The debate surrounding synthetic motor oils is a longstanding one. You’ll most probably come across a storm of opinions on their performance as opposed to conventional oils. Yet, one fact is clear- the benefits of synthetic motor oils are definitely visible if your vehicle is ready to carry them!
Does the appeal of synthetic motor oils tempt you? If you find yourself nodding “yes” to this, you’re at a fortunate place. The array of these oils available today may puzzle you when it comes to picking the best. Especially when several of them seem to market themselves as superior!
Below, you will find a carefully-curated list of genuinely superior synthetic motor oils. These are the best in the game, so you can rest assured of their quality and performance. Read on.
1. Editor's Pick: Castrol GTX Motor Oil
A premium conventional motor oil that has been around since the late 1960s, Castrol GTX is our top pick due to its reputation, price, and overall popularity even on Amazon. This motor oil is designed to offer superior protection against engine sludge (as measured in the Sequence VG Sludge Test), along with advanced protection against viscosity and thermal breakdown. It’s formulated with premium quality base oils and anti-wear additives that help extend the life of your engine.
Castrol GTX is available as a 6 pack of 1-quart bottles, a 5-quart jug, 3 pack of 5-quart jugs, and a 6-gallon bottle. Choose from 10W-30 or 10W-40 viscosities. You can also choose from High Mileage, Synthetic, and High Mileage Synthetic options as part of Castrol’s GTX lineup.
- Extremely popular and reputable brand
- Superior protection against sludge—as measured in the Sequence VG Sludge Test
- Advanced protection against viscosity and thermal breakdown
- Formulated with premium quality base oils and anti-wear additives
- Helps extend the life of your engine
- Available in (6) 1-quart bottles, 5-quart jug, (3) 5-quart jugs, 6-gallon bottle
- 10W-30 and 10W-40 viscosities
2. Valvoline Daily Protection Motor Oil
Formulated with advanced additives for year-round engine protection is Valvoline’s Premium Conventional Motor Oil. The company’s lineup of motor oils is available in multiple viscosities: 10W-30, 10W-40, 20W-50, SAE 30, SAE 40, and SAE 50. Amazon offers Valvoline’s conventional motor oil in single units of 1- or 5-quart bottles, a 6 pack of 1-quart bottles, or a 3 pack of 5-quart bottles.
Valvoline uses added detergents to help protect against sludge and deposits, while high quality additives resist motor oil breakdown in tough conditions. The company’s conventional motor oil meets the API SN Plus classification, protecting engines from Low Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI).
In addition, each bottle features trademarked Easy Pull Tab, Precision Pour Spout, and Anti-Glug Tube.
- Available in multiple viscosities: 10W-30, 10W-40, 20W-50, SAE 30, SAE 40, and SAE 50
- Select from single units of 1- or 5-quart bottles, (6) pack of 1-quart bottles, or (3) pack of 5-quart bottles
- Added detergents to protect against sludge and deposits
- High quality additives resist motor oil breakdown
- Meets API SN Plus classification
- Trademark features: Easy Pull Tab, Precision Pour Spout, and Anti-Glug Tube
3. Quaker State Advanced Durability Motor Oil
Quaker State’s conventional motor oil is part of its Advanced Durability lineup and is available in a single 5-quart bottle, a 6 pack of 1-quart bottles, or a 3 pack of 5-quart bottles. Designed to protect against corrosion, Quaker State’s Advanced Durability conventional motor oil contains acid-neutralizing additives to stop combustion acids from damaging your engine. Formulated to meet the fuel economy requirements of the GF-5 Industry standard, this oil meets or exceeds North American warranty requirements for worldwide automakers.
This oil will maintain viscosity grade from start to finish, giving your engine optimal protection so it can survive daily commutes, from sustained high-speed highway operation to repetitive stop-and-go traffic.
- Available in (1) 5-quart bottle, (6) 1-quart bottles, or (3) 5-quart bottles
- Designed to protect against corrosion
- Acid-neutralizing additives stop combustion acids from damaging the engine
- Maintains viscosity grade from start to finish
- Meets fuel economy requirements of the GF-5 Industry standard
- Meets or exceeds North American warranty requirements for worldwide automakers
4. Havoline Motor Oil
Havoline’s conventional motor oil features Deposit Shield Technology, which the company says protects against deposit and sludge formation, while providing excellent protection of critical engine parts. This oil works to shield against thermal breakdown, while cleaning the engine and positive crankcase ventilation systems to minimize deposit formations under heavy load and stop-and-go traffic. Like other oils on our list, Havoline’s conventional offering meets or exceeds warranty requirements of automakers that rely on an API SN motor oil.
All grades of Havoline’s conventional motor oils are formulated with high quality base stocks and contain detergent, dispersant, wear control, antioxidant, corrosion inhibitor, and foam suppressant additives. A high level of dispersancy protects against deposit and sludge formation from constant traffic and sustained high temperature operation.
This oil is available in a 5-quart jug and can also be purchased in a pack of 3. Our link below takes you to the 5W-30 variant.
- Available in a 5-quart jug or (3) 5-quart jugs
- Deposit Shield Technology protects against deposit and sludge formation
- Works to protect against thermal breakdown
- Cleans the engine and positive crankcase ventilation systems
- Meets or exceeds warranty requirements that rely on an API SN motor oil
- Formulated with high quality base stocks
- Contains detergent, dispersant, wear control, antioxidant, corrosion inhibitor, and foam suppressant additives
- High level of dispersancy protects against deposit and sludge formation
5. Pennzoil Motor Oil
From Pennzoil is its conventional motor oil that promises to clean up to 40% of engine sludge in the first oil change. It’ll of course continue to clean on the second and subsequent changes, by gently lifting sludge deposits off engine surfaces and dissolving them safely into the oil. In addition, Pennzoil’s formula controls high temperature oxidation and deposits, while offering enhanced emission system protection compared to GF-4 and earlier service categories.
Formulated with Active Cleansing Agents, this oil will continuously work to prevent dirt and contaminants from turning into performance-robbing deposits. It meets or exceeds requirements of ILSAC GF-5, API SN Plus, API SN and all previous categories, as well as Chrysler MS-6395.
All of Pennzoil’s products are backed by the Pennzoil Lubrication Limited Warranty, offering coverage up to 300,000 miles or 10 years (whichever is first) if you exclusively use Pennzoil Platinum, Pennzoil Gold, Pennzoil High Mileage, or Pennzoil motor oil. The warranty covers 15 critical engine parts and is customized for each driver’s specific OEM recommended oil change schedule.
- Cleans up to 40% of engine sludge in first oil change
- Gently lifts sludge deposits off engine surfaces and dissolves them safely into the oil
- Controls high temperature oxidation and deposits
- Enhanced emission system protection
- Formulated with Active Cleansing Agents
- Meets or exceeds requirements of ILSAC GF-5, API SN Plus, API SN and all previous categories, as well as Chrysler MS-6395
- Backed by Pennzoil Lubrication Limited Warranty
6. Lucas Oil Hot Rod & Classic Motor Oil
Lucas Oil has a wide lineup of offerings, but one of its most popular conventional motor oils is this Hot Rod & Classic Motor Oil. Of course if you’re not running a hot rod or classic, look at other oils Lucas Oil has to offer. Available in a 5-quart jug, this oil contains high levels of ZDDP (Zinc) that is necessary to protect flat tappet cams, lifters, and pushrods. Designed to provide excellent thermal stability in case of overheating, this oil contains special Lucas additives that protect against rust, corrosion, and dry starts that occur when a vehicle sits unused for a long period of time.
This oil is available in 10W-30, 10W-40, and 20W-50 and our link below will take you to the 10W-30 variant, but search if you’d like a different viscosity.
- Specially formulated for hot rod and classic cars
- Available in 10W-30, 10W-40, and 20W-50 in 5-quart jug
- Contains high levels of ZDDP (Zinc) to protect flat tappet cams, lifters, and pushrods
- Provides excellent thermal stability
- Lucas additives protect against rust, corrosion, and dry starts
7. Formula Shell Motor Oil
Formula Shell’s conventional motor oil is designed to offer protection against harmful deposits and acids, helping keep your engine run clean for a long time. This oil is formulated to improve fuel economy and works to provide protection against extremely high temperatures. If your car is equipped with a turbocharged engine, Formula Shell’s oil also helps protect against low-speed pre-ignition. It’s safe to use at anytime in an engine’s life cycle and is fully compatible with conventional engine oils.
Formula Shell’s conventional motor oil is available in 5W-20, 10W-30, 10W-40, and 20W-50 options, in either a 5-quart jug or a dozen 1-quart bottles.
- Available in 5W-20, 10W-30, 10W-40, and 20W-50 viscosities
- Select from (12) 1-quart bottles or a 5-quart jug
- Offers protection for extremely high temperatures
- Formulated to improve fuel economy
- Fights harmful deposits and acids
- Protects against low-speed pre-ignition on modern turbocharged engines
- Can be used anytime in an engine’s life cycle
Synthetic Motor Oils – Buying Guide
With so many options online, you are practically spoilt for choice. However, not all synthetic motor oils are worth your money. So, before you buy any synthetic motor oil for your vehicle, you must learn more about it. Here is a comprehensive buying guide to help you with your purchase.
You need to pick the right brand of motor oils first. Going with a new brand that has no previous customer reviews could be a gamble when it comes to your vehicle’s engines. Make sure you only opt for synthetic motor oils from reputed brands online.
A few profitable brands that you can consider buying from including Mobil, Valvoline, Castrol, and Royal purple. These brands have made their name in the industry and are now trusted household names.
Most good things come at a price. So, if you want to prioritize your engine’s health, you might have to splurge on this motor oil. Many motor oils that cost less than $20 are generally synthetic blends. They are just as good but inexpensive.
On the other hand, synthetic oils over $20 are entirely manufactured and are usually on the steeper end. Their quality is unmatched because of their formulas and purity of blend.
Viscosity is essentially the thickness of the motor oil you use. It can be measured and written down as 5W-30, 5W-20, and 0W-20. The first digit in this number signifies the viscosity in cold temperatures, and the number at the end denotes consistency in heat.
The viscosity of the oil is important because it determines how your engine will perform. Your engine will have to do more work if the motor oil is too thick. So, your motor oils should be consistent and not change too rapidly with temperature changes.
Additives are extra components in the synthetic motor oil; this could be anything from corrosion inhibitors, viscosity index improvers, anti-foaming agents, conditioners, detergents, antioxidants, dispersants to anti-wear agents. Do your research well and see what works best for your vehicle.
Understand what your vehicle engine needs and make sure you give it that. Test both synthetic motor oil and conventional motor oil and see which one has the best effect on your machine.
To conclude with
Synthetic motor oil has a large number of benefits over traditional oil. You can test it out on your vehicle and see if it works. Be sure to do your research well and pick the right option. The suggestions mentioned above are sure to help you too!
Synthetic Motor Oil FAQ
What brand of synthetic motor oil is best?
The debate surrounding the best synthetic motor oils is a longstanding one. However, we strongly recommend choosing any of the known brands like Mobil, Valvoline, Castrol, Liqui Moly, and Royal purple.
Is Mobil 1 the best synthetic oil?
Mobil 1 is absolutely in the top 5 of the best synthetic motor oils you can find on the market. However, if it is really best is just speculation; it depends on your car engine model. Not all engine oils are suitable for all engines.
What is the best 5W30 synthetic oil?
If you are looking for a great 5W30 synthetic motor oil, you should absolutely look into any of these brands: Mobil, Valvoline, Liqui Moly, Castrol, and Royal purple. We do recommend Castrol or Liqui Moly for most engine types.
Will synthetic oil last 2 years?
The most so-called “long-life” synthetic motor oils last up to 2 years or even longer. However, it is not recommended to use them if they are older because they will lose their performance. Check the motor oil specifications for exact information.