Why Does Toyota Use 0w16 Oil?-An In-depth Analysis

Often, I read about different brands of cars, like Toyota, and their intelligent use of engine lubricants. I think this choice makes their cars go longer and smoother. Such lubricant example can be the 0W16 motor oil. And this oil has significance in maintaining Toyota’s pace and engine longevity. But do you know, “Why does Toyota use 0W16 oil?”

Well, 0W16 is a lightweight, quality-grade oil. The “0W” in 0W16 means the oil’s low winter viscosity. It flows exceptionally well in cold temperatures. “16” indicates the oil’s viscosity when you use it at higher temperatures. However, the oil offers perfect protection and lubrication during extreme engine heat.

In this blog, I will chat about the reasons for Toyota’s recommendation of using 0W16 oil in its cars. You will also learn about the impact of using this oil instead of other oil grades (like 0W20). I hope you will share some moments to read the discussion till the end.

Definition of 0W16 Oil for Toyota

Motor oil is the life source of any vehicle engine. It works as the engine’s lubricant, coolant, and cleaning ingredient. Whenever you discuss oil features, the viscosity comes first. This viscosity is often referred to as the oil’s “weight,” which is important for its performance.

According to Capital One, oil grades ending in number 0 or 5 are common. The first number (before the ‘W’ for ‘winter’) indicates the oil’s performance at lower temperatures. However, the lower this number, the better the oil performs in cold conditions. The 2ndnumber directs the oil’s performance at higher temperatures.

Now, I am coming to the most essential point – the 0W16 oil (also written as 0W-16). People in Japan have been using this synthetic oil for more than 2 decades (source). Alternatively, the time is above 5 years for Americans (source).

The 0W16 oil can increase engine efficiency and reduce engine warm-up time. It is comparatively thinner than most popular oil grades (like 5W30 or 10W30).

As I said, the “16” in 0W16 refers to the oil viscosity at a cold temperature. The first and second numbers sequentially represent the viscosity at cold and operating temperatures. Compared to other oil grades, using the 0W16 oil can provide better fuel economy and cold weather starting. It is because “thinner’ oil = less resistance = less emissions and greater fuel mileage” (source).

Why Does Toyota Use 0W16 oil?

While observing the web, I have found that 0W-16 oil is recommended for use in Toyota and Honda vehicles. In terms of Toyota, the brand recommends using 0W16 oil for certain models of its vehicles,like the 2018 Camry with a 2.5L engine (source).

Using 0W16 oil is linked to the company’s commitment to fuel efficiency and environmental sustainability. Practical Mechanic says that lower viscosity oils like 0W16 offer less resistance for the moving parts within the car. It can offer you more fuel economy. Pennzoil adds similar things like this oil can protect engine and enhance its performance for long time.

It’s also worth noting that the best 0W-16 motor oil available is the genuine Toyota oil. Mobil 1 makes this oil to Toyota’s specifications as Practical Mechanic says. However, there is some debate among users about the long-term effects and durability of 0W-16 oil. It is because this oil is a relatively new oil weight. And there is limited data available.

The fuel economy performance of the baseline oil improves as the vehicle is aged. And this occurs rapidly at lower vehicle miles and more slowly at higher miles (source). Using 0W16 oil in Toyota will give you better gas mileage for its special additives. These additives reduce friction and provide less wear and tear on the engine (source).

Another concern is whether 0W16 oil is suitable for use in turbocharged engines. If the vehicle owner’s manual calls for SAE 0W16 viscosity grade, using 0W16 oil in a turbocharged engine is safe. In fact, 0W16 oil can protect turbocharged engines against LSPI (Low-Speed Pre-Ignition) (source).

Using 0W-16 oil in Toyota vehicles offers some environmental benefits, too. It reduces fuel consumption and lowers greenhouse gas emissions (source). Additionally, it contributes to cleaner pistons and better overall engine performance.

In cold temperatures, oil tends to thicken. It can slow the oil’s flow and reduce its ability to provide adequate lubrication. However, 0W16 oil, due to its low viscosity, can flow more easily. It ensures immediate oil flow at cold temperatures. Also, it can provide reliable lubrication at high temperatures.

Comparing 0W16 Oil with Other Oil Grades

0W16 is unique in its low viscosity compared to other popular oil grades. For instance, 5W-30 and 10W-30 oils are thicker. They may offer better protection in high-temperature conditions or for high-mileage engines. However, the thinner 0W16 oil can improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. So, you can consider it an excellent choice for newer, more efficient engines.

You should know that 0W16 oil is not suitable for all engines. The manufacturer specifies the recommended oil grade in any car you use in the owner’s manual.

For instance,Toyota recommends 0W-16 oil for select gasoline and hybrid engines starting from the 2018 model year (source). You should follow these guidelines to ensure the engine’s longevity and performance.

Is 0W16 Motor Oil better than 0W20?

To be precise, both 0W16 and 0W20 are low-viscosity oils. They are highly optimized for fuel efficiency. Also, they are suitable for modern engines designed for low-viscosity oil. Now, I will share the differences between these two oil according to some sources (1,2,3,4,5,6).

Factor0W16 Oil0W20 oil
ViscosityThinnerThicker than 0W16
Friction ReductionBetterGood
High TemperatureThins more than 0W16More resistant to thinning
Fuel EconomyBetter (1.5-2.0% more)Good
Cold Start PerformanceSlightly betterGood
Engine Protection against Wear & TearGoodBetter

How to Choose the Right Oil for Your Toyota

Feed the food to what the consumer wants – Toyota vehicles are something like this. You should choose the right oil for the vehicle engine. However, the selection of motor oil depends on the vehicle’s needs and the conditions in which it operates.

Toyota recommends fully synthetic oils for better engine performance. Examples include the Mobil branded motor oil or Toyota’s very own Genuine Motor Oil (TGMO) (source). Thus, you should always check your vehicle’s manual for the recommended oil grade. You can contact the local dealership or garage if you cannot understand the manual. Besides, you can choose the oil depending on the weather conditions. For instance, select 0W16 oil if you live in a region with cold winters.

Some users suggest using 0W-20 oil as a substitute is acceptable (source). It will not possibly do any damage to the engine. But you should replace it with 0W16 soon or at the next oil change. Additionally, engines get the best fuel economy and performance when you use the oil at operating temperature, regardless of the type of oil used (source).

Frequently Asked Questions

From when Toyota started using 0W16?

Answer: Toyota started using 0W16 oil in their vehicles in 2018. This viscosity grade was introduced as a maximum fuel economy viscosity for their 2018 Camry four-cylinder models in the United States. However, Japan has been using 0W16 oil for over 20 years before its introduction in the US market.

What are the benefits of 0W16 oil?

Answer: You can get several benefits of using 0W16 in your vehicle. It can increase your engine efficiency by providing better fuel efficiency and faster cold starts. Also, the engine gets outstanding wear protection for the lubrication properties of this oil. Even this synthetic oil reduces the damaging deposits. So, your engine will stay cleaner for longer periods.

Can I use 0W20 instead of 0W16?

Answer: You can use 0W20, but experts and Toyota do not recommend doing so if the vehicle is built to run better with 0W16. 0W16 oil is slightly thinner than 0W20 oil. It means it flows more easily. Also, it can be beneficial for fuel economy.


Wasn’t the discussion interesting? I guess you have read the whole article. If so, you have understood “Why does Toyota use 0W16 oil?  Yet, I am recapping the whole discussion as a summary.

0W16 oil has a lower winter viscosity than 0W20 and other grades like 0W30. This thinner viscosity prevents the oil from thickening in winter. So, the engine performs well in colder temperatures.

If you use other oil grades, there is no problem. But they may not perform well in winter. Also, you should remember that every vehicle has owner’s manual that recommends using a particular oil viscosity. Likewise, Toyota recommends 0W16 for its vehicles.

Thank you for coming here. Enjoy your day!

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