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Experience:  ASE Master Technician/Advanced Automotive Diagnostic Technician
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2004 Volvo: S80..twin..owners manual..the use of 5W/30 engine oil

Customer Question

I have recently purchased a new 2004 Volvo, S80, 2.9L with twin turbocharger. The owners manual calls for the use of 5W/30 engine oil up to 86 degrees F. But the chart shows 5W/40 can be used over the whole range of temperatures. I live in southeast Alabama where the temperature is above 86 from June-September. I am a AMSOIL Dealer and they have a European Car Formula 5W/40 100% synthetic oil and my question is would you recommend this product for year round usage. If not, what do you recommend? Thank you for your help in this matter. My e-mail address is:[email protected]

Bob Thompson
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Tech501 replied 11 years ago.
 Don't even think about using 20W50 in that car. It could cost you a motor. It was designed for light oil and heavy oil won't circulate properly.
Expert:  Davo replied 11 years ago.
 5W40 oil can be used in place of the 5W30.Lets start with the 5W.The W stands for winter and means the oil formulation will perform as a 5 weight motor oil in cold weather regardless of the upper classification.This will insure fast oil flow and quicker oil pressure throughout the engine.The upper classification is a rating of how the oil performs at higher oil temperatures.A 30 would be slightly thinner than a 40 and I'm sure as a Amsoil dealer you know that.Knowing this much you should be able to see that the 5W has no bearing on the oils ability to lubricate and flow at high temps but that 5W is crucial on a cold start on most newer engines.The 40 weight can not hurt you because it only works better at higher temps than 30 weight as far as viscosity breakdown.It will not flow at a slower rate or lubricate less at lower temps than 30 weight oil will only maintain its properties at higher temps than 30 weight would.20W50 would be like putting glue in your engine and will spell disaster in a short time.Some newer engines use what are called oil jets to lubricate the pistons and cool them 20W50 will not spray through them at cold temps.I can't say for sure if your engine has them but I would be leaning towards that or something very similar in context.Being a dealer of synthetic oil you are also well aware of the benefits of its use.There is no arguement that it is a superior lubricant compared to conventional oil.However the belief that you can never go back to conventional oil is false.If you could never go back it would mean all of the benefits derived from synthetic oil would be false.Extended temp protection better lubricity at lower and higher temps and less chance of deposits forming in the engine.One exception may be an engine designed to use synthetic oil,the seals may not be compatible with conventional oil.To answer your question use the 5W40 European car formula at cold starts it is the right oil and at high temps its the right oil.For someone to use 20W50 is to say I know my engine needs fixed but this oil will buy me some time with my worn out bearing and rings.One thing to keep in mind with any turbocharged engine is to let it idle for about 30 seconds after the car is parked to give the turbo time to wind down before turning the key off so the turbo(turbos in your case) don't get starved for oil during every shutdown.You can imagine what would happen to turbo bearings with no lubrication after awhile.If this info is satisfactory please hit my accept button.This did require a little time to post.Enjoy your new car.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Davo, thanks so much for your thorough explanation. I have since talked to the engineers at Amsoil and they said exactly what you relayed to me. They recommended 5W/30 for year round usage so that's probably what I'll use. Anyway, thanks for the info.

Bob Thompson
Expert:  Davo replied 11 years ago.
 If you felt my answer was good why didn't you give me an accept for my time?You already have paid the deposit.

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