Difference Between 5w20 and 5w30

Your car is bound to last a while if you end up choosing the right brand of engine oil during the right climates. Many owners end up failing to take care of this particular issue which causes their car to break down earlier than expected.


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People either change the engine oils themselves or ask some mechanic to change it for them. However, knowing what to use when is essential in this field.

You might have heard the names of 5w20 and 5w30 in the automotive field. They are mainly used as oil for the engine and are quite famous ones in this field too. They play an integral role in the welfare of our car and engine.

So, knowing which one to use and the right differences is quite important if you taking care of your car on your own or hiring someone else to do it. 

5w20 vs 5w30

The difference between 5w20 and 5w30 is that 5w20 is mainly used in colder climates as it is less viscous and flows faster while 5w30 is mainly used in summers or warm places as it flows slower. 

5w20 vs 5w30

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison5w205w30
Viscosity5w20 is not as viscous as 5w30. It is originally less viscous.5w30 is more viscous when compared to 5w20. It is originally more viscous.
Friction5w20 causes friction less than 5w305w30 causes more friction when compared to 5w20.
Suitable climate5w20 is more suitable for places where it is cold.5w30 is suitable for warmer places.
Thickness5w20 is thinner than 5w30.5w30 is thicker than 5w20.
Flow5w20 flows swifter than 5w30.5w30 flows slower than 5w20. 

What is 5w20?

One of the superior oils for your engine- 5w20 is best fitted for the cold or winter season. The number ‘5’ refers to the viscosity rating while the 20 number refers to the weight of other oils kept in a hotter climate.

When put simply, 5w20 helps in engine lubrication similar to any oil of this particulate weight. It’s a thin oil that causes less friction in comparison to other oils.

As it is thinner, it helps to oil deeper and all parts of the engine which is essential during the cold. Having the flow that is quicker than the 5w30, 5w20 is quite beneficial when it comes to the cold climate.

Usually, winter seasons or solder regions need some engine oil that helps in lubrication of different parts of the engine faster. For this very reason, 5w20 is extremely popular during the winter as it is thin.

Also having a viscosity less than 5w30, 5w20 is more efficient in the winters. The fuel service is far better and the performance is amazing. 

But, the cons of this oil start to show when the climate goes back to being normal or hot. The less viscosity starts to have its bad effects and the oil being thinner, runs out. Since the oil runs out, the parts of the engine can get exposed for which it can wear down. 


What is 5w30?

One of the superior oils for your engine- 5w30 is best fitted for normal or warm climates. The number ‘5’ refers to the viscosity rating while the 30 number refers to the weight of other oils kept in hotter climates.

It is a thick oil and is more viscous compared to 5w20. It causes more friction and flows slowly causing it to drag more. 

When used during normal operating situations or summers, 5w30 is preferred more than 5w20. Being viscous, it is thicker than 5w20 and protects the engine better.

The oil being thick does not run out and as a result, the parts of the engine are not left exposed. In the long run, the engine is not worn down. 

It is not suitable for colder climates as it takes a while in lubricating the whole engine. Usually, in colder regions or during the winters, it is not ideal to use an engine oil as thick as 5w30.

For this very reason, the efficiency of the fuel will also be less. If you use 5w30 during the winter, it will take a while to start your engine. 


Main Differences Between 5w20 and 5w30

  1. Being less viscous, 5w20 can flow faster as compared to 5w30. But, 5w30 is more viscous than 5w20, and hence flows slower than it. 
  2. Because of its viscosity, 5w20 is always recommended for places that are cold or during the winters. On the other hand, 5w30 is more suited for warm places or during the summer. It also works in normal climate i.e in normal operational conditions. 
  3. In colder climates, 5w20 shows an amazing performance. The efficiency of the fuel is also more while 5w30 cannot show performance as great as 5w20 in colder climates. The efficiency of the fuel also falls.
  4. You can start your car or in this case, your engine faster if you use 5w20 during the cold. However, if you use 5w30 during the cold, your engine will take longer to start or respond. 
  5. During the cold, 5w20 causing less friction helps in lubricating the engine faster. For this very reason, it is used in the winter where the engine needs to be oiled. 5w30 is very efficient during the summer times. It is thick for which the engine is protected from the heat. 


  1. https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/2007-01-3539/
  2. https://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=article&aId=163962
  3. https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/2000-01-1992/
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