One manufacturer making different variants of 5w30 - Whats the difference

May 25, 2021

I believe I got started of the wrong foot, so apologies for the many links in my first post and let me try again :)
I 've been stalking the forum for a while but couldn't find an answer. so here it goes:

I'm living in Belgium and for some reason it is not easy to get your hands here on premium oil brands like Motul and Mobil1. For the past years I have been using oil from a local brand that seems legit (but I am not sure of course).

For some reason, they have a lot of different variaties in synthetic 5w30 oil. I assume it has something to do with the fact that different car manufacturers have specific requirements for oil. But then I also noticed that the viscosities of the different variants are very different in some cases:

some examples:

Variant 1 - 5w30 FullSynth

Product specifications​

BMW Longlife-01
GM LL-A-025/LL-B-025
MB 229.3/226.5
Renault RN0700
VW 502.00/505.00

Typical standard analyses​

Density at 15 °C, kg/l0,857
Viscosity -30 °C, mPa.s5900
Viscosity 40 °C, mm²/s72,80
Viscosity 100 °C, mm²/s12,15
Viscosity Index162
Flash Point COC, °C228
Pour Point, °C-39
Total Base Number, mgKOH/g10,3
Acid number, mgKOH/g2,10
Sulphate Ash, %1,33
Noack, %9,5

Variant 2 - 5w30 FullSynth

Product specifications​

ACEA A5/B5, A1/B1
Meets the requirements of:
Ford WSS-M2C913-D
Renault RN0700
Jaguar Land Rover STJLR.03.5003

Typical standard analyses​

Density at 15 °C, kg/l0,855
Viscosity -30 °C, mPa.s3890
Viscosity 40 °C, mm²/s54,50
Viscosity 100 °C, mm²/s9,90
Viscosity Index170
Flash Point COC, °C220
Pour Point, °C-39
Total Base Number, mgKOH/g10,1
Sulphate Ash, %1,09
Noack, %12,1

Variant 3 - 5w30 Fullsynth

Product specifications​

Approved under VW 504.00/507.00
BMW Longlife-04
Porsche C30
MB-Approval 229.51
MB 229.31/229.52
Opel OV0401547

Typical standard analyses​

Density at 15 °C, kg/l0,852
Viscosity -30 °C, mPa.s5980
Viscosity 40 °C, mm²/s69,80
Viscosity 100 °C, mm²/s12,30
Viscosity Index176
Flash Point COC, °C224
Pour Point, °C-42
Total Base Number, mgKOH/g8,3
Sulphate Ash, %0,75
Noack, %9,6

Variant 4 - 5w30 Fullsynth

Product specifications​

BMW Longlife-04
MB-Approval 229.51
MB 229.31/229.52
VW 505.00/505.01
Ford M2C917-A

Typical standard analyses​

Density at 15 °C, kg/l0,850
Viscosity -30 °C, mPa.s6080
Viscosity 40 °C, mm²/s75,80
Viscosity 100 °C, mm²/s13,20
Viscosity Index180
Flash Point COC, °C220
Pour Point, °C-36
Total Base Number, mgKOH/g7,0
Sulphate Ash, %0,75
Noack, %9,6

... and there are a bunch more variants that I wont all copy here.

So I was hoping someone could shed some light on why one manufacturer would make such a big range of different oils within the same grade. And which specs should I look out for?

I have 2 cars:
- A 1992 Mazda MX5 that I love and plan on owning for the next 20 years. I tend to drive it aggressively and often rev it between 4000rpm and 6000rpm (no track use though)
- A 2004 Ford Streetka that my wife is using and that we are not really attached to

So here my questions:

- Does it really matter much for old cars which variant of 5w30 I use? (the oil manufacturer website suggests variant 1 for my mx5 and variant 2 for the streetka, I also have a bottle of variant 3 in the garage that my wife wrongly bought a while back)
- How do I compare those variants. What values am I looking for.


I'm not really into Euro spec'd lubes, but I can generalize from some of the specs.

Var 1 and Var 3 are similar, but not identical.
Var 2 is thinner all around.
Var 3 is thicker.
Obviously, they meet different OEM criteria.
Some have better NOACK retention, some lower ash content, different base levels ...

Question is this: For your intended applications (the two cars you mention) and the intended OCI (you've not mentioned), does it matter???
I doubt you'll really see any true distinction in wear control. You might see a tiny fractional difference in pumping loss resulting in fuel economy shift, but it would truly be fractional and difficult to quantify.

If you want to know what's "best", well that takes a large amount of time and money to truly test and find significant distinctions; so much so that you're unlikely to want to do so (which is really true of any hobbyist here on BITOG). But the way I see it at first blush, the choices are moot; it won't matter in a truly tangible sense for your applications. Also, the one bottle of variant 3 can be blended into the others with little concern; I'd use it up rather than give it away.

I will defer to someone who's more into the Euro oils.

Welcome to the site! (y)
Didn't look at the list of oils, but that 1992 Miata really won't care one bit what you put in it. That engine is extremely easy on oil. The only thing you might have to mess with is if you end up with some HLA clatter. Won't hurt the engine but is annoying and you can play around with different weights to try and cure it. A Small amount of clatter on startup isn't anything to be worried about. It means the HLA's are leaking down very slightly but filling right back up and working fine.

Those motors will go 250k with very little other than routine maintenance, it is very under-stressed, even when you're beating on it.
ACEA A3/B5 is a thicker oil with HTHS >3.5 and is a good choice for your spirited driving. ACEA A5/B5 is a thinner oil with ACEA <3.5 and is an emissions and fuel economy oil and a good choice for you wife's vehicle.
Thanks for the responses!

I used to have some HLA clatter when I just got the car. I played a bit with different oil weights in the past and the 5w30 (variant 1) eliminated the HLA clatter so I stuck with it. 10w30 and 10w40 caused a lot of clattering (sometimes even during driving)

Sounds like changing weight will have much more impact than changing variant of the same weight.
I ll read up a bit on ACEA