0w20 vs. 5w30 Engine Oil: Differences and Can You Swap Them?

The motor oil is used so that it will provide lubrication for internal combustion engines. Motor oils are essential for your vehicle because they will help you prevent any tear and wear that you can get from the moving parts in your engine when the vehicle is running. Motor oil will give improvement to your piston sealing. 

They will also cool down your engine. They do this by diverting any heat that you get from the moving parts in your vehicle. This is also the reason why you need to have an oil change as often as needed. 

Motor oil is used for almost all automobiles, like motorcycles, generators, cars, and many other machines. They will reduce wear in all the engines, and at the same time, they will lubricate those moving parts in your engine. And you can consider motor oil the identifier of how your engine will survive over a long period. 

So as a car driver, you should know the vital role that motor oils play in your engine. It is also essential to know about the different motor oils and how they differ from each other. So in this article, we’ll be focusing on 0w20 oil and 5w30 oil. 

We will be comparing these two and get to know them more. Let us start!

0w20 vs. 5w30

What Is the Difference Between 0w20 and 5w30 Oil?

Many car drivers still do not know how important it is to pick the right and recommended motor oil for your engine. You must stick with what is recommended for your engine, and you must avoid those oils that are not compatible with your vehicle. So we will discuss the differences between 0w20 oil and 5w30 oil. We will discuss three (3) distinct differences: viscosity, fuel economy, and hot weather.


The 0w20 means that it has 20 as a viscosity of the oil. The lower the number is, the thinner the viscosity of the oil is. The 0w20 oil is known to be a multi-viscosity oil. 

This is because it has a specific amount of special additives. These additives will make the motor oil have a different viscosity in cold weather. In summer, the viscosity of 0w20 will become higher.

On the other hand, during winter, the viscosity of this oil will become lower, so that is why people prefer to use 0w20 in the summer seasons. If you put a 5w30 motor oil in your engine during summer, the weather will cause the oil to become thinner, leading to future damages. 

The 5w30 has a 5 for their viscosity level. If the number decreases, the better the cold start temperature and the thinner the motor oil will be. The 5w30 oil is also a multi-grade motor oil because it can be categorized into two viscosity grades.

Fuel Economy

In terms of fuel economy, the 0w20 is known to have a low viscosity. This particular motor oil is also very popular for consumers because it can develop an excellent performance and fuel economy. The 0w20 motor oil in high temperature and an over fifty thousand (50,000) mileage will have that more thin protective oil film. 

This will then hasten the wear of the parts of the engine. For 5w30 motor oil, this feature is not very noticeable. However, a thinner oil fil will be dangerous if the internal combustion engine operates very high speed and with a heavy load. 

With this condition, the vehicle’s engine will have an increased oil consumption, which results in a lousy fuel economy. On the other hand, the 0w20 motor oil has a reduced viscosity. This means that this oil will be providing an increase in motor efficiency. 

If you compare it with a 5w30, the cut is around ten (10) to twelve (12) percent. So, as a result, it can have almost the same fuel economy.

Hot Weather

The 0w20 motor oil will flow freely and much better in cold temperatures as compared to hot weather. It will also flow freely and much better than the 5w30 while having the same viscosity. The ow20 oil has very low viscosity if the engine is in cold weather. 

So hot weather or cold weather will affect the usage of 0w20 more than the 5w30 motor oil. On the other hand, the 5w30 oil is also excellent and efficient. So this motor oil can still function in environments where the weather is freezing and scorching. 

Therefore, 5w30 motor oils are used a lot and are most accepted by machine users instead of 0w20 because this 5w30 motor oil can still function very well in extreme weather like cold weather or hot weather. This is why many people prefer 5w30 motor oil to 0w20 motor oil because there are places where it can be extremely cold or boiling. The popularity of this 5w30 motor oil is from the fact that this oil will adapt to a lot of weather conditions, especially in the winter season and scorching weather.

Can I Use 0w20 Instead of 5w30?

Yes. Many car owners have been using 0w20 instead of 5w30. These two oils have their similarities also. Both of these oils have a synthetic base. 

This means that they have a high degree of fluidity. They also have excellent lubricating properties, and this will result in a good fuel economy. They also have their chemical stability. 

Both of these oils are called multi-grade fluids. This means that both of these oils have an extensive temperature range. Therefore, they are also both recommended for modern internal combustion engines.

Also Read: Can you mix 0w20 and 5w30?

Accidentally Used 0w20 Instead of 5w30: Is It Ok?

Yes, it is okay. Nothing serious can happen that is worth worrying about. The 0w20 motor oil has a different viscosity in its oil. 

So if your manufacturer will say to you that it is necessary to use a 5w30 for your engine, then using 0w20 might not be an advantage, but it will also not cause you significant problems. There are engines where you can use 0w20 and 5w30. 

The rule of thumb here is to use a viscosity for your engine that your manufacturer recommends. For the recommendation of your engine, you can refer to your owner’s manual.

0w20 vs 5w30 High Mileage

The 0w20 motor oil has a formulation that is combined with a propriety mix of high-performance synthetic base stocks that are fortified with an accurate and specific well-balanced additive component system and this is made specially and designed for high mileage vehicles. On the other hand, a high mileage 5w30 motor oil is made for late-model vehicles or for newer vehicles. 

It has over seventy-five thousand (75,000) miles or one hundred twenty (120) kilometers. A high mileage motor oil will help with the reduction of burn-off and will also help in the prevention of oil leaks that can happen in older engines. This is because of its unique formulation and additives. 

Which Is Better, 0w20 or 5w30 Oil?

A lot of car manufacturers every day are transitioning to a 0w20 synthetic engine oil. This is for an improvement in environmental conditions. However, 0w20 oil is often compared to 5w30 oil because 0w20 oil can be more expensive than 5w30. 

So shortly, you might be looking at many car owners who are using 0w20 motor oil rather than 5w30 motor oil. This is because companies wanted to lessen fuel consumption rates, and they also want to improve the engine’s efficiency. However, the 5w30 motor oil is perfect for multi-grade oil. 

This motor oil is also very efficient. The 5w30 motor oil is used for machinery that the locations are in those places where the temperature can get lower than twenty-two (22) degrees Fahrenheit. There are also engineers for automobiles worldwide that recommend engineers to heighten the fuel economy ratings. 

Motors oils like 5w30 are giving very little to no friction in any engines. This will then result in assistance to increase the fuel economy. Most of the time, those vehicle manufacturers recommend 5w30 motor oil because it is thinner motor oil. 

There are just some cases, though, where the fuel economy of one’s engine will also result in an increase in the engine’s tear and wear.

When should I use 0w20 and when 5w30?

You must use the motor oil that your manufacturer says is recommended for your vehicle. So you must use 0w20 motor oil if it is recommended for your vehicle, and you must use 5w30 motor oil if it is recommended for your vehicle. The letter W in motor oil means the WInter. 

The number the W means the viscosity of the motor oil during cold weather. If the W is high, then it means the motor oil is thicker in winter, resulting in slow-flowing motor oil. If the letter W is low, it means a thinner viscosity, resulting in faster flowing motor oil. 

It will also result in a healthy engine. Do not use a thin oil just because a thinner oil moves faster. Every specific engine of every vehicle is designed to a specific viscosity of the oil. 

If your motor oil is too thin, then the engine might not receive enough lubrication. As a result, there can be permanent damages. So what is the best option is to read your owner’s manual and find out which motor oil is recommended for your vehicle. 

0w20 vs. 5w30 engine oil compared

0w20 vs. 5w30 Toyota

For Toyota, the motor oil 5w30 is much more recommended for all Toyota engines. This is because this 5w30 motor oil has a higher viscosity coat and properly lubricates four (4) to six (6) cylinder engines. For the oil change, Toyota also recommends changing your oil every three thousand (3,000) miles. 

Some car drivers will change their oil for every five thousand (5,000) or six thousand (6,000) miles. Some car drivers are using both, but if we stick with what is recommended, you better stick with 5w30 motor oil for your Toyota.  

0w20 vs. 5w30 Nissan

For Nissan, they would be recommended 5w30 motor oil for their engines. They also state their alternatives. 

You can use 10w30 conventional petroleum-based oil as an alternative for the 5w30 motor oil. So it would be better to use 5w30 rather than 0w20.

0w20 vs. 5w30 Subaru

For Subaru, you can use both 0w20 motor oil or 5w30 motor oil, depending on the model of your Subaru. The Subaru company has two different SAE weights, and that will vary in their viscosity. 

So for those turbos that run in hotter temperatures, they would recommend 5w30 motor oil. For those non-turbo engines formulated for an improved fuel economy, they recommend ow20 motor oil.

0w20 vs. 5w30 Mazda

For Mazda, they said that almost all of the Mazda cars and their crossover SUVs recommend using 0w20 motor oil. It will still depend on the model, though. 

Their Mazda CX-9 is recommended for a 5w30 motor oil. The best rule of thumb is to read and follow your owner’s manual and follow what is recommended.

0w20 vs. 5w30 BMW

For BMW, they would also recommend 5w30 motor oil. However, like the other brand, it will also depend on the model. But most of the models would recommend 5w30 motor oil. 

The 5w30 motor oil is recommended for almost all of the BMW engines. For you to know what your recommended motor oil is, you must find your owner’s manual. In your owner’s manual, you will be able to know the oil recommendation directly from your company.

0w20 vs. 5w30 Ford

For Ford, most of their engines are using 5w30 motor oil. They are using this for those temperatures that are below twenty-two. However, as mentioned, other brand models would require a different motor oil. 

So with that, it is always important to look for your owner’s manual and refer there for the recommended motor oil for your specific model. The important note, though, is that these are just recommendations; they are not a requirement. So if you want to use 0w20, then you definitely can.

0w20 vs 5w30 Chevrolet

There are many different engines for Chevrolet, and these different engines will need different oil with different weights and different viscosity ratings. So these numbers will be telling you about the oil flow and the different temperatures. 

So for almost all of the vehicles of Chevrolet, they would require 5w30 motor oil. Some models would use 10w30 or 5w20, depending on the engine.

0w20 vs. 5w30 Jeep

For Jeep, you can use 0w20 motor oil or 5w30 motor oil, depending on your car model. But, again, not all vehicles of one brand recommend only one motor oil. So, again, it will depend on the model of the vehicle. 

So remember not to use different motor oil, especially if it is not recommended or restricted because you can have issues with your warranty. People are using 5w30 motor oil. It is a famous alternative.

0w20 vs. 5w30 Volkswagen

For Volkswagen, you can use 0w20 motor oil or 5w30 motor oil. But, again, it will depend on the model of your vehicle. 

For most Volkswagen vehicles, they would recommend 5w30. However, some models would recommend 0w20. So read your owner’s manual for the recommendation.


In summary, the motor oil that is used for your vehicle is essential. Therefore, for every specific mile, you should have an oil change for your vehicle. 

Two 0w20 motor oil and 5w30 motor oil have their differences, but they also have their similarities. So with that, it is essential to know what your vehicle would recommend in terms of using motor oil.



Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more