10w30 vs 20w50

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10w30 and 20w50 are optimal viscosity oils preferable for modern and classic engines. And they have the power to lubricate the internal components of an engine efficiently. Efficient lubrication refers to creating a layer of oil between the mechanical gears to avoid rough contact between them.

In this way, the gears gliding over one another will get a smooth flow that will impose less load upon the vehicle engine. In fact, 10w30 and 20w50, with ideal viscosity, ensures smooth flow at respective temperatures. Now, let’s check out their in-depth specifications.

10w30 vs 20w50

Both 10w30 and 20w50 engine oils are ideal for your vehicle to run 10,000 miles before an oil change. It is a fact that car engines demand a specific oil volume for lubricating the engine components. And 10w30 and 20w50 can help in reducing that consumption without compromising on the efficiency of the lubrication.

Man checking the car engine

In fact, these engine oils last for longer miles, thereby saving your oil-replacement expenses for a long duration.

However, both of these oils do have certain differences that are important for you to consider while choosing one among them. Hence, refer to this 10w30 vs. 20w50 article for complete elaboration. 

10w30 Specifications

10w30 is SAE multi-grade oil that is a pure synthetic blend. Also, it is primarily preferable for gasoline engines. However, it would be best if you kept the engines running with ideal cleaning measures. And this engine oil has the potential to clean the engines all on its own while lubricating the engine components.

Furthermore, all the modern engines that demand high-performance and have top-class technology can use 10w30 on priority. Here, top technology engines refer to turbo-charges and super-charged gasoline or diesel engines.

In addition, 10w30 is an ideal pick for passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks, and light vans. Most of the SUV manufacturers across the globe consider the viscosity grade of 10w30 as ideal for their robust SUV models.

Not just modern engines, but some old classic engines, can also revive the lost engine functionality with this oil. Still, you need to check the manufacturer’s manual before opting for the oil. The viscosity rating of 10 in this oil represents the viscosity of this oil at low temperatures.

And, the number 30 represents the viscosity at high operating temperatures.

This oil has an additional sense of protection for the clutch and gears and boosts your vehicle’s fuel economy. Also, it is an all-weather oil that ensures engine protection for your vehicle, irrespective of the temperature or climate. However, this oil is not recommended for aviation or 2-cycle engines unless the manufacturers approve it.

Car dashboard

If your vehicle acts as a highway fleet or is a pick-up truck, then constant running might increase the engine temperature to the peak. In this case, 10w30 engine oil has the potential to withstand the high temperature of your engine components as well.

20w50 Specifications

20w50 is a highly viscous oil and is preferable for hot climates. It is ideal for winter climates, but it performs better in a hot climate, keeping in mind the efficiency factor. Furthermore, 20w50 is a thick oil that has the potential of helping the engine prevent leaks when it gets older with time.

However, thickness is not an advantage at all times. Hence, some engines that are not compatible with such thick engine oils might experience severe damage. Therefore, check your manufacturer’s manual before you intend to use 20w50 in your vehicle.

In addition, it helps reduce engine corrosion and cleans the components to free them from sludge build-up. This multi-grade motor oil allows easy start-up at cold temperatures. Also, the high-temperature maintenance is the plus-point of this oil that is the ideal selling point.

It is an ideal pick for 4-stroke motorcycle engines. Moreover, it offers a consistent pace of power, as the friction losses are reduced with the smooth flow.

Apart from that, the fluid film protection at the high operating temperatures intends to reduce the deposit formation. With this property, this oil becomes compatible to be used in air-cooled engines as well. Also, the valve train and bearing components receive ideal protection with this oil’s implementation.

10w30 vs 20w50


  • Both these engine oils are offering cleaning solutions for sludge build-up.
  • Both are multi-grade synthetic oils.
Man observing his friend as he pours oil on a car engine


  • The kinematic viscosity for 10w30 is 10.4 mm2/s, whereas for 20w50 is 20.5mm2/s at 100 degrees Celsius.
  • The pour point of 10w30 is -42 degrees Celsius and for 20w50 is -3 degrees Celsius.
  • The low-temperature viscosity rating for 10w30 is ’10’, whereas for 20w50 is ‘20’.
  • The high-temperature viscosity rating for 10w30 is ‘30’, whereas for 20w50 is ‘50’.
  • The flashpoint for 10w30 is 232 degrees Celsius, and 20w50 is 230 Celsius.

Major Distinguishing Factor

The major distinguishing factor for 10w30 and 20w50 is the density of that oil. For example, the density of 10w30 at 15.6 Degrees C is 0.859 g/ml, whereas, for 20w50 at 15 Degrees C, it is 0.878 g/ml.

When To Use 10w30?

10w30 is an ideal pick for passenger cars, SUVs, light vans, or light trucks. Also, it is best for cold temperatures to support cold start-ups. It is ideal for both seasons with optimal efficiency. However, in comparison to 20w50, it is more suitable for winter climates.

When To Use 20w50?

20w50 is specifically for motorcycles and air-cooled engines. It is a thick engine oil for which it is primarily preferable for vehicles that run in hot climates or experience more engine heat-up scenarios. So, check your vehicle’s manual to find if thick oils are ideal for your vehicle, and consider your choice depending on that.

Final Verdict

Both of these engine oils are different from one another in terms of application and performance. In addition, the application of these engine oils differs based upon their thickness, viscosity, vehicle type, and temperature factors. So, consider all of the crucial factors to ensure that you pick the right oil for your engine or vehicle type.