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To grade oil, the viscosity/weight (how easily the oil can flow), is used. The ratings go from 0-60 with the lowest numbers representing the thickest (most viscous) and the highest numbers representing the thinnest (least viscous) oils.
This is backasswords. Viscosity is resistance to flow so higher viscosity fluids have higher numbers.
 
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This is backasswords. Viscosity is resistance to flow so higher viscosity fluids have higher numbers.
It does sound wrong, the number before W represent viscosity in winter so 10 is more viscous than 5 and thinner than 20, but according to the remark in the link 20W is "least viscous" oil which does not make sense.

Google:

What is more viscous 5W30 or 10W30?


So both the oils 5W–30 and 10W–30 have exactly the same viscosity (SAE 30) when your engine is running, and will perform in the same way. However, the 10W–30 oil will be thicker (higher viscosity) than the 5W–30 when it is cool.
 

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There's minor differences but overall 0w30,5w30 and 10w30 are all basically the same at operating temperature.

You should have no issues running 0w30 in an engine that calls for SAE30. To an extent.

There's those who claim air cooled engines run hotter so they can't use 0w30 but I'd trust a good full synthetic at high temperatures far more than a typical cheap SAE30 conventional oil.
 

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We could discuss oil until the cows come home.

Use a quality oil (no off brand junk), and check it often to keep it full and run whatever machine that it is you want to run.
Many off brands often do good.

I've heard nothing but really good stuff about Amazons full synthetic and I've been tempted to use it a few times.
 

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I've been using WalMart 10w-30 synthetic in my Snapper lawnmowers for maybe 15 years now, no issues.
I got two cases of synthetic 5w-30 from a Quaker State promo years ago- I've been using this "good stuff" in the snowblowers for at least 15 years as well
I've found that the engines turn over much easier with the synth, especially the mower early in the season.
 

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i think this subject comes up a lot. this link may be useful: SAE 30 vs 5w30: What’s the Difference?
Multi Viscosity 5W (W for Winter) and 30 weight
With todays engines it’s critical to use the recommended oil….Straight thicker viscosity oil was fine years ago but todays fine tolerances in engines (especially cars) makes it critical you follow the manufacturer’s recommendation…..The Multi Viscosity allows easier starting in cold weather and further protection of the 30. SAE is Society of Auto Engineers
 

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Many off brands often do good.

I've heard nothing but really good stuff about Amazons full synthetic and I've been tempted to use it a few times.
I meant more of the stuff you see in the dollar store or convenience store that is a brand that has no sense of quality. I remember some kind of issue with motor oil bottled and sold by a dollar store that was of such poor quality it barely met any kind of standard.

Stuff made for amazon is probably made and bottled in the same plant as some of the bigger name products.
 

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I meant more of the stuff you see in the dollar store or convenience store that is a brand that has no sense of quality. I remember some kind of issue with motor oil bottled and sold by a dollar store that was of such poor quality it barely met any kind of standard.

Stuff made for amazon is probably made and bottled in the same plant as some of the bigger name products.
A lot of dollar store stuff are items that were rejected for QA, contamination, etc. that somehow managed to sneak back . . . I absolutely refuse to ever buy food at one since recalled stuff has been known to show up there, and I am very leery of everything else . . . It's dirt cheap for a reason, and nobody ever went broke buying a single quart of oil for thier blower . . .
 

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Viscosity improver link

SAE 5W-30 oil is SAE 5 oil (i.e. low viscosity) into which has been added a viscosity improver. As the oil becomes warmer, the viscosity improver additive causes the viscosity to increase as high as that of SAE 30 oil.

The viscosity improver additive can become less effective if it has been subjected to a lot of mechanical shearing (e.g. via gear teeth meshing) and otherwise if the engine manufacturer's oil change interval is exceeded.

When the viscosity improver additive in 5W-30 oil loses its effectiveness, the oil will still be SAE 5 viscosity (which may not provide adequate lubrication for an air-cooled engine on a hot, Summer day).
 

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Badbmwbrad-- I don't have a link to the information but I'm sure I read that the method you describe is the old or first way that multi-viscosity oils were made. What the manufacturers found out was if you were using 5w-30 or something like it, after a while the viscosity improvers would wear out (when people don't change oil as often as they should) and you could be running an engine on 5w oil in hot weather and have engine failure, air or water cooled. Some engine failures were at that time being blamed on the multi-vis oils from that era which did not do their sales any favor.
I seem to remember that in the 1980's or thereabout the oil manufacturers figured out a way to do just the opposite.
They now start with 20, 30 or 40 weight and the polymer additives make the oil less viscous in cold weather. The sole purpose was to ensure that when multi-vis oil is over due and the additives are gone that the worst that can happen is you would have thicker oil in cold weather, which may create hard starting but since engines operate pretty much at the same temperature in all weather you are very less like to melt down an engine because of oil film failure.
Also, one very important reason for the use of lighter oils nowadays is that they can create better gas mileage or really just more efficiency, is just by the fact of oil windage inside the crankcase, lighter oils don't take as much power to be sprayed or thrown around inside the engine, that's why we see automobiles using 0w or 5w - 20 instead of the 10w-30 or 40 that was standard for 20 to 30 years. Tolerances have had to be tightened up to use these oils.
 
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