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Best Synthetic Oils of 2022: Keep Your Engine Running Healthy N’ Slick

Put the best in your engine, and it’ll give its best to you.

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BYJeric Jaleco/ LAST UPDATED ON July 19, 2022

From 9-to-5 gridlock to race track tomfoolery, great synthetic motor oil will ensure your engine will never miss a beat. They’re typically more adaptable to various weather conditions than most conventional oils and loaded with additives to keep your engines clean and healthy for longer. Heck, I even run it in all my cars. Synthetic oil is arguably one of the most beneficial and influential innovations in automotive engineering, but it’s a heavily saturated market with a dizzying catalog to choose from. No sweat. Allow us to lend a hand.
Enter The Drive’s buyer’s guide to the best synthetic motor oils on the market today. From general-use oils fit for any application to honed-in specialty fluids for that certain something lurking in the back of your garage, we’ve listed an oil for just about anything. So, scroll on through, take a peek, and, most importantly, happy shopping!

Best Overall

Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic

Summary
Acclaimed as one, if not the best in the business, Mobil 1’s Advanced Full Synthetic flexes the engineering might of the brand that commuters and motorsports teams alike trust.
Pros
  • Near-perfect, do-it-all formula
  • Broad family of products to fit various niches
  • Bold protection intervals
  • Agreeable price
Cons
  • No formulas for classics in its product lineup
  • Common in jugs or bulk packages but rarely individual quarts
Best Value

Pennzoil Platinum

Summary
Pennzoil’s Platinum oil is defined by its superb adaptability to various temperatures and vehicle types for not a lot of scratch.
Pros
  • Stellar pricepoint that undercuts some conventional oils
  • Base ingredient is natural gas
  • Superb adaptability at various temperatures
  • Friendly to performance cars
Cons
  • The next-step-up, Ultra Platinum, exists
Honorable Mention

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum

Summary
Building upon the already-acclaimed Platinum, Pennzoil’s Ultra Platinum is the big sibling formulated to deliver the same versatile protection but better withstand the demands of premium vehicles.
Pros
  • Special formula for high-performance applications
  • Still usable in daily-driven street cars
  • Retains Platinum’s versatility at extreme temperatures
Cons
  • Much pricier than rivals
  • Additives can separate and settle at bottom of container
Best Synthetic Oils of 2022: Keep Your Engine Running Healthy N’ Slick

Summary List 

Best Value: Pennzoil Platinum

Honorable Mention: Pennzoil Ultra Platinum

Best For Ultra High-Performance/Motorsports: Motul 300V

Best For High-Mileage Engines: Castrol Edge High Mileage

Best For Diesel Vehicles: Schaeffer’s Supreme 9000-012S

Best For Classic Vehicles: Liqui Moly MoS2 Anti-Friction

Best For Modern-Retro Classics: Motul Eighties, Motul Nineties

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Our Methodology

As journalists and fellow enthusiasts, we always aim to give the most informative yet honest takes in every guide, from tires to oil filters and more. And while we couldn’t source gallons of synthetic oil to test in a fleet of cars, that hasn’t stopped me from piecing together this guide through extensive research. 

I dove deep and sifted through an ocean of manufacturer specs and consumer experiences. The best products were the most well-rounded, versatile formulas capable of meeting or exceeding OEM demands in various vehicles unless a specific niche called for added focus. While Amazon served as a primary encyclopedia for product listings and consumer feedback, I also credit various forums and manufacturer sites for vehicle-specific information.

As always, readers are welcome to come and learn more about how The Drive generally curates our buyers guides.

Best Synthetic Motor Oil Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Mobil 1
  • Recommended Use: all vehicles, high-mileage, high-performance, trucks & SUVs, diesels
  • Protection Interval: 10,000 - 20,000 miles

Pros

  • Near-perfect, do-it-all formula
  • Broad family of products to fit various niches
  • Bold protection intervals
  • Agreeable price

Cons

  • No formulas for classics in its product lineup
  • Common in jugs or bulk packages but rarely individual quarts

Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic is easily a class-winner and one of the most acclaimed motor oils by enthusiasts, commuters, and fellow auto journalists. The lovechild of the brand with one of the largest R&D budgets and motorsports prominence, Advanced Full Synthetic is a highly versatile formula that fits at home in a wide array of vehicles. Consumers frequently cite its adaptability and reliability as praiseworthy traits, with one consumer reporting zero issues using it in turbocharged motors and European engines. Another consumer had his oil tested by Blackstone Laboratories, who reported remaining life even after 10,000 miles of use. Those looking for more niche formulas can find variants of Advanced Full Synthetic suited for high-mileage vehicles, improved fuel economy, and trucks.

As acclaimed as Advanced Full Synthetic is, a few nitpicks remain. Many of their online listings appear to be for jugs and bulk cases of oil, which is perfect for most oil changes unless you’re working with a smaller engine or simply need a top-off. NAPA will sell you individual quarts online; otherwise, you’re better off hunting at your local auto parts stores. Additionally, unique formulas for classics and vintage vehicles are unavailable.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Pennzoil
  • Recommended Use: all vehicles
  • Protection Interval: 10,000 miles

Pros

  • Stellar pricepoint that undercuts some conventional oils
  • Base ingredient is natural gas
  • Superb adaptability at various temperatures
  • Commuters love it, and so do Ferraris

Cons

  • The next-step-up, Ultra Platinum, exists

Pennzoil Platinum is a champion in its own right for delivering the premium protection of fellow synthetic oils at an amicable price. For less than $7 per quart, you get a resilient, long-lasting oil for a wide array of vehicles that sacrifices nothing in terms of engine cleaning and wear protection. Estimated protection intervals are the same 10,000 miles as many of its rivals. However, consumers who have had their oils tested after 10,000 miles have reported clean bills of health that warrant an extra 2,000 miles of life.

Platinum has been regarded by many as having one of, if not the best cold weather flow of its rivals, and its exceptional heat resistance has made it a popular budget oil for performance cars. Another noteworthy trick up Pennzoil’s sleeve is their use of natural gas as a base ingredient, reducing their dependency on crude oil and the chances of contamination that’s possible using crude oil.

Pennzoil Platinum is easily one of this guide's most acclaimed and beloved products. Still, perhaps the only thing to knock against it is its bigger sibling, Ultra Platinum, exists and offers greater protection for premium vehicles.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Pennzoil
  • Recommended Use: all vehicles, high-performance
  • Protection Interval: 10,000 miles

Pros

  • Special formula for high-performance applications
  • Still usable in daily-driven street cars
  • Retains Platinum’s versatility at extreme temperatures

Cons

  • Much pricier than rivals
  • Additives can settle at the bottom of container

Slotting above its budget-friendly sibling sits Pennzoil Ultra Platinum, a “deluxe” tier of synthetic motor oil marketed towards luxury and high-performance cars. Like its stablemate, Ultra Platinum utilizes natural gas as its base ingredient and is formulated with the same cold weather flow and engine cleaning abilities. Unlike its stablemate, it can better cope with the extremities of high-performance applications, with consumers and experts finding it to be a more affordable alternative to Amsoil and Redline performance oils. Don’t be intimate, however, as this product will still benefit the average daily driver.

Such levels of protection will cost you, as Ultra Platinum currently sells online for roughly $15 a quart. While it’s far from the most expensive thing here, that price tag still rings in several dollars more than Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic and Pennzoil Platinum.

An interesting note that consumers have made regarding the Ultra Platinum formula is to ensure your container is adequately mixed prior to use, especially if it’s been sitting in your garage or a store shelf for some time. The additives have been reported to separate and settle to the bottom of their container, but a good shake can mix them back in.

Best For Ultra High-Performance/Motorsports
Motul 300V
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Specs

  • Manufacturer: Motul
  • Recommended Use: high-performance, racing
  • Protection Interval: 3,000 - 5,000 miles

Pros

  • Formulated to withstand extreme temperatures and pressures
  • Low volatility to reduce possible oil consumption
  • Tiny yet appreciable performance enhancement

Cons

  • Compromised protection interval
  • Steep price tag

Motul 300V is a serious, purpose-bred synthetic oil for hardcore track rats and steroidal tuners. Born from a company that’s arguably more synonymous with motorcycle racing, Motul has carved a niche with high-performance gearheads with their top-notch fluids beloved by tuners and builders from all over – my local speed shop dies by Motul fluids. Their 300V line is marketed as dedicated track oil suitable for race cars and street cars alike and has become popularized for its immense resiliency, even among other big-name brand synthetics. Its consistency during harsh driving and its tolerance to heat draw frequent praise.

Much of it should be attributed to Motul’s Ester Core technology, initially developed for their performance motorcycle oils. According to Motul, their formula, which consists of specific esters as base ingredients, results in a robust oil with minimal frictional drag.

As expected for its class, 300V is a pricey formula. Whether you gun for their Power or hardcore Competition formulas, expect to cough up roughly $40 for a two-quart can. Their focus on extreme conditions also results in compromised oil change intervals. While official estimates are unavailable, consumers report that the best practice is not to exceed 5,000 miles when running 300V.

Best For High-Mileage Engines
Castrol Edge High Mileage
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Specs

  • Manufacturer: Castrol EDGE High Mileage
  • Recommended Use: high-mileage
  • Protection Interval: 20,000

Pros

  • Formulated to improve oil film resiliency for aging engines
  • Compatible with high-mile trucks and SUVs
  • Reported reductions in sludge build-up
  • Lengthy protection interval

Cons

  • The only thing to hate is that there’s nothing to hate
  • Limited oil viscosities from certain retailers

Castrol Edge High Mileage is a synthetic oil formulated to keep aging motors putting along like new. Perhaps, the most acclaimed product on this list, this oil is loaded with additives to improve oil film resiliency and reduce sludge build-up. Multiple consumers who have cracked open their motors for major services have reported noticeable de-gunking of their engine internals since switching to Edge High Mileage. Cold weather flow is good, and consumers have frequently reported quieter valvetrain operation.

In the same spirit as vintage car oils utilizing high-zinc formulas, Castrol makes use of liquid titanium additives to boost oil film strength. The ingredient adds an extra layer of anti-wear resistance without posing a potential threat to modern catalytic converters the way zinc would. The resulting formula has not only made a name for itself in high-mileage cars, but it has also found a fan base among aging trucks, sports cars, and turbocharged engines.

Finding hard-edged flaws was a difficult and fruitless task. Perhaps the biggest knock against EDGE High Mileage is the limited viscosities available at certain retailers. Amazon will sell you 5W-30 and 5W-20, but thankfully, other weights can be purchased elsewhere online.

Best Synthetic Oil For Diesel Vehicles
Schaeffer’s Supreme 9000-012S
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Specs

  • Manufacturer: Schaeffer Manufacturing Co.
  • Recommended Use: diesels, trucks & SUVs, high-mileage
  • Protection Interval: N/A

Pros

  • Specially formulated for diesel engines
  • Suitable for extremely high-mileage trucks
  • Friendly to turbocharged gas engines

Cons

  • Among the priciest per quart

Schaeffer’s Supreme 9000-012S is a hidden gem among synthetic motor oils and is praised as a stout, reliable choice for owners of diesel vehicles. If you’ve never heard of the company, that’s fine, and neither have I. However, a quick search reveals that Schaeffer’s Manufacturing Co. is a well-received producer of lifeblood for heavy-duty machinery, race cars, street cars, motorcycles, and even alternative fuel vehicles.

The company’s 9000-012S formula includes its Micron Moly and Penetro ingredients, which, not unlike high-mileage or classic car oils, create added anti-wear resistance, perfect for high-pressure engines such as diesel. The oil’s tolerance for pressures and heat has also earned it a following among turbocharged gas engines as numerous sport compact owners have lauded this formula. And the company’s ultra-slippery recipe has notably reduced frictional drag within engines versus other diesel oils, with a few consumers noting minor fuel economy bumps of one to two miles per gallon.

The big slap with Schaeffer’s oil is cost, and at roughly $29 per quart, it exceeds Pennzoil Ultra Platinum and even two-quart cans of Motul 300V. If you want the best there is for your diesel truck, it won’t come cheap.

Best Synthetic Oil For Classic Vehicles
Liqui Moly MoS2 Anti-Friction
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Specs

  • Manufacturer: Liqui Moly
  • Recommended Use: classics, modern-retro, all vehicles, high-mileage
  • Protection Interval: <10,000 miles

Pros

  • Well-rounded for many use cases
  • A trusted pick for vintage European cars
  • Robust formula for high-mileage engines
  • Compatible with diesel and turbocharged engines

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Semi-synthetic blend may compromise protection intervals

Liqui Moly MoS2 Anti-Friction is Germany’s synthetic savior for vintage vehicles and modern-retros alike and named for its prominent MoS2 additive – which Liqui Moly will sell you on its own. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll say it was quite the chore to find even a semi-synthetic blend bespoke to classic vehicles. Thankfully, this product came shining through with consumers smitten with its versatility across a broad spectrum of vehicles, from modern commuters to decades-old metal.

Mo2S Anti-Friction is regarded as some of the best in the business, with its wear-resistant properties being praised in everything, including 300,000-mile Saab’s early-1970s European cars, modern turbos, and diesels. It’s even found to be quite popular among classic air-cooled Porsches. Modern additive formulas still equate to being safe for use in today’s catalytic converters, as well.

While easier on the wallet than Schaeffer’s synthetic oils, Liqui Moly still rings in at a lofty $18 for a one-liter bottle, slotting above our Honorable Mention Pennzoil product. Utilizing a semi-synthetic formula over a full-synthetic may also compromise protection intervals, but drivers of classics would be wise to change their oil before the recommended 15,000 kilometers, anyway.

Best Synthetic Oil For Modern-Retro Classics
Motul Eighties, Motul Nineties
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Specs

  • Manufacturer: Motul
  • Recommended Use: modern-retro classics
  • Protection Interval: <10,000 miles

Pros

  • Specially-formulated protection for modern-retro engines
  • Friendly to old-school turbocharged and supercharged engines
  • Higher zinc content for older engine tolerances
  • Extra additives to aid long-term storage

Cons

  • One-weight-fits-all may bar some cars
  • Semi-synthetic blend may compromise protection intervals
  • A smidge on the pricier side

Motul Eighties and Nineties are here to gift Radwood groupies with two bespoke oil formulas as a treat. As you could imagine, these are crafted to give the best protection for modern classics of the 1980s and 1990s, with each tweaked slightly for their respective era’s engineering norms. For example, Motul Eighties currently comes exclusively as 10W-40, a weight deemed most appropriate for a majority of 1980s engines and is formulated to withstand the extremities of some of that era’s turbocharged monstrosities. Nineties is formulated exclusively in 10W-30 for the tighter tolerances of newer, more intricate engines.

Both come with molybdenum friction modifiers and heightened zinc content, enough to fortify the oil film for older cars without posing a serious threat to their emissions systems. They also come with extra additives to keep the oil fresh and stable for long-term storage in case a particular car lives from one Radwood show to another.

Alas, collector car ownership can be pay-to-play, and both Motul formulas exemplify that notion by ringing in at a hair under $30 per two-quart can. Still pricey, but appreciably lower than Motul 300V. Semi-synthetic blends mean both may also suffer compromised protection intervals versus full-synthetic.

Our Verdict

Mobil 1 Advanced Full Synthetic earns top marks for its all-encompassing family of overengineered oils delivering infallible protection. Close behind is Pennzoil’s Ultra Platinum for delivering comparative levels of performance and notable all-weather performance in a formula that fits right at home in Ferraris just as well as it does in Fords. And, of course, the one-step-below Pennzoil Platinum serves as an excellent bargain for mimicking its premium stablemate at a far lower price.

Things to Consider Before Buying Synthetic Motor Oil

Cold Weather Rating

Part of measuring an oil’s viscosity is its cold weather or winter rating. In an oil rating, the “W” entails winter performance, and the number preceding it indicates how well it flows. The lower the number, the better that oil flows in extreme cold. Certain synthetics can be formulated to flow far better than conventional oil and even other synthetic formulas and can be rated as low as 0 (i.e., 0W-30). Most oils may come rated as 5W or 10W for their resiliency across cold and hot weather, but many new cars are designed and built to accept 0W synthetics for even greater winter performance.

Viscosity Rating

This is commonly referred to as the “weight” of an oil. This rating determines the oil’s thickness at average operating temperatures – usually 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the number, the thicker the oil. For example, 40-weight oil will be thicker than 30-weight oil, which is thicker than 20-weight oil, etc. 

Most cars will have specific, manufacturer-determined viscosity ratings, and newer cars may be designed for thinner oils for more effortless flow and reduced fuel consumption. Octane-blooded enthusiasts, however, may switch to thicker oils for their ability to better resist the heat and pressures of high-performance applications. But this is a niche use case, so exercise caution.

Additives

Nearly all synthetic oils nowadays overflow with additives and detergents to clean your motor and resist degradation and foaming. As you could probably tell from the ceaseless consumer acclaim with nearly every product in this guide, just about any synthetic oil does its intended job nearly flawlessly. However, niche formulas may include a few more goodies to serve their purpose better.

ESTER Core technology from Motul uses carefully-chosen esters base oils to reduce frictional drag and improve engine performance without sacrificing resistance to heat and pressure. Classic and vintage car formulas will have high zinc contents for their anti-wear anti-oxidation properties and to help create a more resilient oil film better suited to the tolerances of older engines.

Synthetic Motor Oil Pricing 

Nearly all general-use synthetic oils, whether purchased online or in-store, can be snagged for roughly $10 to $15 per quart or between $25 to $40 per one gallon or five-quart jug. Specialty formulas adapted for high-performance or collector classics may use extra additives to aid in heat resistance, long-term storage, etc., and therefore will typically cost more. Motul Eighties and Nineties semi-synthetic blends are a smidge below $30 for a two-quart can, while Motul 300V ranges between $35 to $40 for the same quantity. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: How often should synthetic motor oil be changed in an engine?

A: While many synthetics can theoretically last up to 10,000 miles or more, changing your oil at those intervals isn’t necessarily the best practice. Synthetic oils are best utilized to better protect your engine during the factory-recommended interval, so it’s best to adhere to whatever mileage is specified.

Q: Can I mix conventional and synthetic oils?

A: If you had to top off your motor in emergencies, mixing oils is fine and won’t necessarily damage the engine. However, it’s advised against regularly mixing them as conventional oil can dilute synthetics and compromise their protection, reducing their ability to fight sludge or resist breaking down.

Q: Where do I recycle my used motor oil?

A: If dedicated recycling plants are too far from you, most auto parts stores and service shops will take in your used oil at little-to-no charge. Pop on in and ask what their procedures are, and they’ll often be able to recycle it on your behalf.

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