Thicker oil? (Correct answer)

The higher the number, the thicker the oil. The lower the number, the thinner. Thinner oils flow faster than thicker oils, and engineers design engines to work with a certain grade of oil. For all practical purposes, the terms “grade” and “viscosity” refer to the same thing with motor oil.

Is a thicker oil better?

Thin oils have lower viscosity and pour more easily at low temperatures than thicker oils that have a higher viscosity. Thin oils reduce friction in engines and help engines start quickly during cold weather. Thick oils are better at maintaining film strength and oil pressure at high temperatures and loads.

What is the thickest type of oil?

60 is the thickest oil in general use, but there are racing grades that go to 70. Most lubricating oils are now multigrade. There are now some additions to the table for very low viscosity, and these go in increments of 4 (4, 8, 12, 16) to distinguish from the 5 increment Winter grades.

Is 5w30 oil thicker than 10W30?

10w30 is thicker than 5w30 because it has a higher viscosity in low temperatures. The engine oil will flow slower than 5w30 during the cold season. Thicker or higher viscosity metal oil has a better seal compared to low viscosity oil. Thicker oil offers better lubrication of motor and engine parts.

Which oil is thicker 5w30 or 10W40?

A 10w-40 motor oil is a thicker oil at startup than a 5w-30 motor oil. Therefore, 10w-40 oil clings to the engine’s moving parts more than the lower viscosity 5w-30 oil.

What happens if I use 10W40 instead of 5w30?

If you use 10-w-40 instead of 5-w-30 specified by the manufacturer then the viscosity of 10-w-40 used by you will be higher and oil thicker than what is specified during winters. Similarly the oil viscosity will be higher and oil thicker than specified during summers.

When should you use thicker oil?

Identification. For an older, high-mileage passenger car, it is recommended to switch to a thicker viscosity oil, such as 10W-30, when approaching and passing 100,000 miles, to lubricate the engine well for preservation.

When should I use 20W50 oil?

20W-50 is only used for certain older vehicles or worn engines that require the extra cushioning of a high viscosity oil. Other than that, it really isn’t a high mileage oil. This is because 20W-50 is a thicker oil, and the added resistance can cause further engine wear and damage to both newer and older vehicles.

Can I use thicker oil in my car?

Using oil that is thicker than recommended may lead to a decrease in fuel economy, a higher load on your engine, and even a shorter life for your engine. Conversely, using thinner, lighter-weight oil than recommended can cause excessive wear and shorter life.

Is 20W50 thicker than 10W40?

The numbers 20W50 refer to the viscosity of the motor oil, set by the Society of American Engineers. The ’50’ refers to the thickness of the oil when the motor has been running for a while. 20W50 motor oil is relatively viscous and thick. Most modern oils are 10W40 or even 5W40.

Is it OK to mix 10W30 with 5w30?

No – you wont get the desired output by mixing these two oils. Because, both have different grades, 5w30 is more light and the density is less, and is intended for light usage (scooters). Whereas a 10w30 is a higer grade with more density and suitable for more higher capacity engines.

Is 30 weight oil the same as 10W30?

SAE 10w30 oil has 10w thickness at low temperatures, but SAE 30 is at high temperatures. In the straight SAE, 30 doesn’t and can have immense Viscosity and helpless pumpability at low temperatures. As SAE 10w30 is not thick in low temperature, while SAE 30 is in high temperature. 6

Which oil is thicker 5W or 10W?

The larger the number, the thicker the oil. 10W is about like hydraulic fluid and 5W is about like water. the “W” is the lowest temperature that the oil will retain its weight properties.

Does 10W40 hurt 10W30 engine?

So if you change your oil from 10W30 to 10W40 you should take care about the weather in your surroundings. Changing from 10W30 to 10W40 will not do any effect on your engine if you choose right one for the right season. Its totally safe you can go for it.

Can I use 20w50 instead of 5w30?

No, it is not ok … Vehicle manual rules what you engine was built with and requires… 20w50 is obsolete, for 80,s engines…. engine may run but you will cause severe early wear in it.

What is 10W40 oil used for?

Higher viscosity oil such as a 10W-40 can be useful for older engines burning or leaking oil. We offer Mobil™ 10W-40 high viscosity motor oils for use in vehicles with more than 75,000 miles, and a synthetic blend oil when cost is a consideration.

Oil Types, Weights & Viscosity FAQ

Whether you have concerns about the performance of motor oils, synthetic oils, or how to recycle spent oil, you can find the answers you’re searching for in the sections below. To begin, filter the selections down by selecting the category that is most closely relevant to your issue.

Oil Types, WeightsViscosity FAQ

Is it permissible to transfer motor oil weights, for example, from a 5W-20 to a 10W-30, without causing damage? It is dependent on the situation. A variety of recommended motor oil viscosity grades is provided by certain vehicle manufacturers, which are determined by the ambient temperature at which the vehicle is driven. Other manufacturers propose using only one viscosity grade of motor oil, while others recommend using two or three. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations, which can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s handbook, for the optimum engine performance.

This is something Valvoline does not promote.

  1. A lighter grade than that required may result in increased mechanical wear and a shorter engine life than that advised.
  2. What does the ‘w’ in the designation of a motor oil grade mean?
  3. The first number in the oil classification refers to the viscosity of the oil in cold conditions.
  4. The flow characteristics of a 5W- motor oil are superior to those of a 15W- motor oil at lower temperatures, for example.
  5. If the value is more than one, then the oil is thicker at the chosen temperature.
  6. The use of thicker oil can be beneficial in some situations, such as when greater bearing clearances (the distance between a bearing and a spinning shaft) have accumulated over time.
  7. Always follow the recommendations for motor oil viscosity in your vehicle’s owner’s handbook to get the maximum performance out of your vehicle.

The use of straight weight oil in a system that needs a multi-viscosity oil is not recommended under any circumstances.

Is it damaging to my vehicle’s engine to swap between different types of motor oil (conventional, synthetic, etc.)?

Follow the motor oil type recommendations in your vehicle’s owner’s handbook to ensure that your engine performs at its peak performance.


ValvolineMaxLife motor oil is specially formulated for cars with a mileage of 75,000 miles or more.

Throughout its history, has MaxLife been a synthetic blend motor oil?

MaxLife has always been a synthetic mix oil; we have just recently begun labeling the product as such.

What is the difference between Valvoline full synthetic motor oils and Mobil 1 and Amsoil?

A higher degree of performance is provided by Valvoline full synthetic motor oils, which contain full synthetic base oils and top-tier additives.

All of Valvoline’s complete synthetic motor oils have received API certification, ensuring that they are suitable for use in North American vehicles.

Our SynPower 5w20, 5w30, and 10w30 motor oils in North America meet or exceed ILSAC GF-5 criteria and are marked with the API starburst on the front label.

Valvoline full synthetic motor oils are formulated with higher concentrations of detergent and antioxidant to provide superior deposit and heat protection in the most demanding driving conditions.

What Is the Difference Between 5-30 & 20-50 Motor Oil?

Images courtesy of Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images The use of the correct oil for your car is a crucial aspect of maintaining your vehicle. A motor oil’s primary function is to lubricate the moving elements of an engine while also keeping them cool, clean, and free of corrosion. In most cases, the owner’s handbook will specify which oil is recommended for a particular vehicle under regular weather and driving circumstances. When selecting the proper motor oil, you should take into account a variety of factors such as the environment and the age of the vehicle.

Understanding the distinctions between them will assist you in determining which motor oil is the best choice for your car.

Motor Oil Viscosity

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) assigns an index rating to motor oil (Society of Automotive Engineers). This grade is comprised of two values that represent the viscosity of the oil while it is at a cold and a warm temperature, respectively. Generally speaking, the greater the number, the more difficult the oil is to flowing through the system. The most often encountered ratings vary from 5W to 60W. The first viscosity number occurs before the letter ‘W’ in the alphabet (which stands for Winter).

Before the engine is started, for example, 20W is thicker than 5W in terms of thickness.

Once the engine achieves the correct operating temperature for driving, the 20W-50 motor oil becomes viscous, whereas the 5W-30 motor oil becomes viscous.

The higher the second number, the better.

Viscosity and Temperature

When driving in cold areas, low-viscosity motor oils are better since they are thinner and flow more easily when driving in severely cold temperatures. It is possible that a vehicle utilizing high-viscosity oil will have difficulty starting up in extremely low temperatures. On the other hand, high-viscosity oils are more suitable for use in hotter climes. The density of the engine’s components protects them and increases the overall performance of the vehicle.

5W-30 Motor Oil

5W-30 oil is the ideal choice for cars that are often driven in colder locations where temperatures might drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis. It is a light oil that will circulate through an engine more quickly than a more dense grade of the same oil. Designed for usage in colder areas where cold engine starts are prevalent, 5W-30 is an excellent choice. For new and high-mileage automobiles, it is typically suggested in all weather conditions, regardless of the season.

20W-50 Motor Oil

Because of its high viscosity, 20W-50 is recommended for use in hotter areas. It is strongly suggested for automobiles that are more than 10 years old. The density of the oil helps to maintain aged engine parts and to prevent leaks, which are prevalent in older vehicles, from occurring. Please keep in mind that 20W-50 oil may be excessively heavy for many current passenger vehicles and may cause major engine damage. Before making a change to your engine oil, consult with an automotive specialist.

References Educated in the information technology profession since 1995, Devette McDowell has worked as an executive assistant in the field of information technology. A bachelor’s degree in communication from California State University, Dominguez Hills is her professional credential.

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Greetings, Car Talk: The vehicle in question is a 1991 Ford F150 with 183,000 miles on it. Since the beginning, I’ve been using conventional oil from a well-known brand. So far, I haven’t experienced any oil-related problems, but when I go to buy oil, I see that it is specifically blended for ‘high-mileage engines,’ which are defined as engines with 80,000 or more miles on them. What is the true advantage of utilizing high-mileage oils, and is it safe to continue using a high-quality conventional oil that satisfies the most recent Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards?

  • & Co., Inc.
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  • In general, most people do not require a high-mileage oil due to their lifestyle.
  • The idea was that the heavier oil would not flow as smoothly, and as a result, it would have a more difficult time seeping past worn-out valve guides and valve guide seals and into the cylinders, where it would be burnt.
  • Its purpose is to flow and splash, and as a result, it covers and protects all of the moving parts in your vehicle.

A large amount of oil is burned because the piston rings of an engine are worn out, and thicker oil will not remedy this situation.

Steven, it’s not that you’re driving a very current vehicle, but for the purpose of conversation, let’s flatter it and call it modern instead of outdated.

They employ low-viscosity oils that are readily splashed all over the engine’s moving parts to ensure that they are all properly lubricated and protected.

If you look at the specifications for new automobiles nowadays, you will see that they do not ask for 20W-50 oils.

They employ synthetic oils with a viscosity of 0W-20.

The inclusion of an ingredient in certain ‘high-mileage oils’ is intended to aid in the softening of hardened and leaking engine seals.

However, I would not expect it to work miracles – any more than I would expect Geritol to miraculously restore your great-ability grandfather’s to balance on the uneven parallel bars.

As an alternative to this, I would follow your lead and use an oil that is recommended by the manufacturer as well as one that complies with current SAE requirements. Alternatively, you might consider a synthetic. Sign up for the Car Talk Newsletter.

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Thicker oil

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What happens when you use a thicker oil

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Thicker oil and friction

When oil is heated, it thins out completely. A 10W-40 oil will thin significantly less than a 5W-30 oil. That sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Thicker 40-weight, on the other hand, is characterized by more internal friction and will not flow as rapidly as thinner 40-weight to fill the gaps between bearings (bearing clearances). As a result, thicker 40-weight oil will not provide a constant lubricating coating in an engine that was meant to use lighter 30-weight oil. Even worse, because of the lower flow and increased internal friction, the oil is unable to dissipate heat, which is one of its primary functions.

  • Pistons are cooled primarily by motor oil, which is the major cooling agent.
  • Because heavier oil restricts flow and raises piston and ring temperatures, you actually speed up oil breakdown and deposit formation on the ring land regions.
  • Third, because thicker oil has greater resistance, it generates more friction and heat, which is the very last thing you want in an engine that is already under stress.
  • Fourth, heavier oil has an effect on the mechanics that control variable valve timing.
  • If the oil does not flow as freely as it should, the VVT system will not function effectively.
  • Summary of the reasons why heavier oil should not be used to correct low oil pressure Because of the increased friction generated by thicker oil, more heat is generated, resulting in excessive oil oxidation, sludge, and varnish accumulation.
  • Cavitation causes damage to the pump’s surfaces and introduces air bubbles into the oil as a result of its operation.
  • Oil ‘whip’ is generated in journal bearings when the oil is thicker.
  • Cold starting becomes considerably more problematic when the oil is heavier.
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Understand Hydrodynamic Lubrication (HL) and Boundary Lubrication (BL)

The bearings for the rod, crankshaft, and camshaft are not sealed. In addition to supplying pressurized oil to the bearing, the oil pump also causes the same oil to continually spray out of the sides of the bearings as the crankshaft or camshaft rotates. It is possible to have Hydrodynamic Lubrication so long as the oil pump is capable of supplying fresh oil at the proper pressure at a faster pace than the oil seeps out. The engine’s crankshaft, valve train, and other components will all be protected by a cushion of pressurized oil to ensure proper operation of the engine.

  1. At that point, the anti-wear chemicals in the oil are the only thing keeping metal-to-metal damage from occurring.
  2. Because ZDP and ZDDP additives melt out of suspension when the engine loses its high-load capability and metal-to-metal contact occurs, they serve as a sacrificial lubricant.
  3. Those are the only instances in which these additives are utilized.
  4. Recent oil formulations have included the use of borate anti-wear chemicals, which are occasionally used in combination with lower amounts of ZDP and ZDDP.
  5. In comparison to other materials, MoS2 has the benefit of actually plating onto the bearing surfaces, creating a slippery surface.

In order to offer anti-wear, preserve the oil against the effects of severe pressure, function as an anti-oxidant, and act as a friction modifier, oil makers utilize it. The disadvantage, of course, is the greater price tag.

Aftermarket oil additives/supplements

Oil additives marketed as ‘wonder cures’ abound on the shelves of car parts stores. Many of them are made up of chlorinated paraffins. They are used as severe pressure additives and as friction modifiers in a variety of applications. They are effective, but because they have the potential to corrode some engine metals, they are not recommended by engine makers. Polytetrafluoroethylene, often known as ‘Teflon,’ is also utilized in the manufacture of aftermarket supplements. PTFE is a substance that is suspended in oil and has the claimed ability to minimize friction.

In order to claim that they can minimize oil burning, sludge build-up, and engine noise, the additives utilize different kinds of solvents, detergents, and viscosity improvers.


Other engine oil additives

  • Corrosion inhibitors are substances that prevent engine corrosion, oxidation, and rust. The most often encountered are calcium and barium, which are used to neutralize acids and as anti-foam agents. As the crankshaft rotates, air may be whipped into the oil, resulting in foam formation. It is difficult for foam to pump efficiently, because it functions as an insulator rather than a heat dissipation agent
  • Dispersant additives are substances that help to disperse a liquid. These additives help to keep dirt particles suspended in the oil, allowing them to be filtered out by the oil filter once they have been introduced. The dirt impurities would settle to the bottom of the oil pan if there were no suspension agents present.
  • Detergent additives are substances that are used in the production of detergents. Sludge-dissolving cleansers that also operate to prevent the production of new sludge and neutralize acids are available.
  • Viscosity enhancers are substances that increase the viscosity of a liquid. Oil has a tendency to thin down as it heats. Viscosity improvers can be classified as either straight polymers or polymers that ‘unwind’ and straighten out when exposed to high temperatures. They contribute to the preservation of viscosity across a greater temperature range. These polymers, on the other hand, have a weak point: they are brittle and shear readily. As a result, the oil’s capacity to maintain constant viscosity diminishes as it is consumed.

Will Thicker Oil Make an Engine Quieter?

The answers to the question ‘Will Thicker Oil Quiet Engine Noise?’ are yes/no/maybe/sometimes, just as they are for many other automotive noises. Because you must first determine the source of the noise and then eliminate it. In this brief essay, we’ll show you how to accomplish both tasks.

What is Causing the Engine Noise?

  1. Noise from the lifter. A tapping, or ticking, sound will frequently be heard coming from the motor–especially when the engine is initially started up because practically all of the oil has been emptied into the oil pan–and this is normal. NOTE: If the car has been left standing for an extended period of time, the noise will be extremely loud and persist longer. The majority of the time, it will vanish once oil has been circulated throughout the system Noise made by the rod knocking. Rod knock is a noise that can be heard when the bearing between the crankshaft and connecting rod wears down to a certain point. Rod knocking, in contrast to lifter noise, which often sounds like the tapping is coming from behind the valve covers, sounds like it is coming from deeper within the engine. With rising RPM, the banging will become more rapid
  2. This is known as the ‘Getting Old and Tired Noise.’ Things deteriorate as the miles accumulate. They will eventually wear out. The primary goal of any lubrication is to reduce wear and tear on metal moving parts while also extending the life of those parts–in this example, your motor and all of its moving components. Every surface and object within the block is either drenched in oil or travels on a thin coating of oil

Thicker, Heavier Oil Solutions

An owner’s manual is included, or was included, with every car. (Alternatively, you can often download one.) One of the things you’ll discover in it is the kind and weight of oil that’s suggested for your vehicle–for example, SAE 5W-20, where the 5 indicates viscosity and 20 indicates weight. Winter is represented by the letter W. The number 20 represents the oil thickness and indicates the oil’s resistance to thinning at the operating temperature. Following the manufacturer’s advice is the wisest course of action–especially when purchasing a new car.

  1. Note: Every year, I travel in temperatures that are 30 degrees below zero.
  2. As a result, consult with your dealer to ensure that the suggested oil will function properly in your environment.
  3. There will be no tapping.
  4. It is, without a doubt, a Dodge!

Quiet Lifter Noise

Heavy oil will not be able to quiet the hydraulic lifter noise. Because heavier oil takes longer to reach the top of the engine, it is very possible that you will experience the opposite impact. The lifter’s tapping or ticking will be audible to a greater extent. Hydraulic valve lifters are standard equipment on the majority of automobiles. The absence of lifters is due to the use of overhead cams (in which case they are not used). These lifters feature a tiny hole in the body of the unit that allows oil to enter the unit when it is operating.

As the motor and oil heat up, the noise will normally subside and go away.

Lifter noise is more likely to occur when any oil becomes dirtier; using more oil just exacerbates the situation further.

The distances between recommendations range from 3000 to 5000 miles.

Every 10,000 miles is also considered regular–I suppose. However, this is not really useful. Dirty oil is the enemy of lubrication and a lengthy motor’s life expectancy. Note: For additional information on how to remedy noisy valve lifters, please visit our article: How to Fix Noisy Valves Lifters.

Quiet Rod Knock Noise

Rod knock is generally the first warning that your engine, as you know it, is about to come to the end of its life. In this situation, using a thicker oil should help to extend the engine’s life. Because of the wear on the connecting rod bearing, the space between the bearing and the rod becomes larger, and the oil that is required to provide sufficient lubrication and cushioning cannot be contained. The noise is caused by the crankshaft striking the rod, which occurs as a result of the excess space generated by wear to the bearing during operation.

At working temperature, for example, SAE 10W-40 stays thicker than SAE 10W-30, for example.

Heavier oil does not work as a cure.

However, you will ultimately have to deal with the issue of re-building it, replacing it, or purchasing a new car.

Quiet Old and Tired Noise

When it comes to extending the life of older motors, thicker, heavier oil or oil thickening additives such as the STP Oil Treatment (or one of the many other possibilities) are a smart idea. As a result, it will fill up the larger gaps between moving metal pieces and will attach more strongly to the metal itself. You shouldn’t go completely insane and switch from SAE 5W-20 to SAE 10W-50 all at once. Simply try a grade or two heavier. If you opt to use an oil addition, start with a single bottle or a portion of a bottle to see how it works.

  • Note: If you’re using an additive, add it in when you’re changing the oil and leave some oil out of the mix.
  • If you fill a 4 quart engine with the full 4 quarts and then add the STP, you will be increasing the volume by 12.5 percent.
  • Although thicker oil is not a panacea, if you can prolong the life of your car by even a few thousand miles as a result of utilizing it, you will be ahead of the game.
  • It can be difficult to isolate the noises at times, making it tough to establish the source of the problem.
  • Take note that the crankshaft in your motor rotates 2000 times in the minute it takes you to go one mile (at 60 miles per hour) (assuming a cruising RPM of 2000 Revolutions Per Minute).

Every other component of the motor has been relocated at least multiple hundreds of times, if not thousands of times. Consequently, even with the finest maintenance and lubrication, everything will eventually become worn.

Thicker Oil Cautions

Some considerations to bear in mind while using heavier oil in your engine include the following:

  • Once you have heavier oil in your engine, there are a few things to remember.

Heavy Synthetic Oil

Making the switch to synthetic oil is typically a wise decision. It will perform significantly better in terms of lubricating your engine. However, caution should be exercised, particularly with older automobiles. In certain cases, utilizing synthetic oil can cause your engine to begin creating noises that were previously not there. Synthetic oil is so slippery that it can slide through bearing clearances that are just a little too tight without providing enough lubrication. If you are experiencing a noise that was previously unnoticeable, drain the synthetic and replace it with your old oil.

In many circumstances, switching to synthetic oil will not result in increased noise.

Will Heavy Synthetic Oil Perform Better?

Yes, synthetic oil will nearly always outperform traditional oil in terms of performance. However, as previously said, you may be unaware of the amount of noise it might generate. It will not work any better on older motors since the bearing clearances are too big for the synthetic oil to fill the gap and prevent the motor from overheating.

End Notes

Just a couple of closing thoughts:

  • SAE is an abbreviation for the Society of Automotive Engineering. This group devised a system for grading motor oil based on its viscosity, which is now widely used. These certifications give customers with the assurance that, regardless of whatever product or manufacturer they pick, certain criteria are being adhered to. See SAE – Wikipedia for further information. It’s time to change the oil. There is nothing that can damage an engine quicker than unclean oil recycling dirt, varnish, metal filings, and unidentified glop around and through moving metal components, with the exception of crashing into a light post at 60 miles per hour. Every time you replace your oil, make sure to change your filter as well. When compared to the cost of your motor, a new one is almost free.

The Science of Engine Oil Viscosity

The Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) is an organization dedicated to the advancement of automobile technology. According to the viscosity of motor oil, this group devised a system for grading it. The assurance that certain criteria are being met, regardless of which product or brand is selected, gives users peace of mind. SAE – Wikipedia has further information. The oil should be changed. There is nothing that can destroy an engine quicker than unclean oil recycling dirt, varnish, metal filings, and unidentified glop around and through moving metal components.

Additionally, every oil change should include changing the filter, too.


What does the term ‘viscosity’ mean exactly? The viscosity of a liquid is a scientific term that describes how thick or thin a liquid has become. Due to the fact that water flows relatively swiftly, it is regarded to have a thin or low viscosity (see below). Honey has a higher viscosity than water, yet it still has the ability to flow freely. Peanut butter has a viscosity that is exceptionally high. Try to remember the last time you tried to pour peanut butter from a jar over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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I wish you the best of success with it.

Viscosity and Your Car’s Engine

As oil circulates through your engine, it covers the moving elements of the engine, preventing them from grinding against one another and wearing down. Engine oil also serves to clean, cool, and protect the internal combustion engine. When evaluating engine oils for your vehicle, the viscosity rating of the oil is the most crucial factor to consider. Look in your owner’s handbook for the viscosity grade(s) recommended by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which may be found in the specifications section.

When looking for an oil, think of Goldilocks and her porridge: you want something that is neither too thin nor too thick, but something that is just perfect. Keep in mind that older cars, regardless of the environment, tend to demand a heavier oil for additional lubrication and protection.

How to Read Viscosity Ratings

You’ll need to know the viscosity rating of the oil in order to choose which one is best for your car’s engine. It is possible to find the viscosity rating of the oil right on the bottle itself. Viscosity grades are assigned to all motor oils by the Society for Automotive Engineers, with the most common viscosity grade being 5W-30, according to the organization. Keep in mind that anything to the left of the dash represents the cold weather rating, since W is an abbreviation for ‘Winter,’ when looking at this series of numbers and characters.

  • The viscosity rating at engine operating temperature is shown by the number to the right of the dash.
  • The number indicates how thin the oil is; the lower the number, the thinner the oil.
  • The designation ‘5W’ indicates that the engine will continue to pump even at -35 degrees Celsius, which is the lowest temperature at which the oil has been tested.
  • Using motor oil that is too thin may result in engine durability difficulties, whilst using motor oil that is too thick may result in the engine operating at a lower efficiency.

Conventional or Synthetic?

Identifying the viscosity rating of an oil will help you identify which oil is appropriate for your car’s engine. The viscosity rating of the oil may be found right on the bottle itself, which is convenient. The Society for Automotive Engineers assigns viscosity grades to all motor oils, with 5W-30 being the most often seen viscosity grade. Looking at this string of numbers and letters, you’ll see that everything to the left of the dash represents the cold weather rating, since W is an abbreviation for ‘Winter.’ At low temperatures, the lower the ‘W’ number, the better the oil’s performance will be.

More is better when it comes to oil thickness.

Example: A viscosity rating of 5W-30 indicates that the oil will have a viscosity rating of 30 when exposed to temperatures of 212 F (100 C) (the usual operating temperature of a motor’s combustion chamber).

Your engine was intended to work with a certain viscosity grade, therefore always refer to the owner’s handbook for your vehicle to discover the right viscosity grade.

Inadequate motor oil can lead to engine failure due to wear and tear; on the other hand, excessive motor oil might result in the engine running less effectively.

Conventional Oil

Conventional base oil is derived solely from crude oil and includes a high concentration of contaminants. Additives aid in the improvement of the basic oil, hence ensuring proper engine protection.

Synthetic Oil

Although refined from crude oil, conventional base oil includes a high level of contaminants due to the process of refining. To ensure proper engine protection, additives assist to increase the basic oil’s quality.

Visit the Oil Experts at Firestone Complete Auto Care

Keep everything straight when it comes to all of the parts and fluids that make up your car’s engine. It may seem like you need to be an auto specialist to keep track of everything. You won’t have to worry about anything when you have Firestone Complete Auto Care on your side. To get started, simply bring your vehicle to our auto specialists, and we’ll guide you through the science of vehicle maintenance in no time. To get a quick oil change, a comprehensive examination, and everyday guidance on choosing the finest oil for your car, stop by your neighborhood Firestone Complete Auto Care today.

Viscosity – Choosing the Right Oil Weight

For begin, the letter ‘W’ does not stand for ‘Weight’ in the oil industry’s nomenclature. It is an abbreviation for ‘Winter,’ and knowing what it stands for is essential to understanding viscosity grades. A 10W-30 motor oil is a multi-grade (two viscosities) motor oil, which means that it fits the requirements of more than one grade. Winter grades were assigned for cold weather while summer grades were assigned for warmer conditions forty years ago. In the winter, a normal grade was 10W. The average summer grade was 30 points.

A 10W is suitable for use in cold weather to protect the engine at startup, but it is too thin to be used in the heat of the summer.

Following that, multi-grade oils were developed.

Multi-grade oils may be able to maintain their viscosity as near as possible to the ideal throughout a wide range of temperatures – not too thick when it is cold and not too thin when it is hot.

Due to the fact that the viscosity of hot oil is determined using different test criteria than the viscosity of cold oil, the values after the ‘W’ do not correspond to the numbers before the ‘W.’ The difference between a 10W-30 and a 10W-40 is the viscosity at high temperatures, which is different.

  1. What can we do with our newfound knowledge about viscosity grades now that we have it?
  2. The use of a low viscosity oil might result in an excessive amount of metal-to-metal contact between the moving components.
  3. Using a synthetic 10W-40 in place of a traditional 20W-50 will provide even more start-up protection.
  4. Because of their greater thermal stability, synthetics are a superior alternative for high-performance race engines and serious high-performance applications.
  5. Knowing the operating temperature of the oil is essential for selecting the appropriate viscosity for a certain application.
  6. This is evidenced by their ability to flow at lower temperatures when compared to a 0W-30 and a 10W-30.
  7. At high temperatures, it is obvious that a 10W-40 is thicker than a 10W-30.
  8. Take into consideration that a viscosity that is too high might result in excessive oil temperature and higher drag on the engine.
  9. It is easier to start a vehicle when the oil has the proper viscosity.
  10. You should now be able to pick the appropriate viscosity grade for your application based on your understanding of the different grades.

As a result, you will reduce wear, increase fuel efficiency, and produce more horsepower. When it comes to viscosity grades and selecting the proper viscosity lubricant, you can always turn to your Motor State Distributing sales person or Driven Racing Oil for assistance.

5 Symptoms of Wrong Engine Oil in Your Car (Should You Worry?)

The most recent update was made on January 6, 2022. Engine oil is essential to the operation of your automobile’s engine. Vehicles would simply not work if this were not present. Motor oil protects your engine by lubricating the moving parts, which in turn reduces heat and friction, which are the two most destructive enemies of engine components and components. Are you looking for a reliable online repair manual? The top five choices may be found by clicking here. It is crucial to follow the automobile manufacturer’s suggested oil change interval and to use the proper type of oil as oil breaks down and becomes polluted during regular operation.

What happens, though, if you use the incorrect oil in your vehicle?

Engine Oil Service Classifications

For passenger automobile engine oil, the American Petroleum Institute (API) establishes standards for testing the qualities of the oil in the United States. The type of oil used by automobiles has evolved over time. A distinct formulation of motor oil is required for cars manufactured in the 1920s, 1950s, 1970s, and so on. As a result, many engine oil classifications have been established, and more ones will undoubtedly be developed in the future.

Gasoline Engines

It was only in 2018 that the ‘SN PLUS’ service classification was developed for today’s gasoline-powered automobiles. New automobiles (model years 2019 and newer – depending on when you read this) require motor oil with this categorization specified in the ‘API Donut’ graphic (see samples below), which is displayed on all motor oil bottles. If you have an older automobile (2018 or older), you can also use motor oil with the ‘SN PLUS’ classification, however depending on when your car was created, you may also be allowed to use motor oil with earlier classifications.

Category Model Years Status
SN PLUS Use in gasoline engines of today’s cars and older. Current
SN Use in gasoline engines for cars built in 2018 and older. Current
SM Use in gasoline engines for cars built in 2011 and older. Current
SL Use in gasoline engines for cars built in 2004 and older. Current
SJ Use in gasoline engines for cars built in 2001 and older. Current
SH Don’t use in cars built after 1996. Obsolete
SG Don’t use in cars built after 1993. Obsolete
SF Don’t use in cars built after 1988. Obsolete
SE Don’t use in cars built after 1979. Obsolete
SD Don’t use in cars built after 1971. Obsolete
SC Don’t use in cars built after 1967. Obsolete
SB Don’t use in cars built after 1951. Obsolete
SA Don’t use in cars built after 1930. Obsolete

As a result, all of the oil you purchase in the future will have to be equivalent to or better than the prior criteria, such as SG, SF, SJ, SL, and SM, to be considered acceptable. Consult your owner’s handbook to determine the proper oil for your vehicle, as well as at least two correct multi-grade requirements that correspond to the engine of your automobile. When picking oil, don’t only search for the name of the brand. It should be recommended in your handbook to use an oil that meets certain requirements, such as ‘compatible with API standard SN.’

Diesel Engines

Diesel-powered vehicles have their own motor oil categories, which are distinct from gasoline-powered vehicles. The kinds are much more complicated, but the American Petroleum Institute does an excellent job of explaining them here. As long as you adhere to the instructions in your automobile or truck handbook, you should be good.

Oil Viscosity

The motor oil categories for diesel-powered vehicles are distinct from those for gasoline-powered vehicles.

However, the American Petroleum Institute does a fantastic job of defining the different categories here. Simply following the instructions in your automobile or truck handbook will suffice.

Low Temperatures

When it comes to oil viscosity, the first number followed by the letter ‘W’ shows how thick the oil is at low temperatures. Winter is represented by the letter ‘W.’ The number indicates how thin the oil is; the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Because thinner oil flows better than thicker oil at low temperatures, using a 5W-20 oil in a Michigan winter would be preferable than using something like a 20W-50 oil. Related: Is It Possible for Motor Oil to Freeze?

High Temperatures

Using the second number in oil viscosity, we can determine how thick the oil is at normal operating temperatures. The greater the number, the thicker the oil is considered to be. Under extreme conditions, thicker oil protects engine parts more effectively than thinner oil. For example, if you’re driving in Arizona at the height of summer, a 20W-50 viscosity motor oil would be preferable than a 5w-20 viscosity motor oil in terms of engine protection. It goes without saying that you should always adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations about the kind of oil viscosity weight to use in your car.

A layer of oil that is too thick might obstruct channels (as is the case ofDTC P0014).

If you want to learn more, read Should You Check Oil When the Engine is Hot or Cold?

Wrong Oil in Car Symptoms

In oil viscosity, the second number specifies how thick the oil is at typical operating temperature. More is better when it comes to oil thickness. Under extreme conditions, thicker oil provides better protection for engine components than thinner oil. When driving in Arizona during the midst of summer, a 20W-50 viscosity motor oil would be preferable to a 5w-20 viscosity motor oil since it would provide more protection to your engine throughout the heat of the day. Always remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to determining what type of oil viscosity weight to use in your car.

Passages might become clogged when the oil is too thick (as is the case ofDTC P0014).

Should You Check Oil When the Engine Is Hot or Cold?

2 – Oil Leaks

On older or high-mileage vehicles, using synthetic oil may cause small oil leaks that would not have occurred if the vehicle had been maintained with traditional motor oil. This is simply owing to the fact that synthetic oils have a different flow characteristic than traditional oils, while regular oils do not. It enables the oil to squeeze through narrower spaces than ordinary oil would otherwise allow. When using synthetic oil in these situations is unlikely to result in harm, you may notice drips of oil on your garage floor or a burning smell while driving if you use a conventional oil.

Given that this oil is slowly leaking out, you should pay close attention to your oil level and fill it off as necessary. The use of conventional oil is suggested for the next time you get your engine oil changed. Some automobiles just do not perform properly when using synthetic oils.

3 – Smell of Burning Oil

For example, if the viscosity of the motor oil is not high enough under hot temperatures, the oil may begin to break down in severe (hot) conditions, and it will not effectively lubricate the various engine components. The oil will be consumed as a result of this action. As a result of the excessive friction between metal components in your engine, this might cause long-term damage to your engine over time. You may also notice a burning oil smell owing to the use of synthetic oil and the leakage of the oil, as previously described.

See also:  Hyundai Fuel gauge readings wrong or erratic? (The answer is found)

4 – Poor Fuel Economy

If you use a motor oil that is too thick for the conditions, your fuel mileage will most certainly suffer as a result. Due to the increased resistance on moving elements such as pistons caused by the heavier oil, this is the case. While your engine will be safeguarded, you will have to make more frequent journeys to the petrol station as a result of the increased mileage. Changing from a thicker to a thinner oil (for example, from 20w-50 to 10w-30) should help alleviate the condition.

5 – Engine Ticking in Cold Weather

Your engine may make a ticking noise if you use too thin of a motor oil for the circumstances in which it is operating. Most of the time, this is the loudest shortly after starting up, with the volume gradually lowering after driving about for a while. Due to the fact that the incorrect weight of engine oil might perform poorly in coating and lubricating all engine components, this can occur. You are hearing the impact of metal components such as valves and valve lifters against other metal components, not the sound of water.

Mixing Synthetic Oil with Conventional Motor Oil

In the event that you mistakenly mix conventional motor oil with synthetic motor oil (or vice versa) in your engine, there is nothing to be concerned about. There’s just one reason why you wouldn’t want to do this: synthetic motor oil is expensive, and by combining the two types, you’re not receiving any of the benefits of synthetic qualities since the traditional oil is interfering with those benefits. Simply pick one type of oil over the other when you get your next oil change. Do not combine the two.

Mixing Different Oil Weights

What if you accidently mix a thicker oil (such as 20w-50) with a thinner oil (such as 10w-30) that’s already in the engine? Should you be concerned? In the majority of situations, you’ll be OK. When you mix the oil viscosities, you are just mixing the two weights together. Simply put, you don’t want to go too much from the recommended oil viscosity recommended by the automobile manufacturer. In rare situations, using an excessively thick oil might result in excessive oil pressure.

Mixing Different Oil Brands

Despite the fact that mixing different brands of oil (for example: Valvoline, Castrol, Mobil 1, Amsoil, and so on) is not suggested, doing so will not harm your engine. It is more important to maintain the same viscosity of the crude oil. Because various motor oil brands have compounds that are slightly different from one another, you may be undermining the advantages of one ingredient by diluting it with a brand that does not contain that particular additive.

Even if it isn’t a big problem, when it comes time for your next oil change, stick with a single brand of oil.

To Avoid Any Issues

If you’re still not sure what sort of oil to use, what viscosity to use, or what weight to use, review your owner’s handbook. Your vehicle’s manufacturer is by far the most reliable source of information when it comes to picking the optimal motor oil for your vehicle. If you reside in an exceptionally hot or cold area, you may need to use a slightly thicker or thinner oil, but for the vast majority of owners, the suggested thickness or thinness will enough.

Can I use 10w30 Instead of 5w30? 10w30 vs 5w30

Engine oil that is the proper type may help preserve your engine and keep it in good working order. Using the incorrect type of motor oil might have a negative impact on the functioning of your car’s engine. There are many various types of motor oils available on the market, each with its own characteristics such as thickness, viscosity, and capacity to tolerate extreme temperatures. Most automobiles require a certain kind of oil, which is usually specified on the label. What, on the other hand, would be the consequences of using motor oil in your car?

If it is a question that has ever crossed your mind, you have come to the perfect place to get the answers you need.

Using the second value, which is 30, we can determine the oil thickness when running at high temperatures.

10w30 vs. 5w30 Comparison Table

Because of its ability to tolerate high temperatures for an extended period of time without impairing engine performance, 10w30 is a multi-grade engine oil that is particularly well suited for heavy-load engines. Hot temperatures cause this engine oil’s viscosity grade to drop to 10 in low temperatures and to 30 in high temperatures. When the temperature is low, this engine oil has a low viscosity, which indicates that it is thin and may be used in cold weather.

10w30 Major Specifications

Some of the characteristics you should look for in 10w30 motor oils are the ACEA rating, the API SN rating, and the viscosity grade. This motor oil satisfies all of the specifications set out by the API SN. American Petroleum Institute’s API SN engine category is a subcategory of the API engine category. There is an expectation that the engine will be capable of protecting the piston on its engine from any deposits that may be created by combustion. Sludge management is improved using this oil.

Aside from that, 10w30 motor oil is suitable with aftertreatment and seals.

The association is in charge of assigning oil sequences to various engine oil requirements based on their specifications.

Benefits of 10w30

10w30 has a variety of distinct characteristics and advantages. This engine oil provides a continuous coating across all of the engine’s elements, which helps to decrease friction between the sections of the engine. The cooling system also helps to decrease wear and tear on engines by keeping them cold during stop/start operation. 10w30 is a rust-prevention oil that preserves engine components. This oil will help to extend the life of your vehicle’s engine. It provides the user with smooth and noiseless gear and clutch actions.

It is compatible with advanced fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, as well as conventional gasoline. However, while 10w30 may be used in cold weather, it is best suited for usage in hot weather conditions. You may also be interested in:How long does an oil change take?

What is 5w30?

5w30 is a multi-grade viscosity used in vehicles that has several grades of viscosity. Low temperature viscosity grade 5 is achieved by this engine oil, whereas high temperature viscosity grade 30 is achieved by this oil.

5w30 Major Specifications

5w30 satisfies all of the standards of API SN as well as an ACEA, which varies based on the brand of oil used. It also received approval from MB for 5w30. The letters MB allude to Mercedes Benz’s requirements, which assign a certain quality of motor oil to each vehicle. The grade of 5w30 MB oil you use will be determined by the brand of oil you choose. Volkswagen (VW) approval as well as Porsche oil specs and Ford oil standards are included in this document.

Benefits of 5w30

5w30 is distinguished by a number of characteristics that distinguish it from other motor oils. It behaves in the same way as 10w30 in that it produces a continuous coating across the engine components, minimizing friction between them. It also helps to minimize the amount of wear and strain on the engine, as well as preserve the engine parts from rusting. It also extends the life of your automobile’s engine. Thermal stability is significantly improved in 5w30. This implies that their qualities stay constant regardless of how much the temperature changes.

This is due to the fact that only a tiny amount of engine oil is required to properly lubricate an engine.

Because the oil maintains a food flow even at low temperatures, it is an excellent choice for use in cold environments.

What is the Difference Between 10w30 and 5w30?

In comparison to other motor oils, 5w30 has a number of distinct characteristics that set it apart. Similar to 10w30 engine oil, this engine oil produces a continuous coating over the engine elements, decreasing friction between them and increasing engine performance. Aside from that, it also helps to decrease engine wear and tear while also preventing corrosion of engine components. The engine of your automobile will last longer as a result of this. Thermal stability of 5w30 is significantly better than that of 10w30.

Oil usage is kept to a minimum with this motor oil because of its design.

In addition to automobile gasoline engines, 5w30 engine oil is also ideal for light-duty gasoline engines and light-duty diesel engines.

Difference in Meaning

The viscosity of the motor oil is represented by the 10w30 and 5w30 grades, which are both established by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Winter is represented by the letter ‘W’ in the two oils. Viscosity, which is a measure of the resistance of an oil to flow, is lower in both oils at higher temperatures.

However, as compared to 10w30, 5w30 is significantly thinner. The low viscosity of 5w30 engine oils means that they will be able to protect the inner components of the engine much more quickly than the higher viscosity of 10w30.


Both 5w30 and 10w30 engine oils have a comparable SAE rating, which means that they will operate similarly when exposed to high or operating temperature conditions. High temperatures increase the viscosity of oils, which is represented by the numbers 30. The 10w30, on the other hand, will thicken even more in a cold climate. During the colder months, 5w30 is a much better choice.

Ideal Use

A comparable SAE grade is shared by both 5w30 and 10w30 engine oils, indicating that they will operate similarly at high and operating temperatures. High temperatures increase the viscosity of lubricants, as shown by the numeral 30. When used in a cold area, 10w30 will thicken even more. During the colder months, 5w30 is a great choice.


When compared to 10w30, 5w30 provides superior lubrication. It is best suited for domestic vehicles and light-duty diesel and petrol engines, whereas 10w30 is better suited for commercial vehicles and other automobiles with heavy-duty diesel and petrol engines. Also see: Can You Use Regular Oil After Using Synthetic Oil?

Frequently Asked Questions

Comparing 5w30 to 10w30, 5w30 offers superior lubrication. It is best suited for individual vehicles and light-duty diesel and petrol engines, whereas 10w30 is better suited for commercial vehicles and other automobiles with heavy-duty diesel and gasoline engines. As well as this, can regular oil be used after synthetic?

Q. Can I Mix 10w30 and 5w30?

Most oils will blend flawlessly together if they have a synthetic base that is comparable. As a result, there is no issue with combining 10w30 and 5w30 because one will be topping up the other. The engine will have no influence on the viscosity of the oils that are mixed together. It is not harmful to combine engine oils with viscosities close to 5w30 and 10w30 because they have similar viscosities.

Q. Is 10w30 thicker than 5w30?

When two oils have a synthetic base that is comparable, they will blend together flawlessly. Due to the fact that one will be topping up, there are no issues with combining 10w30 and 5w30. The engine will not be harmed by combining different viscosities of oil. Due to their similar viscosities, 5w30 and 10w30 engine oils may be blended without causing damage.

Q. Should I Use Thicker Oil In An Older Engine?

If you have an older engine or motor, it is wise to use a thick engine oil such as 10w30 to protect it from damage. Older engines will benefit from thick engine oil since it will increase the oil pressure. The reason for this is because as engines age, their clearances expand, resulting in less liquid oil being required for greater engine protection.

Q. Which is better, 5w30, or 10w30?

Both 10w30 and 5w30 engine oils are excellent choices. It is critical to understand how each of them performs in a specific environment in order to achieve peak performance. 5wso is suitable for use in any season and provides the highest level of protection in both the summer and winter seasons.

It also gives a reasonable degree of fuel efficiency to the user due to the fact that it creates the least amount of drag on the bearings and moving components of the motor. As a result of its thicker composition, 10w30 provides improved sealing properties for older motors.

Engine Oil Codes Explained, SAE, numbers explained/Viscosity (YouTube Video)

Engine oil is used to lubricate engines in order to minimize friction between the engine parts, hence extending the engine’s service life and increasing its efficiency. The viscosity of engine oils is what distinguishes them from other types of lubricants. Both 10w30 oils are heavier and more suited for heavy-duty and older engines, respectively. This article provides you with the solution to the question, Can I use 10w30 instead of 5w30? Consider the external temperature, the influence on the engine’s components, and the fuel efficiency before selecting the appropriate engine oil.

More information may be found at:

  • Should I check the oil when it’s hot or cold? Instructions on how to check engine oil
  • Should I check my transmission fluid when it is hot or cold, and what is the best engine assembly lube to use?

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