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You must have come across this kind of mysterious number i.e 0W 40 on your engine oil bottles. But what does it actually mean? Well, lucky for you, we’ve come prepared. The 0W 40 engine oil is used in gasoline and diesel engines. The numbers of the lubricate state its viscosity grade.


The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has developed viscosity grades for engine oils to classify certain oil types based on their properties. The SAE describes the oil viscosity at various operating temperatures. Engine oil like 0W-40 is classified as a multi-grade oil, meaning it’s suitable for both cold and hot temperatures. It makes the engine oil versatile to be used in different conditions like extreme cold seasons or hot summers. The “0W” refers to the oil viscosity during winter (W= Winter) at -40 degrees celsius. While the number “40” refers to the kinematic viscosity of the oil at 100-degree celsius.

To understand viscosity or oil grade, let’s dig deeper.


Viscosity is simply a measure of the oil resistance to flow or in easy words, the fluid’s thickness. Thick engine oil has a higher viscosity while thinner oil has a low viscosity. The number of the engine oil is designed for its viscosity reading. There are two different gradings for engine oil, i.e single grade, and multi-grade. Single grade oil represents its viscosity by a single number while multi-grade oil uses two numbers to represent the viscosity and temperature. Let me break it down for you. For instance, let’s take 0W-40.

The number before the alphabet “W” is the viscosity of the oil at a lower temperature. The higher the number, the higher is the oil viscosity, and vice-versa. Here the viscosity of the oil in winter is 0.

The number after the “W” represents the fluid viscosity at a normal running temperature.


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Q 1. Is 0W40 better than 5w40?

Ans. It depends. 0W-40 does have a low viscosity in the cold temperature while 5W40 is comparatively thicker. So if you want to use any of these oils then, 5W40 is better. However, 0W40 is better in terms of better flow in the engine.

Q 2. Is 0W40 good for winter?

Ans. No! 0W40 isn’t ideal for winters as it has the lowest (0) viscosity and lacks thickness than any other motor oil.