Differences between 5w30 and 5w50 motor oil

Engine Oil

Changing the vehicle’s oil is not only a good idea but also a crucial part of ensuring that the car runs properly.  Engine oil intention is to keep the components within the car’s engine cool and lubricated. Such oil provides that the moving parts inside the engine do not grind against each other occasioning wear and tear. Devoid of regular oil changes, dirt and sludge could accumulate in the engine. Besides, dirty oil does not grease the moving part well compared to fresh oil. Additionally, unclean lubricant precludes grave damage that if unattended could have one replacing the entire engine.

Given all the motor oil selections available, picking the correct oil for a car could appear like a hopelessly formidable undertaking. While there is a mountain of information to learn about the various oil selections, the first step is simple. One needs to consult the manufacturer’s manual.

5W-30 Engine Oil

5W-30 engine oils are cutting-edge full artificial engine oils intended to keep the engine running efficiently by delivering excellent wear fortification, cleaning power and complete performance. Besides, it helps in increasing the fuel economy of the vehicle. 5W-30 satisfies or surpasses the specification of the industry’s strictest criteria and outperforms the conventional oils. The manufacture of 5W-30 employs an exclusive combination of high-performance artificial base stocks invigorated with an accurately well-adjusted constituent scheme. Haas, (2011) notes that the 5W-30 viscosity grade is one of the most acclaimed categories for new vehicles.

5W-30 employs a unique design that assists in the delivery of unrivaled levels of performance, cleaning power and engine protection, while satisfying the strict ILSAC GF-5 performance standards. GF-5 is a recent introduction and is a minimum performance standard for use in gasoline-fueled engines in passenger cars. Oils that fulfil ILSAC GF-5 are superior in performance to those meeting ILSAC GF-4 and earlier and can effectively lubricate vehicles that demand such standards. Other features include protection to wear by cold start, outstanding resistance against corrosion, wear and foaming, Very high thermal- and oxidation constancy, high viscosity index, high dispersant and detergency level and longer oil drain interval.

5W-50 Engine Oils

5W-50 engine oil is suitable for a wide variety of use such as motorsport, collector, or classic cars and punishing driving settings such as hauling and high operating temperatures. 5w50 Full Artificial Motor Oil is an excellent oil to use in high revving every day driven performance vehicles that keep the engine safe. According to Haas, the engine oil contains a high detergency formulation that permits for lengthy drain interludes and delivers improved cleanliness to aid in the prevention of engine sludge that deprives the engine of power thus enhancing the vehicles fuel economy and performance.

5W-50 synthetic motor oil offers superior protection by featuring a high natural viscosity index for a heavier oil coating that covers all engine constituents including the bearings and cams to deliver outstanding friction and wear protection over a wide-ranging choice of operating conditions and temperatures. The oils have a comprehensive viscosity grade to assist in the provision of a malleable combination of low and high temperature such that it performs and protects at low temperatures.

Oil Specifications

The foundation of oil grading uses a numerical code established by the Society of Automotive Engineers depending on their viscosity characteristics. For the reason that the viscosity of oil varies with temperature, the development of multi-grade lubricants aimed to offer protection over an array of temperatures. The labeling of oil follows formats such as SAE 5W-30. For instance, in a 5W-30, the figure before the W defines the oil’s viscosity of the oil at low temperatures. The lower the number, the thinner the oil and the superior the oil’s cold start performance. The integer after the W defines the oil’s thickness at the engine’s optimum operating temperature.

Differences between 5W-30 and 5W-50 Oils

Both oils have a viscosity of 5W in cold wintry conditions. However, while 5W-30 has a thickness of 30-weight at standard engine operating temperature, the 5W-50 has 50-weight at similar circumstances. 5W-30 and 5W-50 contain high detergency properties that allow for prolonged drain interludes and provide enhanced cleanliness to assist in the deterrence of engine sludge formation that takes away engine power hence improving the automobile performance and fuel economy. The prices of the two oils are relatively similar for the same quantity. However, different manufacturing companies price their oil differently.

Synthetics can, without harm, deal with higher operating temperatures devoid of oxidizing or breaking down. The upper limit for 5W-30 lubricants is about 250 to 300 degrees F; while 5W-50 can handle up to 450 degrees F. both oils have a lower temperature limit of about minus 40 degrees F. occasionally, similar brands from the same manufacturer have different qualities. For instance, Mobil 1 has various attributes in a similar weight; one could purchase 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, or 15W-50 Mobil 1 in the standard or extended line of performance. However, those in the extended range of performance are slightly expensive.

Adaptation to Weather and Climate

Mansur, Mendelsohn, & Morrison, (2008) held that synthetic oils are unlike conventional oils because they work well at both low and high-temperature environments. In cold temperatures, the traditional oil may not flow well through the lubrication system of the engine; nevertheless, synthetic oils continue to retain its viscosity. Both the 5W-30 and 5W-50 have similar characteristics at low temperatures; however, at operating temperatures, the latter viscosity is high.

Oil Applications

5W-30 oils find use in all kinds of current vehicles, including supercharged gasoline, high-performance turbo-charged and diesel multi-valve injection engines such as those in SUVs, light trucks, passenger cars and light vans. 5W-50 engine oil is suited for a wide assortment of applications including motorsport, classic cars and extreme driving conditions like towing and high operating temperatures. The 5w50 engine oil is less popular as opposed to the 5W-30 counterpart. Using this oil permits one to promote the health of the car engine. It safeguards the engine from build-up of deposits and sludge that ultimately averts damage.  Its operating viscosity assists its movement across all moving parts in the process of lubricating the engine.

The Choice of Oil

​            Choosing between 5W-30 and 5W-50 is difficult. The oils exhibit very similar properties. The choice of the right oil should follow the guidelines contained in the vehicle manufacturers’ manual. Most individuals incline to select the 5W-30 due to its adaptability. The oil can weather a wide variety of temperatures. Besides, it is standard and readily available. While the 5W-50 is still useful, it is not popular. However, in places where the 5W-30 is not possible, the 5W-50 is a suitable alternative. However, the availability of similar synthetic brands with different qualities could further complicate one’s choice.


Haas, A. (2011). Lets Talk Motor Oil – It is So Very Misunderstood. Retrieved from https://www.minimania.com/Motor_Oils_-_It_Is_So_Very_Misunderstood

Mansur, E. T., Mendelsohn, R., & Morrison, W. (2008). Climate change adaptation: A study of fuel choice and consumption in the US energy sector. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 55(2), 175-193.