Can I use 5w20 instead of 5w30? (5w20 vs 5W30)

5w20 and 5w30 are the most common multigrade lubricants available in the local auto parts store. That means both engine oils are capable of changing the viscosity according to the temperature. But, The viscosity of those oils is different.

For this, You might think can I use 5w20 instead of 5w30? Don’t worry! The dedicated article is on this topic. So, Let’s start!

Can I use 5w20 instead of 5w30?

It’s not recommended to use 5w20 instead of 5w30 engine oil because Both come with different viscosity. 5w20 oil is thinner and mostly designed for performing better with newer engines.

If you own an older model car (1995-2003), you should definitely change the oil as soon as possible and shift with 5w30.

The oil will be too thin that doesn’t seem able to provide needed protection for the engine. Also, If your car comes with a warranty, it will affect it.

What happens if you put 5W-20 instead of 5W-30?

Whether using 5w20 instead of 5w30 provides a good or bad result depends on your car model. So, First of all, check the owner’s manual, which generally comes with a chart that has a list of acceptable weights according to temperature. And, Most of the new generation cars need specific motor oil.

If your engine associates with 5w20 oil, then it will run fine, and also, you’ll notice a slight increase in fuel economy, more engine wear, and higher engine temps.

If you accidentally put it, this doesn’t create any exceptional harm to your engine. Many car manufacturers update their service manuals to allow the cars to use 5w20, which originally use for 5w30.

It might boost fuel economy due to easy pumping the thinner oil. Look at the car owner’s manual, and it should provide you a viscosities range that is acceptable.

In addition, You can use both engine oil without hurting your vehicle engine if you don’t drive in more than 120F heat or less than -30F cold because Both motor oils used the same base oil.

Overall, It’s not a good idea to use 5w20 instead of 5w30, but your car engine won’t experience any trouble in normal driving conditions. So, At the next regular oil change, go back to the recommended engine oil.

Can I mix 5w20 with 5w30?

Yes, It’s safer to mix 5w20 with 5w30. Both engine oils provide the same flow and performance in cooler temperatures. So, They’ll easily blend with each other wheater you mix with 5w20 with 5w30 or vice versa.

But, It’s highly recommended to use a brand with the same API class. For this, You don’t find any technical problem in the engine’s core components.

Also, The oils come with different additives means different weight ratings. So, The additives won’t blend together but don’t worry; it doesn’t cause any problem.

What is the difference between 5W-20 and 5W-30 oil?

Viscosity Matters: The key difference between 5W20 and 5W30 motor oil is viscosity which measures the oil’s resistance to flow. The number indicates the thickness of the oil. The lower viscosity ensures that the engine oil flows easily. The viscosity measurement varies according to different temperatures.

The first digit 5 refers to the viscosity rating in colder temperatures, and the letter “W” stands for winter. So, It means during the engine startup in winter climates, the thinner 5w provides quicker flow and circulates through bearing. The number behind “w” indicates the viscosity at higher temperatures means the oil is thicker at heated ambiance and operates as a 30 weight oil.

Hot or Cold Weather Performance: The 5w20 engine oil type is less viscous compared to 5w30. That means 5w20 provides better performance in colder climates. It flows smoothly and quickly in deeper engine components and lubricates the engine parts quickly with less friction which allows starting the vehicle engine more quickly.

On the other hand, The 5w30 work more efficiently in hotter climates.  It doesn’t thin faster due to heat exposure than 5w20. For this, It ensures better protection to the engine parts than 5w20 in normal engine temperatures.

Which One Is Economy-Friendly: The 5w20 is more economy-friendly and provides better performance in colder weather compared to 5w30.

Because for less friction, 5w20 less drag the engine component such as pistons and crankshaft which cause of a partial bump in 5w20 fuel economy.

Also, 5w30 is more popular and widely used due to its overall engine protection and work great with different engine types.

5w20 vs 5W30 Comparison Chart:

ViscosityLess viscous compare to 5w30.More viscous compare to 5w30
Maximum Operating Temperature (°F)356356
Minimum Operating Temperature (°F)-31-31
Pour point (°F)-54-38
Flash Point (°F)392392
Preferable climateMore preferable for colder places or weather.More preferable for warmer places or weather.
FrictionLess friction than 5w30.More friction than 5w20.

Final Words

5w20 and 5w30 are flexible synthetic engine oils that mean those are well to protect your engine equally, but you’ll find a different result in a different climate.  If you’re located in a colder weather area, 5w20 protects your car engine better than 5w30, where 5w30 performs better in higher temperatures.

As they provide quite the same performance, you might think to use 5w20 instead of 5w30. If you want to use it, the above section will provide you with a good overview of whether you can use it. However, Always follow the manual information, is it allow the different engine oil.

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