1959 Oil Viscosity & Winterizing

Jun 13, 2022
Thunderbird Year
According to the factory specs the recommended oil viscosity for a 1959 with a 352 engine is SAE 20W above 32 degrees. (SAE 10W from -10 to +32). Where i live our winters are relatively mild rarely getting below freezing, so 20W would probably work, and it's garaged through the winter anyway. But I ask because I'm curious what others do. I know there are a lot of opinions on oils. I was leaning towards a 10W-30W. Also do you use a synthetic oil or regular oil? When winterizing your car to you flush out the oil in spring and start with fresh oil then or do you add fresh oil now? Thank you.
Oct 9, 2021
Thunderbird Year
For my ‘57, I first used Shell Rotella 15w-40. I then discovered that Marvel Mystery had started making a Vintage Motor Oil with ZDDP, so I used that for my last oil change (https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07DBXNMMX/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8). In looking for a link for this post, however, I found that that oil is no longer listed on the Marvel Mystery webpage for some reason. So it may be back to the Rotella for my next oil change next year…. Disappointing; I was pleased with the Marvel Mystery Vintage Oil.

Based on my research and advice from others, I change my oil in the fall right before the winter slumber. The theory being that it’s better to not have oil with contaminants sitting in the engine all winter.


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Active Member
Nov 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
Hi Paul, if you want to make yourself crazy…here are two links that will help…

As you say, loads of opinions but I believe the information is mostly valid