Engine oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine, and using the best oil can extend the life of your motor by many years. We all know that oil changes are a critical part of vehicle maintenance, but many people wonder what type of oil they should use. Many modern cars require fully synthetic oil, while some people use synthetic oil as added protection. You also need to consider any special additives in the oil and the oil’s viscosity when deciding on the right oil for your car. If you’re getting ready for your next oil change and want to use the best synthetic oil available, then keep reading. We’ll give you all the details on the ten best full synthetic oils of 2023.
10 Best Full Synthetic Oils
Most people only want the best for their car, and some engine oils are better than others. Synthetic oil is definitely better than conventional oil, but not all synthetic oil is created equally. Here are the ten best full synthetic oils on the market in 2023.
#1. Editor’s Pick: Mobil 1 Extended Performance Synthetic Motor Oil
Mobil 1 is synonymous with quality in the automotive world, and its full synthetic oil does not disappoint. Mobil 1 is considered by most industry experts to be the best motor oil available, and the Mobil 1 Extended Performance is the best of the best.
This oil provides superior engine protection for up to 20,000 miles. You might even need to change your oil filter before it’s time to change your oil. Their formula of additives helps keep your engine clean and running at peak power by preventing deposits and sludge buildup. Mobil 1 oil helps prevent engine wear and keeps your engine parts lubricated in even the most demanding environments. This oil can be used in almost all gasoline applications, including turbocharged and supercharged vehicles.
#2. Runner-Up: Royal Purple High-Performance Synthetic Oil
Royal Purple makes quality products, and many people in the racing industry use Royal Purple oil and other products. The great thing is that Royal Purple also makes quality products for passenger vehicles. Their high-performance synthetic oil can help extend the engine life of your car, and it’s fully compatible with other conventional and synthetic oils.
Royal Purple’s oil is fully API licensed, and this oil meets all DEXOS1 and other performance requirements. You can go longer between oil changes with this product from Royal Purple, and their superior oxidation prevention helps prevent corrosion and other issues with internal engine parts.
#3. Budget Pick: AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil
You might not even realize that Amazon-branded engine oil exists, but this Amazon product provides an amazing bang for your buck. AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a great option for those car owners who want superior engine protection from synthetic oil without breaking the bank.
Like the more well-known brands, AmazonBasics uses a proprietary blend of additives to help clean your engine and reduce sludge buildup. You can also expect to see lower emissions and longer intervals between oil changes. This oil resists thermal breakdown, and it provides protection against wear and tear on your engine parts.
#4. Best High-Mileage Oil: Valvoline High Mileage with MaxLife Technology Synthetic Blend Motor Oil
Engines with more than 75,000 have special needs, and high-mileage engine oil is specially formulated to fit those needs. This Valvoline high-mileage motor oil is specifically designed for high-mileage vehicles, and it’s the best high-mileage engine oil on the market. Not only does it provide the engine wear protection of traditional synthetic oil, but there are a few additional things it does as well.
First, special detergents in the oil help clean sludge and buildup from older engines. Next, seal conditioners help to restore engine seals and prevent oil leaks. This oil also contains antioxidants that help prevent corrosion to ensure that your engine lasts for many years, and it helps prevent oil consumption in older motors. If your car is approaching 75,000 miles, Valvoline High-Mileage oil is where you should turn at your next oil change.
#5. Best For Diesel Engines: Shell Rotella T6 Full Synthetic Diesel Oil
Diesel engines require different oil than gasoline engines, and Shell Rotella synthetic diesel oil is the best synthetic motor oil available for diesel motors. This oil can help with improved fuel economy in your diesel, and the special anti-wear additives in the oil help guard your engine against excessive friction.
Soot, dirt, and other deposits are known to accumulate in diesel engines, but Shell Rotella helps prevent that from happening. In addition, the oil is fully compatible with the advanced emissions system on your diesel. If you drive a diesel vehicle, you should certainly consider this product from Shell when it’s time to change your oil.
#6. Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Pennzoil produces a quality product that provides superior engine protection and helps keep your engine clean. In fact, studies have shown that this oil can keep your pistons up to 65% cleaner than competitors. This Pennzoil product is available in a number of different viscosities, so you are certain to find the proper weight for your engine. The durability of this oil is on par with the other leaders on this list, so it’s a great combination of price and performance.
#7. Amsoil Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil
Amsoil is trusted in the professional automotive industry, although many traditional consumers might not be familiar with their products. The Amsoil Signature Series synthetic oil takes their great product to the next level. The Signature Series provides the highest level of protection of any of the Amsoil products.
The Signature Series provides more cleaning power than traditional Amsoil oil, and this product has more acid-neutralizing power than Mobil 1 oil. We should also mention the fact that this oil is guaranteed to protect your engine for up to 25,000 miles! Talk about durability! Professionals in the auto industry trust these products, although they are on the expensive side. You often get what you pay for when it comes to quality, so you should consider Amsoil synthetic oil if you aren’t afraid to pay for a good product.
#8. Castrol Edge Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Castrol is a trusted name in the automotive industry, and no Top 10 list of engine oils would be complete without a Castrol product on the list. Castrol Edge has been proven to be three times stronger than other full synthetic oils when it comes to viscosity breakdown. This means that Castrol Edge will continue to provide superior protection to your engine without breaking down and losing viscosity.
Castrol Edge will protect your engine up to 10,000 miles between oil changes, and their SAE 0W grades help improve the fuel economy of your engine. Castrol provides excellent value for the price with this product, and you can rest easy knowing that your engine is protected when you put Castrol in at your next oil change.
#9. Quaker State Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Quaker State full synthetic oil is a great product at a great price. This oil helps reduce friction in your engine, therefore maximizing horsepower in the process. It provides superior protection against sludge buildup and other harmful deposits. This oil stays fresh for thousands of miles, as it contains antioxidants that help prevent the oxidation of the oil. You can also use Quaker State synthetic oil safely in your turbocharged engine.
#10. Castrol GTX Full Synthetic Motor Oil
You should not be shocked to see two Castrol products on this list. Formerly known as Castrol GTX Magnatec, this product is now simply Castrol GTX Full Synthetic Motor Oil. This oil provides maximum protection for your engine, even in extreme driving conditions. Whether idling on a hot highway or sitting in stop-and-go traffic in frigid temperatures, this full synthetic oil helps prevent wear and tear on your engine.
This product helps clean away old sludge buildup in your engine and prevents new buildup from forming. It also helps extend your engine life by providing superior viscosity breakdown protection. You usually can’t go wrong with a Castrol product, and the GTX Full Synthetic oil is no different.
Conventional vs. Synthetic Motor Oil — What’s The Difference?
So, what is the difference between conventional motor oil and synthetic oil? They look identical, so is synthetic oil really worth the hype? There are some major differences between conventional and synthetic motor oil. First, conventional oil is made from refined crude oil, and the chemical composition of the oil is relatively unchanged. So, what is synthetic oil? Synthetic oil has been chemically altered, and the chemical makeup of the oil is much different than conventional oil. While you might still find some crude oil base compounds in synthetic oil, it is truly a different substance than conventional oil.
Synthetic oil is usually more expensive than conventional oil because of the extra work that goes into creating it. Chemically altering the oil requires advanced techniques and knowledge, and this process takes time and money. In addition, many properties of the oil itself – like its ability to withstand high temperatures or resist burnoff – are also changed. Some of these properties are what make synthetic oil so good, and we will discuss the benefits of synthetic oil in more detail in the next section.
Benefits Of Synthetic Engine Oil
Synthetic oil has many great benefits when compared to conventional oil, and we will discuss those here. First, synthetic oil provides better lubrication than conventional oil. Since the chemical properties of the oil have been modified, the substance that is produced lubricates the engine better than traditional oil. This improved lubrication causes less friction between internal engine components and can help extend the life of your engine.
Next, synthetic oil can withstand extreme temperatures much better than conventional oil. When placed under extreme heat, conventional oil starts to break down and lose its lubricating ability. However, synthetic oil resists oil breakdown and continues to provide wear protection for thousands of miles. Therefore, it performs much better in high heat, especially in high-performance engines. This also means that synthetic oil lasts longer than conventional oil, and you can go longer between oil changes with synthetic oil.
Finally, synthetic oil can help you get better fuel economy. Since there is less friction inside the engine, less power will be required for engine movement. In turn, this will lead to increased fuel efficiency from your vehicle. While the extra miles per gallon might not be substantial, there will be an increase that can add up over time when filling up your gas tank.
How Often Should I Change My Oil?
Your specific oil change interval will depend on a few different factors, like the type of oil you use and the make and model of your car. Many quick lube shops tell you that you should have your oil changed every 3,000 miles. However, that is outdated information for most vehicles on the road today. Most vehicles today only require an oil change every 5,000 to 6,000 miles – even when using conventional oil.
Some vehicles that require fully synthetic oil can go 12,000 miles or more between oil changes. The reason for this is that the oil remains effective for a longer period of use, and the cars’ engines produce very little drag and friction.
The best advice to follow when it comes to oil change intervals is to follow your manufacturer’s recommendation. Many modern cars have a maintenance indicator on the dashboard that will inform you when it is time for an oil change. If your vehicle lacks an indicator, refer to your owner’s manual to determine how often to change your oil. In most cases, changing your oil every 3,000 miles is not necessary and is wasting money.
Motor Oil Weight — Choosing The Right Oil For Your Car
Not only do you need to decide whether to use conventional oil or synthetic oil in your engine, but you also need to choose the right viscosity. Motor oil weight, or viscosity, describes the thickness of the oil at certain temperatures. Most engine oil on the market today is considered a multi-grade oil. This means that the oil has a different thickness at low temperatures than at high temperatures. For example, consider 5W30 oil versus 10W30 oil. 10W30 oil will be thicker at low temperatures, but both oils will have the same thickness at high temperatures.
On the other hand, 10W30 versus 10W40 oil is just the opposite. These oils have the same thickness when it is cold but a different thickness when they get hot. Modern engines require multi-grade oil because of low engine tolerances today. The oil needs to be thin when the engine starts, but it needs to thicken as the engine warms to provide better lubrication at operating temperatures.
The Bottom Line
Synthetic oil is proven to provide better engine protection than conventional oil, and there are several reasons for this. Synthetic oil withstands extreme temperatures better, it can help reduce emissions and engine corrosion, and its lifespan is much longer than conventional oil. The best synthetic oil out there provides superior engine protection, and any of the oils on this list will do a great job of protecting your engine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a full synthetic oil actually 100% synthetic?
In legal terms, yes, synthetic oil is 100% synthetic. Engine oil is made up of base oil and additives, like detergents or anti-corrosion agents. There are five different types of base oils, Groups I – V. Groups I and II are considered conventional base oils, while Groups III – V are considered synthetic base oils. Group III is where things get a little technical.
An engine oil with a Group III base oil is considered a synthetic oil, even though some people have argued that it is simply a highly processed conventional oil. Groups IV and V are truly synthetic as they are produced using organic synthesis. Some oil brands may use a combination of base oils, but as long as the base oils fall into Groups III – V, the oil is considered a fully synthetic oil.
Is synthetic oil better than conventional oil?
Yes, synthetic oil is considered to be better than conventional oil. Synthetic oil provides better lubrication and engine protection than conventional oil. In addition, synthetic oil reduces friction between engine components, and the oil is able to withstand extreme temperatures much better than conventional oil. You might even notice an improvement in your gas mileage when using synthetic oil. You can go longer between oil changes when using synthetic oil, and you will almost certainly see a longer engine lifespan by using synthetic oil in your vehicle.
Is there a difference between a synthetic and a synthetic blend?
Yes, there is a big difference between a synthetic oil and a synthetic blend. As we mentioned previously, synthetic oil must be made of a Group III – V base oil. However, a synthetic blend is a combination of both synthetic and conventional base oil. There are no regulations on the amounts of each that must be included. So, when you purchase a synthetic blend, you could be getting 99% conventional oil and only 1% synthetic oil. Make sure that you do your research before purchasing a synthetic blend so that you know what is truly contained in the oil.
What will happen if I don’t change my oil soon enough?
Failure to change your oil on time could result in major engine damage. Oil starts to break down over time and lose its lubricating properties. Even synthetic oil will eventually break down, so it must be changed on a regular basis. When oil starts to break down, more friction is produced between the internal parts of your engine. This increased friction leads to an increase in heat. Higher friction and higher temperatures are bad for your engine, and your engine will typically fail sooner under these conditions. If the oil goes too long without being changed, you could see an immediate failure in your engine due to sludge buildup as the oil completely loses all of its ability to lubricate the engine.