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Pit Crew

RANT: What's your brand Motor Oil (Synthetic)?

Hey fellow Collectors!


I walk into a store and I'm looking for motor oil to change out the existing one inside my car. Naturally I am confused and intrigued at the number of options available. At any given time I'd much prefer to shop for something like tires as it makes perfect sense to install tires with the best rebates, the longest warranties, and suitable environmental application. Yet picking out a brand for the blood of my engine is so much more stressful than it should be. I come in with good intentions of proper maintenance yet I leave the store pondering if I've made the right decision.


What exactly is so different between motor oil brands? I don't get it! I really don't. And the price differences in the market are really something to behold. Someone had recommended Amsoil, Redline, Motul, Royal Purple, Liqui Molly so on and so forth. You can't help but question if perhaps we're reckless owners for not using the finest French oils in our automobiles.


I recently encountered some information regarding additives and proprietary formulas. And well, it sounds like a euphemism. No one is bold enough to admit their product is sourced from the deepest part of the Earth that isn't so rosy and a euphemism moves inventory. Would you ever hear a jeweler describe their products as anything less than: 'fine' 'exotic' 'unique' and 'one-of-a-kind? I certainly have never heard of a jewelry store reference diamonds as hardened old rocks.


In all honesty, I'm not as experienced in this subject as someone else. So what makes your brand motor oil special? I'm genuinely curious.



Lots of good questions in your post unfortunately there is a high likelihood you will get as many different opinion's as there is oil brands with mileage claims to back up everyone, but since you asked for my late model trucks and cars the factory recommended is 5w20 so I go with the vehicle recommendation and use Mobil 1 as my main,in my equipment excavator/tractor 15w40 Shell Rotella all I can tell U in 50 never lost a engine.Cheers R

Community Manager

I just don't get worried about this stuff because we have API/Government Mandates for oil quality, which ensures that--no matter what--you won't put bad stuff in your motor. Synthetic oils are clearly better than pure dino oils, but at some point the chemical differences are overshadowed by marketing buzzwords used by brands to make themselves look better than their competition. Perhaps they are, perhaps not...but no matter what, any oil these days is more than adequate for your vehicle's needs. 


Have a look at this statement from the API:


Good read Sajeev,I will add that our soccer mom mini van that gets treated well not the best has been running Wal Mart brand on sale oil from the day it was brought home 310 thou KLM,s or just shy of 200 thou miles it runs like a champ so as you  stated any oil if correct viscosity for the application is adequate that seems to be the case at this shade tree shop.R

Community Manager

I started using Walmart Super Tech oil one some of my cars recently (the ones that barely get driven) and I seriously doubt anything has changed. I'd use it in my daily driver types, but I generally find coupons for the good stuff (like Mobil 1) inbetween oil changes so I don't need to. Using Super Tech oil is a great thing for your pocketbook and not a bad thing for your car.  Win-win! 


Last I bought on sale here in Kanada the Waldo synthetic 5w20 was 16 bucks CAD a gallon so about 8 bucks US coin LOL works fine what can I say.Cheers


Castrol or STP , dino type, in all I own. Nothin special...just my preference. Works for me. Stay with the manufacturers recommended weight and frequency. Old car or new just stay on schedule. Hang in there. Sajeev is spot on!


I agree, good questions. I’m not an oil guru but IMO it depends largely on the car. I won’t give you brands because  you’ve already figured out brands have their own hype. It ends up like asking what the best brand of beer is. BUT,  I own two nearly polar-opposite cars that I believe require different oil. Maybe this will help...
Car #1: an early 50’s Chevrolet six. I run traditional mineral oil in an appropriate viscosity for my climate. I use traditional oil because it usually plays better with the types of seals and gaskets found in old engines, it runs cooler than modern engines and the tolerances were much more generous in those days, so the extra sheer qualities and cost of synthetic is wasted. I also use a brand’s “racing” formula even though suggesting it could be a race car is like saying Dolly Parton could be an Olympic swimmer. I use it because it’s got ZDDP which is sacrificial anti-wear metal that used to be common in old oil formulas but was taken out for environmental reasons these days in MOST oils. Hence the ‘racing’ part.
Car #2:  A mid 90’s Turbocharged two-rotor import sports car. In that I run a modern synthetic. Machine tolerances are tighter,  the engine runs much hotter and the oils responsibility for cooling is way higher,  AND MOSTLY for synthetic’s superior shear strength and heat tolerance for the journal bearings of those hot turbos.

Sorry, long winded way of answering your questions with...”it depends”. 


Anything with a high ZDDP content that doesn't make me get a second mortgage every time I change it. Most of the time? Shell Rotella T for the high ZDDP content. 


I have found there are three things you don’t discuss in mixed company. Religion, politics  or motor oil. I have seen actual drag out arguments and fights on oil. I once had two customers back in my old gas station days getting an oil change and one left and came back as there was almost a fight. 

The reason for the confusion is that people do not educate themselves on oil. 

As Sanjeev pointed out there are API specs to give oil a standard just as a Ruler has to be 12”. 

Now the extra content to oil not covered by the standards are the differences. To learn this you need to go the the mfgs web sites and read on the content of the oil.  This is mostly important in cases where cars have special needs. Exotic can have this and today this applies to to flat tappet cam cars. 

Some oils still have higher posthastes and zink content. I use a Mobile One that has this extra content in my flat tappet cam car. 

The oils have been changing much in the last 20 years so it is best to keep up and educated on oils and just what the application needs. 

the rest of my cars are just regular Mobil Ine 5w30. 

I just buy at Walmart and the price is fine. Also GM is well connected to Mobil products so there is no questions or arguments should there be an issue. 

The bottom line is synthetic oil is by far the best product out there and with the price today there is no reason not to use it. 



Amen 6 to religion/politics/oil/car brand/preferred beverage/scary to approach any of these subjects stanch supporters of each brand but that is a good thing as we have a great selection due to the fact that barely two people agree on anything I  find Hagerty forum to be as close to reasonably free of opinion battles and find it informative/insightful great bunch of dedicated car enthusiasts here.Cheers R 


   For many years I was a "brand junky" - I only used Pennzoil in any of my vehicles.  But my reasoning was anything but scientific or a result of advertising hype.  I simply liked the color of the Pensky Pennzoil Indy Cars.  You could always pick them out - even on a small TV screen.  So there you have it.  Some people actually pick their oil brand based on the paint scheme on a race car!

   I finally grew out of that particular immature craziness, and I'm now making my lubrication decisions based totally on one important factor: I want the "best", and with a name like "Royal Purple", this stuff has to be the brand of Kings and Queens.  I'm confident that it's the top brand.  Right?  😁