The major difference between 5w20 vs 5w30 is viscosity.
Viscosity is the resistance of an oil to flow. The higher the number on the oil model is, the thicker the oil and the thicker the oil , the harder it is to get thin under the influence of heat.
Regular oil tends to lose its viscosity when subjected to heat and given the environment where it is being used, exposure to heat cannot be prevented. For this reason, different engine oil types with different viscosity ratings, i.e different degrees of resistance to heat, have been manufactured for different vehicles operating in different climatic regions.
This article takes a look at 5w20 vs 5w30 to help you understand which one is best for your vehicle.
Understand The Basics
The number before the letter “W” represents the cold viscosity of the oil. In simpler terms, this is the rating of the engine oil based on its performance in cold environments.
This comes in handy when driving in very cold countries like Korea, Russia or in winter seasons in any country. In these areas or during these seasons, your engine might be subjected to the cold weather when driving or while parked. When this happens, if the cold viscosity of the engine oil is not strong enough, the oil will be too thick to lubricate the engine, the fuel efficiency is compromised and the engine suffers.
The number after the letter “W” represents the hot viscosity of the oil, meaning the oil’s resistance to heat. This number has the most variations in all the oil types given that engines tend to get hotter more than they are exposed to cold.
Given this explanation , i believe you should be able to decide which is best for your car. To be clear though, the rating of these engine oil types are measured in zero-degree Celsius. 5W represents viscosity at zero degrees, but for regular oils, 5W is too thin for normal car temperature which is why it is available in different variations.
Conclusively, the key to using these products lies in understanding their strengths and weaknesses in relation to your engine’s requirements. Since engine oils with lower viscosity are better suited to regions with lower average temperatures and freezing conditions, the 5w20 seems like a perfect fit here.
However, the 5w30 still remains the most popular options because of its wide adaptation range, but given the price, you could get the 5w20 if it’s good enough for your engine. You could get a confirmation on that from your auto mechanic or the manufacturer’s guide.
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