0W-40 vs 5W-30: Which One Is Better For You?

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0w-40 vs 5w-30

Motor oil is a thin, black, viscous fluid or liquid that helps fill the gaps between engine parts to minimize heat and friction. It prevents excessive engine wear of the internal parts of your car. It also protects against outside elements such as dust, dirt, water, and others. The engine wear occurs without oil changes or in extreme conditions.

Anyway, there are different types of motor lubricants, and this does not only depend on the formula found in each of them. Knowing the different types of motor lubricant allows people to incorporate the most appropriate one depending on the climatic conditions of each place.

What are the different types of engine oils?

The motor oil known as a mineral lubricant is one of the least recommended and most common. This engine oil does not usually incorporate cleaners or a detergent formula to remove most of the dirt inside the engine. Of course, it is the cheapest option and may be suitable only for older cars.

When we find a combination of pure lubricant and lubricant oil, we have mixed or semi-synthetic oil. This means that the third type of oil we can find is synthetic oil.

This lubricant is the most recommended option as engine oil since it is the most efficient for working in different temperatures. In addition, an excellent level of engine cleanliness is obtained while optimizing fuel usage.

0W 40 engine oil

In this case, we can find a lubricant that combines synthetic base oil and additives. The most common forms we find are PAO-4, PAO6, and PAO 8. At the same time, we can count on some valuable additives such as antioxidants and detergents that can take care of the different aspects of each engine, incorporating great cleanliness. Even this oil is helpful in diesel or gasoline engines.

5W 30 engine oil

Here we can count on a synthetic base lubricant that we find under the same forms mentioned above, which are PAO-4, PAO6, and PAO 8. Additionally, a mineral base lubricant is usually incorporated in this engine oil which can be seen as SN 500, SN 150, and SN 100.

Viscosity Index

One of the most notable aspects of any lubricant is the viscosity it can offer. Engine oil viscosity refers to the fluidity of the lubricant and can be thin or thick. This is an essential quality as the lubricant needs to flow in the most appropriate way possible within the engine’s moving parts and depend on the climatic conditions.

We can find single grades and multiple grades as part of the two main options. When we see a single number, we deal with single grades, which relate only to viscosity. In turn, we find two numbers representing viscosity and climate. These two grades are always separated by a letter of the alphabet.

To count the grade representing the viscosity weight oil or the oil viscosity level under temperature, we must look at the number before the letter W as in our example. The lubricant is thicker, the higher this number is, and the oil weight is different.

In turn, the letter W in the two motor oils we are comparing refers to winter. This is how we find the viscosity at the normal operating of the engine oil in the numbers after the letter W.

When we consider 0W 40 engine oil, the viscosity is not thick and is low. Of course, the letter W refers to winter, so it is an ideal lubricant for cold temp than a hot climate. In turn, the number 40 refers to the limit of the performance of this engine oil about temperature. This engine oil works best up to an ambient temperature of 40 degrees Celsius.

When we take 5W 30 lubricants as a reference, the 30 indicates that the most suitable ambient temperature is up to 30 degrees Celsius. The number 5 indicates a higher viscosity level than the previous engine oil. It is a thicker and less thin oil. Either of these two engine oils is multigrade and is among the most common.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is another important aspect that differentiates these two engine oils. Synthetic engine lubricant requires less gas than mineral engine oil. This is why synthetic engine oil is commonly chosen because it provides better fuel economy.

Any of the engine oils we are comparing are synthetic engine oils. However, each engine lubricant does not provide the same result about gas usage. The important thing is to consider the viscosity grade to detect which oil is more suitable for gas usage.

A user said a high level of fuel economy must necessarily opt for an engine oil with lower viscosity. That means that from our comparison, the 0W 40 offers better fuel economy. 

However, there are some circumstances where the 5W 30 is more convenient in fuel consumption, related to the impact of the cold temperature on the engine oil. Thus we can determine that the fuel efficiency of an oil depends on the viscosity level of the ambient temperature or climatic conditions.

Operating temperature – Compatibility

The fully synthetic oil came to the use of vehicles as a great solution when the operation of oil met with the world’s different climates. The lubricant has a certain flexibility to low-temperature changes or variable climates. Thus, the full synthetic oil has been designed to be able to change temperature when necessary. 

However, it is essential to consider the operating temperature of each oil according to the geographical area in which each person lives. The 0W 40 engine lubricant can run or flow normally and conveniently down to minus 30 degrees Celsius. This can be truly suitable for colder areas in certain parts of the world that require 0W 40 oil. Also, this is great for cold starts.

On the other hand, those who need a lubricant that usually flows down to minus 25 degrees Celsius can count on the 5W 30 oil. The 5W 30 lubricant is usually more suitable for those geographical areas where freezing temperatures are not too harmful or do not reach extreme points. 

In areas with high temperatures, the thicker viscosity allows a better result, found in 5W 30 oil. That is why 5W 30 oil could offer better performance in the Caribbean or Africa.

Anyway, 5W 30 oil is not the only best answer for other cases. People can get a better result than with 0W 40 oil because it’s a thinner oil. That is why 0W 40 oil can be mainly adjusted to different areas of Europe for the euro specs.

Best time to use 0W40 or 5W30 – Usability

Climate changes around the world do not only affect people’s daily lives. Motor oil can also be damaged in multiple ways. As we have mentioned, a low viscosity level in the oil is much more suitable for summer, i.e., a lighter oil or thinner oil. 

Thicker oil is not necessarily an excellent choice for summer or winter. A modern-day full synthetic oil is usually much more adaptable to the climatic conditions of different geographical areas. There are fully synthetic oils on the market to adapt to the climatic conditions of motorists in various parts of the world.

0W40 and 5W30 are oils that can be very efficient in winter and summer. The difference between each of them can be found in temperature extremes. Geographical locations where there are ambient temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius need to use mostly 0W40.

When it comes to efficiency in using lubricant in low temperatures, 5W30 may be more appropriate. However, either of these two options can provide excellent results.

Prices of 0W40 and 5W30

We can find a significant price difference between any of these oils. Anyway, we do not find a significant difference due to the type of lubricant that is each one of them itself if any difference is usually found due to the requirements from the different car manufacturers today.

0W40 and 5W30 are usually found in an average price range and similar. In any case, the owner’s manual of each vehicle should always be taken into consideration to know which is the most suitable oil to use. Mobil 1 is commonly more expensive than dino oil. Yet, Mobil 1 offers an excellent quality oil.


1. What happens if I use 0w40 instead of 5w30?

You can obtain more excellent protection against low temperatures and a thinner oil suitable for cold climates.

2. Is 0W 40 better than 5W-30?

Each is better than the other for specific situations. 5W-30 is usually recommended more for hot climates due to its level of viscosity.

3. Can you mix 5w30 and 0W 40?

It is possible to mix these two oils, but only if they are of the same brand.


Many factors will have to be considered, such as how often you drive and the type of car you have. It might be a bit confusing at first, but if you’re looking for the best lubricant out there, take your time researching before you submit your request.

Choosing the best lubricant for your vehicle will allow you to enjoy better performance and extra protection in any situation. You can choose the best option for the following oil change. Remember, an oil change is essential for critical engine components, and the temperature range must be considered.

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