Motor oil plays an important role in the function of all combustion gas engines. Regardless of what type of vehicle you drive, it probably contains motor oil. Motor oil will travel through your vehicle's engine to remove heat, reduce friction and carry away particle matter.
Not all motor is the same, however. There's mineral motor oil, and there's synthetic motor oil. Two of the most common types of synthetic motor include 0w20 and 5w20. They are considered synthetic because they are made of artificial compounds. In comparison, mineral motor oil is made of natural compounds. While 0w20 and 5w20 are both classified as synthetic motor oil, there are differences between them.
What Is 0w20 Motor Oil?
0w20 is a common type of synthetic motor oil. It's used in cars, trucks, SUVs, tractor trailers and other automobiles. The defining characteristic of 0w20 motor oil is its low viscosity in cold weather.
All types of motor oil follow a similar format. The "w" means the motor oil is designed for winter usage. The first number preceding the "w" refers to the motor oil's viscosity in cold weather. The number following the "w" is the motor oil's viscosity at operating temperature. Therefore, 0w20 motor oil has a low viscosity rating in cold weather.
What is 5w20 Motor Oil?
In addition to 0w20, 5w20 is a common type of synthetic motor oil. It's also designed for cold weather, hence the "w" in its name. And it has the same viscosity as 0w20 motor oil at operating temperature. The difference between 0w20 and 5w20 motor oil involves their respective viscosity in cold weather.
0w20 motor oil is less viscous in cold weather than its 5w20 counterpart. Viscosity, of course, is a measurement of how easily a liquid flows. High viscosity means the liquid flows more slowly, whereas low viscosity means the liquid flows faster and more fluidly. 5w20 motor oil is simply more viscous than 0w20 motor oil in cold temperatures.
When choosing a motor oil for your vehicle, you should refer to your owner's manual. For winter conditions, you may want to use 0w20 or 5w20. They are recommended by many of the top of automakers. The main difference is that 0w20 is less viscous in cold weather, whereas 5w20 is more viscous in cold weather. At operating temperature, however, they have the same viscosity. Regardless, you can refer to your vehicle's owner's manual to determine which type of motor oil works best.
If you plan to change your vehicle’s oil yourself, you may need to purchase a few tools: