Difference between 5w30 and 0w30 engine oil

0w30-5w30 Oil

What is the difference between 5w30 and 0w30 oil?

The most popular grades on the market today are 5w30, 0w30, and 0w20 oils. In modern cars, 5w30 oil is most often used, but sometimes there is a need to use 0w30 oil.

Engine oils with this viscosity are recommended for most modern cars, and you can use this type of oil for your vehicles.

5w30 vs 0w30

Let’s find out the differences between 0w30 and 5w30 oils, whether they are interchangeable, whether mixing them is allowed, and the dangers of using the wrong composition.

The leading indicator of engine oil is its viscosity. It is this parameter that guarantees the protection of engine parts against overheating and excessive friction force.

Oil viscosity is not constant and depends on external conditions, particularly temperature. For example, in winter, the composition, if incorrectly selected, may thicken, lose its original properties and cease to provide the engine with sufficient protection.

SAE classification standards

First, it is important to understand the general classification of oils to understand how to read their markings.

This document was prepared by the Association of Automotive Engineers, which includes some of the best experts in the industry.

The association has existed for more than a century, its standards are accepted and recognized worldwide and are used by all manufacturers of technical fluids. Due to this, there are no problems with the selection of products for the requirements of a particular car and climatic conditions.


SAE marking is represented by letters and digits:

  • The first number next to the letter W indicates the outdoor temperature at which the oil thickens and reaches the point at which it ceases to work properly. This is also called the summer temperature range.
  • The second digit after the letter W indicates the temperature at which the composition becomes too fluid to form a protective film on parts. This is also referred to as the winter temperature range.

In addition, the following figures can be found in norms and standards:

  • Kinematic viscosity;
  • Initial behavior, component resistance information;
  • Pump performance. It is the value that determines the speed at which the composition reaches the parts of the engine during its cold start;
  • Viscosity at high temperatures, when the power plant has to work with huge loads.

Characteristics of engine oils

To understand the difference between 0w30 and 5w30, we must take a closer look at both formulations.

Differences between 0w30 and 5w30 engine oil

  • For 0w30 engine oil, the operating temperature range is -35°C to +30°C or -31°F to 86°F
  • For 5w30 engine oil, the operating temperature range: is -25°C to +30°C or -13°F to +86°F.


Based on this data, 0w30 engine oil is the best option for winter.

But let’s not jump to conclusions. Let’s consider some more aspects.

Oils of the same standard can have a freezing point that differs by 6-7 degrees. The viscosity range for a 0W designation is wide enough to cause this difference.

However, the resulting calculation does not indicate an inability to start the engine at lower temperatures. The engine should start successfully even at -35 ° C or -31 ° F on 5W oil, but the friction pairs of the engine, starter, pump and other elements will be significantly stressed.

5w-30 engine oil has slightly better wear protection than a 0w30, thanks to an additional additive package. This means that less mechanical effort is required to overcome friction in the moving parts of the engine, which protects them from premature wear and creating noise while driving.

5w30 has a slight fuel consumption advantage over 0w30, but as we said above, this difference is not that significant.

5W-30 Motor Oil

5W-30 motor oil has a higher viscosity than 0W-30. It is commonly used in many different types of vehicles, including SUVs, cars, trucks, and light duty cans. Its high viscosity makes it desirable for high-performance supercharged and turbocharged engines.

0W-30 Motor Oil

The 0W-30 grade is a very high performance synthetic motor oil. As engine technology has evolved, the grades used in these engines have changed, and the 0W-30 grade has become one of the most important.

The most important distinguishing feature of 0W-30 oil is that it is fully synthetic engine oil that uses several types of additives that can enhance and improve engine performance, increasing fuel economy as friction is reduced. Other important features for improving fuel economy include thermal stability, low-temperature starting, and thermal protection.

Depending on the recommendations in your owner’s manual, you can use 0W-30 instead of other grades. Again, this will be dictated by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) as they have built an engine with very precise specifications.

Are 5w30 and 0w30 oils compatible?

Given the proximity of the parameters of the two formulations, the question arises of whether they can be mixed.

The specialists have a definite answer to this question: only oils of the same producer may be mixed. The technology used depends on the manufacturer, the additives used, the exact components, and their volumes, and origin are different.

When mixing different brands, the following effects may occur:

  • The powertrain will start to get dirty: slags are deposited, the rings are covered with soot;
  • Additives begin to precipitate, i.e. they lose their effectiveness completely. In some cases, there is only a partial decrease in efficiency, but even this is sometimes critical;
  • Change of characteristics of some components due to incompatibility. This causes the oil to twist to the point where it completely blocks the oil passages.

The saddest result is an overhaul of the powertrain, the cost of which is often comparable to buying a new engine.

But if you find yourself in an emergency situation and the answer to the question, of whether you can pour 5w30 oil 0w30, should be positive, but it is worth observing some rules.

First, the volume of filler should be kept to a minimum. Practice shows that a 10 percent fill volume solves many problems, but avoids changing functions to maintain performance.

The second point is to use the same manufacturer’s oil, and even in this situation, it is recommended to change the engine oil completely later, and install a new filter, which often shows traces of the old composition.

What is the best oil viscosity?

Motorists often wonder what viscosity is better, and what exactly to pour into the car.

The main point is the lower limit of temperature viscosity.

Considering what is thicker – 5w30 or 0w30, you can understand that the second composition will withstand the coldest environment without loss of characteristics. Therefore, it should be recommended to residents of cold regions. The upper limit is identical and can be neglected.

The question of which composition is better can be considered erroneous. Oil properties are determined not only by its viscosity but also by many other factors.

In particular, well-known manufacturers, whose products are quite expensive, use numerous additives to improve the quality of the composition. They may, for example, naturally clean the engine parts from soot and other impurities, improve the fluidity and increase the efficiency of heat dissipation.

We recommend the following brands of oils for your vehicle:

  • Amsoil
  • Red Line
  • Castrol
  • Mobil
  • Motul
  • Liqui Moly
  • Idemitsu


Engine oil is the key to the long, efficient, and safe operation of a power plant. It is necessary to choose it very carefully, to pay attention to the most insignificant, at first sight, moments.

Also economy is inadmissible. Searching for a cheap one, or buying an unknown brand often leads to the fact that the information on the label has nothing to do with reality, due to which the breakdown occurs.


My friends and I created this site to tell you a lot of useful things from the world of cars. I worked as a salesman in a big auto parts store and gained a lot of experience in this field, now I am sharing my experience with you.

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