If you strictly use the best synthetic motor oil, it almost goes without saying that your car’s engine performance will always be at its optimum. And who wouldn’t love it when their automobile is performing as it should? Besides, synthetic motor oil will increase the longevity of your car’s engine which in turn translates to lesser visits to your mechanic.
While the importance of using the synthetic motor oil cannot be overstated, you have to know precisely which oil to go for to reap the maximum benefits. How do you go past the marketing hype? Are all oils the same? Does it matter which type of synthetic oil you use?
The truth is, just like any other market, the synthetic oils market is filled with an assortment of products, each promising to protect sensitive parts of your engine and improve overall performance. Choosing the best synthetic oil can, therefore, be somewhat confusing.
With this in mind, we delved into the market, analyzed the top brands and what they have to offer and compiled the following detailed best synthetic motor oil 2016 guide. The info provided here is to help you have an easier time selecting the oil that gives you the most value for your needs and budget. Here’s the list;
Best Synthetic Motor Oils 2018 – Top Ten Reviews
Pennzoil has been in the business of making synthetic motor oils for a while now and have cemented their position as a top brand. We are talking about a brand that’s the official Ferrari oil supplier here, and it’s not surprising that their 550040863-6PK features in our best motor oil list.
Product Features and Benefits
PurePlus Technology – This oil is formulated using a unique technology that enables it to have lower viscosity even in temperatures as low as 13 degrees Fahrenheit. The viscosity, in turn, reduces the effort required by the engine to pump the oil when temperatures get low.
Superior Viscosity Control – In comparison to other oils in its class such as the API Group II and III base oil, the 550040863-6PK has better viscosity control more so in extreme severe oxidative conditions.
Longer Protection – One of the reasons you would want to purchase synthetic motor oils as stated earlier is to protect your engine. This oil scores excellently on that front as it all helps the engine preserve power for longer. Besides, it offers a faster flow of oil in low temperatures and protects the engine in extreme heat.
It may catch your attention to know that the Pennzoil 550040863-6PK has a protection certification of SN/GF-5. Additionally, this oil allows you to drive at an average of 550 miles annually.
• Can be used in almost every other car irrespective of the manufacturer
• You can rest assured that the sensitive parts of your vehicle’s engine are protected
• Works well even in cold weathers
• The oil is relatively pricey, but then again, its performance matches the price
If you’re scouting for the best synthetic motor oil for your diesel-powered truck that uses CD, CF or API oil, the Mobil 1 94001 5W-30 could as well be a remarkable option. Here’s why this oil is a top pick and what it can do for your car.
Product Features and Benefits
Versatility – The Mobil 1 94001 5W-30 can be used in any vehicle from turbocharged cars to supercharged gasoline as well as dual valve injected engines found in trucks, SUVs, and commuter vehicles. This is a general purpose oil that works well in vehicles that require a 5W-30 viscosity.
Outstanding Protection – This oil is designed to offer superior protection against wear. It helps keep your car’s engine exceptionally clean an action that has a direct positive impact on the performance of the vehicle. In essence, the SuperSyn anti-wear technology ensures the engine’s performance remains constant, even the harshest of conditions.
Great Viscosity – The 1 94001 5W-30, just like all other synthetic oils from Mobil has the viscosity approved for all General Motors cars. Thus, if you own a Ford, Nissan or Chevrolet, this could as well be your to go for oil. It also happens to be the first choice oil for high-end automobile makers such as Corvette.
• Brilliant wear protection and remarkable lubrication
• Excellent control of oil breakdown
• Clear-cut balance of performance s
• Cannot be used in high-performance racing motors or aviation engines
The 06249 EDGE 5W-40 is a carefully formulated synthetic oil that works by lessening volatility while shielding essential engine parts from damage and by extension enabling your car to operate efficiently. Find out why it’s one of the best synthetic oil for cars.
Product Features and Benefits
Superior Rating – The Castrol 06249 EDGE 5W-40 SPT boasts a 42% better rating when it comes to the ability of fight power-robbing deposits. Also, it offers better engine protection when pitted against conventional and synthetic blend oils.
Lessens Oxidation – As a car owner, you know how damaging oxidation can be to your vehicle. However, with a pack of 06249 EDGE 5W-40 SP you don’t have to worry about oxidation getting in the way of your auto’s performance. The oil’s components will work against vices such deposits, wear, and oxidation.
Compatible With a Variety of Cars – The best motor oil ought to, at the very least meet the viscosity standards set by various car manufacturers. This one meets Volkswagen 505.00, Porsche A40, Mercedes Benz 229.1 and BMW Longlife 01 viscosity recommendation.
• Protects the engine, gearbox, and clutch
• Reduces the likelihood of viscosity breakdown
• Enables maximum engine acceleration
• May not be suitable for some European cars
The Mobil 1 96936 20W-50, as the name suggests is designed for motorcycles. It works well with motorcycles that have a conventional engine and transmission lubrication system. The oil can also be used in bikes with a separate engine and transmission system.
Product Features and Benefits
Superior Friction Characteristics – This oil is formulated to provide the kind of lubrication that’s required to keep wet-clutch and transmission systems operating optimally. It exceeds the API Service Categories CD, CF, SH and SG and is thoroughly tested for maximum acceleration and power.
Improved High-Temperature Durability – This oil allows you to ride with confidence because you know it is designed to protect your motorcycle from high temperatures where most motor oils cannot hold up. The Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 will help maintain your bikes functionality when riding at high speeds or when sitting in traffic on a hot summer day.
Greater Fuel Economy – Because of its ability to withstand all weathers, the Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 synthetic oil by extension helps improve your motorcycle’s fuel economy. It is carefully synthesized and distilled for maximum thermal and oxidation stability. This oil is optimized for air cooled or hot running engines for maximum lubrication when the engine is revving.
• Works incredibly well in cold weather conditions
• Gives consistent performance from day one
• Protects the engine against dirt and other harmful deposits
• Unmatched thermal breakdown
• May not work as well when used in cars
Make no mistake about it; Royal Purple is a top brand when it comes to making of synthetic motor oils. As a matter of fact, it could as well be the best motor oil brand if you’re after better protection and enhanced performance for diesel and gasoline engines. Here’s what you should expect with the 05154.
Product Features and Benefits
A Host of Performance Advantages – The 05154 boasts the patented additive technology that prevents metal to metal contact inside the engine. It has a low coefficient of friction which in turn leads to increased fuel efficiency (the oil meets the fuel economy requirements of 5W-20 synthetic oils. The technology also prevents the lubrication starvation and white sludge that is common with cars using higher ethanol fuel. This, in turn, prevents rusting.
Can Be Used in Most Vehicles – The Royal Purple 05154 oil provides viscosity grades approved for API motor oils. It can, therefore, be used in most vehicles in the United States. It is important to note that if your car is new, you should wait until 2,000 miles before using this oil for a gasoline engine. For diesel engines, allow up to 10,000 miles before using the Royal Purple.
Easy to Upgrade –There’s no particular procedure when moving from other oils to Royal Purple. All you need to do (if your car is new) is to wait for the manufacturer’s first scheduled oil change, and you’re ready to go. Note that this oil is compatible with conventional motor oils.
• Can be used in an array of vehicles
• Better wear protection
• Increased fuel efficiency
• Excellent corrosion protection
• Compatible with ethanol based fuels
• Relatively expensive
Making it to our best synthetic motor oil list is this heavy duty diesel engine from Shell Rotella. This oil is ideal for off and on highway heavy duty applications. More specifically, it is the oil to go for if you have a modern, low emission engine especially those that require exhaust after-treatment when operating in exceedingly hot or cold conditions.
Product Features and Benefits
Low-ash Additive Technology – The Shell Rotella T6 5W-40 feature an improved, multi-functional technology to offer a highly responsive protection that consistently matches your driving conditions. It is formulated with low levels of ash, sulfur and phosphorous so that your car’s engine can maintain its performance.
The formulation further ensures that your vehicles’ emission is per the set regulations.
Exceptional Low-Temperature Flow – This oil’s viscosity offers an outstanding flow in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, the oil can provide unparalleled protection against stability degradation in comparison to other oils with the same viscosity.
Enhanced Fuel Economy Capability – The best synthetic oil should help you save on your fuel expenses. This oil uses Shell’s most advanced technology to cut down your fuel cost while keeping engine durability and protection intact.
• Enables your engine to adapt to the changing driving environment
• Responds remarkably well in cold temperatures
• Helps reduce wear by up to 56% compared to standard motor oils
• Cannot be used in gasoline engines
The Evinrude is specifically designed for direct injection, E-TEC outboard or oil injected outboard engines. The oil is formulated to give superior protection against wear and friction while ensuring that the engine is free of combustion waste. What’s more? Find out below;
Product Features and Benefits
Cleaner Combustion – The Evinrude Johnson 764357 is smokeless, burns clean and does not produce ash or odor. In essence, that means less emission and therefore a cleaner environment. It also means a longer engine life.
Protection in Extreme Conditions – Because it is based on free-flowing synthetic base oils, the Evinrude 764357 offers consistent pumping when igniting the engine in cold climatic conditions while remaining thick enough in high temperatures.
Remarkable Shear Stability – This oil is designed to resist viscosity loss through shear and can help maintain maximum pressure in the engine.
• Can be used for old and new engines
• Exceed the standard viscosity requirements
• Evinrude has an excellent customer service desk
• Some customers have issues with the lubrication protection
The Liqui Moly 2041 Premium brings to the fore the latest engine concepts for gas engines including timing configurations, variable cam, and multi-valve arrangements. It can also be used for inter-cooling and supercharging as well as turbocharging engines.
Product Features and Benefits
Extended Engine Life – One of the best motor oils in its class, the Liqui Moly 2041 Premium will increase your engine’s longevity thanks to a remarkably high level of protection against friction and wear.
Rapid Oil Delivery – Any car owner knows how important it is for consistent oil delivery into the engine especially in cold winter months or hot summer days. With this oil, you can be assured of consistent delivery of oil even at low temperatures.
Lubrication Reliability – Speaking of extreme weather conditions, your engine needs to stay lubricated irrespective of the climate. The Liqui Moly 2041 Premium promises a superior level of lubrication at high or low temperatures.
Excellent Engine Cleanliness – One of the reasons your engine’s performance may be compromised is when smoke and dirt deposits accumulate on the most sensitive parts. This oil is formulated in a way that will keep your vehicle’s engine free of debris and therefore better performance. The oil is also designed to reduce petrol consumption as well as pollutant emission.
• Works well with a host of engines
• Relatively smoother than most synthetic oils
• Can only be used in petrol engines
If you have any doubts that Pennzoil is arguably the best motor oil brand in the crowded synthetic oil market, you may want to take note of what the 550022689-6PK has to provide. Based on its performance in engines, a lot of work went into formulating this synthetic oil. Here’s what it has to offer.
Product Features and Benefits
PurePlus Technology – This oil features the patented, pioneering gas to liquid technology that works by converting pure natural gas into a crystal clear base with lesser friction, superior low-temperature abilities and better stability than motor oil formulated from crude oil.
The Pennzoil 550022689-6PK base is 99.5% pure, with fewer impurities found in most conventional and synthetic motor oils. The additives in this oil help protect your engine even better.
Helps Maintain Cleaner Pistons – With this oil, you can rest assured that your car’s pistons will always be 40% cleaner than when using conventional oils.
Better Fuel Economy – The Pennzoil 550022689-6PK will help improve your automobile’s fuel economy which means that you will save money at the pump. As a matter of fact, by helping keep your engine clean, the oil will by extension enable you to drive an additional 550 miles every year.
• Better protection from friction
• Offers faster performance in extreme temperatures
• Formulated with active cleansing agents
• Recommended for severe driving condition
• Some customers find this oil to be expensive, but nonetheless, it is not entirely out of reach
Wrapping up our best synthetic motor oil list is the 8042206 from Pentosin. This highly rated synthetic oil will meet the lubrication needs of your gas or diesel engine and much more as outlined below;
Product Features and Benefits
Four Season Performance – The Pentosin 8042206 Pento will keep your engine’s performance at its optimum irrespective of the season. In other words, the oil will ensure that your engine runs consistently from winter, through autumn and summer.
Increases Oil Change Intervals – You want synthetic oil that will significantly reduce the number of visits to your mechanic or dealer for an oil change? Well, give this oil a try and you will, according to its manufacturer, experience longer oil change intervals.
Better Lubrication – One of the primary reasons you would want to use synthetic oil in your car is to protect the engine, right? This one promises way superior engine lubrication compared to traditional oils. Needless to say, when the engine is well lubricated, the performance improved and the longevity increased. Besides, a superior engine performance goes a long way in reducing exhaust emissions.
• Highly affordable
• Works well with diesel and gas engines hence versatile
• Meets the specs of high-end motors including Passat TDI
• May not work well with turbocharged engines
What is Synthetic Oil?
In simple terms, synthetic oil is a lubricant that is formulated using artificially made chemical compounds. The oil can be manufactured using chemically modified ingredients or can be synthesized from other materials. To cut to the chase, synthetic motor oil is not made from crude oil and is relatively pure in comparison to conventional oils.
Synthetic oil is mostly used to substitute refined petroleum oil when the engine is operating in extreme temperatures. That, however, does not mean that synthetic oil cannot be used in normal weather conditions.
Take an aircraft engine, for instance. Because an aircraft’s jet engine operates at extreme conditions, it will perform way better with synthetic oil. The plane’s piston engine, on the other hand, may not require the use of synthetic oil. These oils are also used in metal stamping to offer environmental and other benefits.
Why Synthetic Oil?
There are many benefits of using synthetic oils over conventional oils in your engine. Below is a brief outline of the advantages of using synthetic oil in gas or diesel engine;
Superior high and low-temperature viscosity which in turn translates to better performance in extreme conditions
- Higher viscosity index compared to conventional oils
- Lesser evaporative loss
- Excellent shear and chemical stability
- Better protection against ash and other debris in the frail engine spots, which is particularly helpful in super or turbocharged engines. This benefit ensures less oil burn off and lesser probability of damaging oil passageway clogging
- Resistance to thermal breakdown, oxidation and oil sludge
- Better fuel economy when the engine is configured in a certain way
- Longer engine life
- Better fuel efficiency ranging from 1.8% to 5% on documented tests
- Enhanced torque and horsepower caused by initial drag on the engine
- Superior lubrication in extreme weathers
See? There is more to synthetic motor oil than you’d initially thought, right?
Types of Synthetic Oils
Synthetic motor oils come in different types. Even though the oils are formulated using the same concept, they may not necessarily be the same. It is important to note that choice of one type over the other is primarily determined by the engine you’re using and the machine it is running.
Below is a brief overview of various types of synthetic oils and what to expect with each type.
These are formulated using by-products from crude oil through a chemical process instead of the usual distillation process used to make conventional oil. Compared to other types, full synthetics have a more consistent molecular size as such have uniform properties. The American Petroleum Institute classifies these oils into API Groups III, IV, and V.
Group IV: PAO – Poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) is a polymer created by polymerizing an alpha-olefin. These oils belong to the API Group IV and are 100% synthetic. PAO is a particular type of olefin and is primarily used as a base stock when producing synthetic lubricants.
Group V – These are termed by API as any other type of oil that is not mineral oil. Group V synthetic oils are formulated using compounds known as esters. They are made by reacting hydroxyl compounds such as phenol or alcohol with an oxoacid. Esters are typically made from organic or inorganic acid in a process that involves replacing of a hydroxyl with an alkoxy. In simple terms, Group IV synthetic oils are made by condensing an acid with alcohol.
Semi Synthetic Oils
Semi Synthetic oils are also referred to as synthetic blends. They are typically a mixture of mineral and synthetic oil with less than 30% synthetic oil. They are meant to help motor vehicle owners enjoy the benefits of full synthetic oil without necessarily incurring the substantial costs.
The first semi-synthetic oil was introduced into the market in 1966 by Motul.
Oils that have synthetic base stocks of less than 30% but with relatively high performing additives comprising of esters can also be considered as synthetic lubricants.
Semi Synthetic Lubricants with Other Base Stocks
Some synthetic oils are formulated using API Group III and API Group III type base stocks. This is done to help formulate cheaper semi-synthetic lubricants. Group I-, II-, II+ and III type mineral base oil stock are used together with additive packages, esters and performance packages to formulate semi-synthetic-based oils.
While API Group III base oils are at times regarded as fully synthetic, they’re still categorized as highest top level mineral base stocks.
It is almost impossible to talk about the types of synthetic motor oils without mentioning a thing or two about additives. Synthetic lubricants come with additives that compose about 30% of the oil. The additives are meant to increase the viscosity and the performance of the oil. The most common additives include;
- Pour-point depressants
- Rust/corrosion inhibitors
- Foam inhibitors
- Anti-wear agents
- Friction modifiers
- Viscosity index improvers
Determining the best synthetic motor oil for your car based on the above choices boils down to a couple of external factors as outlined below;
- The climate of your area of residence
- Your driving habits
- The age of your engine – with some oils such as the Royal Purple 05154 API-Licensed SAE 15W-40 High-Performance Synthetic Motor Oil can only be used if your car is past the manufacturer’s initial service mileage which means that you cannot use the oil in a new engine.
The manufacturer’s specifications may also determine the synthetic type oil to use. Be sure to check the recommendation before using any oil to avoid problems with your engine. Also, check the type of engine the oil is supposed to be used in. Some oils are exclusively used for diesel engines, others for petrol while some can be used in both. That said, it is always important to remember that synthetic oils are intended to improve your engine’s performance in extreme conditions while cutting the cost.
Synthetic Oil Buyer’s Guide
Now that you know that best synthetic oils for cars, the question then becomes, what should you look for when purchasing your oil? Does it matter which brand you go for? Does it mean that all oils are the same because they are formulated using the same procedure?
It almost goes without saying that to get value for your money, you must make a couple of considerations before spending your cash on any particular brand of oil. But, is it always that easy? No, it’s not, especially when you consider that various oils come with varying specifications.
Not to worry, though. Below is comprehensive synthetic motor oil buying guide that will bring you closer to find the ideal oil for your needs.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Synthetic Oil for Your Car
Before you hit the Buy Now button on your favorite online store, make sure that you’re well acquainted with the following factors;
This is perhaps the most important factors to consider when scouting for the best synthetic motor oil for your engine. In plain English, viscosity refers to the lubricant’s resistance to flow. In the automotive world, the viscosity is denoted as XW-XX. The number immediately after W is used to rate the oil’s flow at zero degrees Fahrenheit or -17.8 degrees Celsius. The letter W stands for winter and not weight as most motorists tend to think.
The lower the number preceding the W, the lesser the oil that thickness when exposed to cold temperatures. Thus, oil with a viscosity rating of 5W-30 thickens slower in cold conditions in comparison to synthetic oil with a viscosity rating of 10W-30.
That said, if you reside in an area with a colder climate, where motor oil is likely to thicken faster due to low temperatures, your engine will benefit from oil with a viscosity rating of 0W to 30W. A car in Death Valley, on the other hand, would require a higher number to prevent the oil from thinning too much.
What about the second number after the W?
Well, the number denotes the oil’s viscosity rating measured at 212 degrees Fahrenheit or an equivalent of 100 degrees Celsius. The number shows the oil’s resistance to thinning when exposed to high temperatures. For instance, 10W-30 oil will thin out at a faster rate at higher temperatures when compared to synthetic oil with a rating of 10W-40.
It is recommended that you go through your car’s owner’s manual to the best viscosity range the automobile.
That said, here’s a brief breakdown of viscosity ratings in various types of synthetic oils.
Full Synthetic Oils – Ideally, these oils undergo a rigorous testing process which in essence means that they have a better, longer lasting performance thanks to superior viscosity. They flow much better in low temperatures and will help maintain peak lubrication in higher temperatures.
Synthetic Blend Oils – As stated earlier on, these are a lower quality version of fully synthetic oils. Their viscosity rating isn’t as superior as full synthetic oils but will work well in high and low temperatures. If you’re on a budget, they can serve the purpose as well.
The other equally important factor to consider when buying synthetic motor oil is the fuel economy. The best motor oil should at the very least lower your car’s fuel consumption by 20%. The lesser friction the oil allows between the pathways of the engine, the greater the fuel economy which by extension means that you engine will require less effort to make air circulate. Needless to say, the higher the fuel economy, the lesser you will spend at the pump.
Frictional Properties and Lubrication
The best synthetic motor oil should lubricate and reduce friction of the moving parts in your car’s engine. Most formulations are designed to lessen friction, an action that further increases the longevity of critical engine components.
The more additives the oil has, the better it is when it comes to helping prevent oil leaks, sludge and debris accumulation in the engine. Speaking of additives, here’s what you should be on the lookout for.
Detergents – These helps get rid of deposits that lead to formation of high-temperature deposits, corrosion, and rust
Antiwear Additives – Whenever a lubricating film occurs, the oil breaks down. The antiwear additives help protect the metal surfaces.
Viscosity Index Improvers – These reduce the oils tendency to thin as the temperatures rise
Foam Inhibitors – Foaming in the oil is caused by the crankshaft pan rotating. When foaming occurs, the oil’s ability to lubricate is reduced. The inhibitors disperse the foam.
Friction Modifiers – These work by reducing the friction in the engine and improve mileage
One of the easiest ways to figure out which oil to buy is to read the synthetic oil reviews. What are previous users saying about the oil you want to buy? How are the ratings? What about the complaints. Almost every other customers who review a product on trusted online retailers such as Amazon gives an honest opinion with the aim of helping other buyers.
Thus by reading the reviews, you will most likely know what to expect with the oil. Of course, the best choice would be a highly rated unit. Apart from online retailers, the other places you could read reliable, unbiased customer reviews include the manufacturer’s official website as well as auction sites such as eBay.
Know the Terms
You’re more likely to buy the best oil for your car if you know a few terms revolving around motor oils. Here are the most important phrases;
Starting Viscosity – This refers to how easily the oil will enable your engine to start at cold temperatures. The lower the Starting Viscosity, the better.
Pumping Viscosity – This refers to the oil’s tendency to form gelled structures when the temperatures are low, which makes it difficult for the oil to flow. The lower the Pump Viscosity, the better.
Operating Viscosity – This refers to the oils ability to lubricate vital areas of the engine including the cylinder walls and the bearings when temperatures are as high as 250 degrees. The higher the Operating Viscosity, the better.
Oxidation Resistance – Oxidation causes the formation of acids and deposits in the engine, a situation that can increase the oil’s viscosity. Under extreme conditions, resistance to the resultant chemical is measured in minutes until oxidation occurs. Choose the oil with more minutes of resistance.
Volatility – This is the percentage of oil lost through evaporation or burn off when the engine is operational. The higher the percentage of volatility the better
Shear Stability – This is the percentage of viscosity lost when the engine is operational. It is a measure of how well the oil can retain viscosity when inside the engine. Lower percentages are better.
Acid Resistance – This refers to the oils ability to neutralize harmful deposits created in the process of fuel combustion and oil oxidation. Higher numbers are better.
The importance of using synthetic oil in your car cannot be over emphasized. You certainly want your car performing at its best with fewer visits to the mechanic or dealer for engine repairs. That said, when shopping for the best synthetic motor oil, it is imperative that you should know what you want and what to look for in the oil of your choosing.
That, in most cases, is easier said than done – and that’s the reason we’ve pieced up together the best synthetic oil reviews so that you can have an easier time selecting the ideal product for your car. The oils suggested here are highly rated and proven to work as advertised. In short, with this guide, you don’t have to gamble with your money only to end up with the wrong product. So, choose the oil that meets your needs and hit the Buy Now button, after all, you’re buying from the point of information!