I have recently purchased a new 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid. The owners
manuel recommends using 5W-20 Synthetic oil. I have been reading online
articles that explain that 5W-20 is recommended to keep CAFE fines to a
minimum. These articles explain how 5W-20 oil will increase gas mileage
but drastically increase engine deterioration. Does anyone know if this
is true for all vehicles (especially the Escape Hybrid)? If this is
true, what oil should I be using?
Who is claiming that it will "drastically increase engine
deterioration?" I have used 5W20 in my 2003 Expedition for over 75K
miles with no apparent engine deterioration. If you are not doing
anything particualrly harsh (hauling or towing heavy loads in very hot
weather for instance), I'd ignore the self appointed internet experts
and go with the Ford recommendation.
It's customary in today's blogging world to cite the 'authority' or source
of your information. Much can be deduced by exactly WHO makes a statement
and how they word it.
- - - - - - - -
Beyond that, Ford says to use it, use it like Ed White says... at least
until the warranty is out.
Todays engines are built to better and closer tolerances (less variation),
and thinner oil films typically suffice. They are also built in a cleaner
environment than in the past.
And my additional theory/opinion:
Oil flow is as important as the oil getting to bearing surfaces because it
also acts as a coolant... thus small imperfections and scratches wont
overheat as easily with fricion. If those scratches dont overheat, they
wont coke the adjacent oil film. The lower the viscosity, the greater the
No small coke deposits mean the imperfect surface has a chance to polish
out rather than contribute to a larger gouge down the timeline when the
coking breaks loose.
So, if it were me, I'd use Motorcraft 5w-20 until the warranty ran out,
then Mobil 1 5w or 10w -30.
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
There are several sites
http://www.performanceoiltechnology.com/ford5w20.htm ) They all seem to
be the same article.
These seem to claim that Ford recommends 5W-20 to save themselves a few
bucks - I can believe this. It also explains how by the time the
"issues" arise the vehicle will be out of warranty.
I can see benefits to Ford for following this strategy.
"Beyond that, Ford says to use it, use it like Ed White says... at
until the warranty is out. "
- This is what worries me. This will make it so the vehicle lasts
at least until the warranty has expired. I want it to last much
I like your "theory/opinion," but I have one question about it. Why
would you switch to Mobil 1 5W-30 only after the warranty expires. If
it is really superior, why not use it the entire time?
Because almost any brand or type of oil will do until the engine is 'well
broken in'... and that is just about time the warranty runs out.
I do suggest if you use famous brand oil with a 'keystone state'
reference, you run oil no more than 4,000 miles, whatever the case.
And what Ford wants is for the owner to change the oil on schedule. So..
you use that Ford specified weight and change it when scheduled...
Here's where I go with MY opinion, again...once you start using Mobil 1,
then you can go for extended periods without harm. Providing the car is
typically run at temperature for at least 20 minutes a trip.
Finally I think you worry too much... It is now typical for an EFI
engine, even casually maintained, to last long after you (not me, I'm
contrary!) no longer want to be seen in the car.
Are you really planning on driving that thing over 300,000 miles? If you
do, and maintain it well.. the doors may be falling off before the engine
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
"So, if it were me, I'd use Motorcraft 5w-20 until the warranty ran
then Mobil 1 5w or 10w -30."
Why worry about the warranty, the OEM only recommends. If you use the
motor oil with the allowed specs, whether synthetic or not, warranty
s/b ok. If you have a problem, try an oil analysis to prove it's not
the fault of the oil. I get ticked when I hear how the big oil
companies try to scare us by threatening to void the warranty at the
drop of a hat.
Ford has specified 5w20 for at least a few years now for most of their
vehicles, and even issued TSBs for vehicles originally spec'd at 5w30.
That being the case, why can't I buy 5w20 wherever I go??? Damn
annoying to have only a couple of places that carry it out of the 20 or
30 that sell motor oil.
On 24 Apr 2006 14:01:42 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
For what it's worth (and it ain't costing you anything) I would use
the 5W20 for the breakin period, such as it is, and switch to 5W30 by
mid june, here in Central Ontario. If Ford recommends Synthetic, I'd
use a top quality synthetic such as Mobil 1, and change it either on
or before schedule. We had 37 days straight over 30 degrees C last
summer, so the extra protection of a 30 weight over a 20 weight gives
me some peace of mind. As for the oil flow, with a 5 base it will
still get the same flow when cold, and the reduction in flow when hot
will be miniscule. I would continue to use the 5W30 through the winter
as well, as the cold flow characteristics are the same as 5W20.
After it is off Warranty, depending on my mileage I would quite
possibly switch back to a conventional oil. Depends how often I end up
changing the oil. If I am doing lots of short trips, and building
mileage slowly, I would forgo the synthetic because regular oil gives
better corrosion protection. I would be quite likely to use a good
As an auto mechanic, I am very comfortable with this "deviation" from
Ford's recommendation.(and for hard driving in hot conditions, I would
even go to 10W40 once I got some miles on it, without fear of damaging
I typically run a vehicle till it is 16 years old or older, and it has
well over 350,000km on it. My current van is a '94 (pontiac) with
334,000 more or less Km on it, and I will LIKELY keep it at least
another 3 years.
I run 10W40 Havoline oil in the 3.8 liter V6. Book says - - 5W30
My wife's car is a '96 Mercury Mystique 2.5 liter 6 with just over
100,000km on it, and I'm running the same oil in it. Book says - 5W20.
You need to do what YOU are comfortable with. I am not recommending
necessarily that you do what I would, or what I do.
Well, let's see.... we nearly always get at least a week of -40F in the
winter.... a really, really hot day in the summer only get's maybe 80F or
so... We have really fine red clay dust that can hang in the air for
hours... we have a lot of people neglect service interval
recommendations.... they do, however, use the recommended grade of motor
oil.... Where old technology engines would have trouble surviving until
150,000 km, we now, quite regulary see engines with in excess of 300,000 kms
that are running very well...
My own 4.6 receives and will continue to receive regular changes of 5W20
oil. I contantly read a chain of "they say"... "they say". Who is "they" and
where is the empirical proof.
Motor oil will remain a bone of contention in regards to new technology
engines.... if anyone wants to be the armchair engineer, let it be so.
However, without any real data (other than the mystical "they say" or
special interest studies -Amsoil is real good for this since they do not
have a 5W20 motor oil), state your case for others benefit without trying to
turn etherial statements into some defacto "proof"...
The following information is a repost of old information (from 2002!) -
Engine oil recommended for use in 2001 vehicles is SAE 5W-20 motor oil. This
oil has an improved formulation to improve fuel economy. This oil can also
be used to service some previous model year vehicles.
Use SAE 5W-20 engine oil at recommended oil change intervals for 2001
vehicles, with the exception of the following vehicles listed in the
"Exception 2001 Vehicles" chart.
All 2001 vehicles other than those listed in the "Exception 2001 Vehicles"
chart are being filled with SAE 5W-20 motor oil at the factory and should
also be serviced with SAE 5W-20 oil.
Vehicle Application Listing Approved For SAE 5W-20 Motor Oil:
1995-2000 2.5L Contour/Mystique
1999-2001 2.5L Cougar 1996-2001 3.0L 4V Taurus/Sable
1999-2001 3.0L (Vulcan) Ranger (Flexible Fuel and Gas), Windstar,
Taurus/Sable (Flexible Fuel and Gas)
1996-1997 3.8L Thunderbird/Cougar
1996-2001 3.8L Mustang and 3.8L SPI Windstar
1997-2001 4.2L (SPI) F-150 (under 8500 GVW only), Econoline
1996-2001 4.6L 2V Mustang
1992-2001 4.6L Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis
1991-2001 4.6L Town Car
1994-1997 4.6L 2V Thunderbird/Cougar
1996-2001 4.6L 4V Mustang Cobra
1995-2001 4.6L Continental
1993-1998 4.6L 4V Mark VIII
1998-2001 5.4L 2V/4V Navigator
1997-2001 4.6L 2V Triton F-150/250 (under 8500 GVW only), Econoline,
1997-2001 5.4L 2V F-150/250 (under 8500 GVW only), Expedition,
E-150/250/350, E-350 Chassis/RV/Cutaway
1997-2001 6.8L E-250/350, E-350 Chassis/RV/Cutaway
1999-2001 6.8L Super Duty F-Series 250 HD/350/450/550 Motorhome
2001 2.0L Zetec/2.0L SPI Focus
2001 2.0L Zetec/3.0L Escape
2001 2.0L SPI Escort
2000-2001 5.4L/6.8L Excursion
2000-2001 3.0L Lincoln LS
2001 2.0L Zetec Escort ZX2
NOTE: THE "EXCEPTION 2001 VEHICLES" SHOULD BE SERVICED WITH SAE 5W-30 MOTOR
Exception 2001 Vehicles:
3.9L Lincoln LS
4.0L Ranger, Explorer/Mountaineer, Explorer Sport, and Explorer Sport
NOTE: IF VEHICLE IS NOT LISTED IN THIS APPLICATION, SAE 5W-30 OIL IS
RECOMMENDED. REFER TO TSB 99-8-16.
The following Q&A's were originally posted to the Mustang newsgroup years
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING MOTOR OIL .... [ info on ATF deleted ]
Q. Why did Motorcraft release SAE 5W-20 motor oil?
A. It was the right thing to do for the consumer and for the environment. It
was one of Ford's first steps in improving the fuel economy of our SUVs by
25% by the 2005 calendar year. SAE 5W-20 improves fuel consumption by
approximately 0.6 percent. For the 2001 fleet, this amounts to reducing fuel
usage by more than 21 million gallons per year.
This reduction in gasoline consumption leads to a reduction in carbon
dioxide emissions by 190,000 metric tons per year, which is equivalent to
taking nearly 23,100 cars and trucks off the road each year.
Q. Is there really a difference in quality between 5W-20 and 5W-30?
A. It is important to separate the differences in viscosity grade, and also
the differences in the performance standards set by the International
Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) and the
accompanying American Petroleum Institute (API) performance categories to
answer this question.
First, SAE 5W-20 oils are slightly less viscous at operating temperature
than SAE 5W-30 oils. This reduction in viscous drag contributes to reduced
friction in the engine and thus improved fuel economy for an SAE 5W-20.
Second, there are differences between the present ILSAC GF-2 standard (GF
stands for gasoline fueled) and the soon to be commercialized GF-3 standard.
The performance of a GF-3 oil will be significantly improved over a GF-2
oil. When Motorcraft released it's SAE 5W-20 formulation we wanted it to
perform at the GF-3 level; but the GF-3 spec had not been finalized, so we
'guesstimated' what GF-3 would look like. In so doing we doubled the length
of the standard dynamometer Sequence IIIE test (which duplicates high
temperature trailer towing) which increases wear protection and reduces oil
thickening. While GF-3 also improves on the standard GF-2 Sequence IIIE
test, it went nowhere near as far as Ford did. This provides Motorcraft SAE
5W-20 with a significant increase over 'standard' GF-3 oils, which most SAE
5W-30 oils will meet.
Taking all this into account, the Motorcraft SAE 5W-20 will be a significant
improvement over most SAE 5W-30 oils.
Q. Does the difference in price between Motorcraft SAE 5W-20 and SAE 5W-30
really reflect a better oil?
A. Yes. The better base oils, and increased additives such as friction
modifiers and anti-oxidants used to formulate for the performance levels in
the SAE 5W-20 do cost more, but reflect the significant increase in
Q. What Ford and Lincoln/Mercury vehicles use SAE 5W-20 oil?
A. Approximately 80% of 2001 models should be serviced with SAE 5W-20 oils.
By 2003 model year all Ford and Lincoln Mercury vehicles will be
filled with SAE 5W-20 at the factory. But there are a significant number of
older vehicles, some as old as 1991 models where Ford now recommends
servicing with SAE 5W-20. Refer to the chart listed in Technical Service
Bulletin Article No. 01-4-7 for details of which older models should use SAE
5W-20 and for the 2001 'exception' models which should continue to use SAE
Q. What happens if someone uses SAE 5W-20 in older vehicles?
A. As stated before some older vehicles have been approved for SAE 5W-20.
However, there are many older vehicles not covered by TSB 01-4-7,
and Ford is presently testing these to determine whether durability and
performance would be compromised if SAE 5W-20 was used. Until this testing
is successfully completed (and a TSB is published to this effect), it is not
recommended using SAE 5W-20 in an older model unless specifically mentioned
in TSB 01-4-7.
Q. Is Motorcraft the only brand for SAE 5W-20 motor oil?
A. No. Although SAE 5W-20 is not yet a popular viscosity grade, major
marketers including Pennzoil, Quaker State, Valvoline, Exxon and others have
either already begun marketing an SAE 5W-20 or have plans to do so.
Customers should find this viscosity grade increasingly available in coming
months, including at some retail outlets.
Q. Will SAE 5W-20 provide longer oil change intervals?
A. At the present time Ford recommends no change to the existing drain
interval for SAE 5W-20. However, Ford is investigating allowing longer drain
intervals since the performance level of Motorcraft SAE 5W-20 is
significantly better than today's GF-2 oils.
Q. Why does Wal-Mart have Motorcraft SAE 5W-20 so much cheaper than dealers
can now buy it?
A. Oil and Filter change is the number one Do-It-Yourself repair. Many Ford
Motor Company customers are avid Do-It-Yourselfers. Some may purchase
required products from our franchised dealerships, however, most prefer to
purchase products available at mass merchandisers. If our product is not
available they will buy other brands available at these retailers. Ford
Motor Company has an obligation to the EPA to ensure all of our customers
have access to this new oil and Wal-Mart is one of
several retailers carrying Motorcraft products. Wal-Mart bought several
truckloads of Motorcraft SAE 5W-20 at the original introductory price. These
original quantities are still available at Wal-Mart. As Wal-Mart re-orders
Motorcraft SAE 5W-20 in the future they will purchase it at the increased
The bearing journals were made for the viscocity that they mention in
We could mention tri lat here but no...
They designed the motor for what the owners manual asks you to use. Be
good with it.
On Sat, 6 May 2006 22:19:58 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Now THAT I'd like to see ---
The filter screen on a vehicle calling for 5W20 is no different than
that on a vehicle calling for 5W30, 0r 10W30.
The ONLY reason the manufacturer specs 5W20 is for CAFE - PERIOD.
They test the engine for certification on 5W20, so by law they MUST
recommend 5W20 for normal use. It is THAT simple.
There is no "drastic increase" in engine deterioration with 5W20 oil.
It's the new lie that's made to take the place of the old lie about 5W30
oil doing the same thing. As long as there is adequate oil pressure at
the mains, the engine will last just as long with 5W20 as it would with
Funny that you should say that. In 28 years of Ford, I have NEVER had an
engine problem related to oil. Now in les than 6 Months,( last Dec. 2005,
and just last night), I have had two engine failure that was oil related.
Both cars(Taurus) used the new 5W20. The Taurus last night had less that
35,000 miles on the clock. Lucky for me it is still under warranty..! What
Not sure "what gives", but at that mileage, it's Ford's problem. Maybe
someone high up at Ford with b & b will investigate, have the "Cost
Engineers" fired, and put real oil pressure gauges back into all the
vehicles in all the Ford product lines. :)
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