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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I must be pretty fortunate as I’ve never needed to add oil and I stuck with synthetic.


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I have an 07 with 235k on it, has always needed a top up if I get close to 7500 miles. Just started to notice a leak as well but haven't dug into into it yet

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I am approaching 145k miles and beat the crap out of my 3.2. Never had to add oil.

In addition to John C's experience with high mileage, I have seen a couple other people on German car forums who have had the same experience with using high mileage oil and then would need to add oil, when it was not needed before. One of the detergents in oil is calcium. It can be in all oil, but in higher amounts with high mileage oils. Calcium is also an abrasive.

There are still other types of detergents, seal conditioners, etc. in full synthetic fluid. If you go with a Mobil 1 0W-40, you will not starve the engine of additives that it needs for higher mileage.
 

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We're comparatively lucky with the Volvos of this era. They just want standard industry spec oils, and Mobil 1 has all the right flavors. VW has some crazy specific oil requirements... and my wife's Fiat 500X wants an oil that meets a cryptic Mopar material standard.

-Ryan
 

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Yes the VW TDI wants 507.00 spec oil, which I have to pay big bucks for at VW and the old cars I have need the zinc additive in the oil to prevent the flat tappet camshafts from wearing out, so again, big bucks.

The Volvo is the easiest and I wait for the sales to come on to stock up on a couple of jugs of synthetic Mobile.
 

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SO I took my 2011 XC90 to the dealer for an oil change (have been using Valvoline 5W-30 conventional for the past 95K miles). I am switching to Synthetic oil, they have Castrol, and I requested 0W-40 for the winter. The tech (not service advisor) actually discouraged 0W-40 in this specific vehicle, and recommended Castrol 5W-30 Synthetic instead of the 0W-40. I decided to go with the 5W-30 for now as the winters in Chicago have not been too bad recently, and figure out what could be the problem would be with the 0W-40. And I did not ask for High Mileage, either.

I know that many of you in this thread use Mobil or Castrol 0W-40, but what could the Volvo tech be talking about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Ask the tech for specifics why. 0W40 has been just fine in my 07 3.2.


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Ask the tech for specifics why. 0W40 has been just fine in my 07 3.2.
Agreed. I wonder why. I use 5W-30 Mobil 1 in my 2011, but both grades are equally recommended per the user manual... but the 0W40 has better coverage in the real cold. Is there a TSB?

-Ryan
 

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Ask the tech for specifics why. 0W40 has been just fine in my 07 3.2.


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It wasn't a specific risk of damage, but that Volvo recommends only the 5W-30 for the 3.2 XC90 and not recommended to use 0W-40. He gave a general discouragement of 0W-40 because it is not the recommended oil and could potentially cause damage.

I am fine with going from conventional 5W-30 to synthetic 5W-30, then synthetic 0W-40. I am still on the fence of using High Mileage.
 

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Thanks for that Dragon. I did not think of pulling out the manual, the oil change was already done, and I did not want to be confrontational as I like the dealership (they have taken care of me with issues in the past). I was also not 100% sure what he was talking about and did not want to be 'that customer' who acts like they have a mechanical engineering degree from Google University. I get enough of that at work (I am an ICU physician, and have even had other physicians try to quote me outdated info about problems that have nothing to do with the situation at hand).

Looks like 0W-40 for me next time...
 

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This is the only reason I can think of: The wider the viscosity range, the more viscosity enhancing polymers are needed. More enhancers means less actual oil. Also, over time these can break down, especially in shearing applications (gear trains), leaving you with the thin, single weight base oil.
 

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Thanks for that Dragon. I did not think of pulling out the manual, the oil change was already done, and I did not want to be confrontational as I like the dealership (they have taken care of me with issues in the past). I was also not 100% sure what he was talking about and did not want to be 'that customer' who acts like they have a mechanical engineering degree from Google University. I get enough of that at work (I am an ICU physician, and have even had other physicians try to quote me outdated info about problems that have nothing to do with the situation at hand).

Looks like 0W-40 for me next time...
I appreciate your take, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Just say you're curious and play stupid, not confrontational. None of us have dealership level knowledge, there well could be a TSB.... or an issue with the weight in that brand of oil.

-Ryan
 

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Knowing how dealerships can work, not recommending 0W-40 could be a simple they don't have it. Dealerships can carry less oil weight options than the quickie lube places. I wouldn't be surprised if the dealership (assuming Fields) only carries 5W-30 and 5W-40 (for the older turbo cars). It is as simple as reducing the cost of oil inventory by reducing selection so they carry weights that are more universally accepted by the entire range of models. I have seen these dealerships (franchises) vary in the oil they carry and have seen them also use three different types of weights in the same car.

Now, if you talk to a tech outside of the dealership, you may get a different answer and that is from personal experience. My assumption is they probably just stated the official dealership position to make the sale.
 

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I am sharing some of my work researching oils.

I mentioned a few months back I was running Castrol High Mileage Synth 5W-30, and you recommended changing to 0W-40.
The matrix you've put together is a handy quick reference. Thank you for putting it together and sharing it.
But a question, how is the data to be interpreted? Lowest numbers are best? Highest numbers are best? Something in the middle of all?
Royal Purple, which I'm familiar with from my M/C track days, delivers numbers that are nearly a full standard deviation higher than anything else in this matrix.
 

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7.4L to be exact

And it's good to know that I'm not losing any oil. Despite some vacuum pump leak.


Quick addendum: 2011-on 3.2L (B6324S5) uses less oil due to some changes beneath the crankshaft.

Text Font Line Number Screenshot

-Ryan
 

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I mentioned a few months back I was running Castrol High Mileage Synth 5W-30, and you recommended changing to 0W-40.
The matrix you've put together is a handy quick reference. Thank you for putting it together and sharing it.
But a question, how is the data to be interpreted? Lowest numbers are best? Highest numbers are best? Something in the middle of all?
Royal Purple, which I'm familiar with from my M/C track days, delivers numbers that are nearly a full standard deviation higher than anything else in this matrix.
The take away is to compare the 5W-30, the 0W-30 Castrol (a recommended oil from Volvo and German automakers), and the 0W-40. The universal weight is 5W-30 for our XC90 engines, but it has its drawbacks. Since the 3.2 can suffer from oil burning due to engine wear, tappet wear, and more higher rpm wear (than 2.5t or 4.4), can we use an oil that is better suited than the 5W-30s from Mobil 1 or Castrol?

Some of the needs IMHO are:
very cold start wear protection, high temp protection (where the oil doesn’t get too thin, Viscosity @ 100C), better shear (sometimes people associate this with film strength, HTHS – higher is better protection), good in almost all temps (many places can have a 100-degree swing between the seasons), and easy to buy. One factor that people rarely think about is that the 3.2 inline 6 is a long engine. The inline crankshaft can experience normal twisting and this can put stress on crankshaft bearings. Thus a good HTHS rating will help protect the crank bearings.

The misconception is that the oil weight tells the entire story. It does not. You can see a 0W-40 in normal operating/warming temps is thicker than a 5W-30 and many people in various forums believe that any 0W will be too thin for warmer climates. The [W]inter rating is merely flow meets a certain below freezing temp. 0W is set at a lower temp than 5W, thus, even if the Viscosity @ 40C is thicker, the below-freezing winter starting flow will be better with a 0W compared to a 5W.

There are many resources online. Many of these specs, like A3/B3 are directly correlated to the HTHS. I shared my research, which took me a lot of time to extract and organize. I am only giving a more thorough picture and the online resources can give you more detail. I don’t plan on teaching this in detail, but to give some direction where anyone can learn on their own.

Besides the listed specs for my recommendation of Mobil 1 0W-40, I also like the amount of Zinc it has, which again helps protect against wear as the zinc acts as a cushion. It is also approved by Mercedes/Porsche and is readily available at Wallymart and Amazon. I also recommend an oil change around 5,500 miles because it is a good set-it-and-leave-it oil change interval (if your engine is known to burn oil, obviously check the oil level more often). Some people try to go the 7,000 or 7,500 mile interval, but don't account for any driving change characteristics. These can be summer heat, stop and go traffic, short distance travel on/off doing errands, to the occasional spirited driving. In 50k miles, the difference between a 5,500 and 7k mile oil change interval is only 2 oil changes. For such a cheap maintenance item that can literally save the engine (or break it), I believe it is worth the extra cost.

Another thing to note, Castrol usually runs thicker (in equivalent weights) than Mobil 1. Thicker can resist more burn off, such as with hot turbos in a 2.5t. However, if my memory serves me right, Castrol High Mileage has high amounts of calcium detergent which is an abrasive. From John C’s experience here to the other oil loss issues following the use of High Mileage oils on German car forums, all used Castrol High Mileage. I have and use High Mileage Mobil 1 in various cars for years and never experienced the oil loss issue following its use. I then looked it up, (if my memory serves me right) either it was the manufacturers' specs and/or oil analyses from people, that Mobil 1 has lower calcium than Castrol. If you want to use a High Mileage, I strongly suggest using the Mobil 1 High Mileage first. This is based on my personal experience and data.

Disclaimer:
I run Mobil 1 0W-40, Mobil 1 5W-20 High Mileage, Liqui Moly 0W-40, Castrol 0W-40, and Liqui Moly 5W-40, in different cars. I have also suggested Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20 for newer Acura/Honda cars and 10W-40 Mobil 1 High Mileage/10W-40 Valvoline MaxLife for some older iron block cars. So, I am not a Mobil 1 advocate, just advocating what I believe to be the best fit oil for the 3.2 needs.
 

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I just dumped some Castrol 0W-40 in my wifes 3.2. I've used 5w30 and 0w30 also. Just use a recommended oil and stop reading all the different oil threads and your be fine.:)
 

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I just dumped some Castrol 0W-40 in my wifes 3.2. I've used 5w30 and 0w30 also. Just use a recommended oil and stop reading all the different oil threads and your be fine.:)
Wondering your thought process on using 0W-40 instead of 5W-30 or 0W-30 and why Castrol. It's good to share your reasoning and information. Also, oil selections get updated so recommendations that are made more than a decade ago may need to be updated. I have tried to help here with data and facts in case anyone wanted to dig deeper. IMHO, we should verify, not just trust.

If a decade old car had factory recommendations for DOT 3 brake fluid, would you still put DOT 3 and not use DOT 4? Do you only use factory Volvo parts since they will only recommend them? Or do you go to the dealership asking for their recommendation on tires and only use that? Should oil be any different?
 

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Wondering your thought process on using 0W-40 instead of 5W-30 or 0W-30 and why Castrol. It's good to share your reasoning and information. Also, oil selections get updated so recommendations that are made more than a decade ago may need to be updated. I have tried to help here with data and facts in case anyone wanted to dig deeper. IMHO, we should verify, not just trust.

If a decade old car had factory recommendations for DOT 3 brake fluid, would you still put DOT 3 and not use DOT 4? Do you only use factory Volvo parts since they will only recommend them? Or do you go to the dealership asking for their recommendation on tires and only use that? Should oil be any different?
Your counter argument is well formed, but I think his comment was for the less initiated who don't want to deal with the mental process of sussing out what is good-better-best in oils by reading through volumes of reviews and recommendations or deciphering technical analysis charts.

Some simply want the largely worry free route of "this is what the engine manufacturer said to use, so use it.*"
(*Not to say even the OEM spec gets it wrong on occasion, or doesn't update their data sheets).

While some of us like to take a more rigorous approach and examine new improvements that can deliver value added benefit. Neither path is wrong in my opinion. It comes down to the individual.

I for one like reading your thoughtful analysis, Chitown. But I know if I tried to send this to my girlfriend or if I attempted to convey why Xw-XX is better for her vehicle than Yw-YY, after she saw Xw-XX was in the owner's manual, after about 30 seconds, her eyes would roll around in her head like Jujubes.
I know better than to try. So, my answer to her would almost always be: "Use what's in the owner's manual, babe." :)
 
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