Your engine oil is a very important engine component as it protects the engine from unnecessary wear and tear. However, we know why you are here and that is to know the difference between 5w30 and 10w30, right? You are certainly in the right place, and in the correct direction, we might add, because it is important to know the differences between oil grades. Different oil grades are represented in numbers and letters, and they are not just made-up numbers. To give you an idea, the first number in the oil grade is the indicator of how easily the oil will flow when at low-temperature levels. The next number indicates the oil thickness under high operating temperatures. In the case of our subjects, such as the difference between 5w 30 and 10w 30, the 5 or 10 tells us how the oil will act at low temperatures, and the 30 is indicative of how thick it would be in higher temperatures.
However, the differences go far beyond letters and numbers, so let us take a closer look at it below.

What is the Difference Between 10w30 and 5w30?


When it comes to engine oils, performance means how the engine oil flows over the engine components in hot or cold situations. The Society of Automotive Engineers or SAE gives them an almost identical rating. The 10w30 thicker than 5w30 statement refers to the 10w30 thickening more in colder climates. Therefore each oil has an advantage over the other only in terms of where you are located. There is simply no 5 30 vs 10 30, it is only that 5w30 is better for colder regions while 10w30 is better suited for warmer regions. Both oils will give excellent protection against rust, wear and tear, as well as moving debris away from engine parts.
SAE viscosity grades: image
SAE viscosity grades

Difference in Meaning

The SAE are experts on how to read oil weight and how to read oil viscosity, and the ratings for both 5w30 and 10w30 are indicative of the oil’s viscosity. Incidentally, the 'W' in the names correspond to 'winter' and as such, both these oils have lower viscosity in winter conditions. For the average user, this means that these oils are preferred in lower temperatures, meaning they will start your engine right up even in the coldest weather.

Ideal Use

If you are wondering what happens if you put 10w30 instead of 5w30, you are not alone. Considering that these two oils have almost the same properties, these two oils can be interchanged. You can even see some automobile brands stamp these very same oils stamped into the engine bays as the recommended oil grades. However, be prepared for longer cranking if you use 10w30 in colder climates, as well as faster oil degradation if you use 5w30 in warmer climates. When looking for an answer to the question of can you use 10w30 instead of 5w30, a major consideration would be where you are located at. It would not even matter if the oil is Synthetic, Thicker, or the heaviest motor oil, always consider where you will be using your vehicle most and base your selection from there.


Another way of looking at these oils is how they fare in terms of lubricating properties. In general, the 5w30 is considered to have superior lubrication properties for commercial use. This means that the 5w30 is ideal for high mileage, yet smaller engines, such as cars, SUVs, and light trucks. The 10w30 on the other hand offers greater lubrication performance on heavy load engines, such as loaders, heavy equipment, and industrial transportation. 5w30 is considered well-suited for commercial use and light-duty applications while 10w30 is for industrial applications. Both of these oils exhibit excellent rust and debris protection on engines that they are used on no matter the weather condition.

An in-depth look between the two oil grades

As you continue reading, we will answer the question of can I use 10w30 instead of 5w30, as well as will 10w30 hurt a 5w30 engine. By far these two are the hottest topics between these two oil grades. Below we explore the benefits, what their major differences are, their similarities, and what benefits you can expect to get from these multi-grade oils.

What is 10w30?

The 10w30 oil grade is a thicker oil than 5w30 and both are what is referred to as multigrade oils. What this means is that these oils will have a different viscosity level at high or low temperatures. While this is the case, this is a multi-grade oil, meaning it behaves differently when it is cold or hot, and that is what the numbers stand for. The number 10 is its viscosity grade in low temperatures, and the number 30 is its grade in higher temperatures.
Top Pick
Motor Oil: 10W-30
The major characteristic of the 10w30 oil is that it can withstand higher operating temperatures without any effect on its lubricating properties. The important thing to remember is that because the 10w30 is thicker, it is more useful and can be best utilized in warmer climates.

10w30 Major Specifications

The 10w30 engine oil meets all the parameters set by the API SN, which is an engine category put forth as a standard by the American Petrol Institute or API. What this parameter set is that any engine oil should be able to protect the engine components from any deposits caused by the combustion process. Because of this, the 10w30 oil grade has improved protection in avoiding sludge formation for prolonged periods. What this translates to is that you will not see any gunk or gels inside the sump or engine even if the engine has been operating for longer periods at high temperatures. Furthermore, the 10w30 grade engine oil can also be used for after-treatment and seals. Look in particular for the ACEA A3/B4 or A3/B3 rating, as these numbers correspond to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association or EAMA standards. Additionally, the 10w30 graded oil is suited especially for industrial applications, in heavier-duty machinery and engines.

Benefits of 10w30

While the 10w30 fulfills its intended purpose, it does something extra, and that is extended protection and performance even in the hottest climates. This engine oil manages to coat all the engine parts with an even lubricating film, providing much-needed friction reduction and protection. When metal parts rub together, bits can fall off and become debris. When this happens internally, it can severely damage the machined internals of the engine and this oil can prevent that from happening. The 10w30 can also protect from debris in the engine itself by carrying particles away from surfaces, depositing them in the sumps or the filters. The 10w30 grade oil also offers rust protection, ensuring the longevity of any engine it is used on. With protection like these, your vehicle will always deliver its expected power output, as well as fewer headaches on repair-related expenses.

What is 5w30?

The 5w30 can be considered as the mirror image of 10w30, where the latter thrives on warmer climates, the 5w30 is at home in colder regions, maintaining a good flow and fluidity at low, colder temperatures. Aside from being on the opposite sides of operating temperatures, these oil grades are so similar that they can be used interchangeably. Yes, my friends, you heard that right, you can put 10w30 instead of 5w30, as well as mix 5w30 and 10w30 together if you are near oil change anyways. The only difference would be that if you use 10w30 in cold climates it will take more cranks to start your engine, and if you use 5w30 in warmer climates, you would just have to change the oil more often. You can also expect to get the same protection from this oil such as rust and debris protection as well as lubricating critical parts of the engine.
Top Pick
Motor Oil: 5W-30
Helps prevent the formation of deposits that can cause rust and corrosion and also reduces friction for less engine wear. It hasHigh viscosity and thermal degradation resistance

5w30 Major Specifications

Like its thicker graded brother, the 5w30 also meets all the parameters set forth by the API SN and ACEA. However, the 5w30 has also gotten the approval of the company Mercedez Benz, who are quite meticulous when it comes to their engine fluids. In addition, the 5w30 graded oil also has gotten the nod from high-performance sports car company Porsche, as well as VW and ford, all giants in the automotive industry. As you might have noticed, this is another area that separates 5w30 from the 10w30, because the 5w30 is suited for commercial use as opposed to the industrial capability of the latter. 5w30 is well adjusted for light-duty petrol engines as well as light-duty diesel engines. With this, one can say that 5w30 is more at home with smaller-sized cars, like sedans, hatchbacks, and MPVs.

Benefits of 5w30

The 5w30 is specially formulated to keep your engine running normally in colder temperatures, as it is what the number 5 represents, its viscosity when in colder temperatures. Aside from this, the 5w30 exhibits superior thermal stability which means that its properties remain pretty much the same even if subjected to extreme temperatures. As expected, 5w30 will also form a protective and lubricating layer over your engine, protecting it from rust as well as wear and tear. Additionally, the oil grade is also very effective in wicking away debris, away from critical engine components. 5w30 is also designed to be effective in very minimal quantities, further adding to its impressive qualities as motor oil. The oil prolongs the life of any engine it is used on and is especially effective when used in colder weather conditions. Because we do not want you to miss anything and to be sure that we cover all the bases with information regarding 10w30 and 5w30, below are some of the most asked questions about this topic.

Comparison table

5W30 10W30
Viscosity Low High
Viscosity index 154 140
Effectiveness at low temperature Thinner Thicker
Temperature range -31 to 86 -0.4 to 86
Compatibility Light-duty engines Heavy-duty engines
Suited season Winter, fall Summer, spring
Fuel Economy Good Average
Main benefit Provide superior thermal stability Provide good sealing
✅ Check Price ✅ Check Price

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can I Use 10w30 Instead Of 5w30?

The short answer is yes, you definitely can. The only difference would be that if you use 5w30 in hotter climates or weather, you would need to change the oil much more often. On the other hand, if you use 10w30 on colder regions, the only setback would be longer cranking times during cold starts as 10w30 runs thicker when cold.

The good thing is that whatever you use, you will still be following most engines’ oil recommendations. It is common to see BOTH oils recommended on one engine.

These two oils are very closely similar in their properties that they can be interchanged. Using one over the other will not incur any adverse effect on the engine or the vehicle itself.

Again, on some cars, it is common to see BOTH oil grades on engine oil recommendations on an engine.

Can I Mix 10w30 and 5w30?

Yes, you can mix oils with no problems, but it does not mean that you should. This is a common practice among automotive owners and enthusiasts and is acceptable as long as the oils that are being mixed are not too far apart in terms of synthetic makeup. This is the same for 5w30 and 10w30, as they have almost similar makeup and properties.

However, it is always better to use one type of engine oil than a mixture, just to make sure that there is consistency in the thickness.

Also mixing oils is generally acceptable especially if just done for topping up in case of an emergency.

However, IF you really want to do it for some reason it is entirely possible to mix these two grades without any adverse effects.

Should I Use Thicker Oil In An Older Engine?

There will always be the recommended engine oil that will be specific for the particular engine, even for older ones.

However, there is a certain benefit in using thicker grade oils in older but well-used engines. This is because old engines will most probably have their clearances opened up and larger than when they just came out of the factory.

Also, as engines get old, they will need higher pressure than when they were just new, therefore a thicker grade oil will be helpful in this regard.

Which is better, 5w30, or 10w30?

This question is dependent on whether or not your geographic location is cold or warm. In warmer climates, then 10w30 will be better than 5w30. In places where it is cold most of the time, then the 5w30 engine oil will be superior. Aside from that, both these engine oils are pretty much the same.

Both have high thermal stability and their properties will not change no matter what temperature they are subjected to. They provide protection and coat the necessary parts with enough lubrication that adds to the longevity of the whole vehicle itself.

Furthermore, both these oils offer rust and debris protection within the engine itself all year round. Even older vehicles benefit tremendously from using these engine oils because of their thicker grade and improved thermal stability.

For this question, both are of equal stature when it comes to performance, especially when used as per specification.

Final thoughts

Engine manufacturers recommend engine oils for a reason, and it is because they have studied that the particular will provide maximum benefit for that particular engine. Recommended oils will mean that it will be the oil grade that will provide the most benefit to that engine. The 5w30 and 10w30 engine oil grades are both superior oils, especially when used according to specifications. Because they are thicker than normal, these oils are perfect even for older engines. These oils can even be mixed or even interchanged entirely because of how similar their properties are. Having said this, it is always advisable to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for engine oils are. Always consider external temperatures and climate in your area of operation, whether it be warm or cold and you will be good to go.

Helpful information

YouTube - Engine Oil Codes Explained, SAE, numbers explained/Viscosity

API SN or API SN requirements
Viscosity Grades 0W20, 0W30, 5W20, 5W30, 10W30 Others Multigrade variations of 0W, 5W and 10W
Laboratory Tests
Sulphur, max %
0Wxx and 5Wxx 0.5 NR 0.5
10W30 0.6 NR 0.6
Others NA NR 0.6
High temperature deposits, max mg
TEOST MHT 35 45 35
Foam 1 min. settling 10 min. settling 1 min. settling
Gelation Index 12 NR 12
Emulsion Retention NR NR No Water Separation
Seal Compatibility ILSAC GF-5 limits apply
Phosphorous, max% / min% 0.08 / 0.06 NR / 0.06 0.08 / 0.06
Engine Tests
Sequence VID NR NR Pass
ROBO or Sequence IIIGA Pass NR Pass