One of the most important components in modern engines is motor oil. Its functions are not only limited to “lubricating” the engine, as you may think.
The engine oil performs many other functions except reducing the friction and wear in the engine.
The best synthetic motor oils remove heat from the friction parts, seal the pistons in the cylinders, remove unwanted deposits in the engine and, last but not least, protect engine components from oxidation and corrosion.
That is why you should choose wisely and with care if you want to preserve and extend the life of your engine.
We’ve consulted experienced mechanics and studied industry reports in order to present you the best synthetic oils on the market for your car.
Among the sea of products available today, all claiming to be the best, it might be confusing to choose the real winner and give the best to your car.
Continue reading and see what synthetic motor oils the experts suggest.
We’ll also go through the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of synthetic engine oil compared to conventional motor oil.
Best Synthetic Motor Oils On The Market
First on our list is the Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil which is not only the top choice of the experts but we use it in our own cars, too.
Mobil 1 occupies the leading positions in the field of motorsports and is also the most recommended engine oil by the car manufacturers.
This fully synthetic motor oil is designed to provide engine performance and protection even in the most difficult climate conditions. It protects the engine from wearing while also having impressive cleaning qualities.
The fully synthetic Mobil 1 engine oil is based on the company’s own formula which includes synthetic base oil along with the highest level and carefully balanced additive package.
It is impressive how Mobil 1 maintains its viscosity and lubricating qualities throughout the entire oil change interval.
All in all, we love and we use the Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil because of its impressive performance during the entire oil change interval. It protects and cleans the engine while also takes care of fuel economy.
Key Product Details ✅
- Suitable with a wide range of vehicles
- Meets the high requirements of the ILSAC GF-5 standards
- Excellent lubricating and anti-wear properties with different styles of driving
- Provides quick protection, reducing engine wear and deposits, even under extreme driving conditions
- Superb low-temperature abilities
2. Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil | Best Rated
It’s hard to find another engine oil brand with so many positive reviews throughout the car enthusiast forums.
Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a synthetic engine oil with excellent multi-functional formula additives designed to keep the engine clean and provide extra protection for longer life.
This is achieved with the PurePlus Technology which is exclusively developed by Pennzoil and transforms natural gas into a unique, 99.5% clear fully synthetic oil base.
The rest of the specially selected substances form the unique formula of Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-30 which the manufacturer claims will save you more than 550 miles of fuel per year compared to improperly maintained engines.
And not only that but tests have shown that with the PurePlus Technology in action the pistons in your engine will be up to 50% cleaner of what the standards demand.
Key Product Details ✅
- Impressive fuel economy on a yearly basis
- Preserve the engine from losing power
- Exceptional efficiency in very low and very high temperatures
- New generation formula for modern turbocharged motors
- Highest level of wear protection
3. Royal Purple 51530 Synthetic Motor Oil | Best Performance
Another motor oil with outstanding capabilities is the Royal Purple 51530 High-Performance Synthetic Motor Oil.
Even though it might not be so popular among the people who are not engaged in the automotive industry, the experts agree that this is one of the best engine oils in the market.
Royal Purple 51530 is made from the finest base oils combined with an exclusive additive package to deliver noticeable change in the performance of the engine and at the same time provide uncompromising protection.
Royal Purple engine oil and its advanced synthetic additive technology reduce working temperatures, add increased corrosion protection, improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, increase oil life, and reduce friction, resulting in a 1 to 3 percent increase in motor power.
Royal Purple motor oils are compatible with synthetic and conventional motor oils and can be used to top up the existing one in your engine.
There are various viscosities offered including: 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, 0W-40 and 5W-40.
Key Product Details ✅
- Prolongs the life of your engine
- Excellent corrosion protection
- Lower fuel consumption
- Works with older and high mileage engines
- Extended oil changing intervals
4. Castrol Edge 03101 | Best Value For Money
Castrol is a company with a long history and well-established reputation in the automotive industry providing high-level lubricant products for a wide range of vehicles.
They have set new standards to offer you their most sustainable oil for all time and this is the Castrol from the Edge line with Fluid Titanium Technology.
With Castrol Edge, your engine will have all the benefits of their most sophisticated and sustainable synthetic engine oil.
Castrol Edge reinforced with the Fluid Titanium Technology doubles the resistance of the oil film preventing it from tearing and reducing friction so the engine can achieve its maximum power.
It is developed to meet the demanding standards of modern engines which require the highest level of protection from low viscosity oils.
We are confident to claim that Castrol Edge Full Synthetic Motor Oil provides outstanding performance and protection for your engine at a very reasonable price.
Key Product Details ✅
- Helps increase the instantaneous and long-term power of the engine
- Prevents the formation of deposits in the engine
- Provides unmatched levels of protection under various driving conditions and temperatures, with excellent engine performance at low temperatures
- Maintains maximum performance even in intense engine operation
- Unmatched quality for the price of the product
5. Shell Rotella T6 | Widest Range Of Vehicles
Dating back from 1907, Shell is the biggest petrochemical corporation in Europe and the third-largest in the world.
We’ve been always impressed with their Rotella T6 not only because of the qualities of the oil itself but also the wide range of engines it can fit in and show impressive performance.
This fully synthetic engine oil is made with the exclusive Triple Protection Plus Technology which uses fully synthetic base oils reinforced with the latest unique composition of anti-wear additives.
The use of synthetic base oils increases the activity of additives to ensure the energy-saving characteristics of low-viscosity oils while still keeping high protecting levels and wear resistance for the engine.
Shell Rotella T6 is recommended to use in vehicles with heavy-duty diesel engines ranging from regular cars to trucks, pickups, and even tractors.
The oil is also very popular among the motorcyclist and it seems that it works just perfectly in the touring bikes.
The Rotella T6 is trusted and recommended motor oil from motorcyclists, gasoline, and diesel vehicle owners who share their observations of improved fuel consumption, better engine work in lower temperatures, and less oil consumption between changes.
Key Product Details ✅
- Lower fuel consumption
- Outstanding wear protection even on heavy-duty vehicles
- Suitable for motorbikes, heavy-duty trucks, regular cars, and SUVs
- Compatibility with emission systems
- Protects the engine even in extreme working temperatures
- Better protection from deposits
6. Valvoline SynPower Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Valvoline SynPower is a fully synthetic premium engine oil designed to deliver high performance and maximum engine protection under all operating conditions.
It also improves fuel economy by reducing the friction in the engine and has an extremely stable viscosity when the engine is used in places with extreme temperature amplitudes.
Focusing on the main causes for engine struggling which include – high temperature, wear, and sludge, Valvoline has implemented a formula with specially selected additives that are able to fight these three negative components and stay within the oil for an extended period of time.
Key Product Details ✅
- Made in the USA
- Up to 10 000 miles changing intervals
- Competitive price
- Improves fuel economy
- Meets the requirements of almost all cars in North America
7. Liqui Moly 2041 Fully Synthetic Motor Oil
Liqui Moly is a German company with a leading presence in the automotive oils and additives market in over 100 countries. All Liqui Moly products are developed and manufactured only in Germany at the city of Ulm and are subject to serious testing and control to prove their high quality and efficiency.
Liqui Moly 2041 is a fully synthetic antifriction oil for modern engines which reduces oil and fuel consumption (according to API, Series VI).
It keeps optimal working conditions of the engine between longer changing intervals and provides optimal lubrication even under extreme conditions.
Ensuring immediate lubrication for cold start and optimum oil pressure at different revolutions it also optimizes engine power protects against wear and increases engine life.
Key Product Details ✅
- Appropriate for all seasons and extreme temperature amplitudes
- Meets high German quality standards
- Appropriate for gasoline and diesel engines
- Long oil changing intervals
- Prolongs engine’s life
8. MAG1 61790 Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Last but not least comes another brand of motor oil which might not be familiar to many of you but it is really worth considering as the quality of the MAG1 is supreme and the price is really tempting.
No wonder that this is one of the best rated synthetic motor oils by the Amazon community.
The production process of MAG1 involves the latest technologies in the field of synthetic base components, therefore, the outcome is a high level of engine protection even under the most severe operating conditions and exceptional protection from reduced engine wear at high temperatures.
Complex additives prevent the formation of deposits while a special additive package with FMX friction modifiers allows you to maintain high reliability of engine operation and increase its service life by reducing up to 56% the engine wear compared to conventional oils.
Key Product Details ✅
- Keeps pistons cleaner
- Maintains engine power and performance
- Significantly exceeds the industry requirements for the formation of deposits in the engine
- Competitive price
- Smoother and quieter engine operation
The Best Synthetic Oils On The Market – Buying Guide & FAQ
What is synthetic motor oil?
Synthetic oil, a lubricant that is artificially developed or synthesized and comprises of chemical composites, is a substitute for conventional lubricants because of its high performance in extreme temperatures. Because of its extraordinary properties, it is considered to be better than traditional mineral oils.
Synthetic oil not only fulfills the qualities of a conventional lubricant but is also designed specifically to meet particular needs in a most efficient way.
Though a bit more expensive, the advantages are outstanding when stability in extreme temperatures is the main concern, where conventional oils begin to break down and in low temperatures, they remain fluid wherein conventional oil begins to thicken.
They also help in keeping the engine clean, maintain viscosity and easy flow, prevent rust, and reduce friction.
Keep in mind that even though synthetic oils have extended change intervals they must be strictly followed. Keeping the oil clean and particles free depends on the quality of the oil filter. We strongly recommend changing your oil filter with every oil change.
The History of Synthetic Oil
Automotive use of synthetic oil took longer to start although it was already used by the aviation and aerospace industries in the early 1950s.
Motul, a French company launched the first semi-synthetic oil in 1966, named Century 2100, which was a mixture of mineral and synthetic oil.
Since then a number of companies came out with similar blended products. Semi-synthetic oil consists of no more than 30% of synthetic oil but possesses most of the benefits of synthetic oil making it affordable for everyone.
What type of synthetic oil should I use in my car?
The type and specification of the oil that must be used in a specific car, as well as the oil change intervals, are described in the owner’s manual and this is the most accurate source to find that information.
Some car manufacturers recommend the use of oils from specific brands or oils with their own logo sold in their authorized service centers.
The most important factor when choosing the proper engine oil for your car should always be the specification defined by the vehicle manufacturer and the type of oil they recommend (synthetic or full synthetic).
You can choose any oil manufacturer from our list above as long as it meets the specifications stated in the owner’s manual.
Some brands of motor oils perform much better than the OEM engine oils because they contain more of the important additives like anti-foaming agents, for example.
In order to find the proper motor oil for your car, consult with the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions, and consider the weather conditions you usually drive.
What is the difference between a synthetic blend and full synthetic engine oils?
The main difference between synthetic and full synthetic motor oils is the base oils and additives used in the production process. But let’s look into more details below
Synthetic blend oils are obtained from the purest product of oil-gas fractionation. They are purified from the deficiencies of conventional oils and offer a good price-quality ratio.
The simplest way to explain a synthetic blend oil is to say that it is the upgraded version of conventional oil. Synthetic blend oils can be used to top of existing conventional oil in the engine.
These days the most developed and commonly used are the full synthetic oils and this is the reason they are best suited for the requirements of modern engine manufacturers.
Full Synthetic oils are entirely obtained in chemical laboratories by decomposing molecules comprising different substances such as vegetables and animal fat, which are then recombined with individual atoms by creating new synthetic molecules.
This synthesis is completely controlled and thus the precise quality and purity of the oil components are obtained.
Full synthetic oils are of the highest quality and that is why they are more expensive than conventional and synthetic blend oils.
Full synthetic oil should not be mixed with conventional oil.
What differentiates every oil manufacturer and its full synthetic oil products is the additives they use along with the base oil in order to produce the final product.
Let’s look at the most important additives below because they form the individual characteristics of a particular oil and make it better in one aspect than the other.
What are synthetic oil additives?
Additives enhance the characteristics of the base oils – improve their protective qualities and ability to clean the engine contributing to its flawless performance over a longer period of time.
There are different types of additives and to achieve excellent performance, they have to be selected and combined very carefully.
Almost every different synthetic oil manufacturer has its own formula to mix the additives.
They keep the engine clean and neutralize the corrosion-inducing acids that are released when the fuel is burned.
Dispersants remove soot and sludge and keep them in the oil to protect against clogging. This dirt can be removed from the engine at the next oil change.
They protect the engine by forming a chemical layer between the moving parts. These additives are particularly important when the engine is starting or during intense operation.
They help to slow the natural breakdown of engine oil and thus more effectively protect the engine over a longer period of time.
Viscosity Index Improvers (VIIs)
Motor oil changes depending on the temperatures and this is called viscosity index. The job of viscosity index improvers is to regulate the viscosity and make the change as smaller as possible throughout the regular operation of the engine. It might be on a freezing morning in January or a burning afternoon in July – the viscosity index improvers help the viscosity index to stay as consistent as possible.
Anti-foaming agents or Defoamers
Anti-foaming agents help to decrease or hinder the formation of foam that can lead to worsening the qualities of the oil.
Anticorrosion additives are an important element that protects the engine from corrosion.
What is viscosity in motor oil?
Viscosity is an important indicator of every motor oil. It is a measure of the density of the fluid or its hydrodynamic resistance.
For example, the honey is dense and the water is not and the honey has a higher viscosity than water.
The viscosity of the oil must correspond to the ambient temperature. If the viscosity is too high and the engine is cold, the oil will not run in it flawlessly. If it is too low and the engine is hot, the oil does not provide sufficient engine protection.
Optimizing the viscosity of the oil, or its density helps to achieve maximum energy efficiency while preventing wear of engine components.
Viscosity engine improvers increase the viscosity in high temperatures but at the same time, they do not affect it at low temperatures. This allows the oil to run normally when it is cold and also maintains its density at high temperatures to protect the engine parts.
The lower viscosity grade oil series makes it easier to start the engine when it is cold, as it has less resistance to the moving parts and thus consumes less power from the engine. This also increases fuel economy.
What do viscosity numbers on the label of a motor oil mean?
All season oils have two different numbers on the label indicating that oil can be used at low and high temperatures. In these engine oils, the viscosity varies slightly at temperature fluctuations.
After the first number on the label, a “W” is added, meaning “Winter”. This number indicates the viscosity of the product at lower temperatures, giving an idea of how the oil will move in the winter. The smaller the number, the lower the viscosity at low temperatures.
The second number after “W” indicates the viscosity of the oil at high temperatures. The larger the number, the thinner the oil becomes at high temperatures. Using oil with an appropriate viscosity increases the efficiency of the engine, reduces wear, and increases the efficiency of the fuel.
Have a look at the synthetic oil viscosity chart below:
Synthetic motor oil vs. Conventional motor oil
Synthetic engine oils have five main advantages over conventional engine oils:
- Resistance to very high temperatures. Synthetic Oils can safely handle higher operating temperatures with no problems.
- Better performance at low temperatures, making the cold start easier. Synthetics move freely at extremely low temperatures -22 °F/ -40 °F (-30°/-40° C).
- Better engine protection. Since engine oil passes through the engine, some of the additives may be lost. Synthetic motor oils are better resistant to the intense motor operation than conventional oils. Synthetic engine oils maintain their viscosity, allowing them to better protect the engine and withstand extreme engine conditions.
- Lower oil consumption. Synthetic motor oils evaporate less than conventional motor oils. A good synthetic will lose only about four percent of its weight when it moves at high temperature for six hours, compared to a 30% loss in conventional oil. Lower evaporation speed means less oil consumption.
- Cleaner engines. Synthetics do not decompose or precipitate up as fast as conventional oils. This means that during a short trip to the store and back or city driving in the winter does not accumulate sludge and effectively lubricates the engine.
Today synthetic oil is recommended by almost all automobile workshops. Despite its benefits, there are certain things that should be kept in mind before using synthetic oil.
Synthetic oil should never be used in the running-in period. With its superior lubricating properties, it hinders the running-in process and is best used after 6500 – 10000 miles (10,000 – 15,000 km).
Change your engine oil regularly, on the required changing intervals always along with the change of oil filters. Different grades of synthetic oil are used for petrol and diesel engines so choose the one recommended by your manufacturer.