The average car owner may not know this, but there are actually quite a few different types of engine oils on the market. The two most common weights of motor oil are 5W-30 and 5W-20, but what does that mean? And why are those two weights so much more common than the others?
Which Grade is Oil Better?
To answer those questions, we first need to understand a little bit about how motor oil works. Motor oil’s main purpose is to lubricate the moving parts in your engine, which reduces friction and helps keep your engine running smoothly. Motor oil also helps to keep your engine cool by transferring heat away from the pistons and other hot components.
The “W” in motor oil stands for “winter.” The number that follows the “W” indicates the oil’s viscosity, or how thick it is, at low temperatures. The lower the number, the easier it is for the oil to flow at cold temperatures. That’s why 5W-30 oil is a good choice for most cars: it has a low viscosity at cold temperatures, so it will flow easily and lubricate your engine when it starts up in the winter.
The second number in motor oil (in this case, 30) indicates the oil’s viscosity at high temperatures. The higher the number, the thicker the oil remains at high temperatures. In general, thicker oils provide better protection for your engine at high speeds and under heavy loads. However, thicker oils can also make your engine work harder, which can reduce fuel economy.
So, why are 5W-30 and 5W-20 oils so common? It has to do with a balance of performance and fuel economy. 5W-30 oil is a good all-around choice for most cars. It flows easily at cold temperatures, yet it remains thick enough to protect your engine at high speeds and under heavy loads. 5W-20 oil is becoming more common in newer cars because it provides excellent fuel economy while still protecting your engine.
5W-30 Vs 5W-20 Oil: Which One Should You Choose?
There are a lot of choices to make when it comes to motor oil. Not only do you have to decide on the right viscosity, but you also have to choose between conventional and synthetic and between different brands.
The two most common viscosities for motor oil are 5W-30 and 5W-20. But what’s the difference between them? And which one should you use in your car?
5W-30 oil is the most common type of motor oil. It’s suitable for use in all kinds of vehicles, including cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. 5W-30 oil is also recommended for use in high-performance engines and climates where temperatures can vary greatly.
5W-20 oil, on the other hand, is thinner and less viscous than 5W-30 oil. This means that it flows more easily and causes less friction in the engine. As a result, 5W-20 oil can provide a slight boost in fuel efficiency. Additionally, 5W-20 oil is better suited for use in very cold climates, as it flows more easily on start-up.
So, which type of motor oil should you use in your car? If you’re not sure, consult your owner’s manual or ask a professional mechanic. In most cases, either 5W-30 or 5W-20 oil will be suitable. However, if you live in a very cold climate or you have a high-performance engine, 5W-20 oil may be the better choice.
Frequently Asked Question
Q: Why are 5W-30 and 5W-20 oils so common?
A: The most common oil weights are 5W-30 and 5W-20. These oils are designed to work well in a wide range of temperatures, providing protection in both hot and cold weather. They also tend to be less expensive than other oil weights.
Q: What is the difference between 5W-30 and 5W-20 oil?
A: The main difference between 5W-30 and 5W-20 oil is their viscosity. Viscosity is a measure of an oil’s thickness, and oils with higher viscosity are thicker than oils with a lower viscosity. 5W-30 oil has a higher viscosity than 5W-20 oil, which means it is thicker. This can make it better at protecting your engine in hot weather, but it can also make it less efficient in cold weather.
Q: Can I use 5W-30 oil in my car if the manufacturer recommends 5W-20?
A: While you can use 5W-30 oil in a car that requires 5W-20 oil, it is not recommended. Using a thicker oil than what is recommended can lead to increased fuel consumption and engine wear. It is best to use the oil weight that is recommended by the manufacturer.
Q: Is 5W-30 better than 5W-20?
A: There is no definitive answer to this question. Both 5W-30 and 5W-20 oils have their benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which oil weight is best for their car.
5W-30 and 5W-20 oils are the most common oil weights because they are designed to work well in a wide range of temperatures. 5W-30 oil has a higher viscosity than 5W-20 oil, which means it is thicker. This can make it better at protecting your engine in hot weather, but it can also make it less efficient in cold weather. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which oil weight is best for their car.
Related: What Is the Shelf Life of Motor Oil?