SAE 30 vs 5w30 contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See our Disclosure Policy for more information.

Are you getting ready to fire up your lawn mower for the season? One of the most important steps is to change out the motor oil.

But with so many options available, which one should you choose? In this article We’ll take a closer look on the key differences between SAE 30 and 5w30, so you can pick the right option for your lawn mower.

The Difference Between SAE 30 & 5W30

Figuring out the differences between various SAE 30 motor oils can be a bit of a challenge.

At a high temperature, SAE 30 and 5W30 have the same viscosity rating of 30. However, at lower temperatures, their ratings differ. While SAE 30 is a single-grade oil with only one viscosity rating, 5W30 is a multi-grade oil that has two ratings. This allows it to handle very cold temperatures and makes it a better choice for cars snow throwers, while SAE 30 is more suitable for small engines.

Ultimately, the difference between SAE 30 and 5W30 comes down to their different uses and function in different applications. So, if you’re looking for an oil that can handle extreme cold conditions, 5W30 is the better choice.

But if you’re primarily using it for small engines like in a lawn mower, SAE 30 is a better fit.​

When To Use SAE 30

There are a few situations where it is better to use SAE 30 vs 5W-30. For small engines, such as those found in lawn mowers and other outdoor equipment, SAE 30 is the more commonly used oil because it can handle higher temperatures.

This makes it a better choice for these types of applications where high temperatures are more likely to occur.

When To Use 5W30

5W30 is the preferred oil for cars and other vehicles that are used in colder climates. This multi-grade oil has a lower cold temperature viscosity than SAE 30, which gives it more flexibility to handle freezing temperatures without thickening up.

So, if you live in an area that sees regular snowfall or extreme winters, 5W30 is likely the best choice.

It’s also a better option for modern engines that operate at higher temperatures and stress the oil more than older engines.

Is SAE 30 the same as SAE 5w30?

No, SAE 30 and SAE 5W30 are not the same. While they both have a viscosity rating of 30 at normal temperatures, their ratings differ when it comes to cold temperatures.

SAE 5W30 is a multi-grade oil that has two different viscosity ratings: one for when the temperature is below freezing (5W) and one for when the temperature is above freezing (30).

By comparison, SAE 30 is a single-grade oil that only has one viscosity rating.

Can I Mix SAE 30 With 5W30?

While it is possible to mix SAE 30 with 5W30, it is not recommended. Both of these oils have different viscosity ratings and are intended to be used in different applications.

Therefore, if you do choose to mix them together, there is a chance that the resulting oil will not function properly. Mixing SAE 30 and 5W30 could also impact the performance of your lawn mower engine and may even cause damage to your machine over time.

For this reason, it is best to use SAE 30 or 5W30 depending on your specific needs and the type of engine you are using.​

Can I Use 5W30 Instead Of SAE 30 In My Lawn mower?

No we don’t recommend you to use 5W30 instead of SAE 30 in a lawn mower. While both oils have viscosity ratings of 30, they are intended to be used in different engine and perform best at different temperatures. That’s why it’s best to use SAE 30 in your lawn mower.

Does Lawn Mower Oil Expire?

The short answer is yes. Motor oil can degrade over time, due to a number of factors such as contamination, oxidation, and dilution. This can cause the oil to become less viscous and less effective at maintaining proper lubrication between moving engine parts.

To determine whether your lawn mower oil has expired, you can check the expiration date, look for any signs of haziness or thickening, and use a dipstick to check for separation or consistency. Most modern engine oils have a  shelf-life around 3-7 years depending on the type of oil.


While SAE 30 and 5W30 have similar viscosity ratings, they are intended for different types of engines, and should not be used in the same application. Therefore, it is best to use SAE 30 for lawn mowers and other small engines that tend to experience higher temperatures, while 5W30 is a better choice for cars and other vehicles that operate in colder climates.