Using the right type of motor oil for your car engine is imperative for keeping it up and running. You cannot get a good return on investment if you don’t take care of your engine. Sure, many car owners take their vehicles to a mechanic for an oil change instead of doing it themselves, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to not educate yourself about what goes on inside your vehicle and have some information regarding the best motor oils for your car. This information is not redundant, and can always come in handy if you find yourself stranded and can’t avail the service of a mechanic.
Changing oil is one of the key car care tasks, which is why we will be doing a thorough 5w20 vs 5w30 comparison since those motor oils work best in both hot and cold temperatures. The Society of Automotive Engineers has a statistical code for differentiating between motor oils based on their viscosity characteristics, starting from low and going high: 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, and 60. The term ‘viscosity’ refers to a liquid’s resistance to travel.
Liquids that are runny and have a watery consistency are given a lower viscosity value whereas thick and consistent liquids (like honey) are given a higher viscosity value. The numbers 0, 5, 10, 15 and 25 are post assigned with the alphabet W, which stands for “winter”, or low temperatures, not “weight”. Keep in mind that the viscosity measurements of an engine oil change when put under varying temperatures, i.e. the weather.
However, when it comes to kinematic viscosity, the numbers are assigned on the basis of the oil’s ability to travel through a regular orifice, at regular temperatures. The longer it takes for the oil to flow through, the higher the SAE numerical code is, owing to the higher viscosity, which means 5w30 has a higher viscosity than 5w20.
Read more about the difference between 5w30 vs 10w30.