5w20 vs 10w30: Which one should you choose?

5w20 vs 10w30

Different vehicles have different motor oil requirements, and you should choose the motor oil specified as per your car manufacturer.

The motor oil can be identified according to its viscosity. The thicker oil or thinner oil is specifically used for different engine types.

There are hundreds of engine oils in the market, and the 5w20 and 10w30 are known to be the most popular engine oils.

This is because they come with similar viscosity. Moreover, they both are suitable for similar types of engines and weather conditions.

So below is the comparison of 5w20 and 10w30 to identify which is highly suitable for your car.

What is 5w20 motor oil?

5W-30 is a synthetic oil developed for use in lightweight diesel engines.

It’s made from castor oil and a synthetic base, and it’s designed to provide more protection than conventional oils, making it suitable for use in vehicles that are driven at high speeds, like SUVs and trucks.

The 5w20 oil is widely used in petrol, diesel, and gasoline engines.

The 5w20 is a multi-grade motor oil(and a recommending lighter viscosity oil) which means that it can handle a wide range of temperatures as it has balanced oil’s viscosity for hot as well as cold weather.

However, primarily the 5w20 oil is being used in the winter climate regions because the oil has a winter oil’s viscosity grade.

Although it performs great at higher temperatures, it is best to use in cold temperature regions due to its lighter viscosity oil(thinner oil). The oil is most suited to light-duty diesel engines.

What is 10w30 Motor Oil?

10w30 synthetic Oil is a lower viscosity motor oil designed for use in petrol and diesel engines. It has an API SJ/SM/SL-3 rating and is made from synthetic base oils with additives.

Its purpose is to provide excellent protection against wear and corrosion, as well as prevent damage to equipment due to overheating.

This type of oil is also used in gasoline engines, although it can be found in other forms (such as 5w20).

This oil should not be confused with 10W30 motor Oil, which is used in more severe conditions such as cold weather and high altitude.

5w 20 vs 10w30 Multi grade Engine Oil Comparison

While the 5w20 and 10w30 have a lot of similarities along with differences, it is hard to choose which is best suited for your vehicles. If you want to quickly compare these 2 engine oils, then here is the 5w20 and 10w30 engines oil comparison table.

Name 5w20 Engine Oil 10w30
Oil Flow Easy Easy
Suitable Weather Summer (Hot) and Winter (Cold) Summer (Hot) and Winter (Cold)
Ideal Temperature -30 to 40 degrees celsius -25 to 30 degrees celsius
Life Expectancy 5,000 miles 5,000 miles
Replacement Required Before 3 to 4 thousand miles Before 3 thousand miles
Anti-Corrosion Yes Yes
Anti-foam No Yes
Anti-Wear Yes Yes
Friction Least Least
Compatible Vehicles Light-duty vehicles Passenger Cars
Engine Compatibility Diesel, Petrol, and Gasoline Engine Petrol and Diesel
Thermal Stability Good Average
Oxidation Stability Good Good

Similarities Between 5w20 vs 10w30 Engines Oil

The 5w20 and 10w30 are 2 similar types of oils, and both are widely used in petrol, diesel, and other engines. Both of these engine oils are similar when it comes to oil flow, weather conditions, anti-weariness, and other factors.

Oil Flow

5w20 and 10w30 Engine oils are designed to provide lubrication and protection for a variety of engine components.

Both 5w20 and 10w30 oil are designed to deliver sufficient thickness, good cold flow benefits , maximizes fuel economy, oil viscosity, and shear stability for use in all types of engines.

Both of these engine oils of similar levels of flow. Both have an easy oil flow, which basically means that your engine doesn’t have to struggle a lot to generate power.

Weather Conditions

Both the 5w20 and 10w30 engine oils have a similar performance in different hot and cold weather conditions(cold temperatures).

To determine the engines oil performance or normal operating temperature in different weather conditions(both cold weather or cold temperatures and hot weather), you have to look at their temperature range along with the oil viscosity for a better fuel efficiency.

The 5w20 and 10w30 have similar viscosities, which means they are ideal to use in cold weather as well as hot weather.

However, the 5w20 engines oil has an ideal and wide temperature range, so it can be used in extreme cold weather as well as hot weather, but this is not the case with 10w30 engine oil(which cannot be used in extremely cold weather)

Life Expectancy

Prior to selecting the proper engine oil, life expectancy should be taken into account for improved fuel economy.

Various brands may make claims about their varying life expectancies. No matter whatever brand of oil you use in your engine, it will typically have the same lifespan under most circumstances.

The lifespan of the 5w20 and 10w30 is 5,000 miles. In ideal circumstances, you will need to replace these engine oils before you travel anywhere near 5,000 miles.

It is possible to use these lubricants up to 6,000 miles in some circumstances, but this is not advised because the anti-wear, anti-foaming, and thermal stability of engine oils fuel economy would be compromised.


Anti-corrosion is the ability of a lubricant to prevent or reduce the corrosion of metal parts. It can be enhanced by additives and can be used to protect engine components such as gears and bearings.

Both the 5w20 and 10w30 come with anti-corrosion properties, which means that these engine oils can resist corrosion in most conditions.


Anti-wear properties are also similar between 5w20 and 10w30 engine oils, but the 5w20 has a higher concentration of zinc. Zinc is an anti-wear material that helps reduce friction and wear in engines, which makes it a great choice for your car’s engine.

Both engine oils are highly repellent to corrosion. However, in some conditions, the 5w20 can be a better choice as it offers better protection against metal wear.


Both synthetic oils are designed to reduce friction by protecting components from damage and providing better fuel economy. Both 5w20 and 10w30 have lubricating properties, which help in reducing the friction in an engine because it reduces heat. Heat causes friction, so reducing heat reduces friction.

Oxidation Stability

Both 5w20 and 10w30 have great oxidation stability ratings, which means that they can be used in high-temperature environments without causing problems.

Differences Between 5w20 vs 10w30 Engine Oil

While there are a lot of similarities between the 5w20 and 10w30 engine oils, there are some significant similarities as well. Both engine oils are suitable to use in different temperatures. They both have different replacement life and anti-foaming properties.

Temperature Range

The most important factor to consider when purchasing oil is its temperature range. 5W-20 engines oil has a temperature range of -30 to 40 °C, while 10W-30 engines oil has a maximum temperature range of -25 to 30 °C. These are approximates normal operating temperature for a great fuel economy.

The higher the temperature rating, the better. If you’re running your car in hot weather, consider using 5W-20 or 10W-30 oil instead of 5W-30 or 10W-40.

If you want an engines oil that is suitable in both hot and cold climates, then get the 5w20 engine oil, as it has a wide temperature range.

Motor Oil Replacement

It is important to change the engines oil regularly. The engines oil helps in protecting the internal components from corrosion and wear and tear. Both 5w20 and 10w30 has different replacement time.

The 5w20 can be replaced when you have driven the car 3 to 4 thousand miles. However, you need to change the 10w30 when you have reached 3,000 miles. It is advised not to exceed these limits.


While 5w20 engines oil is superior in most areas, it also has some downsides. However, these downsides are only limited to some brands.

The 5w20 engines oil doesn’t offer an anti-foaming agent. However, there are some brands that use additives to add anti-foam properties to the engine oil, so you can choose to go with those brands.

On the other hand, the 10w30 engines oil comes with the anti-foaming agent by default.

Vehicle Compatibility

When it comes to the compatibility of the vehicle, then both engine oils can be used in most vehicles.

However, to be precise, the 5w20 is more suitable for light-duty cars and other automobiles. While the 10w30 is good to use in passenger cars.

Compatible Engines

The 5w20 is compatible with diesel, petrol, and gasoline engines. Moreover, this is highly ideal engines oil for petrol and diesel engines.

Similarly, the 10w30 is suitable for light duty petrol engines and diesel engines, and it works best with diesel engines.

Thermal Stability

The thermal stability of engines oil is more important because you don’t want the engines oil to perform worse when the temperature rises.

The 10w30 has a downside, as it cannot handle high temperatures as 5w20 engines oil can handle. So, the 5w20 is the superior choice to use in high temperatures as it offers good thermal stability.

Pros and Cons of 5w20 vs 10w30

5w20 Engine Oil:

Pros Cons
Better thermal stability Anti-foaming properties are missing
Compatible with most engines
Ideal for light-duty vehicles
Better temperature range

10w30 Engine Oil:

Pros Cons
Compatible with most engines and vehicles Early replacement required
Anti-foaming agent
Anti-wear properties
Balanced viscosity

Which is Better: 5w20 vs 10w30?

The 5w20 is a better choice in our recommendation. This is due to the fact that it comes with a better temperature range, and it can handle temperature rise and down.

Not just that, but this engines oil comes with better thermal stability, so it can be used in engines that do not have thermal stability. It is also suitable to use during cold starts.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you use the 5w20 in premium range cars like Audi A6?

It is best to check the user manual to know about the engines oil as this oil is only suitable with light-duty engines.

Does 5w20 offer the same life with diesel and petrol engines?

No, you will have a different life with diesel and petrol engines. With petrol engines, it will offer a greater life.

Does the 10w30 work in bikes?

Yes, it also works on some bikes or motorcycles. You can contact your manufacturer to check which oil is best suited to your bike.


So, this was all about the 5w20 and 10w30 engines oil comparison. Both engines oil performs great in different conditions. You have to determine the weather conditions and your engine type before buying the right engine oil.

However, if you don’t want to go into the technicality, then you can choose the 5w20 engines oil as it performs great in different situations(which will be promoting improved fuel economy)

Moreover, it has better thermal and temperature management than the 10w30 engine oil. However, it is only ideal to use in light-duty automobiles so if you are looking for alternatives go with the other oil instead of 5w20 then.

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