Just a few decades ago, synthetic oils were rare and hard to find and we were stuck with conventional oil. However, the tables have turned and now you have a wide selection of various part and full synthetic oils to choose from. The best synthetic oils last for more miles, keep your engine cleaner, offer greater engine wear protection, perform better in high and low temperatures, and even help protect critical performance parts like turbochargers.
Top 5 Best Synthetic Oil Products
Here are the best all around motor oils to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Royal Purple’s line of synthetic oils and oil filters have received raving reviews from the auto community and is considered one of the best motor oils available. Their API licensed motor oil is fully compatible with other kinds of mineral and synthetic oils. This oil meets ILSAC GF-5 and Dexos1 performance requirements. Because of the high solvency properties of this oil, you’ll want to run to short 3,000 mile intervals when switching to this motor oil. This will remove existing deposits and clean your engine. Then, you can move to the synthetic oil average change interval of 7,500 to 10,000 miles.
Even though Royal Purple is not a well know brand that uses catchy slogans and expensive advertising in order to promote their products, Royal Purple Synthetic Motor Oil is really exceptional. After numerous tests done by both experts and users who have been putting this oil in their engines, it became clear that this brand of synthetic oil is one of the best.
If you’re changing your oil yourself and looking for something that’s going to last you a good many miles, this product may be the one. Mobil 1 backs this advanced full synthetic formula with a guaranteed protection of 15,000 miles. A Dexos1 licensed product, this oil helps prevent deposit buildups and won’t turn to sludge even if you’re flying around with a lead foot for 10,000+ miles. Sometimes car owners will use an extremely high quality synthetic oil like this, but choose to change it out every 7,000 miles or so to keep their engine running silky smooth. No doubt, Mobil 1’s premium oil is one of the best oils out there.
For diesel engines, we recommend Shell Rotella’s T6 full synthetic motor oil product. Their Triple Protection Plus technology is perfect for robust diesel engines and is our pick for best diesel oil. It provides protection against deposits, oil breakdown, and wear/tear. Furthermore, it is a great oil for motorcycles and well liked in the bike community.
Though it is slightly more expensive, if you have a quality eco diesel truck or touring bike, it’s well worth the extra dollars spent. Improved heat resistance, protection in extreme operating temperatures, deposit control, wear performance, and emissions system compatibility checks all the boxes for a well performing synthetic oil.
Castrol is an enormous corporation that is well-known all around the globe. They are one of the dominant forces when it comes to synthetic oil productions and you have probably seen their slogans and advertisements almost everywhere. Truth be told, they do make one of the best synthetic motor oils that is a safe choice for most car owners.
Castrol claims this is the best full synthetic money can buy. The Castrol EDGE is engineered with their titanium technology which physically changes the way the oil behaves at higher pressures. This technology doubles the oils film strength which ultimately reduces friction in your engine.
Last but not least in our list of the best motor oil for cars we have a product from Pennzoil. Pennzoil is one of the purest formulas of full synthetic oil you can find on the market. Their platinum line make up some of the best 5w30 oils on the market. It is also ideal for extreme temperatures and it will keep your engine running even if you decide it’s time to get the heck out of here and move to Alaska. Due to these properties, Pennzoil is often used in racing and in motorsports. It can help you bring out the best out of your engine and it will simultaneously protect it and keep it clean.
A large number of users have reported that Pennzoil Platinum line of full synthetics truly helps their cars, regardless of the age and the model. They might not be as vocal when it comes to advertising unlike some of the more prominent brands, but the experts at Pennzoil know what they are doing and this formula is very useful for the majority of car brands out there.
Benefits of Using One of the Best Synthetic Oils
What is the best motor oil? We think a full synthetic oil is the way to go. You might be wondering right now why you should use a more expensive full synthetic oil. Well, there are plenty of benefits to forking over those extra dollars for one of those best full synthetic oils. We think if you care about your vehicle, preventative maintenance is the name of the game if you plan on taking care of it and doing your best to keep it running for as long as possible. There is a stark difference between synthetic oil and standard oil. Synthetic oils that are properly formulated posses a high degree of natural solvency, which can clean and remove deposits left by previous oils. That keeps your engine happy, sludge and deposit free, and as a result running smoothly.
Here are some more benefits quality synthetics deliver on:
- Reduce Oil Change Frequency. When you compare the frequency of intervals required between changes of a car running full synthetic, part synthetic, and standard oil, you’ll quickly find full synthetic is the least demanding. Not having to take your vehicle into an oil change shop (or doing it yourself) as often frees up your time to do other (less dirty) things. Standard conventional motor oil needs to be replaced after 3,000 miles, while some full synthetic oils can go up to 15,000 miles without changing. In some cases, users reported that they covered around 25,000 miles with a single change of synthetic oil, but we think that’s pushing it. We still recommend checking the oil dip stick every so often to see how clean your oil is running.
- Healthy Engine, Healthy Car. Not only do you get a longer mileage between changes, synthetic oil takes better care of your engine during those miles. Certain formulas with high solvency act as a cleaning agent that will keep your engine clean and well lubricated in the long run. Since oil circulates through the engine, it picks up the bits and pieces of dirt and debris that are often found in engines. These can clump up in certain oils and often damage your engine through added friction and eventually break it down.
- Increased Performance. A full synthetic oil will help your vehicle perform at its very best. Performance junkies may be sold on this point alone. If you want to know how good your engine really is, synthetic oil will bring the best out of your car. It is very slick and makes your engine work perfectly. Some advocates even claim you’ll get increased horsepower and torque because of less drag on the engine as well as slightly improved fuel economy. The only time you wouldn’t want to use synthetic oil is in new engines during the break in period, because full synthetic is so slippery and this characteristic limits the natural wearing between mating parts that needs to take place in a new engine.
- Weather Guard. The formula of synthetic oil makes it flow better in extreme temperatures. So when the temperature goes down in the wintertime, your car will still be running at maximum efficiency. It is also resistant to viscosity breakdown and will remain optimally flowing regardless of how cold it is outside. Synthetic oil also works well in high temperatures. As you may have guesssed, engines become very hot when they are running. Synthetics are capable of resisting breakdown from excess heat, friction, and chemical contaminants.
Alternatives to Synthetic Oil
There are not many alternatives to synthetic oil out there at the moment. If the price of full synthetic oil is prohibitive, you can always go for a semi-synthetic oil. It might not be as good, but it still does the job and remains better than the conventional oil. It is made by mixing the traditional mineral oil with a synthetic oil and the final result is a somewhat diluted full synthetic. It is a great middle of the road option. It does not last as long as full synthetic oil, but it still outruns conventional oil.
There is an another interesting alternative to synthetic oil — bio based motor oil — but it still in development stages and requires a lot more testing and research. Vegetable based motor oils could be seen as a more environmentally friendly option. A group of scientists at Purdue University who are very concerned about the environment have developed a one of a kind of motor oil that incorporates vegetable (canola-based) oil. As a matter of fact, they claim the engine runs better on this oil. But of course, there always has to be a drawback. The oil from vegetable products would cost a lot more and the mass production of this type of oil would require enormous investment. It may be some time before we see bio based motor oil become cost competitive with conventionals and synthetics.
Green Earth Technologies has a decent bio based motor oil that is formulated from tallow and coconut oil. If you’re interested in a bio-based oil we’d recommend their product. As far as performance goes when compared to a full synthetic, it is difficult to say how this new category will perform this early in the game.
What to Look for When Buying Synthetic Oil
Is there a best motor oil brand? We think you could ask a dozen people and get a dozen answers on this one. We suggest looking at the products offered within each brand, as each brand has its own winners and losers.
Before you buy a synthetic oil, you need to pay close attention to a couple of important things such as:
It is the formula’s resistance to flow and the numbers will vary from product to product. There are always two numerals on the packaging. The first numeral rates the flow of oil at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, while the second one measures the viscosity at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This numbers are referred to as the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) viscosity number which will tell you if that particular oil has passed the Energy Conserving test.
Read the Labels
The labels often have instructions and suggestions when it comes to a type of car a certain synthetic oil should be used for. There are plenty of oil types designed for different motors such as high-tech engines, new cars, higher-mileage vehicles, diesel engines, motorcycles, and so on. Go through your vehicle owner’s manual or do a little research online before you make a purchase and you will have absolutely no problems. Look for the API donut which tells you if the oil meets current SL service ratings.
Oil Additives & Type
Different brands use unique compositions of oil additives in their synthetic oil products. In this case, more is not the better. Yes, additives can help you out with some issues such as rust, dirt, lubrication, etc. But which is the optimal combination? Well, each brand will tell you theirs is. The second factor is the type of synthetic, do you want a full synthetic oil, synthetic blend, or a higher mileage oil. Though we usually trend towards recommending full synthetic oils, these are designed for very high-tech engines like Chevy Corvettes or BMWs. You may not really need it and can save yourself some bucks going with a synthetic blend.
General Thoughts on Spending the Extra Money for a Higher Quality Synthetic
Pressures in today’s engines have almost doubled in the last three decades. That means pressure can reach 10 tons per square centimeter. You need a strong oil to protect your engine from all that pressure and friction. Furthermore, some of us often forget how long its been since we changed the oil, and end up pushing it a bit. You don’t want to waste money changing it often, but the fact remains that sometimes your car needs an oil change after a very short period of time due to poor environmental or driving conditions.
A full synthetic motor oil acts as an insurance policy against these antagonists. Not only will it last longer, it will reduce the risk of a critical breakdown and needing to hire a mechanic who charges $200 just to look under the hood. Is the extra money for a high quality synthetic really worth it? Read about synthetic vs conventional oil.
Having a car is a responsibility and some of us simply can’t buy a new car whenever we feel like it. Therefore, it is important to prolong the life of your car as much as possible. Synthetic oil can be a great ally because it takes care of your vehicle from the inside. The engine will be running better than it ever did before and it will last you for years to come.