5w30 Vs 10w30 Oil - Some Key Differences

High-quality and manufacturer-recommended Oil is very important for the proper working of any machine. Oil provides lubrication to the parts of the generator and keeps them safe from rust and friction. The right oil for your generator can increase its life span, boost its efficiency, and reduce noise.

There are a variety of oils available in the market but the most common are conventional and synthetic oils. Similarly, their variants are also available. But the question is which oil is best for generators in winter? As in winter oil viscosity increases and the generator may misbehave due to this reason. We have 2 common multigrade oils 5w30 and 10w30 that are considered best for winter. But people usually confuse these two oils and didn’t know what to do to find the best for their needs so, I have decided to solve this query.

You will analyze some of the key differences between these two oils and their specifications.

5w30 oil – Specifications

5w30 is a multigrade lubrication oil that is best for small vehicles. 5W30 oil has a viscosity of less than 5 or equal to 5 at temperatures below 0°C. This implies that in the winter when the weather is severe outside, this oil maintains its viscosity and allows an easy start of the engine. It saves you from the hassle of starting a generator in a frosty environment and your time.

I would recommend you use this oil at approx -13°F up to 95°F / -25°C up to +35°C. This oil has many benefits as helping in the smooth working of the engine with a noise-free operation. It is best suited for cars, vehicles, and light-duty oil engines.

10W30 Oil – Specifications

10W30 oil is also a multigrade engine oil used to increase the efficiency of the engine. It is suitable for the temperature ranging from -13°F up to 95°F / -25°C up to +35°C. This oil is a bit more viscous than 5W30 oil but is no less efficient than any other oil.

Both oils are almost similar having almost the same viscosity, and the same usage, and are suitable in the winter season when oil gets thin at low temperatures. This oil is best suited for heavy-duty oil engines and provides smooth working, easy clutch operation, and noise-less running. I would recommend using this oil in summer for some reason.

What is meant by Viscosity?

To make it simple for you, “viscosity is the measure of liquid resistance to flow”. All the numbers like 5,10,30 show the viscosity level of the oil. The higher the number, the more will be the viscosity. Engines need thick oil for their proper working as viscous oil sticks to the parts effectively whereas thin oil doesn’t work any well.

What is meant by Viscosity

Viscosity is affected by many factors and the most important is temperature. The higher the temperature, the oil would get thinner, and the lower the temperature, the oil would get thicker. So, for lower temperatures, I would recommend you to use 5W30 oil whereas for higher temperatures 10W30 oil is recommended.

For more information, you can consult the owner’s manual to know the suitable oil for your machine.

What does “W” signify?

We have seen that the oil numbers are usually written with the “W” letter. W signifies the word Winter which is these oils are best suitable for winters and their viscosity will remain the same even at the lowest temperature.

What do the Numbers signify?

Numbers play a very important role in knowing the oil viscosity at a lower temperature. For example; in 5W30, 5 signifies the viscosity that oil attains at a lower temperature whereas the number 30 represents the viscosity of oil that it attains while running the engine. So, both the viscosities are very important for their working.

Difference between 5W30 and 10W30 oil

Both oils are almost the same and have very few differences and we will discuss these differences one by one to make clear every single detail;

Difference between 5W30 and 10W30 oil

General Meaning

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the engine oil viscosity is represented by the ratings 5w30 and 10w30. wherein “W” denotes winter, while the numbers show the viscosity when you start the engine and during the running of the engine. We have tested these multigrade oils and found them to be excellent for the proper lubrication and working of the engine.

You don’t have to worry about the low temperature as this oil didn’t change its viscosity and works efficiently even at low temperatures. Actually, the thickness of both oils makes a difference. The oil becomes thicker at extremely low temperatures as the first number decreases. When cold, 5w30 is an SAE 5, and when heated, it is an SAE 30. For 10w30 multi-grade oil, the same holds true.

Performance of both Oils

Because both SAE ratings have the same base number so we can assume that both engine oils will function almost similarly. The number 30 is the thickness level that oil attains during the running of the engine.

At 100 degrees Celsius, both oils have a similar viscosity, although, in cold temperatures, 5w30 grade oil will thicken less than 10w30 grade oil. Because of the narrower temperature range, 10w30 oil will flow well at high temperatures whereas 5w30 oil will flow successfully at low temperatures.

So, I can say that 5W30 oils work great in winter whereas 10w30 oils work great in the summer season.


5w30 and 10w30 are both multigrade oil and work effectively in summer as well as in winter. Before buying these oils must consider the temperature of your area. Temperature directly affects the viscosity of the oil and if oil is thinner you can’t expect good performance from your engine.

10w30 will flow well in hot summers or high-temperature environments whereas 5w30 will work better in winter temperatures.

Is 10w30 thicker than 5w30?

The simple answer is yes! 10w30 oil is slightly thicker or you can say that high viscosity as compared to 5w30 engine oil. 10w30 multigrade oil type indicates that the starting viscosity of the oil would be 10 in winter whereas the operating oil viscosity would be 30.

Is 10w30 thicker than 5w30

I would recommend you use the 5w30 oil type for your engine, whether it’s the vehicle engine or a generator. You can use 10w30 oil in summer for better results.

Can you mix 5w30 and 10w30?

Yes, why not! You can use a mixture of 5w30 and 10w30. Both oils have almost the same viscosity and the same operating range. But there is a difference in the density of both of these oils. 10w30 is denser as compared to 5w30. But as both are synthetic oils and work almost similarly so, you can mix them well for your car engine or for any motor.

In summers this mixture is expected to work well but in winter as both oils have different densities so there are chances that the engine would face difficulty in pulling up the oil-damaging parts of the engine.

Experts prefer to use 10w30 oil in summer as it has a bit more viscosity and does not thins out easily. This makes the pulling of oil easy for the engine. But I would recommend you use only one type of oil at a time to make the engine last longer.

10w30 or 5w30 for winter

So, the question is 10w30 or 5w30 which oil is best to use in winter? Long story short, 5w30 oil is best to be used in winter because it is thin oil and maintains its viscosity even at the lowest temperatures. It makes the pulling of oil easy for the engine and because of this precise viscosity, engine parts get properly lubricated and save from any abrasion and damage.

Can I use 10w30 oil instead of 5w30 oil?

No, you can’t. If it is recommended by the manufacturer to use 10w30 for a car or any device engine you must use this oil then otherwise it will affect the performance of the engine and makes the oil flow difficult.

Can I use 10w30 oil instead of 5w30 oil

10w30 oil is thicker than 5w30 oil and some heavy gines need a higher density oil so don’t make this mistake although they have almost the same viscosity. Sometimes, the slightest things also matter.

5w30 Vs 10w30 Oil – FAQs

How often should 5w30 oil be changed?
According to the experts, the engine oil should be changed after the 500hrs of usage of it. You can also change the oil every season for the efficient and smooth working of the engine. You can check out here how to change the oil in a generator.
Is 10w30 better for high mileage?
Yes, the recommended oil for high-milage vehicles is 10w30. This multigrade oil works best in both summer and winter and is specially made for heavy-duty engines. It helps in the smooth and efficient working of the engine.
Should I use thicker oil in an older engine?
Yes, I would recommend you use thicker oil in older engines as the engines get old it needs Higher viscosity fluid for proper functioning.
Does motor oil have an expiry date?
Yes, usually expiry date is mentioned on the bottle but it is recommended to use oil within 5 years of its manufacturing. Stale or expired oil has less performance and oil changes its viscosity.


To Summarize

A superb multigrade oil for use in both cold temperatures and hot summer temperatures is 5w30. Due to less drag on the engine’s bearings and moving parts, it is also more fuel-efficient.

Because 10w30 is thicker, it might enable older engines to seal more effectively. Older engines have wider clearances, requiring heavier oil for better protection.

The engine oil recommended in your owner’s manual should be used at all times. You can also read our article on what kind of oil a generator takes for detailed information.

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