Updated at: 19-07-2022 - By: Lucas

The engine’s most important component is the motor oil, which may either make or ruin a vehicle. Damages can be serious, and repairing them can be expensive, if you use the wrong oil. You may save a lot of money if you know what you’re doing when it comes to choosing an oil.

20W50 motor oil can be applied to a wide range of applications.

An engine oil formulated for gasoline and diesel engines, 20W50 has a high viscosity. This oil is best suited for motorcycle and racing applications.

What 20W50 mean

20w50 Oil Disadvantages-2

A heavy-duty, high-viscosity motor oil, 20W50 is typically utilized in high-temperature applications. The oil’s designation as 20W 50 is in accordance with the standard used by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the W stands for winter.

Multigrade motor oils, such as 20W 50, provide a wider working temperature range than single-grade lubricants. With a viscosity of 20W-50, the oil doesn’t thin out soon. This oil viscosity grade isn’t widespread, yet it’s suggested for the majority of automobiles.

According to the American Society of Engineers, motor oil with a viscosity rating of 20W50 is the best choice. The oil’s thickness or viscosity is measured here. While the engine has been running for some time, the oil’s thickness goes up to 50W, which indicates how thick it is when the temperature is cold. This oil is thick and heavy for its type.

What 20W 50 engine oil is used for

Medium to large gasoline and diesel engines, aircraft, and motorbike bikes all need 20W 50 engine oil. Because of its remarkable resistance to thinning, the oil is also utilized as a high-temperature driving and racing oil.

When heated to a high temperature, most oils will degrade. It can tolerate high temperatures because it is designed for use in engines that operate at high temperatures to lubricate moving parts such as pistons and prevent wear, engine sludge and varnish buildup. 20W 50

If used in the right engine, this oil is a better sealant. It provides adequate lubrication to keep the moving parts of the engine free of damage. As a result, the engine’s lifespan is prolonged and its wear and tear is lessened.

Please be aware that this oil is heavier and only suitable for a limited number of automobiles. The manufacturer’s manual must be consulted before using this heavy-duty oil on your vehicle. Before changing your oil, it’s a good idea to visit your mechanic.

Suitable temperatures for use

20W50 Oil Disadvantages

The 20W50 engine oil is suitable for usage in warmer temperatures when the high temperature conditions force the oil to thicken. Oil can also be used in cars that are subjected to high levels of stress, such as those used to tow trailers or haul heavy loads in hot climates.

Despite the fact that this oil performs better in warmer climates, its operating temperature range is only 4°F to 105°F.

Vehicles used on

Small and big gasoline and diesel engines, aircraft, and motorbikes can all use 20W50 engine oil. Liquid and air-cooled engines will also benefit from the oil. This, however, is dependent on the suggestions for the specific automobile.

Due to advanced technologies like Variable Valve Timing (VVT) systems, current engines are extremely sensitive to oil. VVT/VANOS, multivalve cylinders, or anything that relies on instant oil pressure can’t be lubricated since the oil is too thick.

Advantages of 20W50 engine oil

  • It has a high viscosity, making it ideal for use in older car models and extremely high temperatures. Never, the thicker oil prevents leaks which are common in old vehicles. 
  • The oil’s high viscosity offers better cushioning and protection against friction between metal parts. Therefore has excellent anti-corrosion and antiwear properties. 
  • The oil offers the best sealing capabilities because of its thickness, hence better sealants than a thinner oil.
  • 20W50’s properties enable it to offer an extended engine life, hence saving on costs. 
  • The oil is designed with excellent antifoaming features and shear stability
  • 20W50 engine oil prevents varnish deposits and sludge from forming on the engine pistons
  • The oil has excellent cold cranking abilities where the multigrade thickness is specified. 
  • The oil has a high resistance to thermal breakdown, which can occur due to engine temperatures.

Disadvantages of 20W50 engine oil

  • Since the oil is thick, it is not ideal for modern-day cars and engines that require thinner oil.
  • In cool temperatures, the oil becomes too thick, which affects its circulation in the engine. This means it is not ideal for use during cold seasons or weather. 
  • The oil can reduce engine power, poor oil economy, and harmful emissions from the engine.
  • The oil might affect the timing system or throw it out of sync. The timing belts or chains fail to function due to the oil’s increased thickness. The reason why this happens is that most modern variable valve timing systems depend on the oil pressure. Once the highly viscous oil is used, the oil pressure goes up, damaging the lifters, piston rings, and cam bearing. These symptoms will be blue smoke emanating from the exhaust, lifter tick, and cam noise. 
  • The oil can lead to premature wearing of the oil pumps because of the thickness, which the pump was not meant for. This means that the pump will wear out faster. If your car has a turbocharged engine, you will note that it might fail earlier since the turbo bearings that receive oil might fail because of the thickness. 
  • The oil might also affect the car’s gas mileage; there will be sludge build-up within the camshaft or crankshaft and then make the bearing fail, resulting in the engine’s catastrophic failure.


The viscosity of 20W 50 engine oil makes it suitable for heavy-duty engines. Use this oil in hot weather or on vehicles that need a lot of heat.

However, the oil was not designed for today’s vehicles, but rather for earlier models. Because of this, most vintage cars had an engine life of up to 1000 miles. If you are unclear if this oil is suitable for your vehicle, you should contact your vehicle’s owner’s manual or your car’s mechanic.