All motor oil is rated based on its viscosity, or resistance to flow, and how it performs at temperature extremes. The ideal motor oil for your car is one that can withstand the hottest temperatures in your region while still being able to flow when the weather is at its coldest. 5w30 oil is suited to a broad range of temperatures, making it one of the most commonly used oils on the market.
What is 5w30 oil?
5w30 is a motor oil that is widely used in light-duty petrol and diesel engines. Like most motor oils produced today, 5w30 is a multi-grade oil, meaning it ranges from a lower viscosity grade of 5 to a higher viscosity grade of 30.
The “W” stands for “winter,” the number preceding it indicates the oil’s viscosity (or thickness) at low temperatures (hence the W), and the number after it indicates viscosity at higher temperatures, when the engine is running.
How is 5w30 different from other oils?
5w30 motor oil has a winter viscosity grade of five, meaning it’s less viscous (less thick) at very low temperatures compared to, say, 10w30. It has a hot viscosity grade of 30, which means it is less viscous at high temperatures than an oil such as 5w50.
When should I use 5w30 oil?
You should always use the oil recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. However, 5w30 oil can function in temperatures as low as -30ºC and as high as 35ºC, making it an ideal choice if you drive your car in a place with relatively high seasonal temperature variations.
5w30 oil is particularly well suited for cars driven in cold climates. Unlike oils with a higher hot temperature rating such as 10 or 15, 5w30 oil can flow freely enough when the engine is started at low temperatures to coat and protect the engine's internal components. It's also a good choice for long trips requiring greater fuel consumption and more exposure to heat.
Why is 5w30 oil so common?
5w30 oil is one of the most commonly used motor oils because it is suitable for a wide variety of vehicles and engine types. 5w30's viscosity range means it can lubricate, seal, and protect an engine's internal components in a range of climate conditions. This ability to function well both in summer and winter brings with it the convenience of not having to change oil weights with the seasons. 5w30 oil's lower viscosity also means less strain on the oil pump, as well as better fuel economy.
Why is 5w30 oil so versatile?
5w30 motor oil's ability to function in a large variety of engine types and under a wide range of temperature conditions makes it incredibly versatile. Whether you have a light-duty petrol or diesel engine, 5w30 is often the suggested motor oil to use because it flows more easily in winter temperatures. At the same time, it's able to maintain a safe viscosity when the engine is hard at work in the summer heat, when an oil with lower viscosity is more likely to break down, thereby causing greater wear on engine parts.