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#4756261 - 05/13/18 08:09 PM Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption?
Elijah1 Offline


Registered: 08/12/16
Posts: 46
Loc: NE Indiana
I read all the time that using an oil like 5w-30 in a lawnmower will cause increased consumption. However, I’ve never heard the “why” . Why does this happen?
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2003 Honda Accord: Mobil 1 high mileage 0w-20

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#4756281 - 05/13/18 08:31 PM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
TheLawnRanger Offline


Registered: 03/18/18
Posts: 216
Loc: Mississippi
I think itt's due to the combination of the heat of a small engine and 5w30 being thinner. I always use HD 30 since the manual calls for it in warmer weather and it rarely gets below freezing where I live. (not that I mow during the winter) I would use 5w30 if I had extra but with three vehicles that use it, I rarely do.
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#4756330 - 05/13/18 09:20 PM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
jhellwig Offline


Registered: 07/01/13
Posts: 1483
Loc: Ottumwa, Iowa
I have been running synthetic 10w-30 and 5-30 for the last couple of years since I now have a blower on my 318 and it doesn’t get enough use to warrant changing it twice a year. It consumes more than the straight 30 I used to run. I won’t say that they are thinner oils but they flow better letting them get through the known pass through areas easier than straight 30.
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#4756335 - 05/13/18 09:25 PM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: TheLawnRanger]
volk06 Offline


Registered: 10/04/10
Posts: 4888
Loc: Midwest
Originally Posted By: TheLawnRanger
I think itt's due to the combination of the heat of a small engine and 5w30 being thinner. I always use HD 30 since the manual calls for it in warmer weather and it rarely gets below freezing where I live. (not that I mow during the winter) I would use 5w30 if I had extra but with three vehicles that use it, I rarely do.


Partially correct. A 5w-30 is not thinner than a 10w-30 or a 30wt at operating temprature. The reason 5w-30 may see an increase consumption is because they have to use viscosity improvers, this in return makes the oil a little more volatile than a 10w-30 and a 30wt. The general rule of thumb is the wider the difference from Xw and the XX (Xw-XX) part, there is a potential for the oil to be more volatile. The HTHS is also typically higher on a 10w-30 and 30wt vs a 5w-30. This because the oil does not need as many viscosity improvers.
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#4756344 - 05/13/18 09:35 PM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
jhellwig Offline


Registered: 07/01/13
Posts: 1483
Loc: Ottumwa, Iowa
I wounder if the energy conserving addatives in the normal pcmo play into it also.
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#4756365 - 05/13/18 10:07 PM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
danez_yoda Offline


Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 443
Loc: texas
I use PP 5w30 in my 24HP B&S mower and have not seen consumption over 100 or so hours. Oil doesnt turn brown either.

No problems for me.

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#4756380 - 05/13/18 10:35 PM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: volk06]
HondaBroMike Offline


Registered: 11/02/17
Posts: 307
Loc: sev srv TX, 0w-20 convert!
Originally Posted By: volk06
Originally Posted By: TheLawnRanger
I think itt's due to the combination of the heat of a small engine and 5w30 being thinner. I always use HD 30 since the manual calls for it in warmer weather and it rarely gets below freezing where I live. (not that I mow during the winter) I would use 5w30 if I had extra but with three vehicles that use it, I rarely do.


Partially correct. A 5w-30 is not thinner than a 10w-30 or a 30wt at operating temprature. The reason 5w-30 may see an increase consumption is because they have to use viscosity improvers, this in return makes the oil a little more volatile than a 10w-30 and a 30wt. The general rule of thumb is the wider the difference from Xw and the XX (Xw-XX) part, there is a potential for the oil to be more volatile. The HTHS is also typically higher on a 10w-30 and 30wt vs a 5w-30. This because the oil does not need as many viscosity improvers.


^this drop that science, son. It cracks me up when someone's or so and so's car that needs a 0w-20 gets 0w-30, 5w-30 recommended to them or worse, 10w-30. This 0w-20 I use doesn't budge on the dipstick. Neither the Honda OEM 0w-20 or the Idemitsu although I just put that in.


Edited by HondaBroMike (05/13/18 10:37 PM)
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Got Idemitsu lightweight low viscosity 0w-20 oil with density higher only by the mighty Redline 10w-40. It's hard to imagine a thin 0w20 oil being denser than even a heavy 10w40 but this is the case.

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#4756457 - 05/14/18 02:42 AM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
das_peikko Offline


Registered: 01/01/18
Posts: 458
Loc: San Antonio, TX
The thinner oil sneaks past the piston rings and upward into the combustion chamber to be burned.

Plain and simple and don't take a whole paragraph to explain.

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#4756460 - 05/14/18 02:58 AM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
Kamele0N Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 1999
Loc: Slovenia
Its because ILSAC has/knows (also) conventional 5w30...on the other side of the pond we have synthetic ACEA counterparts with HTHS 3.5min!

Yes you can get synthetic ILSAC variant...but it would be still with HTHS below 3.5 smile
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#4756514 - 05/14/18 06:15 AM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4279
Loc: The Midwest
Briggs & Stratton now recommends synthetic 5W30 in most of their engines except the Vangaurd series.
Interesting chart: http://sears.briggsandstratton.com/walk/oil.asp
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#4756527 - 05/14/18 06:32 AM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
Eddie Offline


Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 9484
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
I think the possibility of higher oil consumption is referring to 5w30 conventional oil and NOT 5w30 synthetic. Here in FL I run 10w30 synthetic blend in my 20 HP B&S twin and notice no measurable consumption in 40 running hours. Ed
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#4756532 - 05/14/18 06:34 AM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: skyactiv]
Kira Offline


Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 5053
Loc: Champlain/Hudson Valley
That chart was sobering.
I got the idea to use straight 40 in my near 40 year old Sensation lawnmower with a Briggs & Stratton 3.5hp w/rotating valve engine.
Seems OK but I'll try throwing 5W-30 in it next time I run it.

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#4756547 - 05/14/18 06:47 AM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
Johnny2Bad Offline


Registered: 05/20/13
Posts: 1721
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
I'm not convinced they do cause higher oil consumption (specifically) but the vapour temperature will indicate when any given oil formula will generate blow-by gases and that is a consumption effect.
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'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]

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#4756684 - 05/14/18 08:56 AM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Elijah1]
thastinger Offline


Registered: 10/23/17
Posts: 62
Loc: VA
My Ferris ZTR has the B&S 28HP Commercial Turf engine. It has always had RP HPS 5/30 in it, never burned a drop but it only has about 90 hours on it.

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#4756791 - 05/14/18 10:34 AM Re: Why do oils like 5w-30 cause increase consumption? [Re: Kira]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7059
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
Originally Posted By: Kira
That chart was sobering.


Yup, 5W-30 conventional oil is only good enough for temps up to 40 degrees F!!!

It seems they've learned the same thing I have. Thin dino oils do not properly protect hard working air cooled engines. I lost 2 Honda powered water pumps this way. Using Pennzoil 5W-30 in South Florida.

Here is South Florida, mower oil temps regularly reach 260+ deg F. That's high enough to warrant an oil more robust than 5W-30 automotive oil.

After a mow:



Edited by Cujet (05/14/18 10:38 AM)
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