5w40 vs 10w40 – Which is Better for Motorcycles?

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When it comes to choosing the right motor oil for your motorcycle, you need to get everything right. Any confusion from your side can cause great damage to the motorbike’s engine.

To avoid such unfortunate incidents you should have first-hand information regarding different oil types on the market today.

Luckily for you, each oil type uses slightly different numeric characters for easy identification. In your case, you need to draw a line between 5W40 and 10W40 so you may know if any of these two engine oils will work best for your motorcycle.

Also Read: 5w30 vs 10w30 – What is the Difference?

First forward, the 5W40 oil is identified differently from 10W40. Meaning that the first numerical (number 5) indicates the minimum temperature in which this type of engine oil is designed for. The letter “W” is included to indicate winter.

The same case is true with 10W40 whereby the number 10 stands for the minimum temperature in degrees celsius for this particular oil engine to start a motorcycle. And “W” is for winter.

The numbers for these two types of engine oils indicate how each oil should kick-start the motorbike when the temperature is either 5 or 10 degrees Celsius in winter. How about the second number?

Well, the second number helps you to determine the thickness of that particular engine oil. In most cases, this number determines the viscosity of oil especially under the heart of your motorcycle’s engine.

So the higher this value, the thicker the engine oil when subjected to heat.

5W40 Motor Oil Characteristics

The 5W40 is a very thin engine oil when you compare it with the 10W40. This oil type is designed to get into most moving parts in an engine and lubricate them while trying to start-up the engine.

As mentioned earlier, the number “40” is included to indicate the thickness of this engine oil. In this regard, the 5W40 is a little bit thicker than the average motor oil.

Also, it lubricates the motorcycle’s engine better than the average oil. The average engine oil’s thickness is  30 for quite a number of vehicles. As such, the 5W40 ranks way above any motor oil with the number 30 in terms of performance.

5W40 Motor Oil Applications

Due to its superior performance, the 5W40 motor oil has many applications compared to other oil types. That explains why mechanics use it to support engines with higher mileage thanks to its unique properties. This engine oil is usually thicker when subjected to heat compared to the average oil.

On top of that, it lubricates moving parts of an engine better than the average motor oils. So if your motorcycle’s engine has older or worn down parts, the best motor oil to use is 5W40.

Judging from its characteristics, the 5W40 is ideal for high-mileage motorbikes in regions that experience extreme cold weather conditions of 5 degrees celsius.

This means that you can use it if you are staying in places that experience winter conditions. The 5W40 is certainly a reliable motorcycle oil that you can use to start-up the engine in freezing temperatures.

10W40 Motor Oil Characteristics

Compared to 5W40, the 10W40 is thicker but a little bit thinner than average engine oils. This motor oil works perfectly well to lubricate all moving parts of your motorcycle’s engine during start-up.

Given that it has the oil’s number “40”, you can easily tell that it is somehow thicker than average spoil when exposed to the running engine’s heat.

10W40 Motor Oil Applications

You may use 10W40 motor oil if your motorcycle’s engine has older moving parts. This type of oil is designed for lubricating older parts to make them perform optimally.

More importantly, it is ideal for use in motorbikes in winter climates. Such regions are known to experience lower temperatures of about 10 degrees celsius.

Even though this engine oil is useful in areas that experience low temperatures, it is not as reliable as 5W40 when it comes to engine start-up.

5W40 vs 10W40 – Differences

The main difference between the two oil types is that one is thinner than the other. The 5W40 is thinner than the 10W40 at lower temperatures. But when the temperature is higher, both motor oils similarly perform their intended functions (using the same viscosity).

If your motorcycle requires a 10W40 engine oil, there is no need to go for 5W40 oil. The 10W40 will just work well with your motorbike.

Since the 5W40 is a thin motor oil, it will get your motorcycle’s engine parts moving effortlessly. At the same time, it will easily lubricate the moving parts when starting up the engine.

This shows you the importance of taking into account the oil’s number when choosing the right engine oil for your motorcycle. As stated above, the number “40” indicates the thickness of the oil that your engine can use to run efficiently.

On the other hand, the 10W40 motor oils are thicker than the 5W40 oils for good reasons. This oil type works pretty well in lubricating engine parts during startup. However, the main difference between these two engine types is that the 5W40 can work better than 10W40 in very cold places.

Final Verdict

To make your motorcycle engine work efficiently, you will need engine oil with reliable viscosity. The oil will provide the engine with the correct cooling, cleaning, lubrication, and protection to internal components. With the right engine specifications, your motorcycle engine will perform well and last longer.

Check out the 5W40 and 10W40 motor oils to know which one suits your motorcycle. For the 5W40, you can use it if you are riding your motorbike in areas that experience a temperature of 5 degrees celsius. If your region experiences temperatures of 10-degree celsius, then the 10W40 motor oil will work better for your motorbike.

Both oil types are designed to enable engine startup in places that experience freezing temperatures. Depending on where you are going to ride your motorbike, you can choose any of the two motor oils.

Make sure that the choice you make will maintain your motorcycle’s engine well in terms of efficiency, performance, and lifespan. On that note, you will have to stick to the motor oil that is designed for your motorbike engine.

Josh Berry - MotoShark Editor
Josh Berry
I'm a off-road enthusiast, extreme sport fan and the editor of MotoShark. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this article, please leave a comment or contact me.

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