When its time for an oil change, its also time to make a big decision. Here’s what you need to know to pick the best motor oil AKA engine oil for your car or truck.
When your oil change interval comes around, you’ve got no shortage of options for the best motor oil to feed your engine. The hard part is deciding between so many great names and features. What’s the best motor oil you ask? That depends on your vehicle’s characteristics and mileage. Most folks would say a full synthetic is best, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great products in each motor oil category.
Top 5 Conventional Motor Oil
- Unique TriShield technology provides superior deposit protection
- Maximum protection against viscosity and thermal breakdown
- For best performance, follow the manufacturer's recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual.
- Helps prevent build up that can cause rust and corrosion
- Superior protection against engine sludge* *As measured in the Sequence VG Sludge test
- Advanced protection against viscosity and thermal breakdown
- Conventional 10W-30 engine oil formula that keeps engines clean and responsive
- No leading conventional oil provides better wear protection (Based on Sequence IVA wear test using...
- Synthetic blend 5W-30 engine oil that provides durable wear protection and reduces engine wear
- Provides corrosion protection against harmful acids generated by engine contaminants
Before you make your pick, you’re going to want to keep certain items in mind:
- Consult your owner’s manual for important notes from the manufacturer about the engine and it’s oil change procedures
- The manufacturer has a particular viscosity recommendation, decided by people who should be trusted
- The mileage of your vehicle will affect the type of oil formula is best suited for the task: conventional, synthetic, or a blend
After taking all of these items into account, choosing the best engine oil for your vehicle will be a task you’re ready to tackle.
What to Look for When Buying Motor Oil
Here are a few things to keep your eye on before dropping that dough. Many folks have dubbed their brand as the best oil brand, claiming their Castrol is the “best engine oil in the world”. While Castrol makes a great oil, there are many competing brands who also make excellent products. More important than finding the best car oil brand is finding the best oil for your car. The best motor oil is going to vary based on your specific make, model, year, mileage, and the requirements in your vehicle owner’s manual.
The car, truck, or SUV you’re driving went through a significant investment of time and money by teams of design and development staff before it found its way to the showroom floor. “Most designs take 3-5 years to go from initial concept to consumer-ready production units.”
Within that span of time, we assume hundreds of people were a part of the process, and every one of them was extremely well-qualified to do so. That being said, the recommendations those people made regarding how to care for the vehicle long-term are not something to take lightly.
Let’s Talk Engine Oil Viscosity
The oil you put in your vehicle’s engine is going to be put through extreme conditions. Motors are subjected to high operating speeds, high operating temperatures, and long hours of use.
Your choice of oil needs to be API-approved and it needs to be the right viscosity. The viscosity determined by your manufacturer as the best oil for your engine was a choice which included many different factors:
- External temperatures. If you live somewhere extremely hot or cold, you may need a special kind of oil.
- Operating temperatures. The average temperatures the engine of your vehicle runs at.
- Engine load. How much stress the engine is subjected to. For example, large trucks will be exposed to more engine stress.
After considering all these factors and the range of operation, your engine was assigned an approved viscosity rating. The most common ratings for a gasoline engine are 5W-30, 5W-20, and 0W-20. The most common ratings for a diesel engine are 15W-40 and 5W-40.
Let’s Talk Oil Formulas
Conventional Oil is the usual recommendation for new cars. When using conventional oil, a good rule to follow is to change your oil in intervals of 3,000-4,000 miles. Full synthetic oil is the best engine oil for high-performance vehicles. You’ll find that this recommended in motors that spin to higher RPM limits, higher temperatures, or are intended to operate under a higher load more often. A synthetic blend is a good option for walking the line between the two listed above. If Full Synthetic is too expensive, but you’d like for your engine to enjoy some of the benefits, this is the choice for you.
High-mileage oil is designed from the start to serve an engine with more than 75,000 miles on its clock. Components are more likely to experience operating issues above this mileage, so oil brands offer product lines specifically intended for use in these vehicles.
Other Factors to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Motor Oil:
- Driving style. For those of you who with lead foot syndrome, have a performance sports car you like to have fun with, or like to tow/haul heavy things around it may be worth considering higher quality or specially designed oil. Engines subjected regularly to higher stress levels may be happier gulping down a full synthetic.
- Additives. This is where there are some big differences between brands. Most products are going to use a unique combination of antifoaming agents, conditioners, corrosion inhibitors, detergents, dispersal, antioxidants, and anti-wear agents.