Elusive engine oil help may improve fuel economy, reduce emissions

  • James Halderman
12:00 a.m. Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 Homepage
SAE 0W-16 was found at a Toyota dealer but should become more widely available in the future as more and more vehicles start to use this viscosity engine oil. James Halderman photo


Sue writes by email: “I have a new Camry and no one seems to carry the oil required for my engine. The owner’s manual specifies SAE 0W-16, and no shop has heard of this viscosity. They want to use SAE 0W-20 instead. My questions are where can this oil be purchased and would it be OK to use SAE 0W-20 instead of SAE 0W-016?”

Halderman: The lower-viscosity oil (SAE 0W-16) is new this year although it has been used in Japan for several years. I was able to purchase it, but I had to visit a Toyota dealer and it cost more than $7 per quart.

Check the owner’s manual, where I think you will find you can use the commonly available SAE 0W-20 if SAE 0W-16 is not available. It will likely recommend that the thinner oil be used at the next service interval.

There is a trend in the automotive field toward lower-viscosity oil to help improve fuel economy and reduce exhaust emissions. Look for SAE 0W-12 and SAE 0W-8 in the future.

View full experience