0w16 vs 0w40: Choosing the Right Engine Oil Viscosity

Selecting the appropriate engine oil viscosity is crucial for maintaining the performance and longevity of your vehicle’s engine.

Two popular choices in the market are 0w16 and 0w40. In this article, we will compare these two oil viscosities, discuss their benefits and applications, and help you decide which one is best suited for your vehicle.

Understanding Engine Oil Viscosity

Engine oil viscosity refers to its thickness or resistance to flow. It is denoted by a numerical value followed by the letter “w,” which stands for “winter.” The lower the numerical value, the thinner the oil and the better its cold-start performance. The number after the “w” represents the oil’s viscosity at operating temperatures. Let’s explore the specifics of 0w16 and 0w40 oils.

0w16 Oil: Benefits and Applications


0w16 oil is a low-viscosity oil designed to flow smoothly even in extremely cold temperatures. It offers excellent cold-start protection and contributes to improved fuel efficiency.


  • Cold-Start Performance: 0w16 oil is specifically formulated to provide quick lubrication during cold starts, reducing wear on engine components.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Its low viscosity reduces internal friction, allowing the engine to operate more efficiently and potentially improving fuel economy.
  • Compatibility: 0w16 oil is suitable for newer vehicles that require this particular viscosity rating.


0w16 oil is commonly recommended for vehicles operating in regions with extremely cold climates. It is often used in hybrid and compact cars with modern engine designs that require low-viscosity oils.

0w40 Oil: Benefits and Applications


0w40 oil is slightly thicker compared to 0w16. It provides a balance between cold-start protection and high-temperature performance.


  • Versatility: 0w40 oil offers reliable lubrication and engine protection across a wide range of temperatures.
  • Enhanced High-Temperature Performance: Its higher viscosity rating protects against engine stress and wear during prolonged high-temperature operation.
  • Wide Application: 0w40 oil suits various vehicle types, including passenger cars, SUVs, and high-performance engines.


0w40 oil is commonly used in vehicles operating in moderate to hot climates. It is suitable for gasoline and diesel engines, making it a versatile option for a range of vehicles, including those with higher-performance requirements.

Key Differences between 0w16 and 0w40 Oils

Cold-Start Performance

When it comes to cold-start performance, 0w16 oil outperforms 0w40 oil. Its lower viscosity ensures smoother flow and quicker lubrication during cold starts, reducing engine wear. If you live in an area with extremely cold temperatures, 0w16 oil may be the better choice.

High-Temperature Performance

For high-temperature performance, 0w40 oil offers superior protection. Its higher viscosity enhances lubrication and safeguards against engine stress and wear during prolonged operation in hot conditions or under heavy loads.

Manufacturer Recommendations

To ensure optimal engine performance, fuel efficiency, and warranty coverage, following your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for oil viscosity is crucial. Manufacturers specify the recommended oil type and viscosity to meet their specific engine design requirements.


The right engine oil viscosity is vital for optimal engine performance and protection. Both 0w16 and 0w40 oils offer distinct benefits and applications. If you live in an extremely cold climate and prioritize cold-start performance, 0w16 oil is a suitable choice.

On the other hand, if you need a versatile oil that performs well in a wide range of temperatures and offers high-temperature protection, 0w40 oil is a recommended option.

Always refer to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for the best oil viscosity for your vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use 0w40 oil instead of 0w16 oil?

While it is generally not recommended to deviate from the manufacturer’s recommended oil viscosity, in some cases, you may be able to use 0w40 oil instead of 0w16 oil. However, it’s important to consult your vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure compatibility and performance.

Which oil viscosity provides better fuel efficiency?

Both 0w16 and 0w40 oils contribute to improved fuel efficiency due to their respective characteristics. However, 0w16 oil, being thinner, generally offers a slight advantage in fuel economy compared to 0w40 oil.

Can I switch between 0w16 and 0w40 oils?

Switching between different oil viscosities is possible, but ensuring compatibility with your vehicle’s engine design and manufacturer recommendations is essential. Consult the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer when considering a switch.

Can I mix 0w16 and 0w40 oils?

It is not recommended to mix different oil viscosities. Mixing oils can alter their properties and compromise their performance. Stick to using a single viscosity oil that meets the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle.