5W20 vs SAE 5W20: Difference and Comparison

Just like vehicles have become an indispensable part of our lives for commuting, the choice of engine oils has become crucial and important.

There are a wide variety of fuels in the market ranging from those that are conventional to those that are purely synthetic and finally the ones that are a mixture of both.

In such a scenario, it becomes rather confusing to choose the right engine oil for one’s commute. 5W20 and SAE 5W20 are two such engine oils available in the market today.

While they may seem similar, 5W20 and SAE 5W20 have minute differences. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Both 5W20 and SAE 5W20 are motor oil grades with similar viscosity profiles.
  2. SAE 5W20 indicates higher quality assurance and standardization from the Society of Automotive Engineers.
  3. The use of SAE 5W20 can contribute to improved fuel efficiency and engine performance.

5W20 vs SAE 5W20

The difference between 5W20 and SAE 5W20 is that while 5W20 comes in two types that are synthetic and conventional, the SAE 5W20 is made of a synthetic base oil. Moreover, SAE 5W20 may cause major pollution in the environment. 

5W20 vs SAE 5W20

5W20 refers to a viscosity oil grade preferably used in the chilly weather. 5W20 is available as a synthetic or conventional form of oil.

Some of the advantages offered by 5W20 are a better fuel economy via reduced energy consumption and a decent engine performance. The 5W20 oil is more suited for light-duty gasoline and petrol engines. 

SAE 5W20 is a purely synthetic viscosity oil that has several practical applications, particularly in low temperatures. The SAE 5W20 has outperformed several conventional oils at many instances.

The fuel is judiciously used in the engines of SUVs, trucks, light vans, and passenger cars. Nonetheless, the fuel must be handled with great care to avoid any accidents. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison5W20SAE 5W20
Definition5W20 is a multi-grade oils that display several useful features. SAE 5W20 is an engine fuel made out of synthetic base oil.
Ideal for 5W20 is ideal for automobile gasoline engines as well as light duty engines. SAE 5W20 has a practical application in Fords and SUVs. 
Feature The 5W20 is an ideal fuel engine for chilly weather. SAE 5W20 offers remarkable thermal and oxidation stability. 
Composition It has both synthetic and conventional variants. It is purely synthetic.
Caution It is inadvisable to use 5W20 in high temperatures. The oil can be rather expensive to afford. 

What is 5W20?

5W20 refers to a popular multi-grade oil. Over the years, 5W20 is commonly used for the engine protection properties it possesses.

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In addition, the oil possesses commendable start-up performance especially during the cold season or chilly environments. Usually, the number that precedes W is representative of the oil viscosity at 0 degree Fahrenheit. 

Therefore, a lower numerical before the W assures a better performance in cold environments. 5W20, thus, serves as an ideal rating for efficient oil during low temperatures.

Now, the number that follows W is representative of the viscosity at a temperature of 212 degree Fahrenheit. As these digits go on increasing, they connote a rather thicker oil. 

5W20 functions as a thin oil at very high temperatures. Nonetheless, it manages to provide an acceptable level of protection and performance during moderate temperatures.

However, 5W20 is not an ideal oil when driving in significantly higher temperatures. In other words, one must switch to a higher viscosity oil grade in rather hot environments. 

An advantage of 5W20 is that the oil causes less friction as a result of its thinness. Therefore, energy is conserved and efficiency of the fuel is ensured.

As the consumption of energy reduces, there are fewer pollutants released in the environment. Consequently, the use of 5W20 results in better fuel economy.

However, one should opt for 5W20 only when suggested by the car manufacturer. 


What is SAE 5W20?

SAE 5W20 is a viscosity oil that is purely synthetic. It is an engine oil that aims at providing superior performance by ensuring exceptional wear protection.

Another feature provided by SAE 5W20 includes its cleaning power. The SAE 5W20 has the potential to exceed the performance exhibited by conventional oils. 

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It is possible to use the SAE 5W20 in every vehicle which has a recommendation of this viscosity grade. The SAE 5W20 either meets or exceeds the requirements of API, ILSAC, and Ford.

In addition, the fuel is enthusiastically recommended for use in several motor vehicles.

Some prominent features of SAE 5W20 are an advanced full synthetic formula and enhanced frictional properties. This former feature assists in the prevention of any deposits in the engine, thereby ensuring a long life.

The latter feature, on the other hand, is a merit to the fuel economy. Additionally, the fuel is an ideal option to use in exceptionally low temperatures. 

While handling SAE 5W20, some precautions must be taken into consideration. Firstly, this engine oil should be held with utmost care. Any contact with the skin must be avoided.

The SAE 5W20 must be kept away from any combustible materials. The disposal of used SAE 5W20 oil must be done carefully.

It should not be discarded into drains or the soil or any watercourses. 

sae 5w20

Main Differences Between 5W20 and SAE 5W20

  1. 5W20 fuel offers assistance in wear and tear problems. SAE 5W20 offers a better fuel economy. 
  2. Some brands selling 5W20 are Mobil and Castrol. Some brands selling SAE 5W20 are Motocraft and Motul.
  3. A conventional 5W20 is less environmentally harmful than SAE 5W20.
  4. The 5W20 works well with duty petrol and gasoline engines. In contrast, SAE 5W20 works well with Chrysler and Honda
  5. 5W20 fuel has both synthetic and conventional variants. SAE 5W20 is a synthetic variant of 5W20.
  1. https://www.repairsmith.com/i/blog/5w20-oil/ 
  2. https://danalubes.com/products/automotive-lubricants-grease-in-uae/semi-synthetic-fully-synthetic-engine-oil/sae-5w20-api-snsmsl-gasoline-engine-oil/#:~:text=SAE%205W20%20API%20SN%2F%20SM%20%2F%20SL%20GASOLINE%20ENGINE%20OIL%20is,standards%20and%20outperforms%20conventional%20oils

Last Updated : 11 July, 2023

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