Difference Between 5w30 and 10w30 Oil With Comparison

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Each automobile owner must know that choice of the proper motor oil is the guarantee of durable and efficient engine work. Not all kinds of engine oils are appropriate for all vehicles.

Moreover, the wrongly chosen oil may even affect the engine’s normal operation. If you are a car enthusiast, who has got accustomed to doing everything with your own hands, it’s crucial for you to be aware of what motor oil suits your engine the most. And now, we are going to make your life easier and provide you with the basic comparison of 5W-30 and 10W-30 oils, which are among the most widespread ones.

Key Things to Know About Viscosity

Viscosity is the thickness of the liquid. Motor oil maintains its viscosity at distinct temperatures and is estimated at 210F as it is the motor’s regular operating temperature.

Letter “W” stands for winter. Though, some people may think that it signifies weight. Actually, the higher the number in W, the worse and less efficient motor oil is for winter weather and conversely, the lower the number near W – the lower temperatures the oil can withstand.

Viscosity changes with temperature. It decreases as the oil temperature rises and in this case, a higher viscosity (thicker) engine oil will seal better than a low viscosity oil. Thicker engine oil will also provide better lubrication of critical engine parts.

What’s the Difference Between 5w30 and 10w30

Actually, 5w-30 and 10w-30 are the most prevalent motor oils at the moment. Let’s have a closer look at their peculiarities and, of course, distinctions.

what is viscosity

5w30 Features

5w30 is a thin variety of motor oil, which is the most suitable for engines, working in winter or regions with cool weather. And the number “5” signifies that as it stands for the lowest viscosity index.

Oil, keeping such a rating, runs smoothly even if the temperature is extremely low. Simultaneously, the number “30” stands for the oil’s thickness at high temperatures. Thus, 5w30 is the perfect option if you seek oil, which will allow your motor to function properly at low temperatures and in the winter season.

Furthermore, though 10w30 is more suitable for warm climates and summer weather, you are free to apply 5w30 as well. Basically, 5w30 is the best option for northern America’s states as well as Canada as winters can be very cold in these regions.

10w30 Features

10w30, a high-mileage sort of motor oil, keeps the viscosity index of 10 and is the most appropriate option for warm and even high temperatures, serving great for hot summers. 10w30 runs smoothly at high temperatures due to its higher viscosity level.

To be exact, admixtures, known as “viscosity improvers”, are applied to spread and contrast it. The thickness of 30 provides complete protection of the motor during temperature rises or falls. So, 10w30 is a great variant for driving in hot or even desert regions, including California and Nevada.

Let’s look at the difference in performance using the example of two oils from the same company: 5W-30 and 10W-30 Castrol EDGE Synthetic Motor Oil

Engine oil Castrol EDGE 5W30 Castrol EDGE 10W30
Viscosity grade 5w-30 10w-30
Motor oil type Synthetic Synthetic
Flammable No No
Maximum operating temperature (°C) 190 180
Maximum operating temperature (°F) 374 356
Minimum operating temperature (°C) -35 -30
Minimum operating temperature (°F) -31 -22

Here is another comparison of oils from the popular brand:

Engine oil Mobil 1 5W30 Synthetic Engine Oil Mobil 1 10W30 Synthetic Engine Oil
Viscosity grade 5w-30 10w-30
Motor oil type Synthetic Synthetic
Flammable No No
Maximum operating temperature (°C) 260 260
Maximum operating temperature (°F) 500 500
Minimum operating temperature (°C) -30 -25
Minimum operating temperature (°F) -22 -13

As we see based on this comparison, there is no significant difference in them, because of which it would be worth worrying too much. If you still can’t define what to choose – pick a 5W-30 oil.

Manufacturer’s Prescriptions

Along with selecting motor oil depending on the climate you drive in, it’s even more crucial to follow the guidance of your vehicle’s manufacturer. Engineers of each car brand determine what weight of motor oil is the most appropriate for a certain automobile.

By following their guidance, you will guarantee the best possible protection for your motor along with maximal fuel economy.

By applying 10w30 motor oil for engines, designed for 5w30, you may cause excessive temperatures plus increased resistance. By doing vice versa, you may induce oil flying off and scattering among the motor’s internal parts while driving. Consequently, the engine’s lifespan will be shortened.

As a rule, automotive companies indicate what oils are compatible with their motors and you are free to choose among the recommended ones.

5w30 vs 10w30: What’s Better?

Actually, both motor oils are excellent. So, you just need to be aware of what oil works better in a specific ambience.

5w30 is suitable for each season and able to provide maximal protection at low winter as well as high summer temperatures. Furthermore, it provides a decent level of fuel economy as it produces less drag on the motor’s moving details plus bearings.

But, 10w30 keeps greater thickness, offering enhanced sealing abilities for older motors as their clearances extend and demand less liquid oil for more efficient protection.

In any case, prior to opting for any type of oil, first, read your motor’s manual and discover what oil the manufacturer prescribes for it.

To Sum It Up

5w30 oil is designed to operate in ambient temperatures down to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an excellent choice if you live in colder climates such as the Northeastern United States or Canada. The 5w30 is also a great choice if you live in warm climates reaching 35 degrees Celsius or 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, 5w30 motor oil works great no matter how high or low the temperature is. It gives an astonishing fuel economy by inducing less drag on bearings and moving motor details.

Being thicker, 10w30 ensures the more efficient sealing ability for aged motors and protects their widened clearance better.

And don’t forget to consult the manufacturer’s manual first!


What's the difference between 5w30 and 10w30?

Higher viscosity oils such as 10w30 will flow more slowly at low temperatures compared to lower viscosities such as 5w30. This determines the fact that 5w30 is more adapted to low temperatures than 10w30.

5w30 or 10w30 for summer?

If your maximum temperature in summer does not exceed 35 Celsius (or 95 Fahrenheit), then it is better to use 5w-30. In a case when the temperature in summer is even higher, then it is better to use 10w-30.

Should I use 5w30 or 10w30?

Check your owner's manual firstly if 5w30 or 10w30 can be applied. If it is possible to use any of these oils, you should choose the one that is more suitable for the temperature conditions in your region.

Is 5w30 good for summer?

Yes, if the temperature maximum does not exceed 95 Fahrenheit.

What is thicker 5w30 or 10w30?

It has the same thickness in warm temperature, but in cold weather 10w30 is thicker than 5w30 and it will flow more slowly.

Can you mix 10w30 and 5w30?

Only if this is an emergency case (your engine started to leak oil and you need to top up at least something to get to the place). In other cases, I would not recommend mixing oils, even if they are from the same manufacturer.

What happens if I use the wrong oil?

Your engine will run, but the wear will increase and you will have to get it repaired soon.

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