Rankedgenerators is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


Can I Use 5W30 Instead of 10W30 in My Generator?

Can I Use 5W30 Instead of 10W30 in My Generator
Written by Jamie Masterson

Yes, 5w30 is good for your generator in most cases. The oil allows your equipment to crank up and stay operational for as long as you want.

The low viscosity makes the oil perfect for winter use since its thinner nature ensures the unit will run smooth even at -30 degrees.

5w30 is a great choice for your home generator with a light load or other units that don’t require a lot of loading power.

Why Use 5w30 Instead of 10w30 in Your Generator?

1. Ideal use

Multi-grade oils are made to work effectively both in winter and warm climates but 5w30 is thin enough to get to all generator components when you live in an area with extreme low temperature.

10w30 flows effectively if you live in high temperature locations and during hot summers.

2. Performance

Both motor oils perform at the same high operating temperatures but 10w30 thickens more in cold climates.

5w30 is a better option to run your generator in cold seasons.

3. Temperature range

5w30 maintains the viscous fluid over a wide temperature range from -31 to 95 degree Fahrenheit.

The temperature range covered by 10w30 is smaller: From 3.2 to 86 Fahrenheit.

4. Lubrication speed

5w30 oil is much thinner than 10w30 oil so it protects the engine components of your generator faster.

When not to use 5w30 in your generator?

Don’t use the oil on your generator during hot summer days.

The oil may break down fast and perform inefficiently.

Benefits of 5w30

Benefits of 5w30

It’s easier to start your generator with 5w30 oil on a cold winter day.

The oil builds a continuous layer over engine parts to reduce friction.

Your generator engine parts are protected from rusting and the wear and tear is reduced when you use the oil.

The motor oil has superior thermal stability and increases the lifespan of your generator. The properties of the oil remain the same with temperature variation.

5w30 is designed to minimize oil consumption so you only need a small amount to lubricate your generator engine. It gives a food flow in low temperatures, which makes it the right choice for cold weather conditions.

Problems with 5w30

Synthetic 5w30 oils are energy conserving that include friction modifiers.

The problem with friction modifiers is that they may ruin the clutch if you drive your unit with multiple engines.

The oil is too thin for aging motors and has a higher risk of wedge loss.

Benefits of 10w30

Benefits of 10w30

10w30 oil reduces the deterioration of your generator engine during the start/stop procedure while keeping the engine cool.

The oil increases the life of your generator and protects engine parts from rust.

Your generator runs quieter when you use the oil. It’s made for API SN category engines that protect pistons from deposits caused by combustion.

The oil is compliant with after-treatment and seal and doesn’t form undesirable gels or sludges at high temperatures.

The viscosity doesn’t change under high temperatures and the oil gives you a noiseless operation.

Problems with 10w30

You may have trouble starting your generator with 10w30 since it’s less fuel-efficient

In best-case scenarios, the generator may start up every now and then which might be annoying.


Q. Can I use 10w40 in my generator?

10w40 is safe to use on a generator that requires 10w30. The weight of the oil needs to be right so don’t use 10w40 if the user manual suggests using 5w40.

Q. How much oil do generators take?

Portable generators hold between 400 and 700 milliliters of oil. Fuel consumption level varies based on the generator size so you need to check the manual guide to find the exact amount.

Q. Is SAE 30 the same as 10w30?

SAE 30 is a mono-grade oil that is used for maintenance work and only informs viscosity at high temperatures. 10w30 is thinner in cold engines but thicker when the car is hot.

About the author

Jamie Masterson

With decade-long experience as a generator technician, Jamie has worked with USA’s top generator manufacturers and suppliers as an independent contractor.

The long years of service to the industry has taught Jamie the ins and outs of troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining all kinds of generators in home, industrial and outdoor settings.

Jamie thinks this platform is a great opportunity to share his tips and tricks with you so you can make the most of such power equipment for better living.

Leave a Comment