0w30 vs 5w30 Oil: Which is Right for Your Car?

Written by

Charles Bolte


Vernon Hoppe 

0w30 vs 5w30 oil

Are you an automotive enthusiast who loves being updated on the current debates or a simple vehicle owner who wants the best for their car? Well, today’s guide will offer all the insight into 0w30 vs. 5w30 oil.

The difference between 0w30 and 5w30 motor oils lies in the thickness at low temperatures. Furthermore, the synthetic 0w30 lubricant has better fluidity throughout all drastic temperatures.

Here’s a short table that showcases where the motor oils differ the most:

Comparison Factors 0W-30 5W-30
Compatibility Light-duty diesel engines and  gasoline engines.


Light-duty diesel engines and petrol engines.
Viscosity Index 167 154
Protection Titanium-based technology guarantees strength Upto 10,000 miles with oil changes.
Requirements Fulfills industry standards Fulfills Ilsac Gf-6 Standards
Thickness Light oil Thick oils ideal for high temperatures
Weather performance Ideal for low temperatures Excellent for higher temperatures
Oil types Synthetic and semi-synthetic Full synthetic

0w30 and 5w30 Oil: An Overview

1. What is 5w30 Oil?


We’ll kickstart with the basics. What does 5w30 mean?

The lubricant composition includes five winter viscosity grades and a synthetic base oil. This is how 5w30 guarantees better fluidity at high temperatures. Resultantly, your engine parts will perform amazingly well.

Time to head to the counterpart after learning 5w-30 meaning.

2. What is 0w30 Oil?


0w30 is considered the standard full synthetic Oil for engines. Almost all vehicles drive well with 0w30 engine oil as it’s composed of 70% synthetics and 30% base oil.

This universal lubricant is a mixture of alpha-olefin and polyalphaolefin, thus allowing the Oil to work on a wide operating temperature range.

0w30 is prioritized by many car owners because it ensures consistent performance similar to traditional Oil. Not to mention, its formula ensures decreased volatility and thermal protection.

Main Differences Between the Two Vehicle Oils

Now that we know SAE 5W-30 definition and what 0W-30 oil is used for, it’s time to jump into the main content: 0W-30 vs. 5W-30 differences.

Ahead, you’ll be familiar with oil numbers’ meaning and more critical terms. Here we go.

1. Viscosity


Let’s answer the most important question first – Which oil is thicker? The answer is the viscosity of 5w30 is heavier. This difference in thickness leads to unique functionality.

For instance, the lighter lubricant, in this case the 0w30, flows perfectly, even in drastically low temperatures. This enhances the engine’s performance.

On the other hand, the comparatively thicker 5w30 lubricant prevents heat dissipation and damage.

2. Grades


Now, let’s move on to another pressing question that must have entered your mind. What do the numbers on oil mean?

In simple words, SAE oil grade’s meaning refers to thickness. Extremely thick engine oils can tolerate high temperatures. Such viscous oils have the following grades:

  • 8
  • 10
  • 16
  • 20
  • 30
  • 40
  • 60

On the other hand, W oils can tolerate low temperatures. Both 5w30 and 0w30 lubricants are versatile and have multigrade. This means that users can add these stable oils in any weather. But 0w30 certainly shines more in temperature resiliency.

3. Temperature

Credit: Linkedin.com

Next, the temperature range is of considerable importance. The figure prior to the W letter emphasizes the winter operating temperature, while the figure after W is the standard functioning grade.

0w30 and 5w30 lubricants have identical functioning temperatures, 86° F. But the variation exists in the winter thickness.

  •  5w30’s temperature range is -22°F to as high as 95°F
  • While the 0w30 lubricant allows good engine performance at a temperature as low as -40°F to 86° F

4. Fuel economy


Fuel economy is another crucial difference when we discuss 5w30 vs 0w30. Many drivers debate about which engine oil is more fuel efficient. Although the difference isn’t considerable, 0w30 again shines by a small percentage.

As stated earlier, the oil flows ideally and avoids friction. Hence, 0w30 allows an optimum engine performance. This makes it more fuel efficient.

But let’s not discredit 5w30 as it’s almost equally amazing with fuel efficiency. Even if it’s a tad less efficient, it can tolerate weather changes.

5. Cost


Finally, let’s discuss the price for budget-minded buyers. Since 0w30 is more versatile, it automatically boosts the cost. But completely synthetic 5w30 can be expensive, too if it adds additives. However, the vehicular oil brand determines the final cost.

6. Highlights & Downsides

1. 5w30 oil

  • Additives (antioxidants and detergents) boost engine protection.
  • The lubricant can function in drastic temperatures.
  • The viscous oil prevents heat dissipation.
  • It’s comparatively more expensive than the standard oils.

2. 0w30 Oil

  • Ideal for fuel efficiency.
  • Great for winter driving.
  • Promotes heat transfer to avoid engine degradation.
  • Additives avoid sludge accumulation.
  • The ideal flow doesn’t become dense at freezing temperatures.
  • In rare instances, the lubricant leaks.

Which is Better?


This question confuses many drivers. But worry not. Refer to the below points to make the best individual decision for yourself:

  • Prioritize your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Choose the more budget-friendly oil.
  • Pick the same lubricant grade utilized in the last maintenance.
  • Select 0w30 if your region’s winter has freezing temperatures.


Can I use 5w-30 instead of 0w-30?

Yes, 0w30 and 5w30 lubricants can be employed interchangeably. However, this choice can make a difference when the temperature reaches a low temperature.

Can you mix 0w30 and 5w30?

The two motor oils can be mixed but should belong to the same brand. Plus, when 5w30 is blended with the suggested 0w30 thickness lubricant, fuel will consume slightly more.

How do I determine the recommended viscosity for my car’s engine?        

The viscosity for both extremes of the weather is written on the oil’s container as a code. Refer to your vehicle’s handbook to know the recommended viscosity, and see whether it matches the viscosity index of the oil you’re interested in.


0w30 vs. 5w30 oils are both good options for engine oils. For instance, 5w30 oil works best in high temperatures as it has higher grades and a better viscosity. This automatically makes it incompatible with many engines. Luckily, 0w30 boasts the finest flow and doesn’t shy from the cold. However, it tends to gum up.

Ultimately, the oil you should pick depends on your manufacturer, climate, budget, and more relevant factors.

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