Difference Between 5W30 and 10W30 Engine Oils

A significant engineering factor that must be considered so that the engine can function optimally is the type of lube oil used for servicing it. To a layman, engine oil is the engine, but different lubricants are designed to serve another purpose. Using the wrong oil will affect the overall performance of the engine and may sometimes damage it.

You do not need to worry about these details if you usually take your vehicle to the auto mechanic for servicing. If you are like me, I mean a DIY person; you will find this information very useful.

Visiting an oil shop without the exact list of what you want, you will easily get confused by the numerous oils on the shelf. This article will be doing a thorough examination of two of the most common oil out there.

Understanding the Concept of Viscosity

As we stated earlier, engine oil is the lifeblood of any mechanical system. A proper understanding of what role a particular oil is supposed to play in the mechanism will help you identify the right one. Using the right oil, the right way, and in the right place will go a long way to improve your engine’s overall health. Many people assume that all that the engine oil is supposed to do is to lubricate the machine, but this is not always the case, as you will soon find out. 

The Viscosity of engine oil is simply its thickness. This determines how freely it will flow inside the engine. The degree of consistency of oil can easily be identified by its first number. A high number signifies a higher viscosity and vice versa. The thickness of engine oil varies from between what is similar to the thickness of honey to that which is like water. Based on these variables, the Society of Automotive Engineers assigns high to low number code to the respective oil type.

Typically, for people living in cold regions where the temperature is almost at freezing points, the ideal type of oil for their vehicles will need to be very low in Viscosity so that it can quickly get heated up by the engine for the sake of free flow. Here is where 5w30 will be perfect for use. In the other scenario, for those who live in a region with a warm or hot climate, the ideal oil for their engines will be very thick.10w30 comes in handy in this case. In case you are in doubt of the right oil to use, refer to your user manual or crankcase for more specific directions.

Difference Between 5w30 and 10w30 

With the explanation already given, the numbers 5 and 10 indicate the thickness of the oil. Ten is far thicker than 5, which means that five will flow more easily than 10. 5 is also more suitable for use in an environment in a cold region than 10. The ease of oil flow means that the oil will get to all the hidden components in less time, thereby offering better protection to the engine.

The other numbers in front of W indicate the Viscosity of oil under high temperatures. An oil with a thicker viscosity will generally act as a better adhesive to the components under high stress and pressure. In this case, they both have a thickness of 30 at a high temperature. 

The significant difference in both oils is that 10w30 will perform poorly under a cold atmospheric condition like during winter, while 5w30 will be more suitable for cold weather. Under hot weather, the Viscosity of both is the same since they are 30. Under a warm atmospheric condition during summer, 10w30 will be the most appropriate choice with a thickness of 10.  

If you are living in countries like Canada and the USA, go for 5w30. This type of oil is best suited for that goes as low as -22degree Fahrenheit. It is also ok for a warm region with a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it is suitable for both cold and warm areas.

10w30 changes in Viscosity when the atmosphere becomes cold or hot. These changes happen because of the additives that were used to prepare it. This our performs optimally between -18-86 degree Fahrenheit. This means makes the oil very slow inflow during a cold season. The difficulty of the oil reaching the vital components is usually high. However, the oil also has its advantages because a highly viscous oil will offer a better sealing than low viscous oil. The disadvantage is that it causes the engine to overwork, thereby creating excess resistance, increased fuel consumption, and slowing the overall operation down compared to a lower resistance oil.

This slowdown is a result of drags in the engine components.

Which Should You Choose?

Suppose you are in a position where it is difficult to determine the most appropriate between 5w30 and 10w30. We would advise that you opt for 5w30 based on the reasons that we stated already. Ie, It is both suitable for very low temperatures and very high ones as well. Secondly, your engine will consume a lesser amount of fuel as it will cause lesser drags inside the components like 10w30 will do.

On the other hand, if your engine is very oil and worn, you will need an oil that offers a better sealing capacity. 10w30 will be your perfect option in this situation. Older engines require oils with greater Viscosity to cover up for the clearances due to wear. 

Conclusion – Can I Use 10W30 Instead of 5W30

At the beginning of this article we mentioned that lube oil plays more role than the lubrication, you can add sealing of parts to the list. Now that you know the difference between these two oils, the concept of Viscosity and the role that weather difference plays in determining the type of oil to be used, we are positive that when next you stand before the shelf of oil, you will know exactly which oil to go for.

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