Can I Use 5W30 Instead of 0W20? Explained (Not Recommended)

A spark for ignition may get your car up and running, but good motor oil is necessary to keep the parts polished for the engine to run smoothly. 0W20 is a popular choice because of its consistency and versatility in various climates.

Though this type of lubricant is relatively higher in cost, you will likely look for cheaper alternatives.

Can I use 5w30 instead of 0w20? or Can I use 0w20 instead of 5w30 ?

No, It is not recommended  to use different viscosity motor oil if the manual specifies. If your owner’s manual clearly states a thicker oil, do not substitute a thinner SAE grade or a thicker oil for a thinner oil vis-grade. Using the correct viscosity motor oil will help protect and maintain the engine performance of your vehicle.

So, you may be wondering if there is an emergency? Yes you can but it is not recommended. Let’s start out by looking at the different attributes of each type of oil and see how you can use 5W30 as an alternative.

Head to Head Comparison: 5w30 vs 0w20

Oil TypeMulti-Grade OilMuti-Grade Oil
Viscosity8.8 mm2/s9.5 mm2/s
Viscosity Index173154
Maximum Operating Temperature (°C)+20+25
Minimum Operating Temperature (°C)-15-35
Pour point (°C)-48-44
Flash Point (°C)206185
Preferable climateGreat colder weather.Great for warmer weather.
ThicknessThinnest Thinner
PerformanceProvide exceptional engine protection by combating engine stressors such as deposits, wear, and heat.Greater protection against friction is provided by a thicker anti-wear film.
Suitable VehicleGasoline and Hybrid engine, Compact car or Sub compactSUVs, trucks, small vans and selected cars
Fuel Economy Top in the market but a bit expensiveAffordable
Head to Head Comparison: 5w30 vs 0w20

# 0W20 Motor Oil Properties and Benefits

The 0W20 type motor oil has some interesting features which you might not have known before. Let’s see what they are –

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Low Viscosity

One of the main attributes of 0W20 is that it has a low viscosity. This means that its consistency is thin and can pour and flow much easier than thicker oils.

Suitable for Winter

In its name, the “W” stands for winter, and the “0 before it indicates the oil’s viscosity when it is cold. The “20” shows the viscosity level of the oil when the temperature is high. Motor oils that are approved by (the Society of Automotive Engineers) SAE standards follow this type of naming convention.

20 is a relatively small number compared to the ones given to other motor oils, which means it has a low viscosity. Consistency is thin, making 0W20 suitable for colder climates. Countries situated in the northern hemisphere typically use this type of lubricant for their cars.

It Is Multi-Viscous in Nature

Although the viscosity is low in 0W20, it contains other added elements so that it works in other temperatures as well. It can work well in hotter temperatures, just the same.

Causes Lesser Pollution

Due to its low viscosity, 0W20 flows easier with lesser chances of thickening up. When the lubricant gets too thick, the car has to spend more fuel, resulting in more toxic fumes being released into the air.

But with thinner oils, the loss of fuel is comparatively less. As a result, lower amounts of fumes from fuel usage are released, causing minimal pollution.

Good for Everyday Use

Common 0W20 oils, such as Mobil, Castrol, Pennzoil, Royal Purple, etc., are preferable for regular cars that run on petrol. The low viscosity makes this lubricant a good option for everyday use in cars.

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However, it is not suitable to use in motorbikes and helicopters because these vehicles need to use a lot of heat to run.

# 5W30 Motor Oil Properties and Benefits

5W30 has similar attributes and benefits compared to 0W20, which makes it a good alternative. Here are some of those properties explained –

Also Has Low Viscosity

Like the 0W20 motor oil, 5W30 also has a thinner consistency. As a result, the viscosity is low, making it a good lubricant to use in cold temperatures.

Good for Winter and Summer

Contrary to 0W20 being best suited for extremely cold climates, 5W30 has certain multi-viscous elements that make it fit for hot weather as well. 5W30 works well in temperatures up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit!

As the consistency is also thin, this multi-grade oil provides the proper amount of lubrication in very cold weather. This is a great advantage as you don’t have to consider switching to different lubricants every time the weather changes.

Provides High Mileage

As 5W30 is less viscous, there is a very low chance that the heat generated by the car will cause a chemical reaction in the motor oil. This way, the viscosity will remain unchanged, and the oil won’t break down.

Because of this, the engine’s performance will be enhanced. And since the oil won’t break down as easily, fuel consumption also decreases.

Consequently, your car will have higher mileage, and you can go further distances without worrying about your engine wearing out.

Protects Engine Parts

Cars dissipate a lot of heat, and too much heat can slowly damage parts of the engine. Although thicker motor oils are ideal for more heavy-duty vehicles, lubricants with low viscosity are beneficial for cars in regular use in all sorts of climates.

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5W30 is also multi-viscous in nature and can therefore settle itself in both cold and hot temperatures in a way that protects the car’s engine. So, when looking for an alternative to 0W20, 5W30 is one of the popular options to go for.

Appropriate for Aged Cars

As a car gets old and worn, even little exertion of pressure on the engine can cause easy damage. And since cars are expensive, people still try to get as much out as possible from their old cars by upgrading other components.

Most people tend to forget what an important role lubricating oils play in the engine’s health. Thick oils are good for hot temperatures but can be detrimental in normal weather as they will cause too much friction within the internal components.

Just like 0W20, 5W30 oil is thin and lightweight. It will be easy on your car, and the engine won’t have to work too hard to run. So, it is no doubt an ideal choice for keeping your old cars running normally.


Can I use 5w30 instead of 0w20 for Subaru? or Silverado?

Yes you can but in an emergency, the two kinds of oil can be mixed together. But you shouldn’t mix them, and you should change the oil once you’re out of the emergency. To change the Subaru Synthetic 5W-30 Motor Oil, you don’t have to do any special measures.

Can I use 5w30 instead of 0w20 for Honda? or Toyota?

According to many users, A full synthetic 5W-30 will flow well. If you look at the owner’s manuals for the same Toyota and Honda engines in many other countries. But It is not recommended.

Can I use 5w30 instead of 0w20 for Mazda?

According to Mazda experts, 0W-20 gets better mileage than 5w-30 but 5w-30 protects better. The 0w20 motor oil will flow freely and much better in cold temperatures as compared to hot weather.


Both 0W20 and 5W30 type motor oils have good qualities, making them suitable for cars in different scenarios. 0W20 is popular for its low viscosity, which is a quality that 5W30 oils also hold. In most areas, 0W20 is a bit pricey, which is why people tend to look for a similar alternative.

Though 5W30 has similar properties, you might still think – can I use 5W30 instead of 0W20? The answer is NO, it is not recommended but if there is an emergency you may use.

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Brian Polk

Brian is an automotive expert who has 12 years of experience in the industry. He has worked on a variety of cars, from high-end luxury vehicles to budget-friendly options, and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. He is passionate about automobile and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, whether they are looking to purchase a new motorized vehicle or simply learn more about the inner workings of these machines. In his free time, Brian enjoys working in his automobile workshop and spending time at the track.

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