10w30 vs SAE 30 oil. What are the differences?

Going through the world of motor oils is often full of questions and quite difficult. Engine oil has so many diversities and properties that choosing it can be overwhelming sometimes.

But you must be aware of the oil’s role in the automotive engine and other systems, especially if the automotive works on a hydraulic system.

So, what is the difference and efficiency of the 10w30 vs. SAE 30 engine oil?

Both engine oils are good for your vehicle, but most people with older engines go for the SAE 30, while those with newer engines opt for the 10W30 oil most of the time. You should consider the temperature ranges, viscosity, density, additives, and price when choosing one engine oil over another. These are the differences between engine oils.

What 10W30 engine oil is and where can it be used

The “10” in the 10W30 oil stands for viscosity which is how much the oil will resist flow; for instance, if you turn the engine upside down, how fast or slow the oil will flow out.

Oil which will flow slowly from the engine is highly viscous, while that which flows easily out is less dense. The letter W in the oil stands for viscosity during winter, and the scale for different oils ranges from 0W to 60W, with the 60W considered the thickest oil.

Thus for the case of 10W30 oil is situated between the most viscous and the least viscous; it has the median viscosity and thus will do well throughout the year.

This engine oil is useful for automotive petrol and diesel engines with some miles traveled, and you can use it for heavy load engines.

What SAE 30 oil is and where can it be used

The SAE initials in this oil mean the Society of Automotive Engineers, which means the oil is controlled by SAE and has 30.

The numbers on your oil indicate the thickness of the oil. For example, an SAE 30 oil by weight is heavier than an SAE 20 oil. So you are probably asking, “What is” W “? W stands for multi-scale oil, where “W” stands for WINTER use. 

SAE 30 oil acts like a 30 weight oil at all temperatures. So when it gets really cold, that 30 weight oil gets really thick. It will no longer flow through your engine’s tiny clearances. 

Oil rated 10w30 will behave differently when cold. When the 10w30 temperature drops, it acts like a 10 weight oil. Thus, it will still be fluid enough to flow where it should flow. Once the engine (and oil) is heated to a temperature, then it will act like a 30 weight oil.

Oil has a 0 to 50 rating, and the 30 mark indicates the oil can be used at a high temperature and is not a tart oil used for generators, lawnmowers, and four-stroke engines. Its consistency will shift with temperature, but the delicateness will change between hot and cold.

The SAE 30 engine oil is intended for vehicles with modern filters and a non-detersive lubricant that seal the engine well. The SAE 30 oil was initially used with the pre-1950 vehicles with light commercial four-stroke engines.

The oil will do well in gearboxes where the API GL-1 stuff oil is needed. So if you need an oil that will do well in warm temperatures, it would be better to go for the SAE 30 engine oil, as it can be blended with mineral-based oils that are structured to work like oil mists.

Differences between 10W30 and SAE 30 Oil

1. Viscosity 

So, which one will flow out easily when you place the 10W30 and SAE 30 oils upside down? Both oils will act differently based on the temperature, but what influences the energy needed for the liquid to stream?

Viscosity affects fluid streams and is alluded to as the liquid thickness. At the sub-atomic level, the liquid atoms will rub against each other, and the solid contact surface and the viscosity will affect the energy the liquid will require to stream.

Since the liquid can be affected by temperature changes, you can note that it gets more slender when the temperature is low; moreover, the pressure might affect viscosity.

SAE 10W30 is not thick in low temperature thus will be more viscous and likely to stream easily in low temperature. On the other hand, SAE 30 is less dense in high temperatures thus would steam easily in winter.

2. Density

SAE 30 is motor oil and weighs 0.8754 grams per cubic centimeter at 30 degrees Celsius or 86 degrees Fahrenheit and standard air pressure.

On the other hand, 10W30, an oil suitable for heavy engines, weighs 0.875 kilograms per cubic meter at 165.6 degrees Celsius or 330 degrees F. Therefore you can rank the SAE density at 9/10 and 10W30 at 8/10.

3. Additives

The 10W30 oil is smooth and offers the best grasp for the tasks, and it keeps up with its viscosity at high temperatures and acts similarly to biodiesel and biofuel.

However, this engine oil has many additives, and most people might not settle for it despite its efficiency in all weathers. SAE 30 works better with air-cooled motors like farm vehicles, cutting tools, and motors. The SAE 30 oil has fewer additives and is suitable for everyday use on warm days.

4. Operating temperature

The SAE 30 engine oil will not do well in cold temperatures, and it would be better to use it in spring, summer, and pre-winter. The ‘30’ alludes to its kinetic thickness at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thus the working temperature in a motor offers a 9.3 -12.4 mm per second. On the other hand, the 10W30 is multi-grade engine oil that works well in low operating temperatures and functions well on a cold day. 

5. Price

SAE 30 is a good choice for the low price as it protects the engine from erosion, offers high safety against LPSI, and is eco-friendly. On the other hand, the 10W30 also offers high protection and consistency at an affordable price.

Can I use 10W30 instead of SAE 30?

Yes, you can use the 10W30 instead of the SAE 30, providing similar performance. Both oils are effective engine lubricants, and you can use the 10W30 throughout the year, unlike the SAE 30. However, SAE 30 is cheap and has fewer additives.

Is 10W40 the same as SAE 30?

Both engine oils are not the same, but they are the same at high temperatures, but if you consider the operating temperature, you will realize they are different.


Engine oil keeps your car in good condition as it lubricates the moving parts and allows the engine to run well. Therefore, you should ensure your automotive has bright oil, which makes the engine work properly.

For instance, the SAE oil works well in high operating temperatures, and it would be wise to use it for your lawnmowers during the warm season. However, it has few additives thus can preserve the engine effectively.

On the other hand, the 10W30 engine oil works well in low temperatures and is suitable for heavy machinery which runs throughout the year.

However, it has more additives than the SAE 30. Good luck finding the best engine oil which will work for your automotive.

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