Engine Oil & Your Modified VW/Audi/Skoda

The information used within this article was published by Motul Australia and is used here with permission.

Over the past few months, Motul has received many technical questions relating to oil and the VW/Audi 2.0/2.5 TFSI/TSI engines. Of those, many of owners’ engines were modified to Stage 1, 2 or 3.

Remember that more power means more load, heat and demand on the oil!

Some of the questions were;

  1. A dealers brand of oil not being able to cope with a track day environment – e.g. loss of oil pressure and flow
  2. High oil consumption
  3. VW engine oil approval numbers

Oil Loss

If you suffer oil loss, it could be one or both of the following reasons:

  1. Inherent design of the engine to get amazing fuel economy (low tensile piston rings and other design features to reduce mechanical drag)
  2. The oil in use has a high NOACK aka volatility aka evaporation rate. This relates to the viscosity but not directly proportionate to viscosity. 0W16 will have a higher NOACK, or evaporate faster than a 20W60 but you can also have 6 or 7 different 5W30’s that have varying evaporation rates.

Unfortunately NOACK is not an aspect of oil that is published. You will find though, that an oil higher in quality and price, will typically have a lower evaporation rate.

Lets simplify what you should use.

There are a few solutions to reduce oil loss*:

  1. Use a higher quality oil that is 100% Synthetic… Not ‘full’ or ‘fully’ or ‘premium’ synthetic as this is a play on words.
  2. Use a slightly higher viscosity to 5W30 that still has VW Approval 502.00 / 505.00, keeping any warranties you may have. We’ve found that 8100 X-cess 5W40 has been known to reduce oil loss* while keeping warranty. It’s 100% synthetic and has VW Approval 502/505.

*If you suffer continued oil loss after increasing the viscosity, there is a mechanical issue and it cannot be resolved with engine oil selection. Sorry.

Thin Out

The other important question we get is for the track going cars that get a rattle in the top-end after only a few laps.

Similar to what we mentioned above, some cheaper oils will suffer what is called shear loss. This is when an oil will drop in viscosity (thin out) because it cannot withstand the shearing effect of the bearings and cams.

This issue is not so obvious at operating temperature but certainly shows itself when you push past 120deg C oil temp.

Before we explain more, we’ll be clear and say that Motul strongly suggests using at least a 0W40 or 5W40 in any 2.0T or 2.5T VAG engine hitting the track.

The important measurement you are looking for to ensure you are getting it right is the HTHS. This tests an oil at 150deg C under high shear conditions (like what you’d see around the cams and mains/big ends).

Fortunately HTHS or High Temp/High Shear is published by oil companies that have OEM approvals and take product quality seriously. You will find it listed with the physical properties in the technical data sheet of the product.

The best HTHS number is not always the highest you can get because it is relative to viscosity:

  • xW30’s will have at most a HTHS of about 3.9
  • xW40’s will have at most a HTHS of about 4.4

VW Approvals & Solution

The owners manual asks for an engine oil that has VW Approval 504.00 / 507.00. This approval ensures you will get the 20,000kms+ drain intervals in average driving conditions without the oil expiring.

The owners manual will also say that you can use an oil with VW Approval 502.00 / 505.00 which performs exceptionally well but has a life expectancy of <15,000kms.

However, the moment you modify your engine beyond Stage 1 or 2, take your VW approvals and cross them out! The oil specifications no longer relate to how the car is being used and cannot be relied on.

Any VW/Audi 2.0/2.5 TFSI/TSI engine with a larger turbocharger or making in excess of 300kw absolutely needs an xW40 with a HTHS of 3.9 or more.

So please disregard any need for VW approvals at this point as you won’t find it with a motorsport spec oil.

Here’s what you are looking for to suit 2.0T or 2.5T VAG:

  • Daily driven Stage 1 or 2 (< 300kw) – An xW30 or xW40 with 3.5 or more is ideal
  • Track days Stage 1 or 2 (< 300kw) – Minimum xW40 with 3.5 or more
  • Race only or any Stage 3 (> 300kw) engine – Minimum xW40 with 3.9 or more

Some of the products we have with VW Approvals for modified engines under warranty are:

For track, race cars and Stage 3 engines:

  • Sport 5W40 – HTHS 4.0 (not recommend for use in EA113 2.0FSI with upgraded HPFP, recommended for use with Racingline MQB EA888.3 Stage 3 kits) *Purchase online here*
  • Sport 5W50 – HTHS 4.5 (not recommend for use in EA113 2.0FSI with upgraded HPFP)
  • 300V Trophy 0W40 – HTHS 3.9
  • 300V Power 5W40 – HTHS 4.1 *Purchase online here*
  • 300V Chrono 10W40 – HTHS 4.2
  • 300V Competition 15W50 – HTHS 5.3
  • 300V Le Mans 20W60 – HTHS 6.3

*If you suffer continued oil loss after increasing the viscosity, there is a mechanical issue and it cannot be resolved with engine oil selection. Sorry.

We hope this helps shed some light on the topic.

Motul Team & Harding Performance