With vehicles becoming more and more high tech and constantly in need of preventative maintenance, car owners need to do everything they can to ensure their car continues to run smoothly and efficiently. From the more major electronics such as the main vehicle computer all the way down to the mechanical moving parts, individuals need to take care to regularly service those parts themselves or by a professional in order to maintain a finely tuned ride. A major component of any smoothly running vehicle is the engine oil. Car engines have many moving parts and all that movement creates friction and heat. To prevent overheating and damage to the vehicle, a car must have engine oil, but what type is the best?
Synthetic Vs Conventional
There are two major types of engine oil; synthetic and conventional. Conventional oil is a derivative of crude oil that has the ability to provide lubrication for engine parts at higher temperatures. It also has longevity and can maintain its properties over long periods of time. Synthetic oil starts off as conventional oil and goes through a specific refining process that removes additional impurities to increase its lubrication and longevity properties. There are several different blends of synthetic oils and all have different purposes such as improving your car’s mileage or protecting high-performance engines.
What makes synthetic oil preferable over conventional?
There are many factors that play into why synthetic oils are preferable over conventional. With the added refinement, most synthetic oils have improved stability, less breakdown, increased lubrication, and fewer impurities over conventional oil. The improved stability maintains the thickness of the oil at high temperatures for much longer periods of time, which is beneficial for high performance engines. In addition, synthetic oils have improved longevity, which decreases their breakdown life and they tend to last longer than conventional oils. The increased lubrication maintains the slickness of engine parts especially at higher engine temperatures, which decreases engine wear and tear. Finally, with the refining process that synthetic oils go through, more impurities are removed, which decreases engine sludge buildup and maintains good engine performance.
What should I look for in synthetic oil?
There are several things that should be found on any bottle of motor oil, namely what its purpose is, the viscosity of the oil, and whether it is a partial or full synthetic oil. Obviously, as a car owner, you care about the purpose of the oil because the wrong oil can do major damage to your vehicle. Is the oil intended for high performance cars or higher mileage cars? The intended purpose means a lot for your car performance.
Have you ever wondered what the numbers on the oil bottle mean? What is 0W-20 or 10W-40 oil? That is the viscosity of the oil in different temperatures. The first number always indicates the viscosity or flow of the oil at a low temperature while the second number indicates the viscosity or flow of the oil at 100 degrees Celsius. So in the case of 0W-20 synthetic oil, it has a better cold temperature start performance at 0 compared to the 10W-40 oil, while it tends to be thinner at 100 degrees Celsius compared to the higher viscosity oil.
Not all synthetic oils are full synthetic. Some are only partial synthetics that are a mixture with mineral oil. While full synthetic is typically the best, car owners might choose a partial synthetic due to the cost as they tend to be cheaper while still providing most of the high end benefits that full synthetic oils provide.
Best 0W-20 Synthetic Oils on the Market
Let us take a look at a few of the best-selling, high-performing 0W-20 synthetic oils on the market today.
Mobil 1 120758 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil for 0W-20
One of the top selling synthetic motor oils is Mobil 1’s Advanced Full Synthetic. It has a low viscosity perfect for cold weather environments and as it is a full synthetic sees an improved oil life even with the extreme temperatures. It is recommended for used in vehicles that call for SAE 0W-20 or 5W-20 motor oil. It also costs about $26-$42 for a standard five quart bottle depending on where you buy it.
The major benefit of this full synthetic is the increased capability over partial synthetics. It is also designed especially to increase fuel economy by up to two percent and improve overall engine efficiency. In addition, it helps extend engine life especially in cold weather areas as it has high marks for low-temperature qualities. As with any synthetic, it reduces engine wear and tear and has a high oil life with few impurities. It has high marks amongst buyers and is noted to work with most all new model vehicles.
The largest customer complaint for this product seems to relate mostly to the availability and pricing. Since more cars require a high quality synthetic oil, 0W-20 synthetic oil especially this one, are often on back order and hard to find at good prices.
Castrol 03060 GTX MAGNATEC 0W-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Another popular full synthetic motor oil is the Castrol GTX MAGNATEC motor oil. It comes in a standard five quart jug and costs about $20-$25. As a full synthetic, it has increased engine performance, increased oil life, and prevents engine buildup. It also gets high marks for improved fuel economy.
The GTX MAGNATEC reduces engine wear by coating critical engine components even in cold weather environments. The special formula designed by Castrol contains molecules specifically designed to cling to engine components in all weather conditions regardless of temperature and even when the engine is not running. This maintains constant lubrication throughout the engine block and increases engine life. Castrol claims it makes engine parts four times smoother as found through testing. The price is also a major pro compared to other brands.
This is another high ranked motor oil especially for the price and there were very few complaints. However, customers did note that they thought the Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic performed better and that it did not always maintain its 0W fluidity as claimed and that it tended to actually thicken at colder temperatures.
Valvoline 0W-20 SynPower Full Synthetic Motor Oil
SynPower Full Synthetic motor oil by Valvoline was created to handle the major stresses on an engine; wear, heat, and sludge buildup. It is known to keep engine blocks cleaner than other synthetic brands and all while maintaining high fuel economy performance. It comes in the standard five quart bottle and costs anywhere from $22-$41.
A major pro of this full synthetic is that it contains additives that are designed to reduce engine wear. In addition, it has extra detergent and dispersant to cut down on engine sludge buildup and keeps engine deposits from forming. SynPower also has low viscosity at low temperature as with all full synthetics, which makes it perfect for cold weather performance.
Most customer reviews were positive and buyers noted it performed as stated in a variety of vehicles. The only repeat complaint about this oil seemed to be in relation to its packaging and not the oil itself. Customers noted it often showed up leaking with the main seal broken.
Mobil 1 120903 Extended Performance 0W-20 Motor Oil
The Mobil 1 Extended Performance motor oil comes in the standard five quart size and costs about $29-$46 depending on what store you buy it from. It performs well in all range of operating conditions from mild to severe and provides great engine lubrication. It is recommended as a 15,000 mile or one year oil, depending on which milestone comes first.
This motor oil has high marks for lubrication, parts protection, and engine sludge prevention. Its specially designed formula is meant to work well with all internal engine components including seals and does not break them down as some other oils may. This prevention puts less stress on the engine and extends overall life. The Mobil 1 Extended Performance also has a highly stable consistency throughout temperature ranges. This is a common complaint for other motor oils and Mobil 1 performs as stated for 0W weather conditions. In addition, this formula was designed to increase the interval between oil changes, but still maintain excellent engine performance.
This is another high marked engine oil, but it has similar complaints as others about packaging standards. Customers noted receiving a damaged, leaking product a small percentage of the time.
Castrol 03124 EDGE 0W-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Another Castrol Full Synthetic oil with high marks that performs well for most customers. This particular blend of Castrol is designed for more high performance pressure engines. EDGE is designed specially to prevent metal rubbing throughout the engine block and maintain full lubrication. It also comes in the standard five quart size and costs approximately $34-$37.
As mentioned above, this product is formulated to handle higher pressure engine environments without degrading performance. It works to maintain maximum engine efficiency and protect critical engine components that suffer more wear and tear in high performance engines.
There were not any notable complaints about this motor oil other than at least one customer said they preferred Mobil 1 over this blend. However, there was not a specific reason noted as to why.
Pennzoil 550046127 Platinum 0W-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Our first Pennzoil Synthetic on the list, this blend is designed for vehicles that call for the 0W-20 or 5W-20 motor oils. It comes in a five quart jug and is priced between $22-$32.
The biggest pro of this motor oil is that it is made from natural gas, which makes it great for more environmentally conscious car owners. It reduces engine friction and rubbing and protects engine parts against extreme temperature changes.
This had no negative comments amongst customers that we found. It performed as stated for high performance engines.
Royal Purple 51020 API-Licensed SAE 0W-20 High Performance Synthetic Motor Oil
Our final 0W-20 recommended motor oil is the Royal Purple High Performance Synthetic motor oil. It comes in the standard five quart bottle, but it most notably the highest priced of all brands at $45-$47 respectfully. It is known for engine corrosion protection and reduction in sludge buildup.
A major pro of this motor oil is that it has increased reliability when combined with ethanol containing fuels. It also gets high marks for engine protection when used with more expensive emission system cars. The Royal Purple also provides superior wear and tear engine part protection along with improved fuel economy.
This was another high ranked synthetic motor oil, but it did have a few complaints against it. Customers stated that it was only good for about 10,000 miles between oil changes, which was lower compared to some other extended mileage options. It also decreased some users’ fuel efficient even though it claims to increase fuel economy.
We have provided a lot of information about the benefits of synthetic over conventional motor oils. They increase engine part lubrication, have noticeably less breakdown compared to conventional oil, and far fewer impurities. As more cars on the road require high quality engine oils to perform at their peak, 0W-20 synthetic oils are a great option for any car owner looking to increase the overall life of their engine, reduce the buildup of engine sludge, and improve cold weather engine reliability. We recommend reading online customer reviews to determine if the different oils we have provide meet your desired quality expectations. Most importantly though, we recommend verifying whether this motor oil is compatible with your vehicle make and model and will provide the increased qualities you need to ensure your car is working at peak capacity. Price is not everything even though several customer reviews noted as such. You get what you pay for and with synthetics, a higher price may just provide a better engine performance or extended fuel efficiency over lower priced options. Make sure to keep that in mind before purchasing any of the above recommended brands.