When it comes to engine oil, there seem to be two types of people in the world.
Those who stick to a single brand and wouldn’t dream of changing, and those who use whatever they can find or whatever is on sale.
While the owner’s manual in your vehicle will list the recommended weight of oil, it usually won’t tell you what brand is best, or even what brand they recommend.
If you walk to the oil aisle of any parts store, or even a store like Walmart, you will see at least a half dozen or more brands. How is the average person supposed to figure out which is best?
You can ask your friends and family, as well as your mechanic, and you will most likely get several different answers.
But I will say that the correct weight of oil is more important than the brand.
You should also decide whether you want to use synthetic oil, a traditional oil, or a blend, which has some of both.
All that said, if you choose any of the following brands, you will have purchased some of the best engine oil on the market.
If you’ve never used synthetic motor oil in your engine, you might want to give it a try. Yes, the initial outlay is a bit more expensive than traditional motor oil.
But you get so much more for your money.
First, Castrol is one of the leading brands of engine oil in the world. You know you are using high-quality motor oil with this brand.
Second, a synthetic engine oil works inside your engine much differently than a conventional motor oil.
You can’t tell the difference between synthetic and traditional oil out of the bottle. Try to rub a drop or two between your fingers and see if you can tell them apart.
They will look and feel the same.
Castrol Edge greatly reduces engine friction. That not only means that the motor will last longer, but it will perform better. Castrol uses a unique formula that also lowers the amount of deposits that form on the various parts of the motor.
- Easier cold starting
- Longer intervals between oil changes
- Quieter engines due to reduced friction
- Lower oil consumption
- Some users complain that they noticed no difference between Castrol and whatever other brands they were using
- Might cost more than other oils/brands
- A few complaints about bottles that did not have tight-fitting lids and leaked
This oil is engineered for today’s engines, which operate under much more pressure than a car that is 10 or so years older.
If you have a newer car, this is all the more reason that you should use a highly advanced synthetic oil like Castrol Edge.
With complete honesty, I’m betting that if you try Castrol Edge Synthetic oil once, you will never use anything else.
Best 5w20 Oil for a Hemi
Hemi owners always expect the ultimate in performance from their engines.
Why shouldn’t they? It’s that what a Hemi is all about?
This is why you should try Mobil 1 synthetic engine oil. The oil offers excellent lubrication and prevents the sludge and deposits that can build up with conventional oils.
Mobil 1 is also well known as the “cold-weather” oil that helps your engine start quicker, providing less stress on internal engine parts.
For those interested in saving some cash, Mobil 1 states that it can go up to 20,000 miles before it needs changing.
That’s some serious cash savings.
Synthetic oil is made to keep your engine cleaner since it has almost none of the contaminants and particles found in conventional oil.
- Tests prove this oil can go 20,000 miles before it needs to be changed
- Engines wear longer and start faster due to reduced friction
- Not as expensive as some other brands of synthetic oil
- Still costs more than conventional oils
It’s hard to find something negative to say about Mobil 1 Extended Performance!
Try it in your Hemi and you will understand why those who buy Mobil 1 never, ever go back to conventional oil.
Best 5w20 Oil for High Mileage
You knew you would see Valvoline on this list eventually, right? I’m an old Valvoline lover since technical school. That doesn’t mean other oils are lacking, it just means I’ve used Valvoline forever.
I used to be a skeptic about high mileage oils until I tried this in my 15-year-old SUV.
I’m a believer now!
This oil had enhanced anti-wear additives that make a durable film over your internal engine parts. It’s like wearing gloves when you garden!
Synthetic oils are better at providing protection in very cold or very hot climates as well. That’s something that everyone deals with.
- This is a high-quality, fully synthetic oil made in Ashland, Kentucky
- Fully synthetic oils mean easier starts in very cold weather and less engine wear
- Special additives make this perfect for engines with more than 75K
- There are a few complaints about leaking bottles
- Costs slightly more than conventional oil
What I like best about Valvoline MaxLife is that it has premium seal conditioners. That helps keep vital engine seals (like the valve stems and crankshaft) soft and supple. In the long run it helps to prevent expensive engine repairs and oil burning.
Valvoline has been around for about 150 years. I trust them to offer quality oil that everyone can benefit from. This oil is made in the USA, as well, which makes it a big favorite in my house.
Valvoline MaxLife is the best oil on the planet if you have an older vehicle with more than 75K. Try it once, and you will never switch.
Best 5w20 Conventional Oil
For those of you who simply can’t bear to part from your conventional oil ways, I do understand.
If you want a superior oil and you aren’t sure about synthetic, Castrol UltraClean is the best synthetic blend oil hands down.
Castrol UltraClean has a unique TriShield technology that greatly limits the amount of deposits inside the motor. It also offers improved protection against thermal and/or viscosity breakdown.
- Castrol has been making quality products for decades. It’s been proven a very trustworthy brand over time.
- Synthetic blends mean you get the best of both worlds
- Castrol technology means less sludge in your motor
- Not as good in very cold weather as fully synthetic oils are
- Does not meet the Chrysler MS6395 oil standard
- The oil will need to be changed at standard intervals
While no oil lasts forever, Castrol states that this synthetic blend provides as much as 45% better protection from sludge than plain conventional oil. This also contains anti-wear additives that will help to extend the life of your engine.
Castrol’s UltraClean gives you the best of both worlds and at a terrific price.
Which brand of engine oil is the best?
Ask 20 people this question and you will most likely get at least 10 different answers.
Engine oil brands, like car manufacturers, all tend to have their fans. When I attended technical college to learn about engines, we conducted tests on various motor oils. After those tests, I became a Valvoline and Castrol fan.
My father would only use Valvoline, but I imagine because his father also used Valvoline.
The weight of the oil you use is generally more important than the brand itself.
There is a huge difference between synthetic, synthetic blends, and traditional engine oils, but when it comes to certain brands, everyone has their favorites.
How do I choose engine oil?
Your owner’s manual will tell you the proper weight for your vehicle, but often not the brand.
In most cases, you can determine the correct oil by answering the following 3 questions:
- Is my vehicle a high-performance one?
- How old is my vehicle?
- Do I drive more on the freeway? In city traffic? In very dusty/dirty areas?
High-performance vehicles need a performance type of oil.
Newer cars need newer, more advanced oils, such as synthetics. Oler older vehicles will benefit from high-mileage oils.
If you frequently drive in heavy stop and go traffic, or live on or near dusty roads, you should use a higher quality oil and change it more frequently.
What does SAE 5w 20 stand for?
SAE is the acronym for the Society of Automotive Engineers.
This is a US-based group of active professionals within the automotive industry. It includes engineers from car manufacturers and automotive leaders.
The group is made up of global individual memberes, not groups. So, while an engineer from Ford, for example, maybe a member, Ford Motor Company itself is not.
The company rates automotive horsepower, offers recommendations, administers testing to mechanics, and provides them with certificates to prove that they are competent.
They also set standards for engine oils and other engine related items.
The 5W represents the viscosity or weight of the engine oil at cold temperatures. The lower the number, the thinner the oil, therefore, 5W is thinner than 10W.
Both 5W-30 and 10W-40 are widely used because whether temps are very hot or very cold, they are thin enough to flow through the engine.
The second number, in this case, 20, means that in higher temperatures, the oil protects like a 20-weight oil.
Like many things, oil responds to temperatures by becoming thicker when cold and thinner when hot. Single grade oils, such as 30 weight, may be too thick to flow in freezing weather.
So, a 5W 20 oil acts as a single grade oil in very cold weather with a rating of 5 but protects and acts like a 20-weight oil in warmer weather.
Should I use thicker oil in a high mileage engine?
You can use thicker oil in a high mileage engine. It may help if your motor is having problems, such as burning oil.
If your car is not burning more than 1 quart of oil every 3,000 miles, you might get more benefit from a high-mileage oil, rather than using a thicker oil.
Is your vehicle burning through a quart or more? Or are seeing grey smoke out the back of your vehicle (not steam, but smoke)?
If so, you would most likely benefit from a thicker, heavier oil, such as 10w-40 or even 20W-50.
In The End
If you want or would like to try a synthetic motor oil, I highly recommend Castrol Edge Fully Synthetic 5W-20.
This super slick oil will make a difference no matter your car’s age or engine size. You can go longer between oil changes, which helps you save money.
The reduced amount of friction means your engine will run smoother, use less gas, and wear much longer than you ever imagined possible.
For those who simply cannot bear to part from traditional engine oils, I recommend you try the Castrol Ultra Clean.