0w20 vs 5w30 Oils (Key Differences)

What is the difference between 0w20 and 5w30 Oils? Where is the 0w20 vs 5w30 Oils debate tilted to currently? Which of them should you choose and for what reasons?

Since most people cannot distinguish the properties of these motor oils, i will advise that you read through this guide to know all key differences between this oil types.

There are two grades of motor oils categorized based on their viscosity. These types are the 0w20 and the 5w30 motor oils.

In this article, the similarities and differences, advantages, purpose, specifications, and uses of these oil grades are discussed.

Let’s get started!

Why are SAE Oil Grades Different

The stress and cost of having to change engine oils during the winter and summer due to the fact that only one type of oil was available at a time, urged the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to develop guidelines and criteria for  grading different engine oils according to their viscosity.

The one-grade oils were efficient at low temperature conditions and would thicken or become extremely thin at different temperature extremes. This led to the development of different oil grades based on viscosity. When oil is heated, it becomes thin as it expands, and thickens up when it is cooled.  These grades were efficient at hot and cold conditions.

The SAE have made identification of multi-grade oils easy by adding the “SAE” labels to them. The grades are classified based on the temperature at which a certain oil viscosity would perform efficiently. There’s the 100 °C, the winter grade, and the letter W. The most significant oil grade is the winter grade because it can maintain its viscosity at the coldest temperature.

Due to the fact that the SAE J300 standard is too complex, it won’t be discussed here. However, it can be found anywhere else on the internet.

What is 5W-30 Oil

This motor oil is common among most vehicle owners because of the protection it gives to these vehicles and its cost-effectiveness. Another advantage is its versatility; the synthetic and semi-synthetic oils can be used in both the manual and automatic gearbox.

Also Read: Low Engine Oil Pressure (Causes &Solutions)

What are the benefits of the 5W-20 Oil? – The 5W20 motor oil has a thinner viscosity and therefore has an increased level of fuel efficiency compared to the 5W30 motor oil. On the other hand, this thinner viscosity leads to less friction and less friction would in turn cause problems in the vehicle’s engine parts.

The 5W20 oil also has an easy flow through engines and pumps because of its thinner viscosity and would be less efficient in hot conditions unlike the 5W30 motor oil.

What is 0W-20 Motor Oil

This grade of motor oil has more durability and adaptability due to the weight of its mineral oil (20%). This gives it an advantage of better automobile safety and efficiency.

What are the benefits of the 0W-20 Oil? – The 0W-20 synthetic motor oil may cost more than other motor oils; however, it improves engine performance and increases environmental conditions. It also has lower viscosity which prevents huge losses of the oil during cold conditions.
And this makes its use suitable in cold temperatures. It is mostly used for cold starts in engines which run on diesel or gasoline as it reduces oil use.

0W-20 vs 5W-30 Oils – What Are The Key Differences

Despite the major similarities between the 0W-20 oil and the 5W30 oils, there are still certain differences between them. 

0w20 has a lower viscosity; therefore, it has a higher efficiency than the 5w30 by 10-12%. However, they both have the same fuel efficiency.

The 5W30 motor oil has a higher viscosity of more than 1.7 times the viscosity of 0W20 oils. This gives it an edge over the latter and makes it easier to remain stable and perform efficiently in hotter climates and states of inactivity. This is one of the reasons it is preferred in temperate regions and places like America and Europe.

The 0w20 engine oil causes less friction and less temperature build-up. It reduces the formation of deposits on the cylinder walls, leaving the engine clean.

Oil with thinner viscosity would cause damage on engines that run rapidly on internal combustion. This would also lead to an overuse of the oil. The 0w20 has this problem compared to the 5w30 whose effect on engines like these is less noticeable.

0w20 vs 5w30 Oils

Difference Between the Operating Temperatures of 0W-20 and 5W-30 Oil

The operational temperatures of both oils differ. The thickness of the oils is determined by the temperature at which they are set to. For example, if the oil is at a temperature of about 100 0 C or 212 °F, the thickness can be determined.

The operational temperature of SAE 5w30 makes it thicker when compared to the SAE 0w20. The SAE 0W20 is perfect in cold conditions, especially for protecting the engine during a cold start.

The SAE 0W20 has a thinner viscosity than the SAE 30 and the suitable oil viscosity required by a car engine can be determined by these operational temperatures or by just simply following manufacturers standard.

Learning the use of these oil grades would give a better understanding on which is most suitable for your vehicle. For example, a vehicle like the Powerstroke 6.7 can use up to 5 types of oil grades from 0W-30 to 15W-40. Vehicles used for towing and hauling may use oil grade of 5w-40 while vehicles used in extremely cold regions utilizes the 10W-30 engine oil best.

How are 0W-20 and 5W-30 Oil Similar?

There are some similarities between 0w20 and 5w20 and in this section of this article, we will be analysing them.

To start off, they are both synthetic oils. Synthetic oils evaporate at a high rate, making them less sensitive to warm temperatures. They both have high fuel efficiencies, chemical stability, and high levels of fluidity.

You should also know that they are both safe for engines as they cause just little wear to internal combustion engines and cause less engine noise. The 0w20 can withstand up to 50,000 miles and the 5w30 can withstand up to 90,000 miles.

They are multi-grade engine oils that can work in wide temperature ranges and at the same time protect the engine.

Their viscosities can easily be determined. The viscosity of both oils prevents engine damage because of the low friction they cause.

It is not advised to use them in powerful engines because they both have low smoke points.

When Considering Buying 0W20 or 5W30 Oil

When selecting engine oil, it is better to follow manufacturers’ instructions or better still, select oils based on your region. Some oils work better in cold climates while some work better in hot climates.

The 0w20 oil would have a higher performance in regions with cold and harsh climates while the 5w30 oil would have a high performance in temperate and moderate climate conditions. Vehicles designated for towing and hauling would perform better with 5w30 engine oil.

Which Product is the Best 0W-20 Oil?

The best 0w20 oil to use is Castrol Edge Advanced Full Synthetic Oil. This oil surpasses the various engine oil standards and is 42% more effective in rapidly working on any engine malfunction.

It has a fluid titanium technology which offers maximum protection for your engine at up to 10,000 kilometers or up to 1 year and maximum engine performance in high temperature conditions.

Which Product is the Best 5W-30 Oil?

The safest and highly recommended SAE 5W-30 engine oil to use is the Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic Oil. Valvoline is made by one of the most reliable oil brands out there. It works perfectly well in any weather condition with stop-and-go driving and protects the engine from damage.

With Valvoline, deposits and oxidation due to impurities drained by detergents and chemicals into the oil filter, won’t damage your engine. A Valvoline powered vehicle will not experience the effects of hauling and heavy towing.

What to Consider When Picking Motor Oil for Your Vehicle

1. What are Popular Recommendations From Manufacturers

It is important to seek manufacturers’ recommendations when selecting proper engine oil for your vehicle. You can find these recommendations on the user’s guide of the vehicle or call a nearby car dealer.

Put the weather conditions of your environment into consideration before purchasing oil. You can choose between the most recommended 0w20 and 5w20 oils, as they do not cause engine damage.

4. Your Region/ Environmental Conditions Is Important

Learn the perfect weather conditions for each oil viscosity. A0w20 oil would give better efficiency in cold weathers like the ones seen in Maine or Alaska, while 5w30 oils would perform better in a hot climate.

The temperature range for; 0w20 is from -40°F to 68°F, 05w30 is from -31°F to 104°F, and 5w20 is from  -31°F-68°F. These ranges would help you select the most suitable oil for a particular region.

0w20 vs 5w30 Oils

3. Quality Assurance

While selecting oil for your vehicle, be sure to look out for the API donut sign on the packaging of the oil. API stands for The American Petroleum Institute. This serves as the quality assurance of the product. A starburst may also be used to confirm the eligibility of the product.

2. Grade of Viscosity

The viscosity grades of engine oils are identified with numbers. Engine oil with low viscosity would have a low number rating. The 0w20 oil which is clearly thinner than the 5w20 has the number 0 because of its thin viscosity.

Oil becomes thick in cool temperatures and becomes thin in warm/hot temperatures. Therefore, since 0w20 and 5w20 are classified at 20, they would function in the same way at normal working temperatures.

5. Fuel Efficiency

The thinner the oil viscosity, the higher the fuel efficiency. Thus, the 0w20 oil which has a thinner oil viscosity would have a higher efficiency no matter the weather condition; while the 5w30 oils would only have a high efficiency in hot conditions.

The 5w20 oils, however, have better efficiency than the 5w30 oils in hotter conditions. Use the appropriate oils for your engines. An engine that requires thinner oil should run on thinner oil.

Also Read: Seafoam vs Stabil (Which Is Better?) 

Frequently Asked Questions – 0w20 vs 5w30 Oils

Is 0W-20 Better Than 5W30?

This depends on the requirements of the engine. Using the right engine oil viscosity for an engine would extend the life of the engine and prevent damage. It is best to use thicker oil if your engine requires it than using thinner oil.

Which is Thicker Between 0W-20 and 5W30?

The 0w20 is thinner than the 5w30 oils. However, once the engine gets to an optimum temperature, irrespective of the weather condition, 0w20 becomes thicker than the 5w30 oils.

Will 0W-20 Cause Engine Damage?

There has never been a case where 0w20 caused engine damage. The 0w20 and 5w30 engine oils are recommended as safe by manufacturers, so be rest assured your engine wouldn’t wear out.

Can 0W20 be Mixed With 5W30?

The thinner 0w30 can be added to 5w30 oils. Some of these oils include the Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic Oil and Pennzoil Platinum.

What is the Difference Between the 5W30 and 0W20 Oil?

Engine oil viscosity is identified by numbers—0w20, 5w30, and so on. The 0w20 oils would automatically become thicker than the 5w30 oils once a vehicle’s engine is at its optimal temperature, no matter the weather condition.

Are 5W30 and 0W20 Oil the same?

0w20 oils give a higher efficiency than the 5w30 by 10-20%. However, the fuel efficiency is the same as the 5w30 oils.

What is the Viscosity of 0W-20 Oil?

The 0w20 motor oil has thin viscosity and this makes its use suitable in cold temperatures. It is mostly used for cold starts in engines which run on diesel or gasoline as it reduces oil use.

The 0W-20 Motor Oil

This grade of motor oil has more durability and adaptability due to the weight of its mineral oil (20%). This gives it an advantage of better automobile safety and efficiency.

Is 0W-20 a Good Oil?

The 0w20 motor oil has lower viscosity and therefore is suitable under cold conditions. This condition increases its fuel efficiency and protects the engine from breaking down. This makes the oil good for vehicles. It is important to note that its efficiency is dependent on the atmosphere and the engine of the vehicle.

Conclusion – 0w20 vs 5w30 Oils

There are other grades of motor engine oils but it is advised to use the best ones like the 0w20 and 5w30 engine oils. Putting weather conditions into consideration, it would be best to stick to these two oils as they give a higher performance value and easy adaptability. The 0w20 and 5w30 motor oils may have similar features but they have contrasting features as well.