Skip to main content

Motor Oil 5w-20

Choosing 5w-20 oil for your car? In this article, we will tell you what to look for when choosing a 5w-20 viscosity oil.

5w-20 oil is usually used for modern cars with low mileage or for new cars.

When choosing 5w-20 oil for American cars we recommend buying motor oil that meets the API classification SN, SN+, SP. For Asian (Japanese and Korean) cars it is recommended to use oil with ILSAC GF-5, GF-6 A/B classification.

For European cars, it is recommended to use 5w-20 oil, which meets ACEA classification (A3/B3/B4). For diesel engines with DPF, it is recommended to use oil meeting ACEA C3 classification. For German automobiles, it is recommended to use 5w-20 oil, which meets the requirements of VW, BMW, MB.

Choosing 5w-20 engine oil for one’s own car, the drivers primarily rely on the tolerances from the technical documentation of the engine. With the development of the industry of fuel and lubricants and changes in the market of these products, questions regarding oil changes sometimes arise.

Any mechanism that moves needs to be lubricated. This is necessary to protect parts from dry friction, which causes wear and tear and defects on metal surfaces. The right lubricant increases service life. Using the wrong oil can cause engine parts to fail and require an overhaul.

The main objectives of engine oil are:

  • reducing the wear of engine parts;
  • resistance to corrosion, aging, and other negative factors;
  • neutralization of carbon deposits and sludge removal;
  • maintaining thermal stability.

In addition, the product must be highly volatile and not very foamy. Any oil must retain its characteristic properties in the specified temperature regime, which is indicated by a special marking.

Types of automobile oils 5w-20

The composition of modern motor oils is formed on the principle of adding a certain set of additives to their base (sometimes called base oil).

The base oil can be derived from:

  1. From artificially synthesized organic compounds – in this case, oils are called synthetic.
  2. A mixture of mineral and synthetic bases – semi-synthetic oils.

Fully Synthetic Motor Oil 5w-20

Fully synthetic oil provides higher viscosity, resistance to oxidation and thermal degradation, and helps fight oil sludge. It helps improve fuel efficiency and can even increase vehicle power by reducing engine drag.

Fully synthetic oil is ideal for vehicles that require maximum performance and high levels of lubrication. If you live in a climate with very cold winters or very hot summers, or if you use your vehicle for towing or hauling cargo, synthetic oil may be the best type of oil for your vehicle. Older engines can also benefit from synthetic oil because it can help prevent the harmful sludge that some older engines are prone to.

Since the cost of synthetic motor oil is higher than regular oil, consult with your technician to see if this oil is right for your car.

Synthetic Blended Motor Oil 5w-20

Synthetic oil has many of the characteristics of fully synthetic oil but at a lower cost. This type of oil consists of a blend of synthetic and conventional base oils with some additives added that provide additional resistance to oxidation and excellent low-temperature properties. Synthetic blends make it easy for drivers to switch from conventional oil to synthetic oil, so this type of oil is becoming increasingly popular among today’s drivers. It’s also a great intermediate option for drivers who want the added protection and performance of synthetic oil, but aren’t willing to pay for a full switch to synthetic oil.

Conventional 5w-20 Motor Oil

This oil is great for low-mileage, low- to medium-mileage late-model cars with a simple engine design.

High mileage engine oil

High mileage oil is specifically designed for vehicles with over 75,000 miles. This type of oil helps reduce oil consumption, minimize oil leaks and seepage, and reduce smoke and emissions in older engines.

5w-20 Motor Oil Best Choice

Best choice

Mobil 1 Extended Performance Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-20

Formulated for longevity, synthetic oil lasts longer and resists breakdown better than conventional oil. This technologically advanced formulation provides excellent internal engine heat protection (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit) and low-temperature protection (to -30 degrees Fahrenheit).

  • 4,9 Rating
  • ILSAC 6F-GA.
  • API SP, SN, SN+, SM.

Best 5w-20 motor oils on the market:


Castrol Edge 5W-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil


  • Rating: 4,9 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • API: SP, SN, SN+, SM. ILSAC GF-6.
  • ACEA A1, B1 (ACEA 2012), ACEA C5.
  • Meets Ford WSS-M2C153-H, Ford WSS-M2C930-A, Ford WSS-M2C945-A.


K&N 5W-20 Full Synthetic Engine Oil

K&N 5W-20 Full Synthetic Engine Oil


  • Rating: 4,8 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • Ultra Premium Protection.
  • Formulated to minimize harmful contaminants and sludge buildup.


Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage SAE 5W-20 Motor Oil


  • Rating: 4,8 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • API: SP, SN, SN+.
  • ILSAC 6F-6A.


Royal Purple High Performance Motor Oil 5W-20

Royal Purple High Performance Motor Oil 5W-20


  • Rating: 4,9 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • Chrysler MS-6395T, Ford WSS M2C945 & GM6094M.


Shell Rotella Gas Truck Full Synthetic 5W-20 Motor Oil for Pickups and SUVs


  • Rating: 4,9 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • Chrysler MS-6395, Ford WSS-M2C945-B1.


Schaeffer Manufacturing Co Full Synthetic 5W-20 Engine Oil


  • Rating: 4,8 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • API SN.
  • ILSAC GF-5.


Liqui Moly Special Tec AA 5W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil

Liqui Moly Special Tec AA 5W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil


  • Rating: 4,9 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • Chrysler MS-6395, Ford WSS-M2C930-A/495-B1. GM/GM 6094 M. Honda, Hyundai, KIA, Mazda, Mitsubishi Dia Queen, Nissan, Toyota.


Idemitsu Full Synthetic 5W-20 Engine Oil


  • Rating: 4,9 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • Suitable for all Japanese engines where 5w-20 is recommended.


Red Line 5W20 Motor Oil

Red Line 5W20 Motor Oil


  • Rating: 4,9 ∗∗∗∗∗
  • ACEA: A5/B5

Characteristics of SAE 5w-20 oil

5w-20 oil has high characteristics and allows you to extend the life of any car brand engine. When the power unit is frequently stopped and started, the engine loses its protective film as the lubricant drains into the sump after the engine is stopped. Particles of synthetic oil settle on the inner walls of the engine and pistons, form soot and block the moving elements of the internal system. The 5w-20 oil does not form soot, retains its technical properties at idle running, and performs a good protective function.

The synthetic product undergoes several stages of filtration providing the material with unique features: change of characteristics in severe conditions, formation of a new layer on the surface of the unit parts, reduction of operating load to minimum values. The dense protective film reduces friction force when the engine operates at maximum rpm. Due to the absence of paraffin additives in composition automatic oil may be used at low ambient temperatures.

When is it better to use 5w-20 oil?

It is necessary to clearly understand that this class of lubricants is designed for a specific and quite specific class of engines. The fuel economy in them is achieved in no small measure by design decisions, which already determine the tolerances of the recommended oils.

Therefore it is advisable to use 5W-20 oil only in cars where the manufacturer prescribes the use of oil with the high-temperature viscosity index SAE 20 and the quality class according to ILSAC GF-5 or earlier (mainly GF-4).

The high quality of the oil and compliance with all stated standards and tolerances makes it possible to use it in vehicles still under the dealer warranty.

Classification of SAE 5w-20 engine oils

All engine lubricants are classified according to their viscosity. This classification is called SAE. According to this form of classification, they can be divided into classes according to its fluidity, that is, from the ability of the liquid lubricant to spread over the surface of the part and at the same time to adhere to the metal surface. This classification is used worldwide.

SAE and API classification 5w-20

Car oils are classified by two key indicators: the scope of use: petrol/diesel engine, turbocharged engine, oil viscosity.

The standards by which lubricants are classified are considered the same for all oils. The most common is the SAE and API classifications.

The API program is the result of joint efforts of the oil industry and automobile and engine manufacturers. Performance requirements, test methods, and limitations are set jointly by automobile and engine manufacturers, technical societies such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), and industry associations such as the American Chemistry Council and API.

  • The API standard introduces two groups of quality classes, prefixed with S (gasoline engines) and C (diesel).
  • The letter after the prefix defines a particular class, assigned to the new classes in order of alphabetical order: API SP oil meets more stringent requirements than API SL.
  • If a particular oil grade can be used in engines for both types of properties, a double class is specified – for example, API SN / CF.

API classification divides oils into three groups according to their purpose and quality:

  • S – for gasoline engines;
  • C – for diesel engines;
  • EC – universal energy-saving oil.

The other letters indicate the class the grease belongs to. All classes differ from each other:

  • API SL – oils for engines in cars manufactured after 2000. For multi-valve, turbocharged, with work on lean mixtures, with increased requirements for energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.
  • API SM – oils for engines of cars manufactured after 2004. Ability to be certified according to ILSAC energy-saving category.
  • API SN – oils for engines of vehicles manufactured after 2010. Designed for oils used in the most advanced gasoline engines of passenger and sports cars and small vans. Some oils in this category may comply with ILSAC GF-5 specification and qualify as energy-saving.
  • API SP – oils for engines of cars manufactured after 2020. Designed for oils used in the most advanced gasoline engines of passenger and sport utility vehicles and small vans. Some oils in this category may meet ILSAC GF-6 specifications.

ILSAC 5w-20 engine oil classification

  • GF-4 – oils for engines of vehicles manufactured after 2004, SAE viscosity grades 0w-20, 5w-20, 0w-30, 5w-30 and 10w-30. These oils are compatible with catalytic converters.
  • GF-5 – oils for engines of cars manufactured after 2010 meet quality requirements of API SN classification. SAE viscosity grades 0w-20, 5w-20, 0w-30, 5w-30. They are characterized by improved energy efficiency, increased antiwear properties, provides reduced sludge formation in the turbine, a noticeable reduction of carbon deposits in the engine.

ILSAC GF-6 replaced the previous GF-5 specifications, which covered OW-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, and 10W-30 fuel efficiency class oils.

Recommended oil brands 5w-20:

  • Liqui Moly.
  • Idemitsu.
  • ACDelco.
  • K&N.
  • Castrol.
  • Red Line.
  • Motul.
  • Schaeffer Manufacturing.
  • Mobil.
  • Lucas Oil.
  • Amsoil.
  • Castrol.
  • Havoline.
  • Quaker State.
  • Shell.
  • Valvoline.
  • Royal Purple.

Cost of 5w-20 engine oil:

Up to $30: synthetic-based 5w-20 oils.
Up to $50: 5w-20 synthetic oils from popular brands.
Up to $80: 5w-20 synthetic oils from premium brands.

Max Welder (rvneeded)

Max Welder (rvneeded)

Max Welder is a mechanic enthusiast. Currently, working at a small company. Experienced in electronics, car tools, and security systems. In his spare time, he writes articles for various blogs.


Leave a Reply