5W30 VS 10W30 Motor Oil: Everything You Need To Know

When choosing oil for a vehicle, countless options are presented before you, and making a choice becomes very overwhelming. And this is not just for a specific vehicle make or model, but rather for every vehicle out on the road.

Given this, the choice becomes even more puzzling when you have to make a choice between two very similar types like 10W30 and 5W30. They are not just similar in properties, but both do a remarkable job for engine protection and lubrication.

The complexity to choose among the two however rots from understanding what makes them different from one another. This article shall perform a side to side comparison for both and highlight each one’s pros and cons respectively. So, you are well informed and with a better understanding of which one is suitable for your vehicle.

What Do the 5W and 10W Mean?

Differences in Viscosity

Among the prime differences of these two oils is their viscosity. However, this case is only when you look at the low-temperature viscosity of these oils as their rating clearly suggests that their operating temperature viscosity is the same.

The numbers are used to indicate each oil’s viscosity to make sure that you know what you are purchasing. However, for that, you need to understand what they actually mean.


5W is the viscosity of 5W30 oil at cold or low temperatures, half as much as the 10W30 oil’s 10W viscosity at a low temperature. The lower viscosity of the 5W30 oil makes it a great choice for cold weather as it will ensure an easy and smooth startup with great lubrication even on extremely cold days.


The greater viscosity of 10W30 oil at a low temperature means it is not as suitable for colder climates as it will thicken up faster, and hence not provide efficient lubrication. Nevertheless, it still has a fair ability to cater to low temperatures.

Ideal Working Temperatures For 5W30 and 10W30 Oils

When making a choice between the two oils, one of the major factors to consider is the climate or common temperature in the area where the vehicle is most used. This is because each of these oils is designed and formulated to operate in an optimal manner over a different range of temperatures.


The optimal operating temperature for this oil lies between -30 to 35 degrees centigrade, implying that it is a much better choice for cooler regions and can also be used in the summer time.

The oil can easily handle the harshest cold weather as it can provide efficient lubrication and smooth start-up even as the temperatures drop down to as low as -30 degrees centigrade.

As opposed to what most vehicle owners assume, 5W30 is still a great choice for warm to hot temperatures as well as it will provide great lubrication and easy start up for temperatures up to 35 degrees centigrade. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for both cold and hot climate.


This oil does not offer a wide operating temperature range like the 5W30, but it is still great for use in a large range of environments. The oil may be effective at temperatures as low as -16 degrees centigrade and can also bear warm temperatures up to 30 degrees centigrade.

Note that the actual range of temperature you get form any of these oils also depends on the particular model you purchase. This is because many manufacturers enhance the oil with additives which may increase or decrease the operating temperature of the oil significantly.

When to Use Which Motor Oil?

When choosing between the two oils, you should also consider the kind of conditions, vehicle, and environment you plan to use it in. The operating temperature and viscosity differences will provide you an idea about what will each of these be best for, despite the fact that they have similar applicative uses.

5W30 Motor Oil:

1. Used In Cold Weathers

This one’s low viscosity makes it perfect for use during the cold as the oil is thin enough to enter various parts of the engine even when temperatures drop, and hence ensure smooth startups.

The oil’s thinner nature ensures that your vehicle maintains fine performance in winters as well.

2. Used in Light-Duty Petrol or Diesel Vehicles

5W30 is also ideal to use on light-duty petrol or diesel vehicles as their low viscosity means that not much power will be required for it to move around the engine.

10W30 Motor Oil:

1.Suited For Warm Weathers

There is a possibility that this oil can be used during cold months as well and will give an easy startup to your vehicle, but it is best suited for warmer climate given its high viscosity.

2. Used in Commercial or Heavy Load Vehicles

Moreover, it is more suitable for commercial or heavy load vehicles which usually have more powerful and large engines that can circulate thicker oil around the engine easily, without any strains.

3. Better Choice For Old Engines and Those Using Special Fuel Types

10W30 is the better choice between these two for old engines and also for those using special fuel types like biodiesel engines. With the better sealing ability, 10W30 is more effective to protect older engines compared to 5W30.


There is already a preference for the engine oil type that motorists use, though in many cases people use what is recommended by either their vehicle manufacturer or mechanic. Therefore, many motorists have no idea what to pick between the two types of oils.

Making a choice between these great engine oils should not be a complex task as there is only a need to understand specific factors like their working temperatures, viscosity, and ideal uses.

Hence, when considering these factors 5W30 should be your go-to choice when you are looking for something thinner and more ideal for cold weather with a greater working temperature range and which is ideal for light-duty petrol or diesel vehicles.  

Meanwhile, 10W30 is the optimal choice when you are looking for something to be used in warmer weather and on commercial and heavy load vehicles. Its great sealing ability also makes it a great choice if your vehicle has an older engine.