SAE 30 vs 10W40 is an ongoing issue that would be debated on, as most people wonder which one they should use. SAE 30 and 10W40 are two types of motor oil, yet they have different viscosity and temperature ranges in which to perform optimally.

Features Comparison Between SAE 30 And 10W40

Which one is better? Let’s explore their unique properties, uses, and benefits.

Features and Properties

SAE 30


  • Single grade
  • High viscosity
  • Multigrade
  • Lower viscosity at cold temperatures
  • Higher viscosity at hot temperatures
Recommended temperature range
  • Warm to hot climates
  • All-season use, including cold climates
Fuel economy
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Better fuel economy
Engine protection
  • Better engine protection in high temperatures
  • Good engine protection in all temperatures
  • Older engines
  • Heavy-duty applications
  • Modern engines
  • Everyday driving
Oil-change interval
  • More frequent oil changes required
  • Longer oil change intervals
  • Widely available
  • Commonly available

Key Differences between SAE 30 and 10W40

The differences between SAE 30 and 10W40 are that SAE 30 is a single-grade fixed-viscosity oil that is suitable for warm weather. On the other hand, 10W40 is a multi-grade oil that performs under a wilder temperature range, allowing it to be used in cold weather.

Essential Features and Properties of SAE 30

The essential feature and properties of SAE 30 are that this oil one that has a high viscosity, and it is best when it works in temperatures that are warm, and not very cold.

Essential Features and Properties of SAE 30

In addition to this, it has poor fuel economy and is ideally used for smaller engines.

– Viscosity

Since this single-grade oil has a high oil viscosity, it is more suitable to protect older engines from damaging their motors. However, the same viscosity can present issues when applied to lawn equipment, such as the lawn mower, in cold temperatures. The high viscosity of the oil can become thick under these conditions, causing startup issues with the engine.

– Recommended Temperature Range

The SAE 30 is not formulated to work in cold temperatures, because you would see it not looking as good in its texture as it should be, as this is the key notion of the oil, since it doesn’t stay as good.

The low temperature can cause the oil to thicken and create issues with starting the engine. Ideally, the SAE should be applied to engines where the local climate is warm to hot, not extremely cold.

– Fuel Economy

Due to its high viscosity, the SAE 30 has poor fuel economy. As a result, SAE 30 oils are not recommended for everyday driving. Instead, it is typically used for heavy-duty applications, such as using a lawn mower, where fuel economy is not a priority.

Despite its poor fuel economy; as a result, this type of oil is often used due to its ability to provide excellent protection to the engine, and it wouldn’t let the motor get damaged in the long run.

– Engine Protection

Compared to other motor oils, SAE 30 provides better engine protection in high-temperature settings. Since it has the ability to maintain its viscosity under hot conditions, it can protect the engine from wear and tear.

Engine Protection

This makes the SAE 30 ideal for engines in older vehicles that run on diesel or petroleum or for smaller machines, such as lawn mowers, that experience high stress and friction.

– Usage

SAE 30 is recommended to be used in older engines as well as those that require smaller-duty applications. Modern engines should not be applied with SAE 30, as they require motor oils with lower viscosity to function properly. It should be reiterated that SAE 30 oils should be used only in warm weather conditions and never in cold climates in order to avoid engine startup issues.

– Oil-change Intervals

Due to its high viscosity and heavy-duty application, it is recommended to have more frequent oil changes when using SAE 30. This will help ensure the protection of the lawn mower engine and keep it running smoothly.

Oil Change Intervals of 10W40

When in doubt, check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended intervals to keep the engine running at optimal performance for a longer time. This way, you will be sure when the machine requires an oil change, and how it will function.

– Availability

Most auto parts stores and mechanic shops sell SAE 30 as it is a popular choice for homeowners with older engines. A piece of gardening equipment with a small engine, such as a lawn mower, is usually given SAE 30 for engine protection.

Other pieces of yard equipment, including chainsaws and small tractors, are also suitable for the SAE 30.

Vital Features and Characteristics of 10W40

The vital features and characteristics of 10W40 are its resistance to colder temperatures. This is why it can be used in larger motors, such as cars and vehicles.

Vital Features and Characteristics of 10W40

Moreover, it is one that requires a lower oil change and would protect the machine in all climates.

– Viscosity

10W40 oils have a lower viscosity rating of 10 at cold temperatures and 40 at warm temperatures. Due to the multi-grade rating, this motor oil can function in almost all weather conditions.

The rating means the oil flows more easily at cold and hot temperatures to provide better engine startup and protection, and this is its key characteristic when used.

– Recommended Temperature Range

This oil is suitable for all seasons, and that includes winter because it would endure harshness and freezing cold temperatures. The low-temperature rating of 10 allows this motor oil to flow without becoming thick.

As a result, engines can easily start up without encountering any issues regardless of the operating temperature.

– Fuel Economy

10W40 offers better fuel efficiency for everyday driving compared to single-grade used oils. As a result, it is a popular choice for machines with new engines that engage in heavy-duty uses due to the oil’s ability to protect the engine under different temperature conditions. Simply due to the fact that it protects the engine in different circumstances.

– Engine Protection

Overall, the 10W40 provides good engine protection regardless of the temperature. Its multi-grade rating allows the engine to start up without any issues in cold temperatures while staying protected under high temperatures. As a result, this versatile oil is suited for many engines requiring covering under different temperature ranges.

– Usage

10W40 oil is recommended for modern engines as well as for everyday driving, even under cold weather conditions, such as for motorcycles. However, it is not suited for older engines that require high-viscosity oils or engines that are used for heavy-duty applications.

– Oil-change Intervals

The oil-change interval for the multi-grade 10W40 oil is longer than single-grade because the multi-grade one has a better change interval. This is due to its versatility in protecting the engine under different temperature ranges.

However, it is still best to follow the recommended oil change intervals as suggested by the manufacturer. Doing so will ensure better engine performance and durability.

– Availability

This particular motor oil is available in most mechanic shops and auto parts stores, and it is actually due to the battery-fuel economy that the oil is available. In addition, this is due to its multi-grade nature that makes it ideal for modern engines and engines that are used for everyday driving.


When it comes to selecting a mower oil, homeowners may be tempted to switch one for the other. Or worse, using a regular oil as a substitute for the recommended oil. Since we have already covered the details of each oil, let’s take a quick recap:

  • The “SAE” prefix refers to the Society of Automotive Engineers, and this organization defined the specifications and standards concerning the automotive industry, including motor oils. The “30” represents the oil’s viscosity at high and low temperatures.
  • The “10W” in the name of the oil refers to the viscosity rating while the “W” stands for its applicability during “winter” seasons. “40” refers to the oil’s viscosity in high temperatures.
  • Regularly check the oil level, oil filter, and other parts of your engine to keep them from accumulating dirt and debris, which can affect its overall performance.
  • When in doubt, always consult your owner’s manual to determine the correct oil to use for the particular engine you have on hand.

By simply using the right oil for your engine, you ensure its performance and life span for years to come. Which oil are you using for your engine? Now you know which is best for your use. You can check out the difference between SAE 30 vs SAE 40 motor oils as well and pick the right one for your mower.

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