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Can I Use 5w30 Instead Of 5w20? [ Answered ]

Can I Use 5w30 Instead Of 5w20? [ Answered ]

The functional competence of your car largely depends on the kind of motor oil you are using. To ensure the best performance, you need to use the recommended oil. In this regard, you might not be sure whether or not to use 5W30 oil instead of 5W20.

While these two types of motor oils are different. Therefore, using one oil in place of the other can inflict potential damage to your engine. So, let’s explore what happens if you replace 5w20 oil instead of 5W20 oil.

Can I use 5w30 instead of 5w20?

Theoretically, it is possible to replace 5w20 oil with 5w30. The viscosity ratings of these two cars are different, but sometimes many drivers tend to replace one oil with the other.

However, experts recommend not to change the motor oil that the automobile owners recommend. Particularly, changing your motor oil during the warranty period can void the same. If something goes wrong with your powertrain, you won’t be able to avail yourself of the warranty benefits. In case you don’t know what the manufacturer has recommended, you can check the owner’s manual for relevant information.

When the manufacturers had designed your car’s engine, they meant it only for 5W20 oil. Different components of the engine would get in contact with this oil. This explains why the manufacturer recommends a certain motor oil for the vehicle.

As you operate the engine and it reaches the desired temperature (212℉), the viscosity of 5w20 oil would be lower than that of 5w30 oil. Therefore, the manufacturers want you to use a thinner oil that would be flowing seamlessly with low resistance.

In case you use the wrong oil, the motor oil would offer more resistance to the engine when it reaches the operating temperature. Now, your engine is not responsible for dealing with this resistance. So, it would sustain damages faster and you would lose the manufacturer’s warranty on the powertrain.

Is there a big difference between 5W20 and 5W30?

Yes, 5W20 and 5W30 motor oils are not the same. This indicates the capacity of the oil to flow, or the thickness of the motor oil that allows them to flow against friction.

Due to the variations in viscosities, different types of motor oils are suitable for their respective purposes. Using 5w30 instead of 5w20 oil in your car wouldn’t be advisable.

The manufacturers recommend using these two oils in different climates. With 5W20 oil, you would notice lesser drag in the crankshaft, pistons, and the valve train.

Besides, you would notice the car gets a better fuel economy. Since the oil is thinner, the oil pump would be able to circulate it through different parts of the engine from the oil pan easily. So, if you reside in a cold place, it would be wise to use 5W20 oil.

In case the climate is hotter, you can use 5W30 oil. When it is hot outside, the thinner oils can easily break down. Therefore, you need more viscous motor oils.

They offer better resistance to heat and take a longer time to break down. So, if you reside in a hot place, you need to use 5W30 pol to secure your car’s engine.

What are the Differences Between 5W-30 and 5W-20 Oil?

1. Temperatures of operation

As we discussed, 5W20 motor oil gives a better performance when the operating temperature remains low. Since 5W30 motor oil tends to be thicker, they are ideal for cars running in hotter climates.

When the temperature is cold, there would be an easy flow of the 5W20 oil. However, they tend to thin up when you use the oil in hotter temperatures. Since 5W30 motor oil is heavier, it flows freely when the temperature is warmer.

2. Fuel economy

At the operating temperature, the viscosity of 5W20 oil would be a little lower than 5W30 oil. Therefore, if you use 5W30 oil, you would notice less dragging.

The circulation of the oil through different parts of your engine would be smooth.

This would reduce the engine’s horsepower, and ultimately, you would end up compromising the car’s fuel economy. However, this difference wouldn’t be too high, which explains why some car owners prefer switching motor oils.

3. Weight of the motor oil

The winter rating of both 5W20 and 5W30 oils is 5 in terms of viscosity. However, in warmer weather, the former has a weight of 20. In summer, 5W30 oil would have a higher weight of 30. This makes it much more viscous.

Now, the core purpose of using motor oil in your car’s engine is to keep the metal parts lubricated. The lubricant goes a long way in cooling the engine. It fills up the gaps between the cylinder and the piston.

The lubricant also protects the parts of the engine from different corrosive substances and water. Using the right motor oil also removes acids and silicon oxide from the components of the engine. Therefore, the viscosity of the motor oil happens to be a key factor in ensuring smooth functioning.

Viscosity denotes how much resistance it would offer to the engine. It also shows how the oil would perform at extreme temperatures. The oil would be thicker if the viscosity number is higher.

What happens if you use 5w30 instead of 5w20?

1. Warranty getting voided

In case you have your powertrain under the manufacturer’s warranty, you would get it void. The automakers design the engines with specific parts and recommend a particular oil to optimize its performance. So, when the engine goes wrong due to the usage of the wrong motor oil, it’s natural for them to void the warranty.

2. Poor engine performance

Using a thicker oil in your engine offers more resistance to its parts. The oil fails to flow as smoothly as 5W20 oil due to its high viscosity. When the engine operates, its parts come under high resistance. This exerts pressure on the engine, and it starts malfunctioning sooner than you would expect it to do.

3. Incorrect warning signals

If you use 5w30 oil instead of 5w20, your car’s computer system would send wrong warning signals. Therefore, the other components of your car would receive faulty signals. This might lead to the check engine light coming on. Also, there might be some strange indicators in the oil.

Considering these aspects, it would be wise to use the recommended oil. Even if you switch the motor oils, stick to a single fluid after changing it.

Also, the respective engine oils contain different types of additives. This provides the engines with different benefits. The chemical additives come under constant turmoil. Since the engine wouldn’t receive enough additives, it might break down.

Can you use 5w20 on a 5w30 Car?

Switching engine oils in your car would not be a good idea. So, try not to use 5W20 oil in a car that needs 5W30 oil. Using the wrong oil implies you would be depriving the engine of its necessary protection. In 5w20 oils, you have more additives. Besides, such oil tends to shear a little when the operating conditions remain normal.

Some drivers blend the two oil types. As a result, the viscosity difference diminishes to a certain extent. Even with a minimal difference in viscosity, the difference would be visible.


It would be wise to use 5W30 oil during the summer months when the climate remains hot. This type of oil performs better when the temperature is high.

As a result, your car would enjoy a better fuel economy. Also, the engine would remain protected. However, if the car operates under cold weather conditions, it would be wise to use 5W20 oil.

Now, you might be operating your car somewhere with an average temperature. In case the temperature doesn’t swing to the extremes, both these types of oil would perform equally well. The best strategy is to adhere to the recommendation of the manufacturer.