5w30 vs 10w30 | Crucial Differences + Imp. FAQs


The primary role of engine oil has been lubrication and it has not changed, but what has changed are the different types and grades of engine oils available in the market.

The major difference between 5w30 and 10w30 is the viscosity in freezing temperatures. The more ‘fluid’ nature of 5w30 at a lower temperature allows it to flow easily through the engine components, whereas the less ‘fluid’ or viscous nature of 10w30 does not allow it to flow easily.

Generally, both the grades perform well in varied temperature conditions. However, the difference in performance of both the engine oils is eminent only in extremely low temperatures where the 5w30 shines.

5w30 means that the oil’s viscosity grade is 5 at winter temperatures and 30 at operating temperatures.

10w30 means that the oil’s viscosity grade is 5 at winter temperatures and 30 at operating temperatures.

Pro-Tip– Lower viscosity grades correspond to thinner engine oils which helps in fast engine lubrication and higher viscosity grades correspond to thicker engine oils which help in sealing and protecting the engine.

Suitable EnginesPassenger cars and light-duty vehiclesHeavy-duty commercial vehicles
ThicknessThinner at Winter viscosity grade i.e., 5Thicker at winter viscosity grade i.e., 10
Exposure to High TemperaturesNot suitableSuitable
Engine performanceExcellentGood
Suitable climateExtremely Cold - WarmCold to Hot
Bang for your buck8/109/10

Similarities and Differences between 5w30 and 10w30

5w30 and 10w30 are two of the most common engine oils in the market. Both the engine oils perform extremely well over varied conditions. The usage of 5w30 and 10w30 differs in a few aspects, other than that, both are extremely capable engine oils. There are some key similarities and differences between the two that we need to understand.

Let us jump right into the meat of important pointers-


Differences between 5w30 and 10w30 engine oils

  • Viscosity grade- 5w30 has a lower viscosity grade as compared to 10w30 at a lower temperature.
  • Cold-start- 5w30 requires less quantity of oil for lubrication when compared to 10w30. The flow of 5w30 is faster than 10w30 which results in better lubrication and hence offers better engine protection.
  • Vehicle types- 5w30 is suited for light-duty petrol and diesel vehicles whereas 10w30 is more suited to heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
  • Temperature range- 5w30 is recommended to use at -31°F up to 95°F whereas 10w30 is recommended to use at -13°F up to 95°F.
  • Cost- Generally, 5w30 is costlier than 10w30.


Similarities between 5w30 and 10w30 engine oils

  • Availability- Both of the oils mentioned above are available in conventional mineral oil, synthetic or semi-synthetic forms.
  • Viscosity grade- Both are multi-grade oil (having different viscosities at high and low temperatures). The viscosity rating of both the engine oils at operating temperature is the same (30).
  • Engine performance- Both the engine oils perform extremely well over varied temperature conditions.
  • Usage- Both the engine oils can be used interchangeably if required (unless used in extremely cold conditions)


Also Read:-

5w30 vs 5w40 Engine Oil | Complete Difference with Facts


Comparison based on usage conditions-


5w30 vs 10w30 in winter

Both grades of oil are suited for a wide range of temperature and weather conditions. However, it is 5w30 that flows quickly through the engine components as it is thinner as compared to 10w30. Therefore, it lubricates the engine fast, provides better engine performance, and protects the engine parts from wear and tear. When it comes to 10w30, it flows slowly through the engine when the engine is cold and hence the lubrication of the engine components is not done efficiently.


5w30 vs 10w30 in summer

Both the grades of oil are well suited for a varied range of temperature and weather conditions. However, it is 10w30 that performs better in summers and high-temperature conditions. It has a higher viscosity which means it is thicker than 5w30. Thicker oil translates to better engine protection and therefore is suitable for heavy-duty engines. In summers, the already thin 5w30 gets even thinner, greatly affecting the lubricating efficiency and pressure carrying capacity of the engine oil.


5w30 vs 10w30 in high-mileage vehicles

When your vehicle is new, the clearances (or gaps) between the engine components are precise and limited. In simple words, the engine is tightly packed, yet there is no actual metal-to-metal contact. As and when the engine gets older, it bears a lot of strain which results in increasing those clearances and hence compromising the packing of the engine. 10w30 works better for old engines because it is generally thicker than 5w30 and hence seals the engine better as compared to 5w30.  On the other hand, 5w30 is thinner and flows through the engine quickly so there can be instances of oil leakage in this case.


Useful FAQs


What is the cost of 5w30 and 10w30? Which provides greater value?

Generally, the cost of 5w30 ranges from $18 to 34$, and the cost of 10w30 ranges from $16 to $27 leaving aside the special quality of oils such as high mileage ones. For fewer bucks, 10w30 provides good value. As long as you do not reside in freezing regions, 10w30 makes for good engine oil. On the flipside, 5w30 offers a well-rounded package. Apart from the fact that it is not suitable for commercial grade heavy-duty engines, it pretty much covers every aspect beautifully.


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What happens if you use 10w30 instead of 5w30?

5w30 is used best for cold conditions in light-duty passenger vehicles. If you use 10w30 instead of 5w30, the engine oil flow will be decreased and it may not lubricate the engine as efficiently as 5w30. In the case of heavy-duty commercial vehicles, the load on the engine is much more and hence a more viscous(thicker) oil is used, that can withstand more pressure on itself so as to protect the engine components

If you have no option other than using a 10w30 instead of a 5w30, then don’t worry, you can use it.

Pro-Tip– Always use the grade of engine oil mentioned in the owner’s manual for best engine performance, engine protection, and fuel efficiency.


When should you switch from 5w30 to 10w30?

Honestly, you should never change engine oil from what your manufacturer has recommended. The only scenario when one may switch from 5w30 to 10w30 is when one’s vehicle has clocked high mileage (above 75,000 miles). That is because old engines do not remain tightly packed as they were once. Using a high viscosity oil such as 10w30 will ensure that the engine is well protected. But, do that after discussing with your car’s mechanic.


Can you use 10w30 oil in a generator?

Yes, you definitely can. In fact, 10w30 is one of the best engine oils for usage in generators. For best results, always consider using the engine oil recommended in the owner’s manual of the generator. Generally, the 10w30 oil from Honda is the most used oil in generators but the downside is that it is a bit on the expensive side.

Other alternatives to Honda Motor Oil 10w30 are Valvoline VR1 10w30 and Castrol edge 10w30. However, engine oils with viscosity grades 5w30 can also be used in a generator.


5w30 vs 10w30 – Which is the best for your motorbike?

A plethora of grades of Engine oils are present these days. But which one will suit your motorbike?

The answer to this question is a bit tricky. The selection of the engine oil will determine the performance of your motorbike. You should have the correct knowledge and consider only credible sources for information.

So, let’s figure out which is better for your motorbike – 5w30 or 10w30?

If you live in a colder region where the temperature drops even below -13 degrees Fahrenheit, you should prefer 10w30 but if you live where the temperature is a bit warmer, you should use 10w30.

One should keep in mind that 5w30 is more fluid in nature and 10w30 less fluid in nature.

If your motorbike has an old engine or you are looking for good sealing capabilities, then 10w30 is a better option.


Is it ok to mix 5w30 and 10w30?

Mixing the oil depends upon how similar are the properties of the oils to be mixed. In this case, both 5w30 and 10w30 are very similar in nature and have almost the same viscosities. The only difference in viscosity is when the temperature is low.

So, yes, for all practical purposes, you can mix 5w30 and 10w30.


Can I use 10w30 instead of 5w30 in my snowblower?

Snowblowers are used in places where the temperature reaches way below the freezing point. At these extremely low temperatures, oils that have a high viscosity (such as 10w30) tend to punish the engine more and are generally not recommended. At extremely low temperatures, the engine oil becomes much viscous (thicker) and therefore it is not able to flow freely and lubricate the engine in an efficient manner.


Can I use 5w30 instead of 10w30 in my lawnmower?

The first thing that you should check is the manual given along with the land mower. Use the recommended grade of oil.

If you already have 5w30 engine oil and pondering whether or not you can use it in your lawnmower, then, yes you can use 5w30 instead of 10w30 as both the engine oils have almost the same performance. Generally, a lawnmower would not require cold flow properties, until and unless the temperature in your region goes well below freezing temperatures. Therefore, a 5w30 engine oil would do no harm and work almost as efficiently as a 10w30 engine oil would do.



5w30 and 10w30 are multi-grade oils used in a variety of engines and climates. On one side, 5w30 performs well even at freezing temperatures, 10w30 is better used in warmer regions. 5w30 is generally used in passenger cars and light trucks whereas 10w30 is used in commercial vehicles with heavy engines. Overall, it can be generalized that it purely depends on the type of climate, weather, and, vehicle you have, which of the two among 5w30 and 10w30 is suitable for you. No matter which one of the two engine oils suits your needs, always remember to change or top up the engine oil on time!