In this article, we’ll look at the differences between 10w30 and 5w30 oils. And also answer the question: can I use 10w30 oil instead of 5w30?
Engine oil 10w30 instead of 5w30
Quick answer: most often yes, but not desirable.
Now let’s break it down in order.
5w30 engine oil is more liquid than 10w30. This means it flows more easily at lower temperatures. That’s why it’s often used in cold climates or in engines that are often started in cold weather. On the other hand, 10w30 is a thicker oil designed for use in hotter conditions.
If you use 10w30 oil in a car designed for 5w30, the oil may not flow out as easily in cooler temperatures. This can lead to increased engine wear because the oil will not be able to lubricate the engine either. In extreme cases, this can even lead to engine damage.
5w30 vs 10w30 Oil
5w30 and 10w30 motor oils are among the most popular motor oils in the United States. These oils are versatile and used in most modern vehicles.
- 5w30 is synthetic motor oil. This oil is more liquid because of its viscosity. This type of oil is used as all-season motor oil and is used in most new cars.
- 10w30 is most often a conventional oil (sometimes synthetic). This oil is thicker because of its viscosity. This type of oil is used as a summer engine oil or for cars with high mileage.
The most popular 5w-30 engine oils
- Amsoil Signature Series 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil
- Castrol Edge 5W-30 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil
- Mobil 1 Extended Performance 5W-30
- Shell Rotella Gas Truck 5W-30
- Idemitsu Full Synthetic 5W-30 Engine Oil
- Red Line Motor Oil 5W-30
The most popular 10w-30 engine oils
- Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 10W-30
- Castrol Edge High Mileage Oil 10W-30
- Royal Purple High Performance Oil 10W-30
- Formula Shell Conventional 10W-30 Motor Oil
- Quaker State Conventional Motor Oil 10W-30
When to use 5w-30 oil?
5w-30 motor oil is used in most new American and Asian cars. If your car has less than 150,000 miles, you need to use 5w30 motor oil (or whatever viscosity you have in your car’s service book).
When should I use 10w-30 oil?
10w-30 engine oil is used for cars with high mileage and in hot weather conditions. If your car has more than 150,000 miles or is driven in high temperatures, you need to use 10w30 engine oil.
If you are not in a situation where you have no choice but to use 10w-30 oil instead of 5w-30, you can temporarily use 10w-30 oil. Then change the engine oil and oil filter to the viscosity specified by the manufacturer.
The engine is undoubtedly the heart of your car with hundreds of moving parts that require proper maintenance and lubrication from time to time. Although the engine runs on gasoline, it also draws in outside air. For every gallon of gasoline used, there is dust and dirt that gets into the engine with the gasoline.
Dirt contaminates the engine and is one of the main causes of engine failure. Know one thing: your engine gets dirty very quickly, which can impair your vehicle’s performance. Although most dirt washes out, some dirt can still get through the air filter. This can lead to sludge buildup in various parts of the engine, which, along with dirt and wear particles, can lead to engine failure. This is where engine oil comes to the rescue.
Engine oil is what keeps your engine running day in and day out. It only lubricates engine parts, but it also filters out dirt and keeps internal components clean.
The primary function of engine oil is lubrication since the hundreds of moving parts in an engine are constantly rubbing against each other, which creates friction, which in turn reduces the longevity of the engine.
Engine oil comes in various categories, such as 5w30 and 10w30, as well as many others. Although the function of the lubrication system has not changed much, engine oil has changed a lot over the years. One of the most important factors affecting engine oil performance is viscosity. SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) evaluates the viscosity of engine oil. The two most common viscosity grades are 5w30 and 10w30. Motor oils with these grades are called all-purpose oils.
What is 5w30 motor oil?
It is a universal synthetic motor oil with a viscosity rating used in cars. This is one of the general viscosity ratings established by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to keep engines running in a wide range of temperatures. The numbers stand for oil viscosity and the “w” stands for winter. The number 5 stands for low-temperature viscosity and 30 for high-temperature viscosity. They are quite effective at low temperatures, which means that in colder climates the oil is less thick to provide adequate engine lubrication.
What is 10w-30 motor oil?
It is all-season engine oil that is mostly used in cars with heavy engines because it can withstand high temperatures for long periods of time without compromising engine performance. The 10w30 oil is effective at high temperatures, and it is one of the most common oil grades recommended for commercial vehicles with older engines because it requires a thicker oil for its lubrication and engine longevity. The higher the first number, the thicker the oil becomes when the engine heats up and the more effective it is at resisting flow.
The difference between 5w-30 and 10w-30
Both 5w30 and 10w30 represent the viscosity of engine oil as specified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The numbers in both ratings refer to the viscosity of the oil, and the letter W stands for winter. Both are all-purpose oils that have been tested at various temperatures for low-temperature performance and better fuel economy.
Both oils have lower viscosities at temperatures that measure oil resistance to flow. The difference is in thickness. The lower the first number, the thinner the oil becomes at extremely low temperatures. 5w30 is SAE 5 when cold and SAE 30 when warm. The same goes for 10w30 all-purpose oil.
Performance of 5w-30 vs 10w-30
Both SAE values have the same base number, meaning that both motor oils will perform similarly at operating temperatures. The number 30 indicates the thickness of the oil when it reaches operating temperature. Both oils have the same viscosity at 100 degrees Celsius, but the 5w30 grade thickens the oil below 10w30 in cold climates. This means that 5w30 grade oil will flow effectively at low temperatures, whereas 10w30 oil will flow effectively at high temperatures because of the smaller temperature range. 5w30 oil becomes liquid enough when cold to provide sufficient engine lubrication.
Ideal use of 5w-30 vs 10w-30
Location is a key factor when choosing engine oils, as it is equally important to consider the location in which you will be using your vehicle. While all-purpose oils are designed to work effectively in both warm and winter climates, a 5w30 grade oil will be quite liquid if you live in a place with extremely low temperatures, so that the oil gets into all components, which improves your car’s winter performance. In contrast, 10w30 will flow effectively in places with high temperatures or hot summers.
Most modern vehicles use multi-purpose engine oil. Both 5w30 and 10w30 are multipurpose products. This means they are designed for cold starts and normal 210°F operating temperatures without performance degradation.
What do the viscosity numbers mean?
- The first number in the viscosity grade is low-temperature (winter)
- The second number in the viscosity grade is high temperature (summer parameter)
Viscosity is measured at 210° F to represent normal engine operating temperature. When choosing between 5w30 and 10w30, consider the temperature you live in and the age of your engine.
A higher viscosity, such as 10w30, will flow slower at low temperatures compared to a lower viscosity, such as 5w30. This is important because viscosity varies with temperature. It decreases as the temperature of the oil increases.
More viscous or thicker engine oil will seal better than a lower viscosity oil. Thicker engine oil also provides better lubrication of important engine parts.
High viscosity oils, such as 10w30, are thicker, which creates more resistance to engine parts and reduces engine performance. This extra resistance created by the oil can increase fuel consumption and reduce fuel efficiency.
5w30 is an excellent all-season oil for use in both low initial temperatures and high summer temperatures. It is also more economical because it creates less resistance to bearings and engine part movement.
10w30 oil is thicker and can provide a better seal for older engines. As engines age, their clearances expand and a thicker oil is needed for better protection.
Can 5w30 and 10w30 engine oils be mixed?
Although the two products have quite a bit in common in their characteristics, you should not mix them. Keep in mind that 10w30 is most often a conventional oil, while 5w30 is synthetic engine oil. Therefore, mixing oils of different viscosities is strictly prohibited. During operation, only oil of the same viscosity as the lubricant already present in the engine should be poured into the engine. Oil should only be changed and topped up with the same base oil from the same manufacturer.
Summary 5w-30 instead of 10w-30
If you live in a place where temperatures stay low year-round, 5w30 is your best bet because it performs better in colder climates and drives better on cold starts. On the other hand, if you live in an area where temperatures are consistently high year-round, you should use 10w30 oil because it allows the oil to flow faster and effectively lubricates parts, increasing engine wear.
Lightweight oil is ideal for cold climates, while heavier oil works better in warm climates. The oil should be fluid enough to get on all components when the engine is cold, but the oil should not be too fluid when the engine is hot.