Is 5W30 or 10W30 Better for Winter?

Oil change is an essential service for cars, but getting it as scheduled is just one of many things to be mindful of. We also need to use oil with the recommended viscosity. Because using the wrong type not only affects performance but could cause the engine to get too little oil. 

It’s best to switch oil based on the time of year. Oil must stay thin enough in cold weather but not too thin in hot weather. At Little Wolf Automotive in Antigo, WI, we provide the correct oil grade during your vehicle’s oil change

Single-Grade vs. Multi-grade Oils

Is 5W30 or 10W30 Better for Winter? | Little Wolf Automotive in Antigo, WI. Image of a male customer buying engine oil in the car supermarket.

Before thickening agents were invented, we used single-grade oils, such as SAE 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50. They only had a specific viscosity at 212°F, but this property limits them in protecting your engine during winter. 

Multi-grade oils are now common, like 5W30 and 10W30. These oils have different viscosities at different temperatures. 

Multi-grade oils’ notation has two numbers separated by “W.” The first number is the viscosity at 0°F, while the second is at 212°F (which is the typical engine temperature). The “W” means the oil is graded for winter use. 

Take 5W30 as an example. “W” means it’s graded for winter use. The lower viscosity (5) at 0°F means this oil won’t be as thick (30) at normal operating temperatures. 

5W30 vs. 10W30: Which is Better for Winter?

5W30 and 10W30 are similar as they have the same second number. The difference, though, is in the first number—the “5” or “10” before the W. This means at below-freezing temperatures, 5W30 is generally thinner (flowier) than 10W30. 

They also differ in their lowest operating temperature. 5W30 will still flow at temperatures as low as -22°F, while 10W30 will only work until 0°F. 5W30 is also somewhat more versatile for any season due to its wider temperature spread.

Nonetheless, both 5W30 and 10W30 are excellent oil options. The oil to use depends on where you live and what you drive. Sometimes, when two multi-grade oils are close in viscosity, one is used or the other, or the two are mixed in an emergency. But for best results, always use the oil recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. 

Contact Little Wolf Automotive in Antigo, WI for Oil Changes in Antigo, WI

When it’s time for an oil change, reach out to Little Wolf Automotive in Antigo, WI. We have several oil grades at hand, as some vehicles (usually heavy-duty vehicles) use 10W30, while others (usually light-duty vehicles) use 5W30.

Call us at (715) 350-4287 for more information. You don’t need an appointment for an oil change. You can drop by our express lube shop at 1436 Neva Road, Antigo, WI 54409.