Best Synthetic Oil for Your Vehicle: A Quick Guide For Buyers

Best Synthetic Oil for Your Vehicle: A Quick Guide For Buyers

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All vehicle owners want extended mileage. And buying the best synthetic oil may be the best investment in the long-term health of your engine. After all, you’ve invested thousands in a vehicle. So, you want to ensure your engine runs well for as long as you own your car or truck. For that reason, to extend the life of your engine, carefully consider which type and formula of synthetic oil you purchase for your vehicle.

This consideration applies even more to a new engine while it’s still under warranty. Using the incorrect oil can void your warranty and cost you thousands. Therefore, many new car owners opt for replacing the original oil in their new beauty with regular crude-based oil, rather than risk adding an unknown, chemically engineered synthetic. This can happen even if that synthetic oil is pre-approved by the manufacturer.

Practical Considerations for Using the Best Synthetic Oil

After the warranty period has expired, drivers begin to gravitate towards the best synthetic oil, as issues such as engine wear and longevity come into play. Manufacturers can only address these issues by how they engineer synthetic oil. So, they become even more desirable to owners as the years, and the miles begin to pile up on their old, reliable family vehicle. The same applies to work vehicles, possibly to an even larger degree. The loss of a work vehicle can mean lost time, or even lost projects. Not to mention the actual cost of repair and replacement of fleet or heavy-use vehicles.

Why Synthetic Oil?

Some of the most commonly noted advantages to synthetic oil over crude-based oils were cited by consumers on various sites. These reasons were reflected in articles by consumer advocates and automotive experts, such as Consumer Reports, AAA motor club, and Road and Track magazine. Following are the most often mentioned considerations for switching to synthetic oil.

The cost

At first, this may seem counter-intuitive, as the average cost of the best synthetic oil is far higher than that of the best petroleum-based oil. However, you must change petroleum-based oils much more often than the best synthetic oil. The agreed-upon recommended time for an oil change using conventional oil, every 3,000 miles, is greatly extended using synthetic oil. Most synthetic oils only require changing every 7,000 miles. And in the case of some of the best synthetic oils, as much as far as 15,000 miles. These mileage figures will depend on the vehicle and the blend of oil you use. So, while the initial investment may seem high to some, in the long-run, the cost can be recovered several times over.

They are better for your engine

Sure, the cost savings is nice, but the other big advantage is that the best synthetic oil, in most cases, offers better lubrication. This can result in better mileage, greater horsepower, and extending your engine life. If that wasn’t enough, it could also make your vehicle easier to start and run more efficiently in extremely cold weather.

That brings us to one of the most overlooked advantages of synthetic oil. Simply the fact that it is synthetic makes it exempt from many of the issues brought on by mineral-based oil. Synthetic oil resists oxidation and the thermal breakdown of lubrication. Petroleum-based oils can also suffer evaporative loss. Since synthetics significantly reduce this, they last much longer. Even the notorious “sludge” associated with crude oils has been all but eliminated using synthetics.

Tips for Choosing the Right Synthetic Oil

It all sounds good, but it can all be for nothing if you don’t take the time to match the synthetic to the needs of your engine. If you have a new or newer vehicle, don’t use a synthetic oil designed for older engines. Conversely, if you live in subtropical or desert regions of the county, the fact that a synthetic that will operate at -25 degrees Fahrenheit should not enter your decision process. Carefully read the label to make sure you are choosing the oil that will benefit your vehicle most.

Don’t try to pinch pennies

Many people base their product choices on price. While this philosophy works fine when choosing identical items from different sources, it should not apply to which is the best synthetic oil to use for your car or truck. Not to say that more expensive is always better but remember that this is an investment in your vehicle. So, choosing products for your car isn’t the right time to pinch pennies and miss out on essential features you may need. Remember that the right synthetic oil for your vehicle is going to save you money in the long run. Settling for a lesser quality oil may negate those savings.

How These Oils Made Our List

When there are so many options and brands, choosing the best synthetic oil can seem confusing. For this list, we’ll do some of the legwork for you. Our research covered several categories of synthetic oils by many manufacturers.

To compile this list, we collected data from several sources, including automotive specialists, consumer advocate sites, and the manufacturers themselves. Customer reviews were culled and collated from several sources to offer a wider range of responses than just satisfaction based on price or shipping.

Best Synthetic Oil on the Market

We found that, while there are several excellent multi-featured synthetic oils, there are also many that are formulated for specific situations and types of vehicles. However, it would be folly to try to list each and every synthetic oil designed for each and every specific circumstance. So with that in mind, this list offers what we consider the overall best of different categories, brand names and types of vehicle.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled our recommendations for some of the best of the best. Some are the best from trusted and reputable manufacturers; others are best for more specific uses.

Castrol EDGE 5W-30 motor oil

A world-wide company, Castrol is one of the leaders in both standard and synthetic motor oils. Their formula 3084 EDGE synthetic motor oil is our choice for best synthetic oil from Castrol. You can use it in most passenger cars, and you’ll find it one of the best full-synthetic oils available. Castrol designed EDGE with “Titanium Technology.” This means that as the oil pressure increases, the oil composition chemically alters to provide nearly double the friction protection. This has the benefit of assisting in a longer life for your engine.

Amazon customers rate Castrol EDGE 3.8 out of 5 stars, and you can purchase a 5-quart jug for $23 to $28 from a range of online retailers and auto parts suppliers.

Pennzoil 550038330 Ultra Platinum 5W-20 fully synthetic motor oil

Pennzoil Ultra Premium, being fully synthetic, contains no additives and tops our list as the best synthetic oil from this well-known brand. In most synthetic oils, the manufacturer has engineered a formula that addresses specific concerns and issues, so they stand out from the rest. Pennzoil Ultra Premium has something they call “PurePlus Technology” as their stand-out feature.

This process ensures that the Pennzoil Ultra Premium will be able to hold a consistent viscosity in extremely low-temperature conditions. It will stand up to temperatures from -13 degrees Fahrenheit to – 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that your engine will not have to work harder to pump this oil at lower temperatures, thereby increasing mileage. This is done by using only pure natural gas in the manufacturing process. Customers of this product have reported reduced engine noise and smoother acceleration compared with their previous oils.

Amazon buyers rated it 4.1 out of 5, and Walmart shoppers gave it 4.8 out 5 stars. Prices range widely, depending on the retailer, but you can find a 5-quart jug priced between $30 to $60.

Motul 007250 8100 X-cess 5W-40 synthetic gasoline and diesel engine oil

We chose Motul 8100 X-cess 5w-40 as the best synthetic oil based on customer feedback. Motul 8100 X0-cess bears up under the scrutiny of car manufacturers who recommend it for their vehicles that are still under warranty. Engineered for gasoline, diesel, high-performance, fuel injected, and turbo diesel engines, Motul also designed 8100 X-cess compatible with catalytic converters.

It meets or exceeds industry standards for wear and lubrication, and customers reported both faster acceleration and higher fuel economy after switching to Motul 8100 X-cess 5w-40. Amazon customers rated it 4.9 out of 5 stars, and Walmart shoppers gave it 4.8 out of 5. You can purchase a 5-liter jug online for $42 to $49, depending on the retailer.

Shell Rotella T6 Diesel Synthetic Motor Oil

When it comes to diesel engines, you just can’t do better than Shell Rotella T6 full synthetic motor oil, and it makes our list as the best synthetic oil for diesel engines. Hotter-running diesel engines benefit from the Triple Protection Plus technology. Triple Protection Plus technology engineers the oil to increase protection in diesel engines from oil breakdown, deposits, and wear and tear.

Rotella synthetic oils tend to be a bit more expensive than other synthetics, but the increased protection afforded your engine may be worth the extra expense. Rotella not only protects better than traditional synthetic oil, but it doesn’t break down in very high temperatures. It also increases fuel mileage, works with all emission systems and is excellent for motorcycles. On the downside, it has been reported to increase oil pressure slightly due to its thickness.

Both Amazon and Walmart buyers rate this brand 4.9 out of 5 stars, and you can purchase it online in either 1-gallon or 2.5-gallon jugs. The 1-gallon jug runs from $38 to $40, while you’ll find the 2.5-gallon jug priced between $50 and $60, depending on where you shop.

Mobil 1 5w-30

First released in the US in 1975, Mobile 1 is among the oldest and best synthetic oil brands on the market today. When it comes to the best synthetic oil for versatility, you can’t do much better. Also among the most popular brand, Mobile 1 is suitable for everything from Formula 1 racing cars to the family sedan. Being a ‘full synthetic’ oil, there are no crude oil or other additives in the formula.

Manufactures generally produce synthetic oils with a specific engine type or condition in mind. Mobile 1 5w-30 has a reputation for being wide-ranging and universally useful. Long-wearing due to its SuperSyn ‘anti-wear’ formula and viable in extreme temperatures from -53 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit! Consequently, it performs up to standards in either gasoline or diesel engines. Also used in high-performance turbo-charged engines, and multi-valve fuel injection engine, it comes recommended for supercharged gasoline engines as well.

Amazon buyers rate Mobil 1 4.7 out of 5 stars, while Walmart buyers gave it 4.8 out of 5. You’ll find it in nearly every auto parts store or big box store as well as online priced at $46 to $55 for a 6-pack of quart bottles. You can also find it in 5-quart jugs priced between $25 to $35.

Royal Purple 51530 SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Oil

Royal Purple SAE 5W-30 High Performance, while not a full synthetic oil, employs the additives needed to make it a premium synthetic. You can upgrade to Royal Purple or combine it with other oils without fear of compatibility issues generally associated with other synthetic oils. Royal Purple does, however, advise you not to do this in new engines until the first regularly scheduled oil change. Royal Purple meets the standards of the API (American Petroleum Institute) for protection and performance.  The Royal Purple brand also meets the ILSAC and GF-5 performance standards.

Customers also praised Royal Purple for increased mileage, long-lasting range, and customer support. Amazon buyers give Royal Purple 4.8 out of 5 stars, and Walmart shoppers gave it 4.6 out 5. All but one Advanced Auto Parts customers rate it 5 out of 5, citing its effectiveness for high mileage engines. You can find a 5-quart jug online or in stores priced between $38 and $44.

Castrol 06112 Power1 10W-40 Synthetic 4T

Castrol’s POWER1 4T with Power Release Formula, engineered specifically for 4-stroke motorcycles, meets or exceeds the standards for API SL and JASO MA-2. And it gets our vote of confidence as the best synthetic motor oil for motorcycles. Formulated to deliver superior acceleration, Castrol POWER1 4T is compatible with all 4-stroke motorcycles, whether with a carburetor or full fuel injection.

Customer comments concerning Castrol POWER1 related that it had produced excellent clutch compatibility. It also solved some cold flow issues and had improved viscosity in a wide range of temperature extremes. Customers also mentioned that they had noticed quicker overall engine lubrication when initially starting their motorcycles. Amazon buyers rated it 5 out of 5 stars, as did Advanced Auto Parts customers. You’ll find quart bottles online priced between $11 and $22.

Do Your Homework Before Buying

We’ve compiled this list to assist you in making an informed decision. Hopefully, you can use it to narrow down your options when choosing the best synthetic oil for your vehicle. However, we also realize that it never hurts to gather as much data as you can before you make a decision.

Never forget that you are investing in your vehicle, or in some cases, several vehicles. As such, you can never have too much data. Give this choice as much consideration as you did when you chose your car or truck. With a little diligence and some simple research, you can make an informed decision that will extend the life of your vehicle as well as save you money. That’s not such a bad return just from buying a few quarts of oil.

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