Which engine oil do I need?
Check it out for your car (5w30, 10w40 or 5w40)
Driving with too little engine oil causes irreparable damage; never wait too long to change it!
Changing or topping up engine oil for your car? Select your brand:
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Which engine oil does my car have? 5W30, 10W40 or 5W40? Find out here
The engine oil dashboard light comes on, but when you get to the filling station you have no idea what the differences are between 5w30, 10w40 and 5w40 engine oil. It is, of course, always better to add whatever oil you need, than to drive on without oil or with too little engine oil. Fortunately, the instruction booklet (if you still have it) often gives a definitive answer.
If you don't have it anymore or if it is safely stored at home, Autobaak offers a solution. On this page we discuss the differences between 5W-30, 5W-40 and 10W-40, among others. These are the most commonly used motor oils and on one of these three types almost all cars can continue their journey safely, without the risk of engine damage due to too little oil. Of course we have, as you are used to from Autobaak, made an overview of the necessary motor oils per brand and model. This overview of motor oils can be found at the bottom of this page. First you click on the brand and then you go to the model overview.
What does the "W" stand for in engine oil?
The letter "W" in e.g. 5W30 stands for viscosity. The values before and after W indicate how the oil behaves at low and high temperatures. If the letter before W is low, the oil is more fluid at low temperatures and the car will reach operating temperature faster and start more easily. The number after the W says something about the thickness and performance of the oil at a temperature of 100 degrees. So the higher the number behind the W, the better the lubricity at high temperatures, but this oil is also thicker at operating temperature, which in turn can mean that the fuel consumption goes up, and with today's fuel prices we want to avoid that at all costs.
You may think "but my car never gets that hot" and that is true. This is particularly true of diesel engines. These never reach an operating temperature of 100 degrees. On the other hand, there are, for example, more and more small engines with a lot of power due to the use of a turbo. In these engines, it is not inconceivable that they sometimes operate at 100 degrees and therefore require a different type of engine oil than the previously mentioned diesel engine. We will now look at the differences between 5W30, 5W40 and 10W40.
5W30 engine oil
In practice, 5W30 should therefore provide a better start because this oil is thinner at low temperatures. At higher temperatures, in theory, 5W30 motor oil provides a slightly less stable lubricating film. Nevertheless, most cars can function well on 5W30 and the advantage is that the car is sooner at operating temperature and provides less fuel consumption. So 5W30 motor oil, provided it is permitted by the manufacturer, is suitable for people who drive short distances (a lot in the city for example). You will also see that this oil is often used in diesel engines. This is done because the operating temperature is generally lower in a diesel engine. And finally, we must not forget that the change in the maximum speed, from 130 km/h to 100 km/h, also affects the operating temperature.
10W-40 engine oil
When you use 10W40 motor oil it can therefore be that a car starts less easily, although you may not notice this yourself, the engine does. It also takes longer for the oil in your engine to reach operating temperature. And this is an important difference with 5W30. If your car's temperature gauge indicates 90 degrees, this does not necessarily mean that the oil is also at temperature. In practice, it can therefore be the case that you make more revolutions without the 10W40 motor oil being at the right temperature. At higher temperatures, this oil works better. This can therefore apply to engines that have been downsized (1.0 turbo engines), and the outside temperature and driving style also influence the operating temperature.
5W-40 engine oil
Is 5W40 motor oil the best compromise between 5W30 and 10W40? You might quickly think so. The engine starts easily because of the 5 before the W and lubricates better at higher temperatures because of the addition of 40 after the W. Whether this motor oil works best for your car also depends on your driving style. If, for example, you mainly drive motorway kilometres, then it can happen (depending on the engine) that the car has difficulty in staying at operating temperature and therefore does not benefit at all from thicker oil.
Engine oil vintage cars
If you are looking for motor oil for your oldtimer, we advise you to use the motor oil from Kroon, which has developed a line especially for oldtimers. The 20W-50 and 15W-40 motor oils are particularly well suited.
Recommendation engine oil
Fortunately, the advent of multigrade engine oils (oil functions at different temperatures) means you no longer need to change oil depending on the season. Most engine oils work well all year round. However, if the manufacturer allows 5W30, 10W40 or 5W40, you can choose the oil that best suits your driving style. So if you drive a lot of short distances and want to ensure that your car is up to speed quickly, choose a 5W30 or a 5W40. If you have a small engine that makes relatively many revolutions and you drive a lot of motorway kilometres in the summer months, it may be smarter to go for a 10W40. And remember that a gentle warm-up (20min) will benefit the life of any engine. Want to be sure which motor oil is best for you? Then use the overview above.