You may have noticed that some Honda and Toyota four-cylinder vehicles require SAE viscosity 0W16 oil. The oils really stand out on a shelf because the last number is strange because it doesn’t end in a 5 or 0. 0W16 oil has been around for nearly two decades in Japan. It is an oil designed to increase engine efficiency and reduce engine heating time.
In the United States, 0W16 oils were to be part of the deployment of ILSAC GF-6 as GF-6B oil. What is significant about GF-6B oils is that the specification will not be compatible with previous versions due to new degrees of viscosity. F.E.A.-compliant GF-6A lubricants mean that GF-6A engine oils of the appropriate conventional viscosity grade are acceptable for use in cars whose proprietary manuals recommended previous categories of GF (GF-1 to GF-5). GF-6B engine oils should only be used when recommended by OEM (follow the owner’s manual). 0W8 is another planned viscosity that will be in the GF-6B category.
GF-6 oils were delayed due to a debate on some of the test sequences and test engines. However, OEMs planned to implement the new engine technology years in advance. OEMs like Honda and Toyota prepared for the distribution and availability of GF-6B oils many years ago. This is why you are looking at 0W16 oils before seeing GF-6 oils.
Many 0W16 oils have a new bottle doughnut certification brand called API SN-PLUS and SN-PLUS Resource Conserving. In the bottle, you can also see OEM certifications for Honda and Toyota.
According to the API, SN-PLUS is formulated to provide SN API performance and additional protection against low-speed pre-ignition for direct-injection and turbocharged engines. SN-PLUS oils can effectively lubricate engines that call SN APIs, SN API with Resource Conserving, or ILSAC GF-5.
0W16 or 0W20?
The big question among stores is how can four points in the assessment of viscosity change engine performance and longevity? This is hard-to-get data, let alone evaluated.
The only undisputed document is the owner’s manual. For the 2018 Honda Fit, Honda recommends a 0W16 API or 0W20 certified oil. For the 2018 Toyota Camry with the four-cylinder engine A25A-FKS 2.5L, we recommend 0W16 oil that meets the standards of storage of SN API resources. But, in the following paragraph, they state: “If 0W16 is not available, 0W20 oil can be used. However, it should be replaced by 0W16 in the next oil modification.”
Both the owner’s manuals and service information say 0W16 is the best choice for fuel economy and cold weather.
Whenever the EPA validates a vehicle’s fuel economy for the window label, crank case oil must be on the market and available to consumers. This prevents OEMs from using exotic lubricants for engine oil that could affect fuel economy.
With rising fuel economy standards in 2025, both domestic automakers and imported automakers will make the switch to 0W16 in the future, and then a change to 0W8. According to some oil engineers and companies, the small reduction of four viscosity points can improve fuel economy by up to 2%.
If you are concerned that lighter oils offer less protection, you should realize that the engines have changed. Most new engines have an oil pump that can cope with these lighter oils.Photo:Pixabay
Variable displacement oil pumps can provide the right volume and pressure using lighter oils and create less engine strength. These pumps are much more sophisticated and are often electronically controlled. Although this does not change your mind, consider variable valve timing actuators. If the oil is not the correct viscosity, it can cause slow performance of actuators that can cause codes and driving problems.