviations from the recommended oil. For instance, using 20W-50 instead of 0W-20 can cause serious issues.
In summary, while your GMC Yukon should run fine, always consider the manufacturer's recommendations as the optimal choice for your vehicle. If you notice any unusual noises like valve chatter, it's wise to switch back to the recommended oil. Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team