Ask Difference

5w30 vs. 10w30 — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Urooj Arif — Published on March 6, 2024
5W-30 and 10W-30 are both multi-grade motor oils, with 5W-30 providing better cold-weather performance due to its lower viscosity at cold temperatures, while 10W-30 is slightly thicker, offering better high-temperature stability.
5w30 vs. 10w30 — What's the Difference?

Difference Between 5w30 and 10w30


Key Differences

5W-30 oil is designed to flow more easily at lower temperatures, making it an ideal choice for regions with cold climates. Its lower winter viscosity means that it can provide quicker and more efficient lubrication to engine parts during cold starts, which reduces engine wear and improves fuel efficiency.
10W-30 oil, with a higher viscosity in cold temperatures, is tailored for warmer climates or for vehicles that operate under heavier loads. It maintains its protective film strength at higher temperatures better than 5W-30, which can be beneficial for engines that run hotter or when towing.
Both oils share a viscosity rating of 30 at operating temperature, indicating that they provide the same viscosity at 100°C (212°F). This means that under normal engine operating temperatures, both oils will offer similar protection and performance characteristics.
The choice between 5W-30 and 10W-30 should be based on the manufacturer's recommendation, ambient temperature conditions, and driving habits. Using the incorrect oil viscosity can lead to reduced lubrication and potentially increase engine wear.
Switching between 5W-30 and 10W-30 is generally safe for most vehicles if done according to the vehicle manufacturer's guidelines. However, it's important to consider the specific needs of your engine, especially if operating in extreme conditions.

Comparison Chart

Cold-Weather Performance

Excellent, flows better at low temperatures
Good, slightly thicker at low temperatures

High-Temperature Stability

Good, suitable for light to moderate loads
Better, more suitable for heavier loads or higher temperatures

Best Used In

Cold climates or for engines that require quick cold starts
Warmer climates or for vehicles under heavier loads

Viscosity at 100°C

30 (same for both, indicating similar high-temperature viscosity)
30 (same for both, indicating similar high-temperature viscosity)

Engine Wear Protection

Excellent during cold starts, reducing wear
Excellent at high temperatures, maintaining film strength

Compare with Definitions


Suitable for modern engines that require lighter oils for better performance.
5W-30 is often used in newer cars for optimal efficiency and protection.


10W-30 is designed for optimal performance in warmer temperatures or under heavy loads.
Use 10W-30 in your SUV for better protection when towing.


This oil viscosity improves engine health by offering immediate lubrication.
5W-30 minimizes wear by lubricating engine parts quickly in low temperatures.


It offers a strong protective film at higher operating temperatures.
10W-30 maintains its viscosity even on hot summer days, protecting your engine.


It provides efficient fuel economy by reducing engine friction.
5W-30 can help save on gas over time due to its efficient lubrication.


Recommended for vehicles operating in warm climates or with older engines.
Classic cars often benefit from the robust protection of 10W-30.


5W-30 is recommended for a wide range of vehicles, especially in colder climates.
Many manufacturers specify 5W-30 for year-round protection.


10W-30 can help maintain engine performance under stress.
For heavy-duty driving, 10W-30 provides reliable lubrication and protection.


5W-30 is a multi-grade oil that performs well in cold temperatures, ensuring quick engine starts.
Use 5W-30 for your car in winter to protect the engine at startup.


It balances between cold start protection and high-temperature stability.
10W-30 is a versatile choice for year-round use in varied climates.

Common Curiosities

Can using the wrong oil viscosity affect my engine?

Yes, using the wrong viscosity can lead to inadequate lubrication, increased wear, and potentially, engine damage.

Can I switch between 5W-30 and 10W-30 oils?

Yes, but ensure it aligns with your manufacturer's recommendations and consider your ambient temperature conditions and engine needs.

Which oil provides better fuel efficiency, 5W-30 or 10W-30?

5W-30 may provide better fuel efficiency in cold climates due to its lower cold-start viscosity, reducing engine drag.

How often should I change my oil if using 5W-30 or 10W-30?

Oil change intervals should follow the manufacturer's recommendations, regardless of whether you're using 5W-30 or 10W-30.

Do both oils offer the same protection at operating temperature?

Yes, both have a viscosity rating of 30 at operating temperature, providing similar protection under normal conditions.

Does the choice between 5W-30 and 10W-30 depend on the season?

Yes, the choice can depend on seasonal temperatures, with 5W-30 being preferred in winter and 10W-30 in summer, depending on your location and vehicle.

Is 10W-30 suitable for all types of engines?

10W-30 is suitable for many engines, especially in warmer climates or for vehicles under heavy loads, but always check your manufacturer's recommendation.

Is 5W-30 or 10W-30 better for cold weather?

5W-30 is better for cold weather due to its lower viscosity at cold temperatures, allowing for easier engine starts and better protection.

Which oil should I use for a high-mileage engine?

It depends on the manufacturer's recommendations and the specific conditions, but 10W-30 might be preferred for its better high-temperature stability in older engines.

Can I mix 5W-30 and 10W-30 oils?

Mixing oils is not recommended as it can alter the overall viscosity and performance characteristics, potentially affecting engine protection.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Previous Comparison
Este vs. Esto

Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms