Does Motor Oil Freeze During The Winter?

Should you warm up your car engine during the winter? Does motor oil freeze? This article explains more about the conditions that can lead to motor oil freezing. We also reveal some of the most important secrets about motor oil.

Does motor oil freeze?


The short answer to this question is no. Motor oil does not freeze even when the temperatures outside are extremely cold. In general, motor oil can change the viscosity, and it can change the structure. However, it will not freeze when it is inside the vehicle.

Speaking about viscosity leads us to the fact that some oil types are more suitable for cold and harsh weather. However, viscosity can affect the overall longevity and performance of a vehicle. That is why the right oil is crucial if you want to prolong the life of your car.

When you notice on an oil bottle the numbers like 5w30, it means certain things you need to remember. This kind of oil flows like a 5-weight oil in cold conditions and like a 30-weight oil when it is hot outside. When the numbers are low, the oil is thin and flows better inside the engine.

Most cars use these multi-grade oils to perform well in all conditions. For example, these oils behave and flow in a certain manner at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they flow completely differently when there are 212 degrees Fahrenheit, a typical temperature inside the engine when the car is in use. [1]

A multi-grade oil is usually made of low-viscosity base oil mixed with certain additives. When the polymer additives are combined with 15W oil, you get the oil that flows like 15W oil when the temperatures are low. At the same time, the oil will flow like an SAE 40 in cold conditions.

This kind of 15w-40 oil is suitable for most weather conditions. Some other multi-grade oils will have more additives or synthetic oils as a base.

What temperature does synthetic oil freeze?


If we know that synthetic oils are more resistant, we come to one conclusion. Synthetic oils can remain liquid at extremely cold temperatures. This means that these oils can survive -52 Celsius and remain fluid. When the temperatures are lower, the oil starts to freeze. The weather outside must be very harsh to freeze synthetic oils.

Conventional oil will usually freeze in conditions when the temperatures are low. However, these will not freeze as you might imagine. Instead, the oil will not become solid but crystallize and create certain particles. In this situation, it will not be easy to start a car.

When we compare regular and synthetic oil, we can notice many differences. First of all, synthetic oils have lower viscosity in almost all temperatures. Therefore, it will flow effectively in hot and cold conditions. This ability makes the oil very useful for all types of weather conditions. [2]

You can do it easily if you plan to change from conventional to synthetic oil. First, however, you should follow some guidance from the car manufacturer. If your car can operate on synthetic oil, it is best to use it. You can find this information in your car’s manual.

There are many differences between conventional and synthetic oil, and one of them is the price. You will find out that synthetic oil is much more expensive. It is usually twice as expensive as conventional, and it makes it less available. Therefore, you must invest more money if you want quality oil for your car. In this manner, you ensure that your vehicle will have good and reliable oil.

What is the 5w30 oil freezing point?


When we speak about 5w30 oil, we also need to mention the 0w30 oil. These two oils are very popular among experts and car drivers. The two oils are mostly used in the cold environment when the weather conditions are extremely harsh. Even if 5w30 oil is more popular, we need to know why 0w30 might be a better choice.

The fact is that 0w30 has a lighter viscosity, making it more suitable in cold conditions. As a result, it will flow better in cold temperatures and remain fluid.

On the other hand, 5w30 oil is more suitable when the engine has more mileage and better fuel consumption. Therefore, the difference between the oils is not big. However, you will get a different experience when you apply some of these oils. [3]

We know that there are three main types of car oils. These are winter, summer, and universal oil. All of these oil types have some unique characteristics. You must follow the manufacturer’s suggestions and manuals to find the best oil for your car.

If we consider 5w30 and 0w30 oils, they are both universal oils. This fact means that you can use them in all conditions. No matter if the temperatures are cold or hot, you can use these oils. Your car needs quality oil that will not freeze at low temperatures. At the same time, the oil should not become too liquid at hot temperatures.

It would help if you replaced both of these oils at regular intervals. This means you should replace the oil after each range of 10000km or 6200 miles. If you do not reach this distance, the experts recommend the oil replacement after one year of driving.

In cold conditions, we have one question. What is the 5w30 oil freezing point? The answer is based on scientific and practical experiences. We can say that 5w30 oil has an operating temperature range from -25 °C to +30 °C. This converts into the temperature range from 13 °F to + 86 °F. This kind of range means that the oil is very diverse, and it can withstand different conditions.

It does not mean you cannot use 5w30 in lower temperatures than mentioned. You can also start your engine at -35 °C or -31 °F. However, it can cause some damage to the car parts. It will cause a significant load and friction inside the motor parts. That is why 0w30 oil might be a better choice when the temperatures are at -35 °C or -31 °F and below.

If you want to get the best results, it is good to combine both oils. For example, you can drive the car with the use of 0w30 oil during the first 6000 or 7000 miles. After this mileage range, you can switch to the more viscous oil. This is the 5w30 oil that provides more fluid characteristics.

Do this only if the manufacturer’s recommendations allow you to do it. For example, if there are limitations to only one oil type, you should not mix them. Instead, use only the oil that is recommenced for your card brand.

What happens if oil freezes?


In general, oil does not freeze. No matter the temperature outside, the oil cannot freeze because its structure is very complex. The oil will change its structure and lose viscosity, but it will not freeze.
The motor oil can not lubricate the engine when the temperatures are too low.

This is because the oil starts to solidify and loses its viscosity. This situation can damage the engine parts because the oil will lose its lubricating ability. The engine parts will be at risk of further damage if you drive a car in cold weather.

Petroleum-based oils are unique. These will not freeze at low temperatures but lose their liquidity. It will change in form and structure, but it will not freeze. [4]

On the other hand, diesel oil will become solid to the point that it cannot lubricate the engine anymore. This happens when the temperatures are below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diesel oils contain waxes that freeze at certain temperatures, which makes these oils bad in winter conditions. Therefore, the main difference is the number of waxes when we compare diesel and petroleum oils.

Petroleum oils do not have waxes, which is why they behave differently in cold environments. You can use them whenever you want to start a car in winter. These oils will lubricate the engine in the right manner.

Should I warm up my car in winter?

car temperature

Unlike in summer, winter time could freeze anything, including your engine fluids. You should warm up your car in winter. This is good for many reasons. First of all, you raise the temperature of the engine. Secondly, you clear up your engine and prepare it for a drive.

Warming up is good for cutting down on fuel waste, pollution, and fogging up the windows. It is also good to warm up your car in winter if your car has a carbureted engine.

In most cases, carbureted engines require a mixture of air and fuel to start the car. That is why it is important to warm up your car in winter.

It is enough to warm up your car for 30 seconds. Most modern cars require 30 seconds to reach the correct working mode of the engine.

If you want to check if everything is working properly, you can check the oil level. You can also see if the dashboard suggests something unusual. Always check all of the details before you start driving.

If you are careful enough, you will avoid problems during the winter months. At the same time, you should be cautious with your car during all months. Warm up your car in winter, and take care of the oil you put in your car engine. If the wrong oil damages your engine, you may face some problems.


Next time you ask the question “Does motor oil freeze?” you will know the answer. It changes its structure, but it does not freeze. That is why you can drive your car even in extreme temperatures. This fact makes driving more enjoyable.