10w30 vs 5w30: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

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One of the most common questions people have when choosing a motor oil is using 5w30 or 10w30. 10w30 vs. 5w03 – what is the difference between these motor oils? 

10w30 oil is thicker than 5w30 oil because it has a higher viscosity in colder temperatures. 10w30 engine oil will also flow slower than 5w30 engine oil when the weather is cold. Higher or thicker viscosity motor oil has a better seal compared to lower viscosity oil. Thicker oil provides better lubrication for your vehicle’s engine parts.

Read on to learn more about 10w30 and 5w30 engine oils so you can choose the right oil for your car or truck.

10w30 vs 5w30 Oil

10w30 vs 5w30

While they are both great engine oils, 10w30 and 5w30 have different properties. You should know the differences from thickness to compatibility so you know which is more suitable for your engine or location.

What is the difference between 5w30 vs 10w30? See the 5 main reasons below:

1. Viscosity 

The most obvious difference between 5w30 and 10w30 oil is their viscosity. The viscosity affects the thickness of the oil. It impacts the resistance of the engine to oil flow. The thicker the oil is, the more resistant it is, which also means it is slower. 

To understand the viscosity of engine oils, you must know what the numbers mean. The Society of Automotive Engineers uses a code of zero to 60 to indicate viscosity. A higher number indicates a thicker consistency. Hence, 10w30 is more viscous compared to 5w30.

For the two engine oils we are comparing, the first number (10 and 5) refers to the viscosity in cold weather. W, meanwhile, stands for winter. The last number (30) is the viscosity in hot environments. 

2. Flowability 

The viscosity of engine oil does not only affect its consistency and appearance. More importantly, it impacts its flowability, and this directly relates to performance. Obviously, the thinner it is, the easier and faster it flows. Also, between the two, 5w30 has better flowability.

3. Fuel Efficiency

The thicker the oil, the more drag it will create on the engine. Since it won’t flow as smoothly as thinner oils, it will reduce the engine’s performance. The additional resistance makes it harder for the fuel to work, resulting in higher fuel consumption. So, between 5w30 and 10w30, 5w30 is more fuel-efficient since it is thinner and flows faster. 

4. Lubrication 

One of the reasons why oil is crucial for engines is that it lubricates the moving parts. The more lubrication it provides to the engine, the lesser is the wear on the moving components. Thicker oils will lubricate better. That said, 10w30 will offer better lubrication to the engine. 

5. Compatibility 

When deciding whether you should choose 5w30 or 10w30, consider the temperature where you live. If you are in a colder climate, 5w30 is a better option as it flows faster in lower temperatures. On the other hand, for hot weather use, choose 10w30. In colder environments, 10w30 thickens, which can obstruct its flow and negatively impact engine performance. 

More so, 5w30 is for light-duty engines that do not require too much pressure. On the other hand, 10w30 is for heavier loads. It can withstand higher pressure and remains stable. 

How to Prevent Motor Oil from Freezing 

About 10w30 Engine Oil (And When to Use It)

The 10w30 designation means that the viscosity rating is 10 when it is cold and 30 when it is hot. It is usable in a wide range of temperatures but not as wide as the temperature range of 5w30. 

When Should You Use 10w30 Oil?

At all times, it is important to follow the recommendations of the engine manufacturer. Meaning, when the specs call for a 10w30, it is what you should use. While it is still safe to use oils with other viscosity ratings, the overall performance is not optimal. 

As for the temperature range, the 10w30 oil is as low as -.4°F (-18°C) to 86°F(30°C). It does better in hotter environments as against 5w30. 

With its thicker consistency, the 10w30 engine is suitable for heavy-duty applications. It is great for engines of trucks and industrial equipment. 

About 5w30 Engine Oil (And When to Use It)

One of the most popular engine oils on the market, 5w30, is multi-grade. It has a low viscosity range of 5 and a high viscosity range of 10. It does better in colder environments compared to 10w30. 

5w30 is a more common option compared to 10w30. This is because of its wider temperature range, which means you can use it in more diverse environments. Whether it is summer or winter, expect that this oil will maximize the performance of the engine. 

When Should You Use 5w30 Oil?

With its wide temperature window, you can use 5w30 in a range of temperatures and various applications. It is great for a temperature that is as low as -22° F (-30°C) to as high as 95°F (35°C). This engine oil flows freely even in low temperatures. 

Use 5w30 in instances when you need the car or equipment to start faster. Because of its thin viscosity, the oil flows faster, and in turn, speeds start-up. It allows better cold-weather starting, ensuring that the engine remains reliable even when the temperature is low. 

It is common to use 5w30 oil in light-duty petrol and diesel engines and automotive gas engines.

5w30 vs 10w30

Again, what is the difference between 10w30 and 5w30 motor oils? 10w30 oil is much thicker than 5w30 oil because of its higher viscosity in lower temperatures. 10w30 oil will flow slower than 5w30 oil during colder seasons. Higher or thicker viscosity motor oil has a better seal compared to lower viscosity oil. Thicker oil provides better lubrication of engine parts.

Can You Use 5W 20 Instead of 5W 30?

5w30 vs 10w30 Engine Oil – FAQs

Got questions about 10w30 and 5w30 motor oils? We’ll answer some of them below:

Can I Use 10w30 Instead of 5w30? 

Ideally, no. You should not use a 10w30 oil when the manufacturer recommends using 5w30. Since 10w30 has a higher viscosity, it increases drag. When the engine cannot handle the excess drag, it experiences more wear. This will shorten the functional life of the engine and compromise its performance. 

Can I Use 5w30 Instead of 10w30?

You should not use a 5w30 engine oil in an engine that requires 10w30. It has a lower viscosity, which means that it increases the contact of the metal parts. The thinner oil will not offer superior lubrication and protection, increasing the wear of the components.

What Happens When You Use the Wrong Type of Oil? 

While you should use the right oil that the engine manufacturer recommends, the impact isn’t too much if you opt for a different oil. 5w30 and 10w30 have almost similar properties as against those with higher ratings, such as 15w40. However, in some instances, you might find it more difficult to start the engine, and you will be compromising lubrication. 

Can I Mix 5w30 and 10w30 Engine Oils? 

If you accidentally mixed the two, there’s no need to worry. The engine will be fine and will not suffer from performance issues. They have close viscosity and almost similar properties, so they do not differ much. Nonetheless, to achieve optimal performance, do not mix the two oils. 

Can I Use 5w30 and 10w30 Beyond Cars? 

Yes, you can use both engine oils beyond cars. They are also popular for industrial equipment. You can use it even in heavy machinery in manufacturing plants.

What Are the Benefits of Using Engine Oil? 

Engine oil is a must as it delivers numerous benefits, including the following: 

  • Improve Lubrication: This is the most important use of engine oil. It smoothens the functions of the engine, reducing contact. By minimizing friction, it prevents excessive wear on the moving parts. 
  • Enhance Cooling: When there is friction and energy loss through combustion, the temperature rises. Using engine oil reduces the heat and supplements the function of the coolant. 
  • Clean the Engine: Dirt and debris accumulate on the engine. Even if you are not using the engine, microscopic particles will build up. Without engine oil, these particles will clog the engine. 
  • Lower Emissions: Going greener is the main concern for most car owners. This is possible by using good engine oil. It minimizes burn and enhances particle absorption to minimize emissions. 
  • Protect Against Corrosion: Fuel combustion increases the presence of corrosive acids. They will damage the engine’s metal components. Using engine oil as an additive will slow down corrosion. 
  • Increase Fuel Efficiency: This is a culmination of the benefits mentioned above. A smooth, cool, and clean engine will function better. Hence, it will be more fuel-efficient, making the engine more economical.

What Do the Numbers 5, 10, and 30 Mean in 5w30 and 10w30 Oil? 

The numbers indicate the viscosity of the engine oil. The first number is its viscosity in cold environments, while the last number is the viscosity in hot environments. Therefore, 5w30 has a viscosity rating of 5 when it is cold and 30 when it is hot. On the other hand, 10w30 has a viscosity of 10 when it is cold and 30 when it is hot. 

How Do You Change Engine Oil? 

Whether you will use 5w30 or 10w30, changing the oil has a similar process. Here’s how you can do it: 

  1. Start by preparing everything you will need. Make sure that you have the right type of oil and tools; 
  2. Prepare the vehicle. Park it in an open and flat area. Jack the car up so you can work safely and comfortably;
  3. Drain the oil out of the engine. Make sure that you have a pan or container underneath to catch the oil;
  4. After draining the oil, remove the oil filter. Loosen by turning it counterclockwise. After removing the filter, clean the area; and
  5. Fill with your oil of choice. Check the level of oil, inspect for leaks, replace the filter, and close. 
What Is the Difference Between 5w30 and 10w30 Oil

The options for engine oils are overwhelming, but this is not an excuse to decide in haste. Below are two of the top oils that can offer excellent value for money and improve engine performance:

Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 Motor Oil

Click Here to See it on Amazon.

Made by one of the most reputable global motor oil manufacturers, Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 Motor Oil has state-of-the-art additives. They offer up to 50% better wear protection compared to many of its leading competitors.

With its full synthetic formula, it protects against a wide range of temperatures. Whether it is cold or hot, this engine oil does the job. 

More so, it has antioxidants and detergents that work together to remove deposits and resist breakdown. They will protect the engine even in the harshest environments.

Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 10W-30 Motor Oil

Click Here to See it on Amazon.

It is the same as the product above. The main difference is that it is a 10w30 instead of a 5w30 engine oil. It has the same full synthetic formula that delivers wear protection and contaminant reduction to keep the engine in its best performance. 

The packaging of this engine oil is also notable. It has an easy-pull tab, making it effortless to open. Plus, there is a precision pour-sprout to fill the engine with the right amount of oil easily. Lastly, the tube has an anti-glug feature to prevent spills and minimize waste. 

Conclusion – 5w30 vs 10w30 Motor Oil

5w30 oil is thinner than 10w30 oil because of its lower viscosity. 10w30 oil has a slower flow than 5w30 motor oil in cold weather. 10w30 oil provides a better seal and better protection than 5w30 oil because of its higher viscosity.

While they are both multi-grade oils that protect and lubricate the engine, they have varying properties. From thickness to compatibility, these oils are different. Below is a quick rundown of 5w30 vs. 10w30 oils:

  • Viscosity: 10w30 is more viscous or thicker compared to 5w30. 
  • Flowability: Since 5w30 is thinner, it flows easier and faster. Low temperatures will not easily disrupt the flow of oil. 
  • Fuel Efficiency: 5w30 is more fuel-efficient since it is thinner, which means that it will result in lesser engine drag. 
  • Lubrication: Because it is thicker, 10w30 lubricates better compared to 5w30. 
  • Compatibility: 5w30 is ideal for colder temperatures and light-duty engines. Meanwhile, 10w30 is better for hotter environments and heavy-duty engines. 

Check the recommendations of the engine manufacturer when choosing the right oil to use. Otherwise, you will compromise the performance, minimize efficiency, and increase wear on the moving parts. More than deciding between 10w30 and 5w30, choose an oil from a reliable manufacturer. 

Related reading:

Can I Use 5w30 Instead of 5w20? [5w30 vs 520 Motor Oil]

How Much Is an Oil Change at Valvoline? [Valvoline Oil Change Prices]

Shell Rotella Gas Truck Motor Oil Review

Mixing Oil Weights [Can You Mix Oils of Different Viscosity and Weight?]

What Are the Differences Between 0W20 and 5W30?