5w30 vs 10w30 : What Is The Difference?

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Do you belong to that particular category of car owners who simply pick up reputed motor oil and pour it straight into your vehicle’s engine?

Well, if this is the case, you may have to face consequences in the long run. Later or sooner, your vehicle’s engine is bound to deteriorate with a wrong selection of motor oil.

So, pay some extra care and make a wise selection to retain the optimum performance from your vehicle. But the situation is not so easy, especially when you are given numerous oil choices. One oil may entirely differ from others or maybe two different oils do share the same properties.

For example, a motor oil with 5w10 is different from motor oil with 10w30. As a layman, you might be quite blind to the difference between these two oil grades.

If yes, then this guide is for you to understand the properties and function of these both oil types.

So let’s begin:

What do codes 5W30 and 10W30 represent?

Have you ever noticed the packaging of motor oil? It carries some specific codes containing numbers and letters. This code represents the viscosity grade of motor oil.

A measurement of the oil’s resistance to flow is known as oil’s viscosity. In simpler words, it means the thickness of the oil.

Since a motor oil has two numbers showing its viscosity grade, you must know what these both numbers stand for.

The first number with the letter W represents the low-temperature viscosity of an oil.

In this case, the numbers 5W and 10W show how easily oil will flow through various engine components at low temperatures. For example, oil with 5W has a lower viscosity than oil with a 10W number. oil less viscous will flow through the engine and its parts smoothly and will give more protection against friction.

The second number 30 in both oil grades indicate the thickness of oil at high temperatures. The thickness of oil will help it adhere to mechanical parts of the engine and thus provide better protection. It also implies that both oils will not thin out easily when your engine is under high stress and pressure. In other words, the second number indicates the operational viscosity of the oil.

The difference between 5w30 and 10W30 motor oils?

The only difference between these two oils is their cold flow ability. The letter W here stands for winter and the prefix 5 and 10 represent viscosity of the oil in cold weather.

A 5W30 motor oil will flow faster at cold startups as compared to a 10W30 motor oil. It means that in colder areas, using a 5W30 motor oil is a safer option.

On the other hand, number 30 means that both oils share the same properties and function identically when the engine is hot.

In easier words, we would say that a 5W30 oil is thinner and can easily move through the engine and its vital components.

On the contrary, a 10W30 oil is thicker and will move slower during cold startups.

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eatures of 5w30 and 10w30

Let’s take a deeper look at these both oil types to determine which oil is better

5W30 motor oil:

5w30 is a multi-grade oil that is capable of behaving like a single-grade 5W motor oil at a lower temperature. As well as it brings the same performance that a 30-grade oil at higher temperature does.

It meets the oil specifications required by Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Ford. So if your vehicle is of this make, 5w30 is the right motor oil for your vehicle’s needs.

You can use this oil grade at an ideal working temperature of -30 degrees centigrade. It will smoothly lubricate all parts of the engine. Hence there will be less friction and reduced chances of wear on your engine. The result is the optimum performance and the longevity of your vehicle’s engine.

And when you want a motor oil that will equally perform well in hot weathers, again, 5w30 will not disappoint you. As it will remain thicker and viscous enough to lubricate all engine’s parts. There would be less stress on the engine. It can easily maintain its viscosity grade even at 35 degrees centigrade.

Therefore, a 5W30 is equally efficient for both hot and cold temperatures.

Yet it would be appropriate to use this oil grade in cold climates.

10W30 motor oil:

10W30 is another multi-grade oil that brings the performance of any single-grade 10W oil at lower temperatures and any 30-grade oil at the higher temperature.

This oil has been approved by the American Petroleum Institute and the European Automobile manufacturers association. Accordingly, it is definitely going to impress you because of its matchless properties.

As contrary to a 5w30 motor oil, this oil has a thick viscosity. This oil can effectively work at a temperature as low as -18degrees centigrade.

Again, like a 5W30 motor oil, 10W30 oil can withstand temperatures as high as 35degrees centigrade.

This oil reduces friction between metal parts of the engine, lubricates excellently. Thus your engine’s life gets long and you will have a better fuel economy.

The oil with its main characteristics can be used for hot and cold climates.

Which oil is better: 5w30 or 10w30?

Both oils come with their own properties making them different from each other. But if you have to make a choice between these two, consider these points.

You must judge the operating environment where you are driving your vehicle. If you are living near colder regions, then 5w30 is a better choice because it has a lower viscosity.

It means that it will remain thin even at cold temperatures and will flow properly through the engine. So 5w30 ensures a quick and easy startup. It will also make sure that your vehicle’s engine will maintain high performance in frosty winters.

In addition to this, 5w30 motor oil is ideal for a light-duty diesel vehicle. Since there would be less power required to move oil around the engine.

On the opposite, 10w30 motor oil is meant to cope with the demands of heavy-duty diesel engines. Its higher viscosity creates a firm layer on the engine’s parts. Thus it offers greater sealing action against wear and tear. The engine’s parts get protected.

For warmer weathers, 10w30 is a better oil as it has denser viscosity.

Both oil types have their own advantages and disadvantages. According to our experts, 10w30 is better than 5w30 motor oil. Its higher sealing capability with its thicker viscosity makes it better than 5w30.

Both oil types are formulated with additives and stabilizers to provide maximum results. Your vehicle’s make and the environment where you are driving determine which of these two oil types is better for your vehicle.

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5w30 or 10w30 for high mileage

Over time, your car’s engine starts showing up the signs of decay. 5w30 and 10w30, both oils are considered as high mileage oil.

They are packed with:

  • Special additives
  • Viscosity modifiers
  • Friction modifiers
  • Detergents to remove sludge buildup
  • Sealing conditioners

All these ingredients incorporate a new life to your vehicle’s engine life.

Earlier, car manufacturers recommended using a higher viscosity oil would bring improvement to a high mileage vehicle.

But this is not the case. It has been noticed that the engine usually wears when they are cold. So a low viscosity oil is capable of flowing much better than a higher viscosity oil.

Therefore, when you want for high mileage engine, 5w30 motor oil is the better choice.

With that being said, we would recommend you to go for using the exact motor oil your car’s manufacturer has recommended.

Can you use 10w30 instead of 5w30?

Choosing the right motor oil for your vehicle is the most significant decision for your engine. As 10w30 comes with higher viscosity that means there would be an increased drag on parts of the engine. So it would be not safe to use a 10w30 motor oil instead of 5w30.


We hope that this guide would help you understand the similarities and differences of these two oil types.

Choosing the right motor oil between these two types becomes easy when you keep in mind the basic requirements.

For colder temperatures, 5w30 is better whereas 10w30 goes perfectly well for warmer weathers.

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