SAE 30 vs 5W30 are engine oils that require a bit of explanation, especially for people with limited knowledge about motor oils.

SAE 30 vs 5W30 Comparison

Both have similar attributes but are also different from one another, although they do change from their grade type, to which engines ones must use them.

Here’s what you need to know about these two engine oils.

Features SAE 30 5W30
Viscosity at low temperatures Thicker Thinner
Grade type Single Multi
Engine compatibility Smaller air-cooled engines, such as chainsaws, lawn mowers, and tractors Larger engines that use light-duty petrol and diesel, such as passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, and light vans
Temperature range General warm weather conditions General and extreme weather conditions

What Are The Main Differences Between SAE 30 and 5W30?

The main differences between SAE 30 and 5W30 are that the SAE 30 is a single-grade type, that can be used for small engines, and would generate in warm weather. On the other hand, 5W30 is a multiple-grade type, that can be used for larger engines, tolerating extreme weather.

On the other hand, both are synthetic oils with specific additives designed to provide engines with certain capabilities.

For instance, SAE 30 has synthetic additives that make it ideal for use in a small engine, such as a lawn mower. 5W30, on the other hand, has synthetic additives that make it well-suited for larger engines even at low temperatures.

There are factors that keep SAE 30 and 5W30 apart as engine oils. These include how each oil’s viscosity performs at low temperatures, its grade type, its uses, and the conditions ideal for its application.

– Viscosity

The 5W30 is a multi-grade oil. This means that it has different viscosity grades depending on the temperature. The “W” in 5W30 refers to its viscosity in cold weather conditions, which makes it less viscous than SAE30 under this condition, as it lacks the W, which is the significant characteristic in the name of the oil. The “30” in 5W30 refers to its viscosity in hot weather, which is similar to SAE 30.

– Engine Compatibility

SAE 30 is often used in older engines designed for single-grade oils. Most of the time, these are smaller air-cooled engines used in many gardening activities.

Engine Compatibility of SAE30

5W30 is typically recommended for newer engines that require the use of multi-grade oils. These include larger engines that use light-duty petrol and diesel that, in combination with 5W30 oils, produce better engine protection and performance.

– Temperature Range

SAE 30 is usually recommended for warmer temperatures, such as those in the summer months. When SAE 30 is used in cold weather, it can become too thick and will not flow, as well as it should in warmer conditions.

On the other hand, 5W30 is designed for use in a wider range of temperatures. This includes cold weather, making this particular motor oil ideal for use all year round. Additionally, 5W30 is generally more efficient in terms of fuel economy due to its low viscosity. The thin viscosity reduces engine friction while improving fuel efficiency.

What Are the SAE 30 Properties?

SAE 30 is a synthetic motor oil, that has certain properties that make it the best for smaller engines, such as its thin viscosity, it also has a single-grade pouring ability, and it will stay perfectly well in the warm temperature.

SAE is a code assigned to engine oils, and the code is made up of alphanumeric components that designate oil viscosity to be particular. SAE 30 is a single-grade motor oil.

What Are the SAE 30 Properties

This means that it has a fixed viscosity or thickness in different temperatures, usually around 212 degrees Fahreneit. 30 is the viscosity rating assigned to this particular oil, and this ratings start from zero to 60, which is why the SAE 30 is the mid-point rating.

– Viscosity

This motor oil has a fixed viscosity that is approximately 9.3 centistokes (cSt) at 100 C. This scale means that this particular mono grade oil has a moderate liquid thickness or resistance to flow. Consequently, SAE 30 is better suited for engines that operate at higher temperatures.

– Pour Point and Shear Stability

This engine oil has a higher pour point compared to multi-grade oils. This means that in cold weather, this single grade oil can become too thick and unable to flow well. Additionally, SAE 30 has good shear stability.

Pour Point and Shear Stability of SAE 30

This means that it can maintain its viscosity and performance even when subject to high-stress conditions, including high engine speeds.

– Oxidation Resistance

The reason why this oil is quite unique is due to the fact that it has great resistance to oxidation. This allows the motor oil to reduce breakdowns. Plus, a high oxidation resistance means that this single grade oil does not easily turn to sludge due to high temperature, oxygen exposure, and the presence of other contaminants.

– Corrosion Protection

As a motor oil, SAE 30 prevents corrosion, as well as normal wear and tear, and this is a key feature that it has. The additives in this mono grade oil reduce the damages brought on by regular use. This helps extend the lifespan and maintain the performance of the engine.

– Best for Smaller Engines

While SAE 30 has been recorded to withstand high temperatures in a lawn mower, it has not been shown to be effective under cold temperatures. In some instances, SAE 30 may work in low temperatures, but it is not formulated for this specific condition.

On another note, you must also remember that these oils are not recommended for large, complex engine motors, because they can result in complications.

What Are the 5W30 Properties?

The 5W30 properties are its low-temperature resistance, and it is best when used on machines that have bigger motors.

What Are the 5W30 Properties

This is the type of oil that has a low pouring point and good resistance when it comes to the oxidization process.

This multi-grade motor oil has different sets of properties from other types of oils. As a result, this particular engine oil has certain uses and a range of operating conditions that are normally unsuitable for SAE 30 oils.

– Viscosity

Since this particular oil has a low-temperature viscosity, it flows well even under cold temperatures. This can reduce engine wear during start-up sessions.

At the same time, its high-temperature viscosity ensures that it can provide protection and maintain good performance even under high temperatures; it will stay in good property.

– Pour Point and Shear Stability

5W30 oils have a low pour point. This means that it flows well even at low temperatures. This reduces engine wear during start-up activities while providing protection under cold weather conditions.

This oil also has good shear stability, allowing it to maintain its viscosity and performance even as the engine is under high-stress conditions.

– Oxidation Resistance

This quality of oil is one that is known for having good oxidation resistance. This means that the compounds in the oil help it from breaking down or from turning into sludge. Oxidation occurs when oils are exposed to high temperatures, oxygen, and other forms of contaminants.

– Best for New Engines

5W30 oils are not suitable for older engines. When 5W30 is used in older engines, the thinner oil can increase the wear of engine parts and result in a shorter span of engine life. Additionally, 5W30 oils are more likely to leak out of older engines over time. This is due to the low viscosity, which causes the oil to flow more quickly, as bigger engine motors find it necessary to function with.

– Fuel Economy and Emission Control

5W30 oils are formulated to have friction modifiers. These additives reduce engine friction while improving fuel efficiency, which will also lead to good performance. As a result, the engine can enjoy better fuel use and high mileage.

Additionally, 5W30 oils are designed to reduce emissions as regulated by modern emission control systems.


1. Can I Use SAE 30 and 5W30 Interchangeably?

No, it is not recommended to use them interchangeably. A machine with an older engine usually requires a mono grade oil, such as SAE 30. While 5W30 may be substituted for SAE 30 at times of urgency, it is always best to stick with the oil specified by the manufacturer.


These two motor oils certainly have many similarities and differences. Let’s have a brief recap of what we’ve learned so far:

  • SAE 30 has moderate viscosity, compound stability, and protective properties for small engines operating under warm weather conditions.
  • 5W30 has good low-temperature viscosity, good shear stability, and suitable oxidation resistance for larger engines in extreme weather conditions.
  • When in doubt as to which oil to use, always consult your owner’s manual from the manufacturer for the recommended oil.
  • SAE 30 is better suited for smaller machines, such as mower engines, under warm weather conditions, while 5W30 is often used for larger engines under low-temperature situations.

With all the information in your hands, you’re in a better position to decide which oil is best for your needs. Now you are very much aware of which oil is responsible for which machine, and you will have such a smooth performance with them. You can check out the differences between SAE 30 and SAE 40 motor oils as well.

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