Best Motor Oils For Cold Weather: Keep Your Car Running During The Winter

When it comes to cold weather, these top oils are the best for your vehicle

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PUBLISHED ON December 19, 2019

Oil is essential to keep a car running smoothly and at peak performance. It lubricates, enhances, and protects engines. There are many different oils on the market today, but not all of them are created equal. If you live in a climate where the weather gets especially chilly, you’ll need a specific type of oil. Our buying guide includes our top picks.

  • Best Overall
    Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil

    This oil is full-synthetic and helps provide great overall lubrication and wear protection for your vehicle’s engine.


    While aiding in the fuel economy, this oil also has great low-temperature capabilities. In cold weather, it helps your vehicle to start up faster.


    This oil, unfortunately, cannot be used on European cars like BMW and Mercedes. If you are driving a turbo-charged car, it is best to change it every 4K miles versus 5K. 

  • Best Value
    Castrol GTX MAGNATEC 5W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil

    This full-synthetic blend of motor oil gives your vehicle’s engine protection upon start, warm-up, and more.


    It features “intelligent molecules” that cling to the engine, even after the vehicle has been shut off. This provides an extra layer of protection for the engine. 


    For vehicles with much higher mileage, this oil doesn’t stand up to similar brands. It does not have very many anti-sludge detergents.

  • Honorable Mention
    Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 Motor Oil

    This oil helps maintain fuel efficiency and is also effective at keeping your engine clean from sludge.


    This oil provides 50 percent more wear protection than most other motor oils. It works wonderfully in any weather, but especially during the winter. It provides faster oil flow at startup.


    The oil is a little thin and can lose its viscosity pretty quickly. This is especially true for higher mileage vehicles. It can also get dirty fast.

Why Trust Us

All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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  • When selecting a motor oil for your vehicle, take into account the type of car that you drive. If you drive a truck versus a sedan or an SUV, you may need a certain type of oil. Consult your vehicle’s manual. 
  • Always keep track of when your vehicle’s last oil change was, and maintain a good oil change schedule. By doing this, you are taking care of your vehicle. When you do that, your vehicle will take care of you.
  • Research the best motor oil for your vehicle before purchasing to make sure that you are getting a good quality oil. Not all oils are created the same, and purchasing an inexpensive oil could cause more problems for your vehicle.


Q: How do I know which oil is best for colder weather?

A: The “W” behind the number actually stands for “winter.” The lower the number, the better that oil is in colder temperatures. 

Q: Should oil for colder weather be thicker or thinner?

A: The numbers before the “W” on oil containers (i.e. 10W-30) stand for the thickness or viscosity of the oil. In the winter, lower numbers, which mean thinner oil, are best because the oil flows much more easily through the engine.

Q: Is full-synthetic oil the best type to use?

A: In general, if you can get a full-synthetic oil for your vehicle, it is the best. It stands up to cold weather very well and contains fewer impurities. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, the best motor oil for cold weather is Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil. It helps to keep your engine clean and running well. 

Our pick for the best value is Castrol GTX MAGNATEC 5W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil.