Difference Between 5w20 and 5w30

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between 5w20 and 5w30

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If you choose the proper brand of engine oil in the right weather, your automobile will last a long time. Many owners overlook this issue, causing their vehicles to break down sooner than expected. People either change their engine oils or hire a mechanic to do it for them. In this sector, however, understanding what to use when is critical.

You may have heard the terms 5w20 and 5w30 in the automotive industry. They are mostly used as engine oil and are well-known in this regard. They are crucial to the health of our vehicle and engine. So, knowing which one to use and the differences is critical if you are doing your car maintenance or getting someone else to do it.

5w20 vs 5w30

The fundamental difference between 5w20 and 5w30 is that 5w20 is more viscous and flows faster in colder regions, whereas 5w30 is more viscous and flows slower in hot temperatures.

Difference Between 5w20 and 5w30 in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison 5w20 5w30
Viscosity 5w20 is less viscous than 5w30. Initially, it is less viscous. When compared to 5w20, 5w30 is viscous. It was the first viscous.
Friction 5w20 has less friction than 5w30. When compared to 5w20, 5w30 creates higher friction.
Suitable climate 5w20 is more suited for colder climates. 5w30 is appropriate for warmer climates.
Thickness 5w20 is a thinner alloy than 5w30. 5w30 is thicker metal than 5w20.
Flow 5w20 moves faster than 5w30. 5w30 flows more slowly than 5w20.

What is 5w20?

One of the best engine oils, 5w20 is ideally suited for the cold or winter season. The number '5' represents the viscosity rating, whereas the number '20' represents the weight of other oils stored at a hotter temperature. Simply said, 5w20, like any other oil of this particle weight, aids in engine lubrication. It is a thin oil that creates less friction than other lubricants. Because it is thinner, it helps to oil deeper and all sections of the engine, which is especially important during the winter. When it comes to chilly climates, having a faster flow than 5w30 or 5w20 is advantageous.

Typically, winter seasons or cold locations necessitate the use of engine oil to aid in the lubrication of various engine parts more quickly. As a result of its thinness, 5w20 is highly popular throughout the winter. With a viscosity less than 5w30, 5w20 is also more efficient in the cold. The fuel service is significantly superior, and the performance is outstanding.

However, the drawbacks of using oil become apparent when the climate returns to normal or warmer. The lower the viscosity, the worse the consequences become, and the oil, being thinner, runs out. When the oil runs dry, the engine parts become exposed and can wear out.

What does 5w20 stand for? In layman's terms, 5w20 is a "Multi-Grade" motor oil, which indicates it can work in a variety of temperatures, as opposed to "Single Grade" oils, which only operate at a single temperature. A 5w20 oil will flow in both cold and hot conditions. However, if the working temperature becomes excessively high, it may thin out. You should use 5w20 if your engine requires it or if you live in a region where temperatures do not exceed 20oC (68°F).

Are There Any Benefits Of 5w20?

Yes, because they are synthetic oils, they are suitable for all engine models and types. They also offer substantial protection and aid in the preservation of any engine's moving parts. Because 5w20 oils are lighter, they flow more easily, which can enhance fuel efficiency and mileage.

Does that sound right? Yes, because of their low viscosity, they provide numerous advantages. They are also ideally suited for winter driving. Even if your car comes with 5w30 or another oil specification, you can still use 5w20 in the engine and enjoy a cool ride. Let's have a look at the vehicles that have engines with 5w20 specs.

What Cars Take 5w20 Oil?

5w20 is standard on the majority of Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Toyota, Honda, Acura, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai vehicles. Furthermore, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Pontiac, Saturn, Nissan, Lexus, Subaru, Volvo, BMW, Jaguar, and Cadillac all manufacture engines that can run on 5w20 oils.

Almost every automaker requires a specific model of their vehicle to run on 5w20 oils. Automobile manufacturers including Saab, Audi, Volkswagen, Kia, Isuzu, and Land Rover are not excluded. Because they are utilized by the majority of current automobiles created within the last 5 years, 5w20 oils are among the first to sell out in various places. A thorough list of specific car models that employ 5w20 would be extremely difficult to create. However, this oil type is required by most modern engines. It has a substitute that you might use instead.

Is 5w20 Full Synthetic Oil?

Yes, 5w20 oil is all synthetic, which means it contains no crude oil and is, therefore, suitable for any engine. However, the ingredients in 5w20 may vary depending on the manufacturer. The additives used in the manufacture of motor oils determine the level of protection and effectiveness. Regardless, if your car engine requires 5w20, use it to avoid voiding your warranty or damaging your engine.

Best 5w20 Substitutes

In the summer especially in hotter climates, most drivers use 5w30 instead of 5w20 to improve performance. Yes, 5w30 is an acceptable replacement for a 5w20-specified engine. Both oils have the same viscosity at cold temperatures but differ slightly at high temperatures. The 5w20 oil may thin down over the summer, but the 5w30 oil will keep your engine operating smoothly in and out of season. To summarize, 5w20 is the most common specification for most automobiles. It flows freely at both high and low temperatures and provides enough protection.

What is 5w30?

One of the best engine oils, 5w30 is best suited for average or warm temperatures. The number '5' represents the viscosity rating, whereas the number '30' represents the weight of other oils stored in hotter regions. It is a thicker and more viscous oil than 5w20. It increases friction and flows slowly, causing it to drag more.

When employed in typical working conditions or throughout the summer, 5w30 is favored over 5w20. Because it is viscous, it is thicker than 5w20 and so better protects the engine. Because the oil is thick, it does not evaporate, leaving the engine parts exposed. In the long run, the engine is not worn out.

It is not ideal for colder locations because it takes a long time to lubricate the entire engine. It is not recommended to use engine oil as thick as 5w30 in colder climates or during the winter. As a result, the efficiency of the fuel will be reduced. It will take longer to start your engine if you use 5w30 in the winter.

How is 5w30 different from other oils?

5w30 motor oil has a winter viscosity grade of five, meaning it’s less viscous (less thick) at very low temperatures compared to, say, 10w30. It has a hot viscosity grade of 30, which means it is less viscous at high temperatures than an oil such as 5w50.

When should I use 5w30 oil?

Always use the oil recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle. 5w30 oil, on the other hand, can operate at temperatures as low as -30oC and as high as 35oC, making it an excellent choice if you drive your car in an area with quite high seasonal temperature swings.

5w30 oil is ideal for vehicles operated in colder climates. Unlike oils with a greater hot temperature rating, such as 10 or 15, 5w30 oil can flow freely enough to coat and protect the engine's internal components when the engine is started at low temperatures. It's also a fantastic choice for extended travels that necessitate significant fuel usage and heat exposure.

Why is 5w30 oil so common?

Because it is suitable for a wide range of cars and engine types, 5w30 oil is one of the most often used motor lubricants. Because of the viscosity range of 5w30, it can lubricate, seal, and protect internal engine components in a variety of climate situations. This ability to perform efficiently in both summer and winter adds the ease of not needing to change oil weights as the seasons change. The reduced viscosity of 5w30 oil implies less strain on the oil pump and higher fuel economy.

Why is 5w30 oil so versatile?

The versatility of 5w30 motor oil to perform in a wide range of engine types and temperature conditions make it extremely adaptable. 5w30 motor oil is generally recommended for use in light-duty petrol or diesel engines since it flows more smoothly in cold conditions. At the same time, it can retain a safe viscosity when the engine is working hard in the summer heat, when a lower viscosity oil is more prone to break down, inflicting additional wear on engine parts.

You've probably heard of numerous oil grades and viscosities with varying specializations and operating measures, as well as serving diverse engines and operating situations. However, the most likely and appropriate engine oil is that which your manufacturer recommends in the owner's handbook. This is what defines and protects your engine in any operating environment, as well as in a variety of working circumstances and temperatures.

All engine oils are classified based on their viscosity, streamlined flow resistance, and how well they operate and deliver at severe temperatures. The best engine oil for your car is one that keeps its viscosity and grade even in the hottest and coldest climates. Because 5w30 oil may be utilized in a wide variety of temperatures, it is one of the most widely used oils on the market.

Two types of Vehicles

5W30 is a kind of engine oil that isn't designed for just one or two sorts of automobiles. It may be utilized with both petrol and diesel engines in light-duty applications. 5w30 is multi-grade engine oil, like many other engine oils on the market today, ranging from a lower viscosity grade of 5 to a higher viscosity grade of 30. While the engine is running, friction is at its highest, and temperature is greater, the abbreviation W in an engine oil name relates to winter, and the number preceding it is the oil's viscosity or thickness number at low temperatures, while the number following it is the viscosity at higher temperatures.

At extremely low temperatures, 5W30 engine oil has a viscosity grade of five, which means it will be less viscous than higher viscosity rivals. It has a viscosity grade of 30, indicating that it is less viscous at high temperatures than its higher viscosity competitors. 5W30 engine oil is guaranteed to perform effectively in temperatures ranging from -30°C to 35°C, making it an excellent choice for driving in a high-temperature variation area.

Main Differences Between 5w20 and 5w30 in Points

  • 5w20 can flow faster than 5w30 since it is less viscous. However, because 5w30 is more viscous than 5w20, it flows more slowly.
  • Because of its viscosity, 5w20 is always suggested for use in cold environments or during the winter. 5w30, on the other hand, is better suitable for use in hot climates or throughout the summer. It also operates in typical operating settings, i.e. in a normal climate.
  • In cooler climates, 5w20 performs admirably. The fuel efficiency is also higher, although 5w30 cannot perform as well as 5w20 in frigid regions. Fuel efficiency is also decreasing.
  • When you use 5w20 in the cold, your car or, in this case, your engine will start faster. However, using 5w30 in the cold will cause your engine to take longer to start or respond.
  • During the winter season, 5w20 causes less friction, which aids in lubricating the engine more quickly. This is why it is used in the winter when the engine has to be lubricated. During the heat, 5w30 is extremely efficient. It is thick, which keeps the engine cool.


Both 5w20 and 5w30 are well-known names in the engine oil market. Their working hours, however, differ slightly. While 5w20 works best in the winter, 5w30 works best in the summer. 5w20 is less viscous and helps to lubricate the engine more quickly, which is necessary during the winter. 5w30, on the other hand, flows slowly and is viscous. It takes some time to grease the engine, which is necessary during the summer.


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"Difference Between 5w20 and 5w30." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 24 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-5w20-and-5w30-565>.

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