Bought a new-to-me 2000 Focus ZX3 a month a go and took it into my local
Canadian Tire who explained to me that the car takes a synthetic blend oil
5W20. I thought I was being ripped when I found a TSB on the net
recommending this type of oil.
Question: what are the change intervals for 5W20? Will it improve fuel
economy and extend the life of the engine?
For winter use, it's an advantage (gels up less in the cold). The Crappy
Tire guy is wrong if he says the Focus has to have it, but nothing wrong
with using it.
I'd say the same as regular oil. You might get away with 10k but not more
than that, and only if you don't have a lot of stop-and-start driving. The
problem is that while syn does not break down as fast as regular oil, it
gets dirty just as fast.
Not that you'd notice, except as I said it flows better at really cold temps
so may save a little gas there. As to engine life, most cars these days go
to the wrecker with the basic engine still in good shape so that's not a
I will be getting my oil changed (2000 SPI) early in the new year and will
get semi-synthetic, but that's for cold-weather starting. Otherwise I
I usually change the oil by judging the amount of dirt/crap in the
oil. I just put 6000km on my ZX5 since my last change, your mileage
will vary. Moisture and a lot of cold starts tends to give (synthetic
or natural) oil fits! The 5W20 oil is a synthetic blend so in theory
it should last longer than ordinary 5W30 oil that what was originally
recommended for the 2000 Focus. I think Ford has since revised their
recommendation to the 5W20 weight - this oil wasn't around when the
car was first sold.
A oil and filter change for me was about $32 including taxes from my
local dealer/quick lube bay so the difference in price from 5W30 is
Cold starting is probably about the same as with 5W30 but running at
warmed up temps such as highway speeds should run a little easier and
therefore a slightly increased mileage. I always thought the first
number was the viscosity at lower temperatures and the second number
was the viscosity at the warmed up temperature. If true then 5W20 is
thinner and freer running after warming. Today's engines are built to
tighter tolerances than of yesteryear and really need the lower
I saw a website earlier this year that explains the in/outs of motor
oil from the point of view of a oil chemist. One comment caught my
eye was that today's synthetic oils should last *MUCH* longer than the
recommended oil change interval. (Not a 100% sure but I thought the
guy mentioned between 50K and 100k) The recommended interval from the
vehicle manufacturers is basically a carry over from the days of
mediocre oils and is a cash cow for the oil manufacturers.
I am still a skeptic about the extra extra long interval because this
guy doesn't live in the extreme temperature swings and lows that we
have in Canada (probably a southern Californian!) In fact he does
mention that even synthetic oils don't do so well under our
I live in Ontario, and in the winter I always use 0w30 Synthetic. Starts
really easy, runs quieter. One of them is a 1991 2.5 Sundance and it still
doesn't use oil. The other one is a 1999 Sable 200hp.
AFAIR Ford recommends 5W30 over here and a 20.000 km change
interval or once a year.
Seems reasonable, before the Focus I had a Ford Sierra TD, which
got new oil every 10.000 km as recommended from Ford.
Never any problem even after >230.000 km the engine was running
like new. From >17 years driving various Ford, the body will fall
apart from rust long before the slightest problem with the engine.
Remove +SIGNS and www. if you expect an answer, sorry for
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