VW Oil Viscosity and Volkswagen Oil Weights

As an independent VW parts and service garage with over 30 years of hands-on experience, we've seen many mechanical breakdowns on vehicles. Experience has shown that changing your fluids is the single most important preventive maintenance routine you can perform to avoid vehicle breakdowns. Yet, for many VW owners, this seems to be one of the most neglected areas of maintenance. Thoroughly flushing your fluids at the proper intervals can help your car reach 150,000 miles and beyond!

PAGE DISCLAIMER: The information below is 'General Information' and should be used as a guide ONLY! The VW motor oil information on these pages should not be used as a substitute for what your vehicle owner's manual, factory service manual, or authorized VW dealer recommends. Consult your VW owner's manual for recommendations on the correct type of VW oil that is to be used for your specific VW model.

How to Determine What VW Oil Viscosity Weight to Use in Your Specific Model

How To Find VW Oil Viscosity Owners Manual

To determine what VW oil viscosity weight to use in your specific model, consult your owner's manual. Using the correct VW oil viscosity weight for your geographic location, climate conditions, and driving characteristics, assures a decreased chance of mechanical failure while improving fuel economy. If you have lost your owner's manual and are having difficulty determining what type of motor oil to use you may wish to refer to our BLAU® VW Oil Change Kits, which match the correct VW oil for your specific model.

Still unsure about what type of VW motor oil viscosity weight to use in your vehicle. Understanding a little history regarding the advancements of motor oils may help you decide. Before automobile manufacturers began establishing their own oil quality standards (the 1990s), owner's manuals referenced oils per API standards and stressed using the right SAE oil viscosity weight depending on temperate climate. These sanctioning bodies, such as SAE (Society of American Engineers), API (American Petroleum Institute), and ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) were responsible for establishing oil standards for motorized vehicles.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s more demanding standards surrounding environmental carbon reduction, low emissions, and maximizing fuel economy began taking hold. To comply, manufacturers began engineering advanced engines and cutting-edge synthetic motor oil formulations. Advanced oils and related oil viscosity weight began to play a key role in the engine's ability to meet emissions and fuel economy standards. Around this time (the late 2000s) manufacturers began to establish their own unique oil quality standards rather than relying solely on API and ACEA standards to ensure the correct type of oil was being used in their engines.

Lighter synthetic oil weight, or lighter synthetic viscosity weight oils, can reduce internal drag inside the engine resulting in improved torque, horsepower, fuel mileage, and lower exhaust emissions). Thus, many owner manuals for later models equipped with gas engines usually reference lighter synthetic oil weight viscosity weight of 0w20, 0w30, or 5w30.

In the 1990s, car owners needed to be more concerned when using lighter weight viscosity weight oils in harsher driving conditions (e.g. hot summer conditions) because many motor oils were not fully synthetic or didn't contain necessary additives. This made oil more susceptible to premature breakdown in normal conditions and especially under extreme conditions.

Today, however, lighter viscosity weight synthetic motor oils that meet VW quality standards are much more advanced and contain all the necessary additives to achieve higher fuel mileage, lower emissions, and protect the engine under extreme conditions (i.e. hot summer conditions). With the latest engine technologies, using a higher viscosity weight motor oil in your car is not as critical today as it was back in the 1990s.

Even with new VW motor oil quality standards and the advancements of cutting-edge synthetic VW motor oils, choosing the correct oil weight could be an area of concern if your vehicle is exposed to operating in unique or extreme environmental conditions and/or driving conditions (see chart). Synthetic oils are classified as high-performance by the nature of their unique formulation. However, they do have limitations, intended use and the SAE oil weight classification is part of their limiting factor. As the chart shows, owners who subject their vehicle to extremes may wish to use a slightly higher or lower weight motor oil depending on the conditions.

VW TDI Diesel Oil Viscosity Weight

Different oil viscosity weight rules and specifications are especially critical for VW TDI diesel engines. The viscosity weight of diesel oil is typically higher than that of gasoline engines (i.e. 5w40, 10w40). Higher viscosity weight oils are needed in many TDI engines due to higher combustion chamber temperatures. Higher combustion temperatures can increase engine "blow by" and oil contamination (unburned diesel fuel), resulting in the dilution of the VW engine oil's viscosity weight. 

For the newer VW TDI engines many advancements have been made in diesel engine designs, tolerances and engine efficiencies. This allows many of the newer VW TDI engines to use a thinner oil viscosity weight. The VW 507 00 specification requires a viscosity weight 5w30 or 0w30 for modern VW TDI diesel engines.

VW Oil Viscosity Weight vs Driving Style and Climate Temperatures

VW Driving Style VS Viscosity Weights

Why Choose Blauparts for All Your Vehicle Lubrication Needs?

BLAU® oil change kits use high-quality, synthetic* engine oils. The engine oils we offer are sourced from lubricant partners that employ sustainable efforts to improve the environment using a higher level of quality. This in turn can support the conservation of the environment through less oil changes and waste, optimize vehicle efficiency and performance, improve and maintain fuel economy, and reduce exhaust/carbon emissions.

*For most kits, check the product description.

Technical Advantages:

  • Convenient BLAU® oil change kits with the correct spec oil and quantities for your specific vehicle make and model
  • Oils feature factory OEM approvals or exceed your vehicle manufacturer's specific oil specification requirements
  • Sustainable motor oils that conserve the environment, improve fuel economy, and reduce exhaust/carbon emissions
  • High-quality oil allows for longer oil change intervals and extended service life that conserve the Earth's resources
  • Motor oils using the latest advanced oil technologies with improved lubricating properties
  • High-performance oils with better HTHS, Noak, and TBN performance levels
  • Motor oils with better cold temperature pour points and high heat flashpoints
  • Better engine protection against sludging, coking, and varnish in the piston ring and valve train areas
  • Long-life OEM oil filters for extended oil change intervals