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The Best Synthetic Oil (Review and Buying Guide) in 2020

The Best Synthetic Oil (Review and Buying Guide) in 2020

Everyone knows that you need engine oil for your engine. Without the oil, the engine will just run for a few seconds before it seizes up and dies on you. Synthetic engine oil doesn’t breakdown as quickly as conventional motor oil, and it can help prolong the lifespan of your engine. You also rarely get the sludge buildup that often results in the use of standard motor oil. For high-performance engines and even for locations that have extremely warm summers or extremely cold winters, synthetic engine oil is the best option. Below is the list of best synthetic oil you can consider buying.

The Best Synthetic Oil

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1. Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-30

Most engines need 4 to 5 quarts of new synthetic engine oil, so this amount is just right. But it’s not the quantity of the oil that’s really important here. It’s quality. It’s among the most popular and most highly regarded synthetic oils in the industry.

In fact, some cars specify that you should use Mobil 1 as your synthetic engine oil. It’s the official motor oil of Nascar, and of McLaren-Honda in F1 racing. It has also been revealed that it’s the best at maintaining low viscosity even in cold temperatures.

This “made in the US” motor oil offers all the advantages you can expect from high-grade synthetic engine oil. With its low-temperature capacity, it helps with quick starts during winter, it boosts fuel economy, and it can prolong the engine lifespan. It prevents sludge build and deposits. It offers improved frictional properties, overall lubrication, and wear protection.

With this, you don’t have to worry when you’re not too religious in your oil-changing habits. Of course, you need to follow the manual recommendations as to how often you should change your motor oil. It holds up very well, so you don’t have to panic when you’re a month or a thousand miles overdue for an oil change.

This works great for all types of car engines, ranging from 20-year old Mercedes Benzes to modern turbocharged engines. The bottle is nicely designed as well, so it’s easy to pour the oil and you can use an empty one to collect your old oil for your next oil change.

What’s more, the price for this is exceedingly low, especially if you go online and buy from the right seller.


  • It performs exceedingly well.
  • It can help prolong the life of your engine.
  • It works very well with old engines as well as turbocharged new ones.
  • You’ll notice better performance if you live in colder regions.
  • It’s very affordable.


  • It can tempt you to be a bit late when it comes to scheduled oil changes.
  • Unless it’s specified in the manual, you can’t use this motor oil for aviation or 2-cycle engines.

2. Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30 782256 High Mileage Motor Oil

Obviously Valvoline is going to be part of this list too. After all, the brand does have a rather renowned history with motor oil. In the very first official automobile race in the US, the winning car used Valvoline motor oil for its engine. In fact, Valvoline founder Dr. John Ellis is considered as the inventor of the motor oil.

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This MaxLife variant of the Valvoline motor oil is quite interesting because it’s specially designed for engines with higher mileage. Once you go past 75,000 miles for your engine, it can become a bit of a challenge to keep your car engine working without a glitch. You can improve your chances of that considerably when you make the shift to Valvoline MaxLife. It’s what it’s designed for.

For this purpose, Valvoline uses synthetic motor oil blended with more conventional engine oil. Then you have seal conditioning agents that keep seals from deteriorating plus extra cleaning agents to keep the sludge at bay. The blend also includes innovative friction modifiers so the engine turns smoothly, along with additives that combat engine wear.

So do you want your older car engine to work flawlessly despite its high mileage? If so, then you better make that switch to Valvoline MaxLife.


  • It’s great for older engines with 75,000 miles.
  • Its antioxidants slow down the breakdown that results in sludge and deposits that clog up the engine.
  • It also has additional cleaning agents that bond with and removes sludge, so your engine remains cleaner.
  • It slows down future engine wear.
  • It even has additives that make older engine seals stronger so that you don’t end up with oil leaks.


  • If you have a brand new engine, this may not be your most ideal motor oil.
  • The price tends to fluctuate and it also depends a lot on your seller. Sometimes you can get it for less than $18, but at other times its price can go past $20.

3. Castrol 03124 EDGE 0W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil

Castrol has also made its presence felt in the racing industry, as it has sponsored racing teams that participated in the World Rally Championship, German Touring Car races, and NHRA drag racing.

Castrol does offer a motor oil lineup of different variants, so this may not be your best Castrol version to get. You can check the Castrol site so you can find the best for your engine. However, this one is your best option if you have a vehicle for which the manual specifies a motor oil grade of 0W-20.

This is full-synthetic motor oil and not a blend, so consequently, it’s a bit more expensive by just a few dollars. Some online sellers offer this for just $23 or so, but some retail shops may sell this for up to $35.

Get this at a low price, and you’ll get a lot of value for your money. It exceeds various motor oil standards, including ILSAC GF-5, API SN, ACEA A1, and ACEA B1. It’s been designed to really offer great fuel economy, terrific cold-weather performance, and wear and fantastic wear protection for critical engine parts. It holds up very well, so it can be tempting to be a bit late with your oil changes.


  • This is fully synthetic, and it will work well for any engine for which oW-20 grade is specified.
  • It exceeds just about all the motor oil standards in the industry.
  • It’s rated as 42% better in combating deposits in the engine.
  • Winter performance is excellent.
  • Fuel economy is boosted.
  • It helps increase the lifespan of your engine.
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  • You have to pick the right seller (preferably online) as some retail shops offer this at much higher prices.
  • It can last for much longer so that you’re tempted to not pay attention to scheduled oil changes.

4. Shell Rotella Full Synthetic Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Oil

A gallon is equal to 4 quarts, and with this pack of 3, you thus get 12 quarts. Compared to the other 5-quart motor oils on this list, this is somewhat more expensive on a per-quart basis. In fact, it may even be more affordable to get this at 1 gallon at a time, although that doesn’t factor in the delivery costs.

But then again, this is a Shell motor oil version with a viscosity rating of 5W-40. It’s designed for diesel engines, and it works especially well for heavy-duty engines.

It works well in enhancing engine durability compared to earlier motor oils, and in fact, its wear performance is rated as 34% better. At the same time, it also helps with fuel economy.

It works well for both cold and hot weather too. During the cold season, it can offer you quicker startups than usual at a time when others need several tries to get their engines going. But it’s also very effective in resisting breakdown due to heat.

It helps keep the engine clean, and it also protects the engine from corrosion due to fuel burns. It really works well in lubricating the metal engine surfaces to reduce the friction.

It’s also very versatile, as many have found that it can be used for trucks, motorcycles, diesel cars, and even lawnmowers and snow blowers. If the vehicle uses a 4-stroke diesel engine, you just need this brand.


  • If you have lots of vehicles that use diesel engines, then you only need to buy this particular diesel engine oil for everything.
  • It helps to keep the engine working smoothly and even quietly. Many have found this terrific for turbocharged engines.
  • It boosts fuel economy.
  • Car engines can last longer with this motor oil.
  • You can enjoy easier and faster startups during the winter.


  • The pricing is a bit weird, so take the per-quart price and the delivery charges first to get the best bargain.
  • Since this is a bit thicker than usual, it may result in a small increase in oil pressure.

5. Briggs & Stratton SAE 5W-30 100074 Synthetic Small Engine Motor Oil

This seems cheap at first until you realize that it’s just for 32 ounces (1 gallon). So getting 5 gallons of this stuff may cost you twice as much as the other brands on this list.

Still, it’s designed for air-cooled 4-cycle engines, and those can be found in other vehicles aside from cars. Even lawnmowers have those engines, and you’ll find that with this engine oil your engine will seem to run much more smoothly and effortlessly.

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This really works well, though, and that’s not something you can say for some of the other brands. Its premium quality is quite evident in how it helps engine performance and durability. You’ll notice that your engine operates without any trouble, there’s less risk of engine failure, maintenance for your engine is reduced, and the engine generally lasts longer.

For some engines, it’s even specified as the motor oil to use. Failure to do so can lead to warranty issues, so if your manual says to use it, you better just comply.


  • It offers improved low-temperature fluidity.
  • Thermal stability is better.
  • The viscosity-temperature response is enhanced.
  • The oxidation stability is great.
  • It helps control deposits.
  • It generally lets your engine have a longer lifespan.


  • Its price is somewhat expensive.
  • You may need to buy 5 of these for your oil changes.

6. Liqui Moly 2041 Premium 5W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil

This is another premium brand of motor oil that’s a bit pricey, but many think it’s worth the cost. It’s designed for both gas and diesel engines of various types, including supercharged or turbocharged variants.

With its 5W-40 rating, you can expect it to deliver oil rapidly throughout the engine even at low temperatures. You can rely on its lubrication capacity even in very low or high temperatures.

This holds up very well, so it’s one of the brands to get when your oil changes tend to have extended time intervals in between. It’s also highly recommended for high-performance engines, as it’s extremely reliable. Many sports car or luxury car owners tend to notice that their car engines (especially the expensive German ones) run quieter and more smoothly when they use this car engine oil.


  • It doesn’t burn out as quickly as other premium motor oils.
  • Engines that use this motor oil seem to run more efficiently.
  • It’s the recommended motor oil by owners of Porsches, Audis, and Mercedes Benzes.


  • It’s a bit more expensive.
  • For best performance, you should also use a premium quality oil filter with this.

Conclusion for the Best Synthetic Oil

It’s true that some cars don’t need synthetic engine oils. But it’s also true that many of the high-performance cars require its use. They just offer better performance and engine durability. So get any of these brands when your manual specifies synthetic motor oil. It may be more expensive than convention engine oil, but that’s nothing compared to the cost of engine repairs if you don’t use it.

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