Is 20W50 Thicker Than 10W30 – Gear Oil Comparison?

Engine oil protects the engine parts from wear & tears and increases longevity. But not all engine oils provide the same benefits and are suitable for your vehicle. Some of the engine oils have higher viscosity than others. So, you’ll have to pick engine oil according to your vehicle requirement and weather condition. Besides, you’ll have to consider the thickness of the engine oil.

“Is 20W50 thicker than 10W30?”

“Can I use 20W50 instead of 10W30?”

“Is 10W30 and 20W50 similar engine oil type?”

If you are looking for these answers, this blog is for you.

is 20w50 thicker than 10w30

Engine Oil Viscosity: Is 20W50 Thicker than 10W30?

Before jumping to a conclusion, you should know some key features, advantages, and disadvantages of 20W50 and 10W30 oil.

20W50 Engine Oil

If you’re looking for engine oil that is suitable for hotter climates, there are a few engine oils that are better than 20W50. It is a high viscous and heavier engine oil. At higher temperatures, 20W50 has a viscosity of 50, and at a lower temperature, its viscosity drops to around 20. Besides, if you have an older engine, this engine oil will prolong the lifespan of your vehicle’s engine. Other specs of 20W50 engine oil are-

  • Density: 0.878 g/ml at 60-degree Fahrenheit
  • Pour Point: 26-degree Fahrenheit
  • Flashpoint: 450-degrees Fahrenheit
  • Kinematic viscosity: 20.5 mm2/s at 212-degree Fahrenheit

Advantages of 20W50

·  Best for Older Engines

As time goes by, the distance between the engine parts increases. Here, using a thicker engine like 20W50 will fill the gap and prevent the engine parts from being damaged. Apart from this, when you use thicker engine oils, the older engine will burn less compared to the thinner engine oils.

However, if you have a newer engine, this 20W50 oil can create some issues. For example, when you use thicker engine oils, it can disrupt the flow of cylinders.

·  Help Achieve Max. Torque

You can improve the sealing between the piston ring and cylinder by adding 20W50 engine oil. And thus, you’ll be able to reduce the friction and achieve maximum torque from your vehicle’s engine.

·  Offers High Performance

20W50 engine oil has phosphorous, molybdenum, zinc, etc., that increases the engine performance and offers you race-level protection on race tracks or highways.

20W50 Oil Disadvantages

·  Better Suited for Hotter Climates

As I mentioned earlier, 20W50 oil has a higher viscosity. So, in colder climates, the oil will become denser, resulting in improper lubrication, which will eventually lead to engine damage. That’s why it is always advised to use the 20W50 engine oil during summer.

10W30 Engine Oil

Unlike the 20W50 engine oil, it is low viscous oil and has a viscosity of 30 at high temperatures and 10 at lower temperatures. Because of this, this engine oil is preferred for vehicles in colder climates.

Using this engine oil in your vehicle will result in less exhaust emission, lower internal drag, and more engine responsiveness. Some of the key specs of the 10W30 engine oil –

  • Density: 0.859 g/ml at 60-degree Fahrenheit
  • Pour Point: -43.6-degrees Fahrenheit
  • Flashpoint: 450-degrees Fahrenheit
  • Kinematic viscosity: 10.4 mm2/s at 212-degrees Fahrenheit

Advantages of Using 10W30 Engine Oil

·  Cold Start

It has a protective coating, which prevents oil from becoming thick. And because of this, no matter how low the temperature is, by using this engine oil, you can cold-start your engine faster.

·  Anti-Wear Additives

Due to high temperature and harsh road conditions, the engine becomes damaged. But when you use 10W30 engine oil, you are protected from all these issues. Because this engine oil has zinc in it, which works as heat resistance and reduces engine wear.

·  No More Sludge Buildup

This engine oil has detergent additives, which eliminate the sludge buildup and cleans the engine. Besides, it removes the unwanted deposits from the engine caused by oxidation.

Disadvantages of 10W30 Engine Oil

·  Better Suited for Colder Climate

As mentioned above, 10W30 is thin engine oil and is only suitable for colder conditions. Because in hotter conditions, there will be excess oil burning and more engine wear and tear.

·  Recommended for Newer Engines

If you have an older vehicle, it’s advised to avoid the 10W30 engine oil. Because older vehicle consumes more oil, and if you add thinner engine oil like 10W30, there will be more oil burning. 

Frequently Asked Questions about 20W50 and 10W30 Engine Oil

1.   Can I Use 10W30 Instead of 20W50?

No, it is better not to use these engine oils interchangeably because of the viscosity variance. Besides, before using any of these engine oils, you’ll have to consider the engine age and climate. If you’re not sure which engine oil to use in your engine, contact a nearby car mechanic.

2.   How Thick Is the 20W50 Engine Oil?

At higher temperatures, 20W50 has a viscosity of 50, and at a lower temperature, its viscosity drops to around 20.

3.   Which Engine Oil Has More Anti-Wear Protection – 10W30 or 20W50?

20W50 engine oil has more anti-wear protection compared to the 10W30 engine oil.

4.   Which Oil Should I Use in Warmer Climate?

As 20W50 has a higher viscosity or is thicker than 10W30 engine oil, you should use the 20W50 engine oil in a warmer climate. But if you are driving in colder conditions or winter, it is advised to use 10W30 engine oil. It will help you during the cold engine start.


Undoubtedly, 20W50 is thicker than 10W30 engine oil. So, if you are in a tropical region or a warmer climate area, you should add 20W50 engine oil. It will protect your engine from higher temperatures.

But if you are in colder areas, you should add 10W30 engine oil. Although it is not the thinnest oil out there on the market, it’ll help you quick-start the engine. Besides, if you have a newer engine, it is always better to add 10W30 engine oil than the 20W50 engine oil. 

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Dan Jones is a car enthusiast and has been involved in the automotive industry for the last 10 years. He has a practical knowledge of vehicles and vehicle parts. Besides, he spends most of his time in the garage and deals with various car problems.

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