Can You Use 5W30 Instead of 5W20?

Naomi O'Colman

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Can You Use 5W30 Instead of 5W20

Can You Use 5W30 Instead of 5W20

Changing engine oil is one of those tiny but necessary annoyances that every automobile owner must learn to accept. Keeping your oil change on a regular schedule is a necessity if you want to keep your automobile operating and in good shape. The question is, which oil should you purchase? Can you use 5W30 oil instead of 5W20?

Simply put, if you use 5W-30 oil instead of 5W-20 when your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends the latter, internal engine parts may be damaged. Additionally, your engine’s performance may be affected, such as reduced fuel economy and performance.

Understanding Oil Viscosity and Multi-Grade Oil

Viscosity of Oil

The oil viscosity is indicated by an oil rating, like 5W-20 or 5W-30. The resistance to flow that an oil exhibit at a given temperature determines its viscosity rating. Higher viscosity numbers suggest a heavier oil that flows more slowly. Low-viscosity oils are used in some engines to reduce oil flow resistance and improve efficiency in cold weather, but high-viscosity lubricants provide more protection to engine internal parts, particularly at higher temperatures.

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Multi-Grade Oil

The viscosity rating on several types of motor oil includes two numerals, such as 5W-20. This is due to the fact that these oils have two different viscosity ratings depending on the temperature. The oil substance in multigrade oils is made up of a variety of polymers. As the temperature rises, the size of these polymers expands, increasing the oil flow. The winter rating, denoted by the initial W, is the very first number in multigrade oil viscosity ratings. At 40 degrees Celsius, this is the viscosity of the oil. If boiled to 100 degrees Celsius, the second number represents the viscosity of the oil.

What Is the Difference Between 5W30 and 5W20 Oil?

In colder temperatures, 5W30, as well as 5W20, have the same viscosity because they have the winter rating. The most significant distinction between the two is how they react when the temperature rises 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because 5W30 has a greater rating, when the engine hits operating temperature, it will thicken more than 5W20. Because a thicker consistency equals more resistance, 5W30 oil will reduce the fuel economy and your engine’s horsepower output.

However, in hotter areas, the 5W30 provides far better engine protection than the 5W20. Furthermore, it appears to be the more common choice because it can be used in a wide range of vehicles with different engines.

5W20, on the other hand, has a lower viscosity and produces less friction than 30. As a result, less drag will be present throughout the engine, including the crankshaft, pistons, and valve train. You can also obtain improved gas mileage with the 5W-20 in chilly areas.

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Can You Use 5W30 Instead of 5W20?

It is not suggested. Even though they both have a winter rating of 5, 5w30 has a little higher thickness (viscosity) than 5w20. That means your engine’s at hazard to use the high viscosity oil. So, if your owner’s handbook specifies 5w30, I’d suggest following it.

Also, if your car is still under warranty, I wouldn’t suggest switching the type of oil you’re using. Your powertrain warranty will be voided the instant you go with something other than what the producer recommends.

You can find information on the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual if you don’t know what they are. You might also locate some oil type suggestions and then see what other grades are suitable.

What Happens If You Use 5W30 Rather Than 5W20?

If you use 5W-30 instead of 5W-20, you risk ruining your car’s engine because 5W-20 motor oil is compatible with internal engine components.

The winter ratings for 5W-20 and 5W-30 motor oils are the same. It indicates that at frigid temperatures, two motor oils have the same viscosity. At 212 degrees Fahrenheit, nevertheless, 5W-30 has a slightly greater viscosity than 5W-20. It means that after the engine achieves normal operating temperature, 5W-30 oil would be thicker than 5W-20 oil.

If any other oil grades are permitted, check your owner’s manual. If there isn’t a substitute to 5W-20 listed, using the wrong oil could void the vehicle’s power train warranty.


To address the question of whether 5w30 can be used instead of 5w20, the answer is no; it may harm your engine in the long run. Because of its higher viscosity, the 5W-30 is a better choice if you reside in a hotter area.

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However, if you reside in a state or nation where extreme temperatures are uncommon, or if your warranty has ended, I recommend using either oil. Both of these oils will safeguard your vehicle and provide you with the best possible fuel economy.