SAE 30 vs 5W30 Oil: Which One Is Best Choice For Your Vehicle? 

SAE 30 vs 5W30 Oil

SAE 30 and 5W30 oils may seem similar at first glance, as their higher viscosity is the same (30), but they are different; like SAE 30 is best suited for mild temperatures, whereas 5W30 is for colder temperatures. Between SAE 30 vs 5W30, SAE 30 is a traditional, single-grade oil that is commonly used in older engines, and 5W30 is a synthetic, multi-grade oil that offers improved performance for modern engines. But does that mean you should go for a 5W30 oil? The answer is NO; let’s find out why. 

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In this blog post, we’re going to explore the pros and cons of each type of oil, usage, so that you can make a perfect decision to maintain your vehicle. Buckle up and hold on tight, because we are about to learn all about SAE 30 vs 5W30 oils! 

SAE 30 vs 5W30 Comparision Table   

Features SAE 30 5W30 
SAE 30 5W30 Oil
Grade Single grade Multi grade 
Viscosity Higher Higher 
Thickness at Lower Temperature  Thicker Thinner 
Appropriate for Normal weather conditions Both normal and extreme weather conditions 
Best to Use for  Lawnmower, chain saw Passenger car, light van, SUV 
Price  Around $10 Around $25 

SAE 30 vs 5W30: Everything You Need To Know  

First things first, let’s get familiarize with all the relevant terminologies so that you can figure out by yourself which oil should you buy. 


Viscosity is a measure of how easily a liquid flows and is commonly used to measure the thickness of oils. It is measured by determining how long it takes for a specific amount of liquid to flow through a small opening. The viscosity of oil ranges from 0-60, with 0 being the thinnest (least viscous) and 60 being the thickest (most viscous) oil. In short, it determines how well the oil will flow through the engine and lubricate its parts. 

The viscosity of a liquid can change with temperature. As the temperature increases, the viscosity of a liquid decreases, making it easier to flow. As the temperature decreases, the viscosity of a liquid increases, making it harder to flow.  

What SAE & W Stands for? 

SAE in SAE 30 oil stands for Society of Automotive Engineers. In 1905, Henry Ford and Andrew Ricker established the organization to denote viscosity of oil for each engine type. On the other hand, W in 5W-30 oil stands for “Winter.” The “W” rating indicates the oil’s low-temperature viscosity. 

What Is SAE 30 Oil? 

SAE 30 oil is a type of mineral-based motor oil that is commonly used in small engines, such as lawnmowers, generators, and power washers. The “30” refers to the oil’s viscosity, or the thickness of the oil. To be more precise, at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit, this oil has a viscosity rating of 30. 

SAE 30 is a single-grade oil, meaning it has a fixed viscosity and does not change with temperature. The oil is recommended for use in small engines that operate in temperatures above 40°F since it is thicker and provides better lubrication and protection at higher temperatures. 

SAE 30
SAE 30

Features & Benefits of SAE 30 Oil: 

Here are the key features and benefits of an SAE 30 oil. 

Improved fuel efficiency: SAE 30 oil is formulated to help improve fuel efficiency and last long, which can save you money on gas over time. Its moderate viscosity rating allows for less resistance in the engine, resulting in improved fuel efficiency. 

Temperature range: SAE 30 oil is designed for use in warmer temperatures, making it a good choice for summer driving. 

Additives: An SAE 30 oil contains additives that help to protect the engine against wear and tear, corrosion. These additives can include dispersants, anti-wear agents, and anti-foam agents. 

Low phosphorus: Generally, these oils have low phosphorus content, which is beneficial for vehicles equipped with catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters. 

Drawbacks of SAE 30 Oil: 

Some of the drawbacks of using an SAE 30 oil include: 

Viscosity breakdown: SAE 30 oil can become too thick in low temperatures, which leads to poor lubrication and increased wear on engine parts. 

Not for modern engines: SAE 30 is not recommended for use in modern engines, particularly those that are designed to operate at low temperatures or with turbocharged or supercharged systems. 

What Is 5W30 Oil? 

5W30 is a synthetic blend oil, which means it is made of a combination of synthetic and conventional oils. It is commonly used in in a wide range of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and SUVs. The “5W” refers to the viscosity of the oil at low temperatures, and the “30” refers to the viscosity of the oil at high temperatures. So, in terms of the higher viscosity range, a 5W30 oil is the same as an SAE 30 oil, but an SAE 30 oil doesn’t have a lower viscosity range like a 5W30 oil. 

On top of it, 5W30 is a multi-grade oil, meaning that it can perform well in any kind of weather conditions. It is commonly used in vehicles that operate in cold climates, as it is able to flow easily when the engine is cold, and still provide adequate lubrication when the engine is hot.  

5W30 Oil
5W30 Oil

Features & Benefits of 5W30 Oil: 

Multi viscosity rating: The multi-viscosity rating lets the oil to flow easily in cold temperatures and provide sufficient lubrication at higher temperatures. So, the oil can be used in a wide range of temperatures and conditions, making it a versatile option for different types of vehicles. 

Improved fuel efficiency: The lower viscosity level of 5W30 oil lets it flow smoothly through engine components, resulting in less friction and drag. Less friction means improved fuel efficiency, which translates to substantial cost savings in the long run. So, 5W30 oil is also a cost-effective choice. 

Engine protection: 5W30 oil is designed to reduce wear and tear on engine components, preventing rust and corrosion, and keeping the engine clean. It ensures that the engine runs smoothly and efficiently, which can prolong the life of your vehicle. 

Low emission: Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Then, 5W30 is for you. 5W30 oils have a low emissions rating, making them an environmentally friendly option. These oils produce less pollution than traditional oils, which can help reduce the impact of vehicles on the environment. 

Suitable for modern engines: 5W-30 oil is suitable for use in a wide range of vehicles, including cars and SUVs. It is also suitable for both gasoline and diesel engines, making it a versatile option for different types of vehicles. Furthermore, the oil is designed to last longer than conventional oils, reducing the need for frequent oil changes. 

Drawbacks of 5W30 Oil: 

Reduced engine lubrication: 5W-30 oil may not provide enough lubrication for engines with high mileage, leading to increased wear and tear. 

Compatibility issues: Not all engines are designed to use 5W-30 oil, so it is important to check the manufacturer’s recommended oil type. 

SAE 30 vs 5W30 Oil: Final Verdict: 

SAE 30 vs 5W30 both are both popular choices for motor oil, but which one is best for your vehicle? The answer depends on the type of engine you have and the climate in which you live. 

For most modern engines, 5W30 oil is the preferred choice due to its ability to flow more easily at lower temperatures. In addition, 5W30 oil provides better protection against wear and tear on engine components than SAE 30 oil. On the other hand, SAE 30 oil is the best choice for small engines or those that operate in warmer climates. It has a higher viscosity rating than 5W30 oil, meaning it will provide better protection against wear and tear in hotter temperatures. 

Ultimately, the decision between SAE 30 vs 5W30 oil comes down to the type of engine you have. One last piece of advice, whichever oil you choose, make sure to change it on a regular basis and keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear. 

SAE 30 vs 5W30 Oil: FAQ

Is SAE 30 the same as 5W30? 

No, SAE 30 and 5W30 are not the same. SAE 30 is a single-viscosity oil that has a viscosity rating of 30 at operating temperature, while 5W30 is a multi-viscosity oil that has a low-temperature viscosity rating of 5 and a high-temperature viscosity rating of 30. So, even if their higher viscosity is the same, they are not the same type of oil. 

Can I use SAE 30 instead of 5W30? 

No, you should not use SAE 30 instead of 5W30. Because if an engine requires 5W30 oil, it means the requirement is for a multi-graded motor oil, while SAE 30 is a single-graded oil.  

Can I mix SAE 30 with 5W30? 

It is not recommended to mix different types of motor oil together. Each oil has specific properties and formulations that are tailored to specific engines and operating conditions. Mixing SAE 30 with 5W30 will result in an oil that does not provide the optimal performance or protection for your engine. It is best to use the recommended oil grade and viscosity for your vehicle as specified in the manual. 

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