Can I Use 5W20 Instead of 0W20 In My Honda? (Explained)

If you want your Honda to run healthily, you must use the correct oil. Using the wrong type of oil won’t only affect engine performance, but it can lead to excess wear and tear. If your Honda requires the use of 0W20, you may be wondering, if is it okay to swap it out with 5W20.

In most cases, if you swap 0W20 with 5W20, you may not notice a big difference. Not unless you live in an extremely cold area. The 5W20, even though it is a little thicker, should perform as well as 0W20.

You should, however, not make a habit out of this. If your manufacturer recommends 0W20, strictly stick to this type of oil if you want your Honda to run perfectly.

can I use 5W20 instead of 0W20 in my Honda

What is 5W20?

To understand better if 5W20 can be used instead of 0W20 on a Honda, we must define what makes both types of oils special. Let’s start with 5W20.

5W20 oil provides top-notch startup performance in colder climates. It is a winter viscosity grade oil popular not just in Hondas but also in a wide range of vehicles. You have to understand that the number before W refers to the oil’s viscosity at 0 degrees F.

For those of you who don’t remember viscosity from your science classes, this term refers to the thickness of a fluid. A highly viscous oil will have more resistance when moving through the different parts of your Honda engine.

The 20 after the W refers to the oil’s viscosity at a temperature of 212 degrees F. The higher the latter figure, the thicker your oil is at withstanding high temperatures.

5W20 is a thin oil, but it’s not as thin as 0W20. Nonetheless, it can perform well and provide adequate lubrication in normal operating temperatures. It is ideal for Honda cars that are mostly driven in colder climates.

It’s worth mentioning that this type of oil is suitable for light-duty petrol cars. Honda meets all these requirements. It’s why you won’t notice a significant change when you swap it out with 0W20.

The 5W20 is thin enough to move freely from the oil pan to other engine parts during startup. It should also minimize friction in moving parts. Plus, it should also minimize energy consumption, thus improving fuel economy.

Please note that 5W20 works best if the manufacturer recommends it. Using another type of oil may lead to issues with the engine.

What is 0W20 Oil?

This is the type of oil recommended by Honda and plenty of other car brands. That is because it offers excellent engine protection and helps with fuel economy.

Compared to 5W20, 0W20 provides better cold start performance because it is thinner than its counterpart.

It is known to flow without resistance and ensures minimal friction in the engine. Even though it may not offer the same performance as 0W30, it still does pretty well under high temperatures.

If your Honda is a daily driver and you reside in a colder climate, 0W20 should be your top choice whenever you go for an oil change. 0W20 isn’t best for two-wheeled vehicles. It would be best if you kept it off motorcycles.

Which of These Two Does Honda Recommend?

During manufacture, the engineers of Honda vehicles recommend both types of oil but for different models. As you may already know, Honda makes more than one type of car.

When you buy a Honda, you must go through the manual and learn all about the vehicle. One of the things most people often forget is the type of oil that Honda recommends.

On their official website, Honda recommends the following types of oils to be used in their cars;

• OW20 should be used on petrol engines

• 0W30 works best on diesel engines

• 5W20 should be used on an old or high-performance engine

For hybrid Honda engines and 1.6 diesel engines, special engine oils are made for these types of cars.

Most Hondas on the road are daily drives, and it’s why they should only be given 0W20 engine oil. The 5W20 works better on older engines or high-performance Honda vehicles.

There are reasons why the engineers of Honda vehicles recommend these options. Going against their advice can have adverse effects on your car, which should be avoided.

Is It Advisable to Use 5W20 Instead of 0W20 on a Honda?

There is one exception when it comes to using 5W20 instead of 0W20, and that’s when the car in question is mostly driven at normal operating temperatures.

If you switch to 5W20 and drive the car in a colder area, you will most likely experience challenging startups.

The reason is that 0W20 is much thinner than 5W20. Therefore, it is more capable of flowing easily even if the temperatures are extremely low.

Hondas driven in normal conditions, the difference in viscosity between these two oils is minimal. Therefore, your car may not experience any challenges if you drive under normal temperatures.

Though there is a loophole when it comes to using these two oils, car owners are advised to stick to what their manufacturer recommends. Honda is very clear about which oil you should use.

Where Can I Find 0W20?

You can’t use the excuse that you used 5W20 because there was no 0W20. The thing is, 0W20 is a popular oil made for many light-duty cars.

Therefore, this product is available in most stores, and you can even order it online and have it delivered to your home.

0W20 is widely available in all corners of the country, and with online shopping, you can order it from anywhere. So, there is no reason why you should use 5W20 instead of 0W20.

What Should I Expect When I Swap 0W20 for 5W20?

After knowing the differences between these two, you may think it’s okay to swap one for the other. But that’s not advisable.

There may be no significant changes if the Honda in question is driven at normal temperature conditions. But your warranty will be at a higher risk than your engine. Warranty is a critical part of a car. It exists to protect you as the buyer from issues your car may run into.

If your engine encounters a problem and the manufacturer discovers that you used 5W20 instead of the recommended 0W20 oil, your warranty may be voided because you did not follow their instructions.

To avoid any potential issues, it is advisable to use the oil recommended by your manufacturer.

Also, since 0W20 is thinner than 5W20, you will receive more fuel economy with the thinner motor oil, especially if you live in a cooler climate.

When Is It Safe to Use 5W20?

It is safe to use 5W20 when your Honda manufacturer recommends it. Also, according to the Honda motor oil chart, the 5W20 is perfect for older engines or high-performance Honda cars.

There is also the loophole we discussed earlier, which entails using 5W20 in vehicles driven in hotter climates.

The latter option comes with the risk of voiding the warranty. However, the right choice remains to be adhering to Honda’s recommendation in the manual.

Will 5W20 Lubricate a Honda Engine?

It will perform all the expected functions of motor oil. However, if you drive your car in a colder region, the startups may be tricky. Nonetheless, there haven’t been reports of any incidences caused by using 5W20 instead of 0W20.

Can I Save More Buying 5W20 Instead of 0W20?

The price difference between these two is often less than $10. No matter how strict your budget is, does it make sense for you to void the warranty and go through a lot of trouble during startups just for $10? Not really. The price difference shouldn’t be your main concern.

What Should I Do If I Have Already Used 5W20 Instead of 0W20?

If you make the mistake of using 5W20 instead of 0W20, you shouldn’t panic. The first thing you have to evaluate is your current driving conditions. Is it hot or very cold?

If it’s hot or normal, you can leave the 5W20 in your engine and wait for 5k miles. After that, when replacing the engine oil and filter, you can use the recommended 0W20.

But if it’s cold, you need to pour that oil and replace it with the 0W20. That’s the only way to ensure you don’t have to experience difficult startups. Nonetheless, you have got nothing else to worry about.

What Should I Do If My Mechanic Recommends 5W20?

Suppose you often take your car to the mechanic for an oil change, or you usually visit popular oil change shops such as Jiffy Lube.

In that case, the mechanics may use the wrong type of oil, which is why many people are usually against visiting quick oil change shops.

If your mechanic recommends 5W20, you should stand firm with your decision to stick to 0W20. Even mechanics make mistakes, and some of the quick oil change shop technicians aren’t experienced. Therefore, they are not always right.

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