Engine oil is what keeps your engine running. It doesn’t only lubricate the engine parts so they can shift smoothly but also prevents them from heat and wear caused by friction. Its main job is to keep the engine protected from all kinds of damage.
Damage can be caused not only by friction but also by extreme driving conditions when the engine has to work harder than usual or by weather conditions that also can affect how fast and effective the engine can run.
It is vital for the health of your engine to use oil. You should be very careful when choosing engine oil because using the wrong oil can be lethal to your car. Checking your car’s owner’s manual for the list of recommended oils is the first thing you should do. You should also consider what climate you live in and what your driving style is.
Synthetic oil is the most versatile choice for any driver. Today, most car manufacturers recommend it and there’s a good reason for that. Synthetic oils are way better in quality compared to conventional oils because they are created artificially. This means they are modified to meet the needs of the engine of a particular type or brand. They are compatible with most engines and contribute to higher fuel economy and better performance.
There are tons of synthetic oil on the market that vary not only by brand but also by viscosity grade. If you don’t want to change the oil every time it gets hotter or colder, you should opt for multi-grade oils. They have viscosity modifiers in their formulation that allows you to use them all year round. 0W-20 oil is probably the most popular choice. It’s low viscosity oil that optimizes fuel economy and offers a wide temperature range. It flows fast at as low as -35C and provides great performance at as high as +20C.
If you’re looking to buy 0W-20 synthetic oil but can’t decide which to choose, check out our list of the best 0W-20 synthetic oils that will contribute to the well-being of your engine.
10 Best 0W-20 Synthetic Oils | Reviews
Castrol 03124 EDGE is another full synthetic oil that you should consider for your engine. The oil has dispersant molecules in its structure that help prevent the formation of gum and sludge deposits. They also contribute to improving your car’s overall performance by reducing friction that’s notorious for impeding the engine’s performance and wearing it away. The anti-wear properties and ideal viscosity of this oil ensure that the metal parts run smoothly and thus last longer. Castrol 03124 EDGE guarantees ultimate protection for your engine. It’s one of the most efficient engine oils on the market that offers outstanding mileage and improved power output.
| ✅ Great cleaning properties
✅ Improves engine performance
✅ Suitable for all types of engines
|❌ A bit too thick for a cold start
Valvoline SynPower 0W-20 is a full synthetic engine oil specially designed to protect the engine by decreasing heat, reducing sludge and wear caused by friction. The additives such as detergents and dispersants allow the oil to keep the engine clean by preventing sludge and scum buildup, while other high-quality additives allow it to provide effective high-temperature protection under severe driving conditions. Due to its low viscosity, Valvoline SynPower 0W-20 flows faster in low temperatures allowing you to quickly and easily start your car in cold weather. On top of that, it increases fuel economy and is compatible with gasoline engines.
| ✅ Increased fuel economy
✅ Friction and sludge protection
✅ High performance in low temperatures
✅ Suitable for all types of engines
|❌ Not compatible with diesel engines
If you’re looking for first-class engine oil that would not only protect your engine but also minimize emission, Idemitsu 20102-042B is the perfect choice for you. With this oil, you don’t have to worry about your engine as it does all the job for you. Regardless of weather conditions, the oil retains its viscosity keeping the engine well-lubricated. This means that the engine performs more effectively and uses less fuel which prolongs its lifetime and saves you money. Idemitsu 20102-042B creates a tight film between the moving parts allowing them to slide smoothly. This way, it protects the engine from deterioration caused by friction.
| ✅ Reduces emission
✅ Great lubrication properties
✅ Minimizes friction
✅ Suitable for all types of engines
|❌ Not suitable for diesel vehicles
This full synthetic oil from the world’s largest manufacturer can be exactly what your vehicle needs. Produced to outperform conventional oils in extreme driving conditions like excessive idling, driving in dusty conditions, hot or cold weather, etc, this oil is exactly what your truck needs. This oil gives your engine the ultimate protection from damage caused by towing trailers or transporting heavy objects on a roof rack. With Shell Rotella Gas Truck you can be sure your engine stays safe and sound even when extra work is required from it. The oil does a great job helping keep the engine clean and prevent sludge and other deposits that can be damaging to your engine’s well-being. Shell Rotella Gas Truck is the perfect choice for your gasoline powered-truck if you’re looking for an oil that would protect the engine, boost its performance, and save fuel.
| ✅ Perfect for trucks
✅ Reliable manufacturer
✅ Great cleaning properties
|❌ For gasoline-powered vehicles only
Royal Purple 01020-6PK has an outstanding set of properties that make this oil one of the best on the market. It combines lubrication, cleaning, antiwear, and a whole lot of other properties that enhance the performance and lifetime of your engine. The coolest thing about Royal Purple 01020-6PK is that the corrosion inhibitors keep the engine nice and clean by preventing the formation of rust and corrosion. The oil maintains its high lubrication properties no matter how hot or cold it is outside, so the engine runs smoothly under any conditions. The advanced formula makes Royal Purple 01020-6PK compatible with different kinds of fuels including ethanol-containing ones.
| ✅ Protects from corrosion
✅ Great lubrication properties
✅ Compatible with ethanol fuel
|❌ Not the best for sport cars
Mobil 1 is the most popular choice among 0W-20 synthetic oil users who seek for increased engine efficiency and improved fuel economy. The unique additives in its formulation allow this oil to take care of your engine in the most effective way lubricating its metal components to reduce friction between them and thus reducing wear and extending its life. With this oil, you can be sure your engine is fully protected regardless of the weather and driving conditions. With ultra-low viscosity and full synthetic formulation, Mobil 1 was designed to help drivers save time and money with enhanced fuel economy. This oil is compatible with many Lexus, Honda, and Toyota vehicles powered by gasoline and hybrid engines.
| ✅ Enhanced fuel economy
✅ Ultra-low viscosity
|❌ Not suitable for diesel engines
Pennzoil 550046122-3PK is best known for its anti-wear properties. With this oil, your engine will maintain its original roar and flawless performance for a very long time. It protects the moving parts by covering them with a thick oil film that eliminates any friction to ensure they run smoothly and don’t deteriorate with time. As a purely synthetic oil, Pennzoil 550046122-3PK is the best choice for drivers who expect their vehicle to work like a charm that can’t be achieved with conventional and synthetic blend oils. The ergonomic design of the bottle features two handles which allow you to fill your tank with comfort and ease.
| ✅ Good anti-wear properties
✅ Increases engine performance
✅ Ergonomic design
|❌ Lower mileage
Liquimoly 2208 is a premium synthetic oil designed for modern Japanese and American gas engines to keep them as good as new for a lifetime. Just like any other synthetic oil, this one is a great lubricant for your engine that will minimize wear and friction on moving components ensuring the engine stays safe and sound even under extreme driving conditions. This oil is one of the longest-lasting oils available, so it also saves you time and money while enhancing the performance of your vehicle. With the premium additives in the composition, you can be sure that this will keep your engine protected all year round. Liquimoly 2208 was recognized as the best 0W-20 synthetic oil for Honda but it works just as effective in cars of other brands, too.
| ✅ Lasts longer
✅ Enhances engine performance
✅ Good sludge protection
✅ Compatible with many car brands
|❌ Doesn’t have any molybdenum in it
If you’re looking for engine oil for your Toyota, you should take a closer look at this one. Manufactured specifically for Toyota gasoline vehicles, this oil will work miracles with your engine. This oil has probably the highest viscosity index compared to other 0W-20 synthetic engine oils. This allows Toyota Genuine Motor Oil 0W-20 to get to all moving parts faster than most conventional oils and start flowing immediately covering each part with film to help them shift smoothly and keep them protected from friction which can reduce the life and performance of your engine. Besides, the high viscosity index significantly improves fuel economy allowing you to save money without putting your engine’s well-being at stake.
| ✅ Designed for Toyota vehicles
✅ Great fuel economy
✅ Higher viscosity index then in other synthetic oils
|❌ Not suitable for diesel or non-Toyota engines
10. MAG 1 20139
With MAG 1 20139, you don’t have to worry about the well-being of your vehicle. This full synthetic oil has the perfect viscosity that doesn’t change even under the most severe weather conditions ensuring your engine is fully protected throughout the year. It lubricates the engine components to decrease friction between them prolonging the life and enhancing the performance of your engine. With this oil, your engine will stay squeaky-clean right up to the next oil change. Sludge stands no chance with the premium dispersant additives with the advanced formulation that reduces sludge deposits to zero. Besides, the increased mileage allows you to improve your overall fuel economy.
| ✅ Stable viscosity
✅ Great cleaning properties
✅ Prolongs the engine lifetime
✅ Increased mileage
|❌ Not the best decision for modern high-tech engines (like Skyactiv by Mazda)
How to Choose Engine Oil
Buying the right engine oil for your vehicle is not a walk in the park, especially today when the market is packed with all sorts of oils you can think of. It’s always good to have options to choose from but you can easily get lost in the abundance of products even when you know what you’re looking for. To get the right kind of oil that would get the best out of your wheels, you need to know some basics.
First of all, check your car’s owner’s manual to see what oil is recommended for your engine.
Different vehicles use different oils, so it’s essential to know what kind of oil is recommended by the manufacturer for use in your vehicle. The list of recommended oils for gasoline engines will be different from those for diesel engines. It’s vital to know what kind of oil should be used in your car because using the wrong oil can be fatal to the engine. It can simply stop running.
There are several types of oils used in cars. You should know how they are different from each other to determine which one suits your car best.
1. Conventional oil is basically crude oil that was processed to make it sustainable for use in engines. It has good lubrication properties but doesn’t maintain or improve the engine’s performance. Conventional oil is recommended for use in new cars but some suggest changing it to synthetic oil after a few thousand miles when the engine components require more lubrication to stay effective.
2. High mileage oil contains special additives that reduce oil burn-off and prevent leaks that often occur in older vehicles. It’s specially formulated for cars with more than 75,000 miles.
3. Full synthetic oil is a man-made oil consisting of chemical components. It uses chemically and physically modified raw materials like petroleum, crude oil, and others. Full synthetic oil is higher in quality than conventional oil and provides enhanced protection for your engine which results in better performance and longer lifetime.
4. Synthetic blend oil is a blend of synthetic and conventional oil. It provides added resistance to oxidation, great low-temperature properties, and excellent protection.
Oil additives are yet another thing you should pay attention to when buying engine oil. There are tons of different additives and each has properties so you should know at least the basic ones to be able to choose what’s best for your wheels. You can normally tell by its time what a particular additive is for. The most popular additives are:
- Detergents prevent sludge build-up on moving parts;
- Dispersants keep soot and other contaminants from oil to prevent clotting;
- Anti-corrosion or rust additives prevent the oxidation of metal parts;
- Viscosity modifiers are used to make oil thicker at high temperatures;
- Friction modifiers reduce friction between moving parts and thus increase fuel economy;
- Anti-wear additives create a film that covers metal parts and keeps them separated;
- Anti-foam agents retard the formation of foam and air bubbles in oil that can result in corrosion, pitting, and friction.
The next important thing you should consider when choosing oil for your vehicle is its viscosity. Viscosity is a measure of oil’s resistance to deformation at different temperatures. For your vehicle to be able to run smoothly under extreme weather conditions, you should pick the oil that would help your engine withstand low temperatures just as good as high temperatures. For this, always check oil’s SAE. It’s a code system that was established by the Society of Automotive Engineers for grading engine oils according to their viscosity characteristics. But even with this grading system understanding viscosity can be confusing. According to viscosity characteristics, engine oils can be single- or multi-grade. What does it mean?
Single-grade oil doesn’t contain any viscosity modifiers. It means that this oil doesn’t change its viscosity with temperature. There are eleven viscosity grades for such oils, of which six are considered as winder grades, and five as non-winter grades. For you, it means that if the weather in your area dramatically changes throughout the year, you have to switch oils when it gets colder or hotter.
- Winter grades come with a W-designation and a number that represents the viscosity at the lowest temperature this oil passes specifications for, for example, 0W, 5W, 10W, 15W, 20W, or 25W. Put simply, 0W can be used at as low as -35C, where 25W at as low as -15C.
- Non-winter grades are represented in numbers (20, 30, 40, 50, or 60). The higher the number, the higher the viscosity of the oil at high temperatures.
Multi-grade oil contains viscosity index improvers that allow the oil to change its viscosity according to weather conditions. It means that you can use one type of oil all year round even if you live in areas where the weather is prone to extreme changes. The SAE of multi-grade oil looks like this 5W-20, where the first number 5W is the equivalent winter grade of the single-grade oil, and 20 is the equivalent non-winter grade of the single-grade oil. This means, that 5W-20 oil will be effective at the lowest temperature of -30C and the highest temperature of approximately 20C.
It goes without saying that you should buy only high-quality oil that meets the industry requirements. Even if you’re not a pro in oils and you can’t tell which one is good at first glance, there’s still a way to get the best oil for your wheels. If oil was manufactured according to the industry standards, you’ll see the corresponding symbols on the label which represent the certifications this oil passed to be eligible for sale. Check the label for the following symbols:
- The API Service Symbol “Donut”. This “donut” has all the information about this oil that you should know to pick the right one for your car including viscosity and API Service Category which tells you what kind of engines this oil is suitable for. This symbol means that this oil is certified and thus is safe to use.
- The API Certification Mark ”Starburst”. It signifies which oils meet the ILSAC requirements ensuring these oils provide improved fuel economy and emission system protection.
Engine oil is the lifeblood of your engine. That’s why it’s worth doing some research to make sure you get the oil that would not only keep your engine running but also boost its performance and extend its lifetime. The first thing you should do before you even start looking for oil is to check your car’s specifications and owner’s manual. It includes the recommendations from your vehicle’s manufacturer on what type of oil to use in your car. It’s a surefire way to get the right engine oil.
However, there are some basics you should know to be able to choose the right oil. Make sure to get the oil with the right viscosity, additives, if needed, and of course, don’t forget to read the label to check if oil was manufactured according to the highest industry standards. With all this information, you’ll be able to give your car proper treatment with ease.