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0w20 vs 5w20 Oil Viscosity: Which is Better?

0w20 vs 5w20 Oil

Winter-grade oils like 0W20 and 5W20 are ideal for cold weather. They allow your engine to run as efficiently as possible and are fairly comparable when compared. So you’re probably wondering how they’re different. What is the distinction between SAE 0W-20 and SAE 5W-20 motor oils?

Except for their composition and the lowest temperature at which they may flow, both oils are quite similar. While both motor oils are low-temperature grade, 0W20 is marginally better in severely cold temperatures.

This article will describe viscosity grades and provide guidance on when to use each oil type in specific situations. You’ll also learn about different motor oil blends and get answers to frequently asked questions. Continue reading to learn how to tell the difference between 0W20 and 5W20.

Read also related articles: Royal Purple vs Mobil 1, and Castrol Edge vs Mobil 1 Review.

Synthetic oils explained

Synthetic oil is a lubricant manufactured from base oil, carrier oil, and powder additives. The base oil is usually highly refined crude oil. It is synthetic because it is created artificially – synthesized. It’s also known as multi-grade oil since it may be utilized in both low and high temperatures and fits the requirements of multiple (two) viscosity grades.

Motor oils reduce friction between various elements of the engine; synthetic oil, due to its qualities, provides superior lubrication by producing a continuous coating over the motor parts, assures smooth operation, and extends engine life.

Advantages of synthetic motor oil include:

  • Improved wear and tear protection for the engine
  • Increased temperature resistance, improved engine performance in both hot and cold conditions
  • Synthetic oil contains unique chemicals that aid in the removal of deposits and sludge
  • Oil usage is lower, and oil changes are spaced further apart
  • Emissions are reduced

All of these benefits add up to dramatically improved engine performance and considerable fuel economy.

What is 0w20?

Fully synthetic motor oil with a thinner viscosity, 0W-20. It perfectly protects the motor components. The temperature range of 0W-20 is -40° to 20°, making it ideal for cold winters but also suitable for mild springs and summers.

One of the benefits of 0W-20 is improved fuel economy, which can increase the mileage of your car. Many vehicle manufacturers have designated 0W-20 as a recommended oil since it meets API SN criteria.


  • Winter viscosity is thin
  • Low viscosity provides the best protection for the components
  • This oil increases the mileage of your vehicle
  • The fact that it is synthetic aids in the protection of the moving parts

The best 0w20 oil on the market

Royal Purple 51020 API

We’re talking about the Royal Purple 51020 API-Licensed SAE 0W-20 High Performance Synthetic Motor Oil, which is on the pricier side of things, but definitely worth it if you’re looking for the best engine performance.

API-licensed Motor Oil from Royal Purple mixes premium base oils with innovative additive technologies to provide high-performance motor oils that improve engine performance. The API-licensed motor oil from Royal Purple provides outstanding protection and performance in gasoline and diesel engines.

The API-licensed SN motor oil from Royal Purple fulfills ILSAC GF-5 and Dexos1 performance criteria. When upgrading to Royal Purple, no specific steps are required. Read also: Best 0w-20 oil review


  • Better wear resistance
  • LSPI protection has been improved.
  • Fuel economy has improved.
  • Vehicle exhaust emissions equipment is better protected.


  • Bottle is prone to leaks

What is 5w20?

5W20 is a totally synthetic multi-grade oil with a thicker viscosity for improved sealing. Its temperature range is from -25° to 20°, making it suitable for both mild summers and mild winters.

It provides excellent engine protection and performs admirably in everyday use. It is also possible to improve the fuel economy. Many modern car companies recommend this oil since it meets all of the API SN standards.


  • Viscosity is rather thick
  • The viscosity can be adjusted to suit both winter and summer conditions
  • It’s an oil that comes in a variety of grades
  • As a result, full synthetic oil provides excellent engine protection

The best 5w20 oil on the market

Valvoline High Mileage

Here, our top pick is the Valvoline High Mileage with MaxLife Technology SAE 5W-20 Synthetic Blend Motor Oil, which is specially engineered to safeguard engines with over 75,000 miles.

Wear, friction, heat, and deposits are the four principal causes of high mileage engine breakdown, and the patented formula safeguards against them. It also includes premium seal conditioners to help treat and prevent leaks by rejuvenating aged seals. Valvoline High Mileage with MaxLife Technology has been shown to extend the life of engines.

This engine oil promises to maximize the life of your engine and give it a mileage of upto 75,000 miles. This is all thanks to the durable, thick, non-wearing film that offers that needed layer of protection to prevent engine breakdown.


  • Enhanced anti-wear chemicals create a thick, long-lasting anti-wear coating
  • Detergents have been added to help defend against sludge and deposits
  • Premium seal conditioners assist in the treatment and prevention of leaks
  • In severe situations, superior antioxidants prevent motor oil deterioration


  • Some users complained of lifter tick problems

Key differences between the 0w20 and the 5w20

male customer buying engine lubricating oil in the car supermarketTo understand the issue, you must first understand the differences between the two types of oils. You’ll notice a significant variation in their naming. Because the ‘W’ stands for winter, the two oils are suited for usage in cold weather. The two figures represent their viscosity under various situations.

The viscosity in cold temperatures is represented by the first number, whereas the viscosity in operating temperatures is represented by the last number following the letter. The numbering and lettering are in accordance with SAE grade standards, which classify oils based on their thickness.


Which performs better, 0w20 or 5w20? When you compare the performances of the oils, you’ll see that they’re practically identical. When the temps are so low, the 0w20 has a slight edge. The automobile will start easily in this instance since the oil will flow freely.

They both operate at the same temperature. They can work under extreme heat, but there is a limit. In conclusion, the 0w20 and 5w20 perform admirably in cold weather.

Fuel economy

A low-temperature grade of 5W20 motor oil is normally advised for winter use, with a higher-temperature grade of 10W-30 as an alternative. This oil is popular because it has the best fuel economy, reduces fuel consumption, and emits less pollutants.

Motor manufacturers and governments all across the world are looking for 5W20, with Japan, Europe, and the United States leading the way.

Both 0W20 and 5W20 are synthetic grades with low viscosity and good quality that can significantly improve fuel economy. When employed in temperate climates, their qualities are the same. When utilized in cold temperatures, there is little to no difference between the two variants.


When switching from one type of motor oil to another, the viscosity should be considered. It refers to the oil’s thickness at various temperatures. In severe temperatures, the thinner the oil, the better, since it will be more effective at functions such as friction prevention.

In low temperatures, the 0w20 has a thickness grade of 0, indicating that it is exceedingly thin. The thickness grade of the 5w20 is 5, which is low but not as light as the 0w20’s. In freezing temperatures, both the oil and the water will flow thinly, allowing the vehicle to drive easily. The 0w20, on the other hand, will flow better in extremely cold places than the 5w20.

Ideal use

For example, in the instance of 0w20, the oil is suited for usage in frigid conditions. It has a viscosity of 0 at low temperatures and a viscosity of 20 at working temperatures. When you add 5w20 to the equation, the major difference you’ll notice is the viscosity at low temperatures. Otherwise, its operating temperature thickness is the same.

In low temperatures, the 0w20 is less viscous, hence it will function better than its equivalent. The two oils are of excellent quality and will function in somewhat high temperatures. What’s the difference between 0w20 and 0w30 oils? Because of its large operating temperature, the 0w30 is suited for both cold and high temperatures.


The pricing of the 0w20 and 5w20 is an important factor to consider. Prices may vary depending on the vendor, but in most circumstances, the 0w20 is slightly more expensive than the 5w20. It’s most likely due to its exceptional cold-weather performance.

These two multigrade engine oils are more expensive than most mono-grade engine oils. Despite the high price, you receive the best value for your money, as seen by the functionality.

Side by side comparison

Excellent fuel efficiency

Incorporated into SUVs and Vans

This engine oil is a common one that can be used in a mild temperature for regular engine use

The most effective oil on the market

Hybrid and gasoline engines are used in the Toyota Corolla

This additive-enhanced engine oil is always extremely effective for your hard driving


What is better: thinner or thicker oil?

It is dependent on your location’s climate and the car you drive. Thinner oils are ideal for cooler climates and light-duty cars. Thicker oils are ideal for greater temperatures and heavier loads because they aid in maintaining oil pressure and film strength as the temperature rises.

Is synthetic oil worth the extra cost?

Although full synthetic motor oils are more expensive than conventional or synthetic blends, the additional costs will be more than offset because synthetic oil improves fuel economy, reduces engine wear, and extends engine life significantly.

Can I use synthetic oil in my old vehicle?

Yes, synthetic oils are suitable for both older and newer automobiles. That said, older automobiles have a lot more miles on them, which causes engine wear and tear. Use high-mileage synthetic oils in these situations because they are thicker and provide better sealing; many high-mileage oils also contain larger amounts of anti-wear compounds.

What happens if I use the wrong engine oil or viscosity?

Oil leaks, decreased mileage, a noisy engine, cold-start issues, and burned oil are all possibilities. You don’t want the manufacturer to deny your warranty claim because you used the improper oil, causing an engine failure. This video from Auto Learn demonstrates how these issues might occur if you use the wrong engine oil in your vehicle.

Will a 0W20 engine be harmed by 5W20?

If the outside temperature drops below -30°C, a 0W20 engine may be damaged. Not to mention the fact that, as a synthetic blend, 5W20 motor oil may contain additives that are toxic or incompatible with 0W20 motor oil.

Is 0W20 harmful to the engine?

It will improve fuel efficiency if used in a 5W20 engine because it has less drag at the crankshaft and is better at starting in cold temperatures. However, if used to replace a 5W-30, it will harm your engine.


During service, the oil helps preserve engine performance by preventing wear. The type of oil used and the engine reliability are both determined by the vehicle owner. Different types of oils, compatibility, and additives should all be examined before deciding which oil to use.

Cars in hot and cold settings can currently use 0w20 and 5w20 lubricants. Their discrepancy has an impact on their work’s ideal performance at extremely high temperatures.

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