Best Synthetic Motor Oils – Top Ten – 2017 Buyers Guide

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Synthetic Oil Review GuideToday, synthetic motor oils are most commonly used to protect advanced vehicle engines, which depend on the superior chemical and shear stability properties of synthetic oil to increase engine longevity. The vast majority of commercial vehicle fleet operators depend on synthetic motor oils in their vehicles because scientific studies have documented that precisely-engineered synthetic oils can improve fuel economy up to 5% or more.

Breakthroughs in additive technology mean that today’s synthetic motor oils can offer unparalleled thermal and viscosity stability under even extreme heat, speed and load conditions. Whether used to provide critical protection of sensitive engine parts in extremely cold weather starts, or to allow high-performance engines to safely operate at extreme engine load conditions, today’s synthetic motor oils allow vehicle owners to safely drive all-year round via a well lubricated engine.

Compare: The 10 Top Rated Synthetic Motor Oils of 2017

Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor OilMobil 1 5W-30
Mobil 1$$4.9
Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30
Pennzoil-550038331-3PKPennzoil Ultra Platinum 10W-30
Royal Purple 51530 API-Licensed SAE 5W-30 High Performance Synthetic Motor OilRoyal Purple 51530 API-Licensed SAE 5W-30Royal Purple$$$4.6
Castrol 06249 EDGE 5W-40 SPT Synthetic Motor OilCastrol 06249 EDGE 5W-40 SPTCastrol$$$$4.6
Liqui Moly 2041 Premium 5W-40 Synthetic Motor OilLiqui Moly 2041 Premium 5W-40Liqui Moly$$$4.6
Rotella T6 5W-40 Full SyntheticRotella T6 5W-40Shell Rotella T$4.5
Valvoline 813460 SynPower SAE 0W-20 Full Synthetic Motor OilValvoline 813460 SynPower SAE 0W-20Valvoline$$4.5
MAG1 61794-pk6 Full Synthetic 0W-20 SN Motor OilMAG1 61794-pk6Mag 1$$4.5
Pennzoil 550038221 Platinum 5W-30 Full Synthetic Motor OilPennzoil 550038221 Platinum 5W-30Pennzoil$$4.5

What is Synthetic Motor Oil?

Taking care of an automobile is a trying task. There are a number of products which must be used to do it adequately, from brake fluid to car vacuums, and more. Perhaps the most important product needed to take care of your car is motor oil. Although there are several different manufacturing processes used for synthesizing synthetic motor oils, all of them begin by using raw ingredients extracted from underground resources. While conventional oils are transported and then refined, synthetic oils are distilled and “cracked” into their component molecules. This process allows impurities to be removed from the crude oil, and today’s advanced cutting-edge chemical technologies allow engineers to re-engineer the basic molecules into precision formulas perfectly tailored to modern vehicle engines. Most major manufacturers of synthetic motor oils then carefully work to blend special additives to create the perfect oil to meet the demand of today’s high-powered engines.

Top-quality synthetic motor oils are better able to resist more demanding atmospheric conditions, and provide much better protection in cold-weather starts than conventional motor oils. By absorbing heavy metal contaminants and sludge particles, synthetic motor oils prevent and dissolve toxic build-ups in critical engine components.

During and immediately after the global conflict known as World War 2, the exigent needs of the combatant pushed humanity’s scientists to new heights. Breakthroughs in chemical science led to the creation of synthetic, and partially synthetic, oils. Offering a bevy of advantages over traditional refined petroleum or natural mineral oils, including greater resistance to extreme temperatures, enhanced protection against ash deposit formations in engine hot spots, and dramatic improvements in horsepower and greater torque on the engine.

By removing heat, heavy metal components and other contaminants from critical engine parts, today’s advanced synthetic motor oils protect high-performance vehicle engines from toxic build-ups of sludge and other corrosive elements. By using custom molecular formulas with enhanced high-lubrication esters, synthetic motor oils work to reduce exhaust filter blocking and can dramatically reduce wear and tear on high-performance automobile engines.

What are the different types of Synthetic Oil?

Every major manufacturer of synthetic motor oils use carefully guarded corporate trade secret processes to distill, refine and carefully blend their proprietary formulas. That being said, all synthetic motor oils consist of synthesized petroleum products, including chemically-modified petroleum components, instead of whole crude oil. Generally speaking, synthetic motor oil is composed of far more esters, by weight, than traditional motor oils, dramatically increasing the lubricating power of the oil.

Just as with traditional motor oils, synthetic motor oils are rated by viscosity, an industry metric that describes the oil’s change of viscosity with variations in temperature. The Society of Automotive Engineers has established the most commonly-used scale for grading motor oils according to viscosity, using traditional gradings (from low to high viscosity) of: 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 and 50. The first four viscosity gradings (0, 5, 10, 15 and 25) are usually suffixed with the letter W to indicate that they are designed to be used in winter and cold climate atmospheric conditions.

Synthetic oils graded at viscosity 20 are divided into blends designed for summer or warm weather use and W20 grade oils that are better suited to cold-start conditions.

Advantages of Using Synthetic Motor Oil

Certainly not every vehicle owner is a certified mechanic and automotive repair expert, but many drivers feel comfortable regularly changing and maintaining the motor oil in their personal vehicle. Commercial garages and oil change businesses often charge expensive fees to drain and replace motor oil in vehicles, and savvy vehicle owners know that they can save money by doing the work themselves at home. As geopolitical events around the globe affect petroleum prices, many vehicle owners know that it is a good idea to have plenty of synthetic motor oil on hand at home to insulate against dramatic price swings or instabilities in planetary demand.

Synthetic motor oil can also be used for a wide variety of other lubrication needs, and is designed to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations with ease.

Which Brands are Contenders for the Best Synthetic Oil?

Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil – The advanced formula of this fully synthetic motor oil from one of the leading makers of engine lubricants is custom engineered to prevent deposits and sludge build-up in automotive engines. Featuring both oxidation and thermal stability, the Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic is a fully synthetic oil that performs excellently even in extremely low temperature winter weather.

Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30 – Using recent breakthroughs in distillation technologies, the Valvoline MaxLife is custom-engineered for high-mileage vehicles, affording older motors unparalleled protection against wear on critical engine parts. Designed especially for high-performance vehicles, Valvoline MaxLife greatly reduces friction and corrosive deposits while working to prevent oil leaks.

Pennzoil 550038331-3PK Ultra Platinum 10W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil – Created with PurePlus Technology, this Pennzoil synthetic motor oil is designed to have low viscosity at lower temperatures, allowing for engines to run as smoothly as possible regardless of weather conditions. Because it protects engines from a loss of power, it is capable of adding an additional 550 miles to your car every year.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Oil For Your Vehicle

  • Viscosity – The far most important metric used for choosing the right synthetic motor oil is the viscosity. Lower viscosities are better adapted to cold weather use, while higher viscosities can help improve engine performance in warmer ambient conditions.
  • Fuel Economy – The less friction that synthetic motor oils put on the internal pathways of the motor, the greater the performance in fuel economy as the engine has to work less hard to circulate the oil. A good blend of quality synthetic motor oil will lead to significant improvements in fuel economy in today’s advanced automotive engines.
  • Lubrication & Frictional Properties – The most important role of any synthetic motor oil is to lubricate and reduce friction of the moving parts of an automotive engine. Today’s advanced formulas are designed to dramatically reduce friction and provide long-lasting lubrication to critical engine components.
  • Special Additives – Many of today’s major manufacturers of synthetic motor oils carefully blend proprietary additives to help prevent oil leaks, deposits and sludge build-up in the engine.


Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil – The Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic is rated at 5W-30, meaning it is graded to protect engines at air temperatures as low as -25 Fahrenheit but will achieve a viscosity rating of 30 once the engine has heated up to normal operating temperatures.

Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30 – This fully synthetic motor oil from Valvoline is rated by the Society of Automotive Engineers at 5W-30, giving high-mileage performance vehicles fully lubrication protection all year-round in every atmospheric condition.

Pennzoil 550038331-3PK Ultra Platinum 10W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil – Specially created to thrive in low temperatures, this Pennzoil synthetic motor oil is capable of running smoothly in temperatures as low as -40 degrees. However, it also does a great job of protecting your engine in extreme heat.

Fuel Economy

Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil – This advanced fully synthetic motor oil has been engineered to greatly improve fuel economy by improving the lubrication using a custom formula.

Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30 – While the engineers at Valvoline carefully synthesized and blended the Maxlife 5W-30 to improve engine longevity, that same feature also helps reduce the load on the vehicle’s motor, thus helping to improve fuel economy.

Pennzoil 550038331-3PK Ultra Platinum 10W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil – Because of its ability to protect engines from the loss of power, this Pennzoil synthetic motor oil is capable of providing your automobile with as many as 550 additional miles each year.

Lubrication & Frictional Properties

Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil – The engineers at Mobile designed the 5W-30 Synthetic to protect engines against wear performance for many driving styles. Breakthroughs in chemical technology allow Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic to deliver maximum protection during the life cycle of the manufacturer’s oil change interval.

Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30 – Using an advanced technological process, Valvoline MaxLife is carefully synthesized to provide maximum protection to high-performance automotive engines. The fully synthetic formula of Valvoline MaxLife protects car engines against oil burn-off and the build-up of sludge and corrosive deposits.

Pennzoil 550038331-3PK Ultra Platinum 10W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil – Extremely sophisticated distillation and engineering of petroleum products blended with advanced formulas gives Pennzoil Ultra Platinum outstanding viscosity during even extreme operating temperature conditions.

Special Additives

Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil – Every drop of Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic has been custom blended with advanced proprietary additives to provide ultra-fast protection to sensitive motor parts during cold weather starts and greatly reduce engine sludge and deposit build-up.

Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30 – This technically superior synthetic motor oil is carefully blended with special additives to reduce engine deposits while preventing oil leaks and burn-off in high-mileage vehicles.

Pennzoil 550038331-3PK Ultra Platinum 10W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil – Pennzoil Ultra Platinum includes a proprietary blend of advanced additives that bond to dangerous contaminants and absorb them safely before they can wreak deadly damage on critical engine components. It has been carefully formulated to provide maximum lubrication protection under low temperatures, high temperatures, high speed and intense load conditions.

Conclusion: Our Synthetic Motor Oil Reviews Are In

Best Low-Cost Option: Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil

Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor OilThis outstanding all-weather fully synthetic oil from one of the renowned names in engine lubrication manufacturing, the Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic delivers outstanding performance at all temperatures and is custom designed to improve engine durability and fuel economy. Carefully distilled and synthesized, the Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic features unparalleled thermal and oxidation stability, allowing the oil to deliver maximum lubrication throughout the entire oil change interval of the vehicle.


  • The Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic provides great protection when used in super cold conditions
  • It provides the same performance on the first and last day of your vehicle’s recommended oil change interval period, meaning you never have to worry about it breaking down and damaging sensitive engine parts
  • It also works excellently in cold weather


  • The Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic is designed for most personal automobiles on the market today, however it is not adequate to meet the demands of high-performance racing motors or aviation engines

Best for the Money: Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30

Valvoline MaxLife SAE 5W-30The advanced formula of Valvoline MaxLife truly earns its name, as it provides unparalleled protection against friction damage to critical engine components on high-mileage vehicles. Using a proprietary blend of special additives, Valvoline MaxLife is designed to prevent and remove corrosive build-ups that can lead to dangerous oil burn-off or leaks. Savvy owners of high-performance vehicles depend on Valvoline MaxLife to greatly extend the longevity and enhance performance while providing full protection against low-temperature atmospheric conditions and cold-weather starts.


  • Truly a superior synthetic motor oil for vehicles with more miles on the odometer, it works great to prevent burn-off and leaks, and never quits even on cold starts in winter
  • Reduces fuel consumption and improves fuel economy on high-performance automotive motors thanks to its unique proprietary blend of additives and carefully-synthesized esters and emollients


  • Some vehicle owners may see reduced performance and lubrication protection if they fail to remove and replace Valvoline MaxLife at the recommended vehicle manufacturer’s oil change interval

Best Overall: Pennzoil 550038331-3PK Ultra Platinum 10W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil

Mechanics and automotive experts recognize Pennzoil Ultra Platinum for its unmatched ability to provide critical lubrication to advanced motors under even the most demanding operating conditions and temperatures. By taking advantages of distillation and synthesis technologies, it delivers outstanding oil stability and endurance while protecting high-performance engines from corrosive build-ups of sludge and contaminants.


  • Due to its ability to protect high-performing engines in all weather conditions, this synthetic motor oil is capable of providing you with an additional 550 miles of operation every year
  • This is a benefit that separates it from every other motor oil on the market


  • This oil has no major cons to speak of

In Conclusion

Every vehicle owner knows the important role that a high-quality synthetic motor oil can play in improving the performance and increasing the longevity of today’s advanced engines. By carefully synthesizing custom-engineered petroleum molecules and blending them with advanced additives, today’s fully synthetic motor oils can provide outstanding protection against corrosive build-ups of sludge and other toxic deposits inside critical engine parts. Today’s major manufacturers of synthetic oils use scientific breakthroughs to create custom formulas capable of providing unparalleled lubrication protection under even the most extreme engine operating conditions.

While many motor oils are suitable for higher-mileage vehicles or older-model engines, only Pennzoil 550038331-3PK Ultra Platinum 10W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil has been specially synthesized and blended to protect critical engine parts in all weather conditions to the extent at which it does. Designed to remove and absorb damaging contaminants before they can form toxic build-ups in high-performance motors, this synthetic oil will perform flawlessly under even the most extreme speed, load, heat, and cold conditions.

Proven to provide long-lasting protection for critical engine components, Pennzoil’s product works to improve fuel economy by using a specially-designed formula to prevent viscosity and thermal breakdown. Without a doubt, this offering from Pennzoil is the finest completely synthetic motor oil on the market today.