Winter weather can be harsh on your vehicle with cold temperatures, snow, sleet and the inevitable potholes. One of the simplest ways to protect your engine against the possible effects of cold weather is using a low viscosity full synthetic motor oil.

In extreme cold, starting your vehicle in the morning, or after it has not been run for an extended period of time, can be rough on your engine as it can take some time for motor oil to flow through the entire engine to provide proper lubrication. In winter, the last area of the engine to receive motor oil is the upper valve deck (cams and lifters) which can take more than 90 seconds.

It’s vital to get motor oil throughout the engine quickly to prevent engine wear. Conventional and some synthetic blend motor oils can thicken in cold weather leading to difficulty for the oil pump to push motor oils to those critical parts.

Pennzoil PlatinumPennzoil Ultra Platinum and Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage Full Synthetic motor oils in SAE 0W-16, 0W-20, 0W-30, 0W-40 and 5W-20 are designed to quickly flow to all parts of the engine even in extreme cold temperatures. This is more important if you have a vehicle that has “start-stop technology” where your engine turns off at a stop light or an intersection. Having a motor oil that quickly heats up and flow to engine parts will help with proper lubrication and wear protection during the harsh winter months. Rapid motor oil flow to critical engine parts provides early protection from wear and allows the engine to get to operating temperature faster.

It's important to remember that you can switch to lower viscosity motor oils in winter without harming your engine. If your engine calls for a 5W-20 you can safely use a 0W-20 motor oil and still have the same level of engine protection. 5W and 0W refers to pumpability in cold weather, so the lower viscosity motor oils will flow better in cold weather. Learn more about the benefits of Pennzoil’s low viscosity (0W) motor oils here:

All Pennzoil Full Synthetic motor oils are the first motor oils made with natural gas, not crude. Base oil made with natural gas is 99.5% free from engine clogging impurities. Because it is made with natural gas, Pennzoil Full Synthetic motor oils flow better1 in extreme low temperatures, that means your motor oil will still pump even when it’s extremely cold outside! Pennzoil Full Synthetic motor oils also provide a number of benefits in cold weather to help keep your vehicle running at top performance including:

  • Flows faster in a cold engine on startup and can reduce strain on the battery system by reducing the amperage needed to crank the engine over. 
  • Quicker flow to critical engine parts provides protection from wear. Repeated starts with thicker motor oil can cause wear and reduce the efficiency of the engine, which over a period of time can result in a reduction in engine power and a loss of fuel economy. 
  • The carefully curated additive package, including wear additives, provides complete engine protection. It is important to have a motor oil that provides immediate benefits upon startup. 
  • Warms the engine faster to bring it to optimal operating temperature and efficiency.

Once your vehicle is started in cold weather; you should allow approximately 30 seconds for the engine as well as your transmission to be fully lubricated before driving. Quick acceleration is not recommended until the engine is fully warmed up. The temperature gauge on your vehicle’s dashboard should be in the normal operating range which indicates the engine and other systems are fully warmed up and ready for the road ahead.

Despite cold temperatures, you can count on Pennzoil Full Synthetic motor oils to help your engine to start quickly and to maintain engine protection at any time of year. By giving your engine a little time to warm up during those cold morning starts, you can help extend the life of your engine and possibly save you from costly repairs.


1 Compared to conventional motor oil.