Many Volkswagen and Toyota owners – particularly those with 2010 or newer vehicles – are confused as to the type of oil they must use to maintain their vehicles’ warranties. Specifically, some don’t understand why an oil change provider will decline to put conventional oil into their vehicle’s engine.
This comes as no surprise to us because, in quite a few cases, neither Volkswagen nor Toyota state in writing that synthetic or synthetic blend oil is required to maintain the warranty, even though the owner’s manual specifies an oil standard or weight that is not available as a conventional oil.
Volkswagen, which introduced its own oil standards in the 1990s, states the following regarding recent model year vehicles:
- 2001-2012 gas engines use only engine oil meeting Volkswagen standard 502.00;
- 2004-2006 diesel engines use only engine oil meeting Volkswagen standard 505.01; and
- 2007-2012 diesel engines use only engine oil meeting Volkswagen standard 507.00.
There is no conventional oil that meets the 502.00, 505.01 or 507.00 specifications, but Volkswagen and its dealers seem reluctant to tell drivers that. Our centers carry Castrol synthetic oils that meet the 502.00 and 505.01 standard; if your vehicle requires 507.00 standard, we recommend you contact your neighborhood Oil Can Henry’s in advance to see if they carry an oil that meets that standard or if they can arrange to have it when you do visit.
Toyota, beginning with the 2010 model year, changed the recommended oil weight for most of its vehicles from 5w-30 and 5w-20 to 0w-20. The 0w-20 is not available as a conventional motor oil; it’s only available as a synthetic blend or, more commonly, a full synthetic. Why? 0w-20 can’t be made from conventional-based motor oil because conventional oil can’t naturally flow well at low temperatures. (Learn more about oil viscosity below.)
The good news is that Oil Can Henry’s centers offer a variety of oils in 0w-20 weight, including:
- Castrol EDGE with Titanium Fluid Strength Technology;
- Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology;
- Castrol GTX SynBlend synthetic blend
- ECO ULTRA; and
- Mobil 1
So, Volkswagen and Toyota owners who want to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations for their vehicles should refer to the owner’s manual to find the specific oil weight or spec. In many cases, that oil is 0w-20 and requires the purchase of a synthetic blend or full synthetic oil change.
HOW WE PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE
To protect our customers and their vehicles, it’s our policy to use only an oil that meets manufacturer warranty requirements if that vehicle is under warranty. If a vehicle is out of warranty and a customer asks to use an oil that does not meet the manufacturer requirements, we’ll do so but will make a notation to that effect in the vehicle service history.
MORE ABOUT OIL VISCOSITY
0w-20 and 5w-30 represent levels of oil viscosity, which relates to how the oil flows at different temperatures. The lower the number, the thinner the oil is and the more easily it will flow.
The first number (to the left of the dash) indicates the viscosity of the oil when at a cold temperature, the w stands for winter and the second number (to the right of the dash) indicates the viscosity at a higher temperature, including when the engine is at its standard operating temperature.
Multi-grade oils such as 0w-20, 5w-20 and 5w-30 are designed to perform well in low and high temperatures. That said, a 0w-20 oil is going to flow at a better rate in cold temperatures than a 5w-20, and, at operating temperature, 0w-20 and 5w-20 will flow at the same rate.
In the end, it’s best to use the oil viscosity specified in your owner’s manual because each engine will perform best when using the oil for which it was designed.
Using the right motor oil is an important way to:
- Lubricate and protect engine parts;
- Prepare engines for extreme weather;
- Reduce engine wear and friction; and
- Start engines up more easily.
Want to learn more? Our friends at Castrol are a fantastic resource of motor oil knowledge. Visit the Castrol website to learn more about motor oil and to learn how to read the American Petroleum Institute (API) seal that appears on all oil bottles.