There’s no denying that a good engine oil is absolutely critical to keeping your car’s engine in top condition. Like anyone else who loves their car, you too, obviously, want to give your car the maintenance it deserves.
Among all the other things you can do to keep your car in top-notch condition, the one thing you certainly shouldn’t be ignoring is your car’s engine oil. There’s a reason engine oil is often called your car’s lifeline- using the right engine oil can boost your engine’s performance in more than one way, and give you the most out of your car.
Not only does a good engine oil come with a host of benefits like minimising friction, and keeping your engine running smoothly, it also makes sure your car is in great health in the long run. Essentially, one right choice will help you optimise your car’s performance, and also save thousands on maintenance and repairs on your car.
On the other hand, being careless about the oil you use in your car will mean a world of problems, from constant leakage, poor mileage, and an engine that wears out much faster than it should.
The market for engine oils is flooded with multiple brands and kinds, from conventional oil, which is extracted from crude oil, and synthetic oil, which is essentially a refined petroleum product.
While conventional oil, aptly named so, has been the traditional choice of engine fuel, the world is increasingly switching to synthetic oils, and with good reason to do so.
For one, synthetic oil is more refined and pure as compared to conventional oil, and burns in a more clean way. This means that there are lesser impurities and hence little buildup on your engine. Secondly, synthetic oils offer better viscosity and are specially created keeping in mind the demands of modern car engines.
There’s also the fact that synthetic oils are cleaner and greener - they have lesser sulfur content and a smaller concentration of hydrocarbons, reducing the emissions from your car by a significant margin.
Coming back to the synthetic engine oil market, there are multiple brands around, and picking the right synthetic oil can be a bit of a tough choice. Sure, you could go talk to friends and family about it, but then, different cars and engines have different engine oil specifications. We dig a little deeper to see which one of the engine oils in the market are a cut above the rest.
Best 0W-20 Engine Oils
Best 5W-30 Oils
It’s time to take a look at some high-quality synthetic engine oils, which have been picked for their promising features and promising reviews.
This single-viscosity oil from Mobil 1, is our top choice for vehicles where fuel economy is the focus. Just like its multi-viscosity counterpart, the 5W-30, this oil also offers optimum protection to the engine, from heat, build-up and extreme weather conditions.
You can be completely assured of its reliability; after all, it not only meets, but exceeds ILSAC GF-5 requirements. The Mobil 1 OW-20 is manufactured using a unique blend of a high-performance synthetic base fortified additives that make this oil super effective at multiple functions.
For example, it has unparalleled thermal and oxidation stability which allows it to flow effortlessly through the engine at high temperatures, while at the same time, reducing the possibility of deposits and sludge build-up.
This, along with its quick cold-weather start, makes it perfectly suited to varying climatic conditions. Overall, this is the best single-viscosity oil you can pick for your engine, giving it long-lasting protection, better performance, and improved engine efficiency.
The best feature of this oil, however, is the fuel economy it brings your vehicle, improving it by at least 2 percent, and more when the vehicle type, weather and driving conditions are suitable.
At a little over $25, this is a great choice for owners whose vehicles have been running on single-weight oils for years – you can get all the benefits of a premium, high-quality synthetic oil without risking having to switch to a multi-weight oil.
At less than $22, 0 from Valvoline is a decent buy, and looks promising enough.
It definitely makes it to this list of quality engine oils – while it doesn’t specify a direct impact on fuel economy or emissions, it does come with a specially designed formula, with additives that boost its anti-wear quality, assuring you of an engine that runs at optimum performance.
35In addition, the Valvoline synthetic motor oil offers superior protection against sludge build-up, while also ensuring that your engine stays damage-free, whether you’re driving at high speed, in hot or cold temperatures or severe driving conditions.
Think of it as a single protection shield that fights an engine’s three biggest enemies – heat, sludge/deposits, and friction. If you’re looking for a single-weight synthetic engine oil that gives you optimum protection and engine output at a budget price, this could be a good choice for you.
Here’s a list of top engine oil brands, in 5W-30 category, to help you pick the best for your car.
This product is an advanced, fully synthetic, 5w-30 viscosity oil from Mobil 1 – a popular and reliable brand in the engine oil market. Apart from being meeting API standards and the very demanding ILSAC GF-5 performance measure, this oil is also dexos1 approved by General Motors, which means it is not only at par with industry standards, but also exceeds them.
Mobil 1 synthetic engine oil gives your engine superior cleaning power and exceptional protection against wear and tear.
It also comes with superior viscosity, giving it great control over breakdown under high temperatures, ensuring each and every part of your engine is lubricated, and protected from friction, at the same time reducing potential deposits and sludge build-up.
The advanced synthetic formula helps prevent deposits and sludge build-up to enable long engine life, while also giving your engine optimum overall lubrication.
Not only this, this product also offers your engine some great protection against varying weather, with features like excellent low-temperature compatibility, resistance to high heat and oxidation, and quick cold weather starting for superior protection, which together minimise any potential damage to your engine because of heat, cold or humidity. This makes it an ideal choice, suited to varied driving styles and climatic conditions.
Not only is this product super-efficient at optimising your engine’s performance and health, it is also cost-effective, giving you outstanding value for your money between oil changes, and maximum fuel economy, all for $30, which makes it the top choice on this list.
For an engine oil that’s priced competitively, and has a host of benefits, Mobil 1 engine oil a great choice, also keeping in mind that it is the preferred standard oil for most modern vehicles, even including high-performance ones such as SUVs, light vans and trucks which have high-performance, turbo-charged, supercharged gasoline and diesel multi-valve fuel injected engines.
Pennzoil Platinum 5W30 is a high-quality, full synthetic motor oil from leading motor oil manufacturers Pennzoil.
It is specially formulated using the patented Pure Plus technology – a unique gas-to-liquid process which converts natural gas into high-quality synthetic oil filtering out as many impurities as possible, making it one of the purest synthetic motor oil brands in the market.
This means that with Pennzoil Platinum synthetic oil, your engine is less prone to damage from sludge, build-up and stubborn deposits, keeping your engine’s vital components clean and damage-free. Its unique formula consists of superior active cleansing agents, which helps it to keep your engine nearly 40% cleaner than current industry standards.
Pennzoil Platinum synthetic oil is graded and approved by API standards (ILSAC GF-5, ACEA A1/B1-10, A5/B5-10, A1/B1-12, A5/B5-12, API SN-RC and all previous categories), and is also compatible with engines such as the Chrysler MS-6395, Ford WSS-M2C929-A, WSS-M2C946-A, GM 6094M, 4718M, Dexos1, Honda/Acura HTO-06.
While it may not guarantee you 10,000+ miles between drain intervals, this synthetic oil is certainly a solid, although slightly expensive (at over $35) buy for those wanting to keep their car’s engine protected from deposits and sludge in the long run.
Thanks to Pennzoil Platinum’s superior cleansing even under the most severe driving style or conditions, giving your engine maximised responsiveness as well as engine life.
The last product on this list is Castrol Edge Extended Performance – a premium, multi-viscosity synthetic oil from Castrol – leading manufacturers of engine oils around the world. This synthetic oil is manufactured using a unique fluid titanium technology.
This not only gives your engine unparalleled long-term protection against friction, build-up and varying oil temperatures, but also boosts its performance like never before.
Like any high-quality engine oil should, Castrol Edge Extended performance ensures that its molecules maintain constant contact with the different metal contact points in your engine, each of which comes with varying demands, pressures and temperatures.
This makes it ideal not just for everyday driving, but also for severe applications such as towing and hauling, high-performance driving, frequent short trips.
While this engine oil gives you optimum speed and performance on the road, it also does an excellent job of keeping your engine well-protected when your car is idle, or during extreme weather conditions like winter, or humidity.
Its carefully engineered composition significantly reduces metal-to-metal contact within your engine, even at varying speeds, and maximised engine response by decreasing the formation of deposits and oil build-up between parts. This synthetic oil also has three times stronger resistance to viscosity breakdown as compared to other premium synthetic oils in the market.
Users have reported that there are absolutely no leaks with this oil once filled in your engine, and practically zero oil burning, which is also another reason it is extremely popular with car owners and drivers.
With the Castrol Edge Extended performance, you’re guaranteed 15,000 miles between drain intervals, that too at a consistently good speed, irrespective of terrain or weather.
It is API approved, (API SN, ILSAC GF-5, ACEA A1/B1), and is compatible with all modern engines such as Ford WSS-M2C929-A, Ford WSS-M2C946-A, Honda HTO-06 even meeting the test standards of the Chrysler MS-6396.
Overall, the Castrol Edge Extended Performance is a promising, high-quality product that delivers on both, engine optimisation as well as engine protection, making it a great alternative to the options above.
The simplest rule of buying synthetic motor oil for your car is to pick one that will match the engine’s tolerances, circulate through the engine at the correct pace and flow, and consistently, evenly absorb the heat from the engine.
While you may be tempted to switch to a newer product because you read some great reviews, or someone recommended it, it’s not the best idea.
Using the incorrect type of oil in your engine will affect both, the movement of the oil as well as the functioning of your engine, sometimes resulting in the engine seizing or working in an unstable manner, eventually affecting its life and your car’s performance in the long run.
So instead of getting swayed by random reviews or advice from friends and family, how about you get down to the basics and understand your car’s engine, it’s oil requirements, and the various factors that determine the quality of synthetic engine oil?
As a part of the refinement process of synthetic engine oils, manufacturers will often enhance them with unique additives, which aid in various functions like maintaining engine temperature, reducing deposits and build-up and minimising friction and corrosion.
Not only do these additives contribute to the effectiveness of engine oil, they could also make up for as much as 25 percent of the cost of the oil.
In fact, the difference between the prices of two engine oil brands could very well be the kinds of additives and the technology used to add these to the oil.
The viscosity of engine oils determines its resistance to heat, and its flow under high or low temperatures. Synthetic oils are identified and graded by viscosity, and different kinds of engines have different viscosity requirements. It isn’t enough just to pick a high-viscosity oil because it is recommended for a particular high-performance engine.
For example, randomly switching to using a multi-viscosity oil for your car will cause the detergent in it to suddenly unclog your engine of all kinds of build-up, and this will mix back with the oil, really damaging your car.
The safest way to pick engine oil with the right viscosity is to refer to your car’s user manual. The engine oil market has two kinds of oils available - single-viscosity and multi-viscosity oil. The lower the number before the W on the label, the thinner the oil and the better its flow.
You’ve most likely seen these on the labels of engine oil brands. The first one is the familiar starburst symbol means that the oil meets the current quality standards of the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC), which cover engine protection standard and fuel economy requirements.
Then there’s the ring-shaped API (American Petroleum Institute) symbol which tells you if the oil meets the current SL service ratings. In addition, the label will also tell you the viscosity number provided by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and tells you if the oil has passed the energy conserving test.
Apart from these factors, here’s a list of questions you need to ask, before you decide to go ahead with picking a new engine oil for your car.
This is an important consideration, particularly if your vehicle is still under warranty, as using something other than the recommended oil may put a new vehicle out of warranty.
It’s simple - If your vehicle is running well, i.e. without any leaks, corrosion, excessive build-up and wear and tear, there’s actually no reason to switch brands. But if you think changing engine oil might help you get more out of your car, go ahead and make a well-thought decision.
Do you live in, or drive around the hills or mountains? Does the weather in your region fluctuate sharply? This might be a good reason to pick a multi-weight (also called multi-viscosity) oil, which covers a wide range of temperatures. Go back and check the label – the number before the ‘W’ is what matters; the lower it is the better it will work in lower temperatures.
This is another important factor to weigh. If your vehicle has been running on single weight engine oil for many years, a switch to multi-weight oil might not be a wise choice, as it may not be thick enough to lubricate the worn engine parts that have become smaller because of friction, and have wider spaces in between.
In this case, switching to a heavier single-weight oil in summer might help, as engine oil tends to thin out by then.
Now that you know what factors to consider before choosing a synthetic engine oil, and what the various quality symbols mean, here’s one last bit of information that you absolutely must know.
Different engine oil brands will specify different quality standards and regulations, and while these are pretty technical, it wouldn’t hurt to take a quick overview of the quality tests for engine oils.
This test uses ball bearings to measure the kind of lubrication your engine oil provides your engine with, in order to reduce friction between moving parts.
This test calculates a total base number (TBN) for engine oils, which is essentially a measure of their alkalinity, or of how well they are able to combat the corrosive acids produced during fuel combustion. Oils that have a higher TBN will be better at reducing the corrosion and damage produced by used oil on the engine.
As the name suggests, this test checks the viscosity of engine oils at low temperatures by exposing them to sub-zero temperatures. This essentially means that the better an oil performs on this test, the lesser damage it will cause to the engine when suddenly started in cold weather.
This test determines the deposits left by any engine oil, which can be harmful to the engine in the long run. Engine oils are exposed to high temperatures, and the residual deposits after combustion are measured for potential damage from sludge buildup.
The more easily an engine oil evaporates during combustion, the more volatile it is. Good quality engine oils always have lower volatility, thus minimising fuel loss and boosting your car’s fuel economy.
This might feel a bit daunting at first, but believe it, you’ll end up making the best choice possible for your engine, once you’ve done your thorough research on buying synthetic engine oils, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you picked nothing but the best for your engine.
It takes a high-performing engine to give you the most out of your vehicle, and there’s nothing that will benefit your car more than maintaining your engine’s health to its peak.
You’ve spent thousands of dollars on your car, and why should you compromise when it comes to its maintenance? A good, well-maintained car will go miles, and you’ll be able to boast that six-figure number on your odometer - a sure sign of a car that’s well-loved, and well-looked after.