Best Motor Oil 2023

Best motor oil

Ok, so oil is oil, right?
As long as it lubricates any type will do…

Nope! Motor oils differ in thickness (weight / viscosity), chemical composition and operating temperature range. They can be mineral oil based, synthetic oil based or mixed.
So, it’s safe to say that not all oils are created equal.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of different types and brands of motor oil, each with their specific properties.

Here are the 6 motor oils that outperform:

Mineral Motor Oil vs Synthetic Motor Oil

There are two families of motor oils: mineral oils and synthetic oils. Often they are mixed to reduce the price, because mineral oil is a lot cheaper than quality synthetic oil. This mix is called “synthetic blend”.

Mineral Motor Oil

Mineral oils are derived from (natural) crude oil and have been around for thousands of years in some form, while synthetic oils are modern, man made, chemically designed polymers.

Synthetic Motor Oil

While multigrade synthetic oils were available from the late 1950s, most engines ran on mineral oil well into the late seventies because synthetic oils were much more expensive.

Also, economically it made no sense for the car manufacturers to switch to the new synthetic motor oils with fewer oil changes, longer engine life and lower revenues for them and their dealers as a result.

While a quality synthetic oil outperforms any mineral oil both in lubrication properties as endurance, most classic car engines require mineral motor oil by design.

Why Change Motor Oil Frequently?

A general misconception is that when a car is only driven for several hundreds of miles per season, it is just fine to check the motor oil colour: If it is still a light honey to medium brown colour, it need not be replaced.

You should know that the motor oil colour only indicates the amount of carbon that is in the oil, which is the least of your worries. It does not indicate acidity or deterioration of the lubricating properties, which are the most harmful factors.

Motor oil, particularly mineral based oil, starts to deteriorate and lose its properties from the moment you pour it in the engine.
The combustion process forms carbon and acid, which are “absorbed” and neutralised by the fresh motor oil.

As oil ages (over months, not years!) it gradually loses its chemical neutralizing properties, turning more acidic, even when “sitting” inactive in the engine sump.
You can compare it with dishwater: it does a great job for only so long and then it has to be replaced.

It’s the acid in the oil that is the silent killer when a car is in storage. It corrodes the engine internals.
Changing the motor oil and filter before storage is just common sense. If you don’t, it will come back and bite you in the xxx.

Which Type of Motor Oil to Use

Each engine needs a specific motor oil, specified by the engine manufacturer.

You can find these specifications in your car’s “user-” or “driver manual” under “fluids”.

Classic Car Motor Oil

While modern engines run on multigrade synthetic motor oil or a synthetic motor oil blend, classic cars require specific mineral motor oil. This high-zinc motor oil provides rust and corrosion protection while in storage for longer periods and also gives maximum wear protection when they are driven.

Modern, synthetic oils may even have an adverse effect on classics.
Their more aggressive detergents can deteriorate old oil seals and gaskets and remove carbon deposits that sometimes prevent oil leaks by clogging them.

Removing too much carbon deposits in old engines may even lower their compression, making them perform worse.
These detergents also thin the protective film between moving parts which can lead to engine damage.

This can really open a can of worms…

To prevent oil leaks, costly repairs or even an engine rebuild, we advise to only use oil that is specifically formulated for classic car use, and within the specifications of the engine manufacturer.

For a valuable classic car it is highly recommended to use a “high zinc” motor oil, which gives an extra anti-wear protection layer.
The zinc particles (zinc dialkyldithiophosphate, ZDDP) are small enough to travel through the oil filter but the soft zinc gets squashed between the moving parts, creating an extra protective film.

Modern Car Motor Oil

Never use high zinc motor oil for modern cars.
Zinc “saturates” a modern car’s catalytic converter, rendering it useless. The damage would be irreversible and the only option would be to replace the catalytic converter.

Don’t know if your car has one?

Check your exhaust underneath your car: A catalytic converter filters and cleans exhaust gasses and looks like a bulge or a second muffler in between the manifold (the pipes directly attached to your engine) and the muffler (the boxy bulge situated near the end exhaust pipe(s).

Motor Oil Weight

Typical motor oil specifications are “SAE 10W-30” or “SAE 15W-40” for multigrade oils, while single grade oil has just one number like “SAE 30” or “W40”.

Single grade or monograde oils have been replaced by superior multigrade oils, except for applications like transmissions or differentials.

What do these letters and numbers mean?

As an example let’s break “SAE 10W-30” down:

  • SAE” is the abbreviation of “Society of Automotive Engineers”, which is the worldwide measuring standard for modern oils.
  • “10W” means that the oil has a viscosity (thickness) of 10 in winter (W) or when cold. A low number oil is less thick than a high number oil.
  • “30” means the viscosity (thickness) at normal operating temperatures (100°C). Again: a higher number means the oil is thicker.

Although it is advised to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, some cars can benefit from thicker (higher viscosity) or thinner (lower viscosity) motor oil than recommended by the manufacturer.

Top 6 Best Motor Oils

Best Overall Motor Oil

Castrol Edge with Fluid Titanium Technology, is Castrol’s strongest motor oil and the natural choice for drivers who want the best combination of sludge protection and wear protection.

It unlocks maximum performance with every drive.

Today’s engines are smaller, more powerful and under more pressure than ever before.
Castrol Edge has been engineered to withstand the stress of modern engines and provides 10X better high temperature performance than the latest industry standard.

Did you know that friction can waste up to 10% of an engine’s performance?
Increased demands placed on the engine to deliver power and fuel efficiency create intense friction between critical engine parts.

This motor oil transforms its structure under pressure to keep metal apart and reduce friction for maximum engine performance. It delivers 6X better wear protection than required by the latest Sequence IVA test limits.


  • Castrol’s strongest premium oil
  • Fluid Titanium Technology
  • 10X better high temperature performance
  • 6X better wear protection
  • Improves oil film strength by 30% and reduces power-robbing friction
  • Improves fuel economy (0W grades)
  • Advanced full synthetic oil


  • Not suited for classic cars
  • Not suited for diesel engines
  • Not optimized for high mileage cars: check out Castrol GTX High Mileage

Best Budget Motor Oil

When you stop your car engine, its motor oil drains to the sump.
The next time you start it up, it will start to circulate again, from the bottom up.

This can take several seconds though, for the cold oil to reach all moving parts of the engine.
During this time, critical parts can be vulnerable to damage.
Up to 75% of engine wear occurs during warm-up.

Another severe driving condition is stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic.
Contrary to what you might think, when idling on congested highways, loads on critical engine parts are at their peak.

Both short-trip driving and stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic are severe conditions that create engine wear.

Castrol GTX Magnatec is a full synthetic motor oil with intelligent molecules that cling to critical engine parts.
They form an extra layer that protects from the start of the engine and throughout the entire drive cycle.

In fact, the latest sequence IVA test proves that Castrol GTX Magnatec offers six times better wear protection than required by the industry standard test limit. This makes it an excellent choice for consumers who drive in heavy traffic or take multiple short trips.

Castrol GTX Magnatec motor oil provides instant protection from the moment you start.


  • Great value
  • 6x better wear protection
  • Protection from startup
  • Leaves critical engine parts 4X smoother
  • Full synthetic


  • Not suited for classic cars
  • Not suited for diesel engines
  • Not optimized for high mileage cars: check Castrol GTX High Mileage

Best High-Mileage Motor Oil

Castrol Edge High Mileage is an advanced full synthetic motor oil that is specifically designed for vehicles with over 75,000 miles.

Castrol Edge High Mileage with Fluid Titanium Technology, is the natural choice for drivers who demand maximum performance from their high mileage car. High performance can create extreme temperatures in your engine.
Therefore, Castrol Edge High Mileage provides 10X better high temperature performance than the latest industry standard.

As your car ages, it can lose performance and efficiency and is also more prone to catalytic converter failure.
This motor oil is liquid engineered with Phosphorus Replacement Technology to reduce harmful phosphorus to protect the catalytic converter and preserve the life of your emission system.

Castrol Edge High Mileage helps your car defy its miles and extend maximum performance.


  • Specifically designed for vehicles with over 75,000 miles
  • 6X stronger against wear
  • 10X better high temperature performance
  • Phosphorus Replacement Technology
  • Improves oil film strength by 30% and reduces power robbing friction
  • Reduces leaks, oil-burnoff and power-robbing deposits
  • Improves fuel economy (0W grades)


  • Not suited for classic cars
  • Not suited for diesel engines
  • Not optimized for low mileage cars: check out Castrol Edge

Best Premium Motor Oil

This premium engine oil is suited for gasoline as well as diesel engines.

Liqui Moly Top Tec 4200 is a high-tech low-friction motor oil based on synthetic technology. 

It ensures excellent engine cleanliness and exceeds even the strictest test requirements of well-known vehicle manufacturers. 

By reducing the build-up of troublesome deposits in direct-injection gasoline and diesel engines (FSI, TDI, common rail, etc.), it keeps oil consumption low. 

This high performance motor oil assures reliable operation and maximizes the operating life of the diesel particulate filter (DPF), specifically for vehicles with extremely long oil change intervals (WIV, etc.).

It’s a high-tech, low-friction motor oil based on synthetic technology with outstanding protection against wear. It reduces oil and fuel consumption and ensures fast oil penetration of the engine. 

Depending on the manufacturer’s specifications, oil change intervals of up to 30,000 or 50,000 km or every 2 years for low mileage drivers are therefore possible.


  • Suited for gasoline as well as diesel engines
  • Reduces oil and fuel consumption 
  • Premium high-tech, low-friction motor oil
  • Maximizes the operating life of the catalytic converter or diesel particulate filter
  • Full synthetic motor oil


  • Premium quality means premium price
  • Not suited for classic cars

Best Classic Car Motor Oil

Lucas Oil High Zinc Mineral Oil 20W-50
$36.02 ($0.23 / Fl Oz)
Buy Now
06/07/2023 10:45 pm GMT

Lucas Hot Rod & Classic Car Motor Oil SAE 20W-50 is manufactured with the highest quality paraffinic base oils and is fortified with a unique additive package containing high levels of zinc, molybdenum and phosphorus.
This provides a tougher, thicker additive film for maximum protection even under the most severe conditions. 

These aditives lower oil temperatures, extend oil life and minimize metal fatigue. They improve the film strength between the cylinder wall and piston rings and slow oil burning. This results in improved oil pressure in worn engines.

This motor oil has good cold temperature properties and stands up to high operating temperatures. It is compatible with methanol and all racing fuels, as well as with synthetic and non-synthetic oils.

Lucas Hot Rod & Classic Car Motor Oil SAE 20W-50 is for classic, muscle, showroom and trophy cars without catalytic converters. It can be used in racing applications. 

Not recommended for modern car use.

Available in convenient 5 quart bottles, the formulation is perfect for the Hot Rod and Classic Car crowd with an increased zinc value of 2100 PPM. 

Many of these very special cars often spend long periods (winter for example in some parts of the country) off the roads. Therefore a number of the components of the additive package used in Lucas’ Marine oils to provide rust and corrosion protection have been included in its unique formula.


  • Provides a tougher, thicker additive film for maximum protection
  • High zinc (ZDDP) content
  • Prevents internal engine corrosion during storage
  • Lowers oil temperature
  • Extended oil life
  • Minimizes metal fatigue
  • Improves pressure in worn engines
  • Compatible with methanol and all racing fuels, as well as synthetic and non-synthetic oils


  • Not suited for modern cars with catalytic converters
  • Not suited for diesel engines

Best Diesel Engine Motor Oil

Valvoline Premium Blue Heavy Duty Full Synthetic Engine Oil delivers extreme protection for both diesel and gasoline engines. 

This motor oil formula is specially designed for hard-working trucks and equipment in both on-road and off-road applications. 

This is the only diesel engine motor oil endorsed and recommended by Cummins. 

25 years of close collaboration with Cummins has resulted in a superior oil that is performant and protects engines fueled by diesel, natural gas or gasoline.

Extensively tested, it offers exceptional oxidation resistance, outstanding wear protection with superior deposit protection compared to industry requirements.


  • Suited for diesel engines
  • Delivers extreme protection
  • For on-road and off-road use
  • Endorsed and recommended by Cummins
  • Full synthetic


  • Not suited for classic cars


Q: I drive a high mileage car with excessive motor oil consumption. Which oil should I use to lower oil consumption?

A: It may help to use thicker high mileage motor oil. 

E.g.: You could try SAE 10W-40 instead of the recommended SAE 10W-30.
The thicker oil will pass the cylinder rings and oil seals with less ease resulting in less oil consumption and less pronounced blue smoke.
It will also increase oil pressure.

As a bonus it may also reduce engine knock.

If the engine is really worn out, with a rebuild in the near future and nothing to lose anyway, you could even try SAE 20W-50 motor oil instead of SAE 10W-30.
If oil pressure and water temperature stay within normal range, you should be OK.
It may make a world of difference!

Q: I live in a cold climate and park my car outside all year round. Which motor oil should I use?

A: Especially when you experience starting problems in winter, your car may benefit from a thinner cold starting oil that has less friction in extreme cold.

The first part of the oil viscosity number on an oil jug represents the cold-start viscosity.
This W-value is the number that says how thin your motor oil is at cold startup. The lower the number, the thinner the oil is.

You could try using SAE 5W-30 motor oil or even SAE 0W-30 instead of SAE 10W-30 for example, depending on how extreme the cold weather conditions are.

Thinner viscosity motor oil will reduce internal friction and get cold oil much faster to all moving engine parts, reducing engine wear too.

It will also make it easier for your engine to turn over.
This will put less strain on your starter engine which in turn will need much less battery power to start your car.

If less battery power is needed, this also means your car battery will get less stressed, which can prolong its life dramatically.

When your car is parked in your driveway with temperatures dropping below -10°C (14°F) it may be a good idea to heat your motor oil with an engine oil pan heater.
It’s self adhesive: just clean the bottom of your oil sump with brake cleaner and stick it on.
If you plug it into a power outlet, it will keep your motor oil lukewarm. The thermostat-controlled heater guarantees an easy winter morning startup.

Q: My wife’s car is only used to drive a few miles to town and back maybe twice a week. It hardly ever reaches full operating temperature.
Which motor oil would you recommend? The car manual says to use 5W-30.

A: In this case we’d focus on lowering startup viscosity slightly to pump the oil faster to all moving parts to reduce wear at startup, which in your case is of major concern.

Tests conclude that most engines get no lubrication in the top end for several seconds after starting, in cold conditions even much longer.
This causes extreme wear because of oil starvation.

Research has shown that because of this, by far the most engine wear (up to 75%!!) occurs immediately after starting a cold engine.

That’s why a “short distance engine” relatively wears and ages much faster compared to a “long distance car engine”.

The only way to minimize wear at startup is to use thinner cold-start motor oil, because it takes thinner oil much less time to reach lubrication points, especially at the top end of the engine.

E.g.: You could use SAE 0W-30 motor oil instead of SAE 5W-30.

Make sure the viscosity number at operating temperatures stays the same! (e.g.: 30)

Because thinner motor oil will reach the top end of the engine much faster, this will greatly reduce wear at startup.
Thinner oil will now circulate much more freely while below operating oil temperature (the most part of a short drive).
Once normal operating temperature has been reached, the oil will have normal viscosity.
You will also notice that the engine cranks easier and faster at startup, reducing battery and starter motor wear.

Q: My ‘59 Olds 98 is a garage queen that is only driven a few times a year. Which motor oil should I use?

A: We recommend using Lucas Oil with high ZDDP content for better wear protection and high cling properties to protect your engine internals from corrosion during storage.

Though high zinc (ZDDP) mineral motor oil is your best choice for classic cars, it is not suited for cars with catalytic converters (+-1975-on).

Lucas’ mineral high-zinc motor oil is especially formulated for classic cars that are not frequently used and mostly cover short distances.

This classic car motor oil is manufactured with the highest quality paraffinic base oils and is fortified with a unique additive package containing high levels of zinc (ZDDP), molybdenum and phosphorus. It provides a tougher, thicker additive film for maximum protection even under the most severe conditions.
Its protective film sticks to the engine parts while not in use, preventing rust and pitting.

Q: Which motor oil is best suited for a low mileage collector car equipped with a catalytic converter?

A: Our Nr 1 choice is Castrol GTX Magnatec full synthetic motor oil because of its extra layer of wear protection that clings to the friction surfaces when other oils drip down to the sump.

That’s especially great for vehicles that are not driven daily.
Even when at startup the oil has not reached all components immediately, they will be sufficiently lubricated to prevent excessive wear

Why You Should Trust Our Reviews And Content

All our website content and reviews are 100% unique, protected and based on our own thorough research.

They are the result of our hands-on testing, data analytics, expert consultation and customer review analysis, enhanced by our own extensive expertise.

We do not compromise: our focal point is always on you, our valued visitor.

Our website content and reviews are your unbiased, unsponsored tools to get the job done better and quicker, with less expense. 

Learn More 

CCM is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

CCM is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter. It's 100% Free!

* indicates required