There is a reason why vehicle manufacturers specify the type of oil you need to use. The type of oil car model A uses may not be the same as the one car model B uses.
Can You Use 10W30 Instead Of 5W30? Any time there is a possibility of putting something in an engine other than what the manual specifically calls for, it raises a lot of questions, such as ‘Can 10W30 be mixed with 5W30?’ and ‘Will it hurt my engine if I use oil that is different from what the manual calls for?’
Generally speaking, you can use 10W30 instead of 5W30. This is because both 10W30 and 5W30, meet the SAE standard for viscosity at engine operating temperatures. In fact, the viscosity difference between 10W30 and 5W30 is essentially neglectable.
If you live in a region that experiences temperatures below -20 degrees Fahrenheit, however, you should use 5W30 engine oil. This is because 5W30 is a little thinner and that is required at ultra-low temperatures to ensure the oil all gets to where it’s supposed to.
In this article, we will explain the differences between 5W30 and 10W30 motor oil. We will also explain what situations you can and cannot use them interchangeably.
As earlier stated, car oils are of many types. These oils differ in their ability to work when temperatures are high, viscosity, and thickness. But is it wrong to use a different type of oil for your engine other than the recommended one?
What Is The Difference Between 10w30 And 5w30 Oil?
10w30 vs 5w30, so what do those numbers mean? To answer this question, we first need to learn about the SAE viscosity scale.
The viscosity scale ranges from 0 to 60, with 0 being the thinnest viscosity and 60 being the thickest. 5W30 has a lower viscosity number, so its technically thinner than 10W30 oil.
This oil weight is recommended for temperatures below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes sense because it’s thinner.
This oil, on the other hand, is a little thicker. This type is only recommended for temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Advantages of 10w30
This motor oil has several special characteristics and advantages. The 10w30 covers engine components with a continuous layer reducing friction between them.
The engine is also protected from wear and tear and is kept cool when starting or stopping the car.
10w30 engine oil prevents engine parts from rusting, meaning it increases the life span of the engine. It makes the driver have a smooth and noiseless clutch and gear. Even when temperatures are high, the viscosity of 10w20 does not change. Biodiesel and biofuel engines perform well with 10w30 oil.
Preferably the oil should be used in hot weather even though using it in cold weather is also possible.
Oil viscosity grade, API SN rating, and ACEA are things you have to check for when it comes to 10w30 engine oils. The 10w30 oil fulfills all the API SN requirements.
This API SN has its origins in the American Petroleum Institute, and it is a category of engines. The API SN means the engine can protect the engine pistol from deposits originating from the combustion of oil.
The 10w30 motor oil is excellent in controlling sludge because it does not form unpleasant gels or sludge at high temperatures. Also, the 10w30 oil is great after the treatments.
As per the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the oil should have ACEA A3/B3 or A3/B4 rating. The organization assigns sequences of oil for different engine oil categories.
Advantages of 5w30 Motor Oil
For the 5w30 to be outstanding, it means that it’s unique in various ways. The oil reduces friction between engine components by covering them with a continuous layer the same as 10w30.
Moreover, it protects the engine from wear and tear and its components from rusting, consequently increasing the engine life span.
Its thermal stability is high, meaning that the oil is stable even when peek operating temperatures are high. 5w30 is very economical when it comes to fuel consumption. Only a small amount of oil is used in engine lubrication.
This engine oil is best for light-duty diesel, petrol, and gasoline engines. If you live in cold temperature areas, this is the best oil for your car.
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10w30 Vs 5w30: Which Is Better For Cold Start?
By now, you know the differences between the two oils and their similarities, particularly concerning their viscosity before they attain optimum operating conditions. Before the oils get to the optimum operating condition, the 5w30 will move faster than the 10w30.
If you are starting the car when in the coldest temperature area, it will be problematic because the 10w30 will take a longer time to get to the engine components.
Therefore, if you are living in a cold region and you are thinking of using the 10w30 instead of 5w30, you should stick to the latter. This also applies if where you live often gets cold.
If you still go ahead and use the 10w30 oil, you will have a hard time during engine start-up, and this could even damage the engine. The 5w30 will function perfectly well in cold areas because it is the thinner oil.
But oil thickness or higher viscosity is not the only consideration you should make when choosing the right engine oil for your car because vehicles have different requirements.
Therefore, it is important always to consult the user manual so you can choose the correct motor oil. It is not a good decision to grab the thickest motor oil in the market.
Very thick oil causes drag because of the very higher temperatures. Besides, very thick oils are a setback to the fuel economy. Using oils with very lower viscosity is also a problem because they fly off within the engine damaging it.
So ensure you consult a mechanic whenever you want to change motor oils to give you advice on the range of motion oils suitable for your car.
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Can I use 10w30 Instead of 5w30 in High Mileage Cars?
If your car is old or heavy-duty, you should go for the 10w30 oil because of its high viscosity, which is necessary for promoting engine pressure in old cars. The 10w30 also seals oil passages that have been damaged.
Perhaps you are the owner of a high mileage car, which is why you are thinking of using 10w30 instead of 5w30.
It is important to use the recommended oil by your manufacturer because this way, you will not get yourself into problems. You will enjoy the best fuel economy, and your car will be protected.
Over time, because of the oil engines use, the paths the oil uses to get to the engine are affected by wear and tear, leading to a low oil pressure sent to the engine from the oil. For the car to function optimally again, that gap has to be filled. Otherwise, the car will be slow.
To make up for the low pressure in the pipes, car owners opt for more viscous motor oil. So this could be what you are looking into. The thicker oil provides the required pressure even when the oil paths are worn out. You can go for it.
Other Important Metrics
The SAE rating of the two motor oils is similar, meaning when temperatures are high, their performance is the same.
Figure 30 in the two names refers to the viscosity of the two when temperatures are high. But, when the weather is cold, 10w30 thickens faster.
The lubrication provided by the 5w30 is better than that of 10w30 where both are full of synthetic oil.
The 5w30 does well in light-duty petrol and diesel and private vehicles. On the contrary, 10w30 engine oil is best for vehicles using heavy load engines and commercial cars.
Your location is an important aspect in determining the type of engine oil you should choose.
Even though both oils can be used in hot and cold places, the 5w30 works better in winter than the 10w30. On the other hand, in summer, 10w30 is the best choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Mix 5w30 and 10w30?
You can mix the 10w30 with 5w30, which will not affect the engine in any way.
The two motor oils have the same synthetic and close viscosity, and that is why you can mix them. One will be topping up the other.
Which Is Better 5w30 or 10w30?
Both oils are great. However, for great performance in all seasons, 5w30 is better. Also, the 5w30 engine oil saves the user fuel money because it is very economical as it produces less drag on moving parts of the car.
On the other hand, for cars with high mileage, or old cars, in other words, the 10w30 is better than the 5w30 because it seals old pipes which are damaged by wear and tear.
Ultimately, the best oil for your car will be determined by many factors, some of which are; the manufacturer’s recommendation and where you live.
What Do The Numbers Mean?
You are probably wondering what these numbers mean and why they have to be 5, 10, and 30 and not, other numbers. Well, this is what they mean:
10 and 5, which are the first numbers in the names of the two motor oils, refer to the easiness of pouring the oil under low temperatures.
For instance, number five in the 5w30 means that the oil pours easily than 10w30 when temperatures are low. Therefore, oils with lower numbers are less viscous and easily pour. These oils are good at keeping the engine in proper condition.
30 refers to oil thickness in its optimal operating conditions. A bigger figure here is preferable as thick oils protect engine components more than thin oils.
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The main purpose of motor oil is to ensure friction between engine components is reduced, making sure the engine lasts longer. Motor oil viscosity is the main determinant of what category a particular oil will fit.
Therefore, your needs, fuel economy, the effect on engine parts, and external temperatures are the determinants of what oil is best for your car.
Consult the manufacturer’s guide to knowing what oil is recommended for your engine because engines differ as car models differ.
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.