Difference Between 5w20 and 10w30 (With Table)

Engine oil is also known as engine lubricant or motor oil which consists of base oils intensified with several additives especially antiwear additives, dispersants, and detergents. The purpose of engine oil is the lubrication of internal combustion engines. It is done to reduce friction on moving parts.

5w20 vs 10w30

The main difference between 5w20 and 10w30 is 5w20 is best suited for cars that usually drive in low temperatures and cold climates as it is a low viscosity oil. It is recommended to use for gasoline engines and light-duty petrol. Whereas 10w30 is best suited for heavy-load engines as it is capable of surviving hot temperatures. 5w20 cannot be replaced for 10w30 as it becomes thin in high temperatures. On the other hand, 10w30 becomes thick in low temperatures. 

5w20 engine oil is basically made to use in winters. The lower the number is before ‘w’ the better it will perform at 0° F.  The number after ‘w’ represents the thickness of the oil to survive at 212° F. Higher number indicates great compatibility with engine components at high temperatures. 

10w30 is suitable to survive temperatures as high as 81° F. It is a high viscosity oil so it is capable of surviving the pressure at high temperatures without creating too much friction. The consistency of 10w30 is much like grease so it is not able to show its potential in very low temperatures. 

Comparison Table Between 5w20 and 10w30

Parameters of Comparison5w2010w30
Definition5w20 can be defined as a low viscosity oil and basically a winter oil. 10w30 can be defined as a high viscosity oil and basically a summer oil. 
Type 5w20 is available as synthetic and conventional oil.10w30 is available in the synthetic, synthetic blend, and conventional (mineral oil) variants. 
Temperature Suitability5w20 works best in low temperatures and cold climates because of its thinness. 10w30 works best in high temperatures because of the thickness of the oil. 
Replacement with each other5w20 cannot be used as an alternative to 10w30 as it will get thin in high temperatures. 10w30 cannot be used as an alternative to 5w20 as it becomes thick in low temperatures. 
Thickness/ThinnessThin in high temperatures;Thin in low temperaturesThick in high temperatures;Thick in low temperatures

What is 5w20?

5w20 is a low viscosity oil used in low temperatures or cold temperatures. There is a specific meaning of the numbers before and after ‘w’. The number before the letter ‘w’ represents the viscosity of the oil at 0°F. The lesser the number is the better it is because it tells its capability to perform at lower temperatures. The numbers after the letter ‘w’ represent the capability of oil to perform at a high temperature of  212°F. The greater the number is the better it will perform at high temperatures. Overall, the combination makes 5w20 suitable for low-temperature areas. 

5w20 engine oil is basically used in cars that have to drive mostly in low-temperature locations. Its lower viscosity helps in reducing the friction and wear of engine components. It provides good protection in moderate climates too. Using it in high-temperature areas can be a bad choice as it becomes thin in high temperatures. It is recommended to use for gasoline and light-duty petrol engines. 

What is 10w30?

10w30 is a high viscosity oil perfectly suitable for high temperatures. The number before w represents the oil viscosity in lower temperatures. The lower the number is, the better its performance will be. Whereas the number after w represents the oil viscosity in high temperatures. The bigger the number is, the greater its performance will be. Overall, the combination of 10w30 makes it perfectly suitable for hot climates. 

It is used in high-load vehicles that usually drive in high-temperature areas. It is capable of surviving temperatures as high as 81°F as it remains stable. It does not cause much friction so it easily runs through critical engine parts. The consistency of 10w30 is similar to that of grease making it a perfect fit for high temperatures. It cannot be used as an alternative to 5w20 in low temperatures because of its thick consistency. It is used in vehicles with heavy-duty petrol and diesel engines. Engine parts like pistons are protected from creating engine deposits when 10w30 is applied. 

Main Differences Between 5w20 and 10w30

  1. 5w20 is suitable for low temperatures because of its thin consistency whereas 10w30 is suitable for high temperatures because of its thick consistency. 
  2. 5w20 is used in light-duty petrol and gasoline engines whereas 10w30 is used in heavy-duty petrol and diesel engines. 
  3. 5w20 becomes thin in high temperatures whereas 10w30 becomes thick in low temperatures. 
  4. Both of the oils cannot be used as an alternative to each other.
  5. 5w20 is a low viscosity oil whereas 10w30 is a high viscosity oil. 

Conclusion

5w20 is engine oil that is perfectly suitable for cars that drive in low-temperature climates a lot. It is a low viscosity oil and its consistency is very thin. It is used in low-duty petrol and gasoline engines. It cannot be used as an alternative oil in high temperatures as it becomes thin which will not work properly in such temperatures. Its lower viscosity helps in causing less friction and better performance. 

10w30 is engine oil that is best-suited for vehicles that drive in high-temperature areas. Its oil viscosity is high as its consistency is very thick like grease. It is used in heavy-duty petrol and diesel engines. It cannot be used as an alternative to 5w30 in low temperatures as it becomes very thick which is not suitable for low temperatures. Its high viscosity provides better sludge control, protection against corrosion, and a smooth and noiseless operation. It is suitable to use in engines that use advanced fuels like biofuels.

Both 5w20 and 10w30 cannot take each other’s place because each is made for a particular purpose and work best at their suitable temperatures. 

Reference

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44615136