Looking for the best 0w 20 synthetic oil for your vehicle? Great. You’ve come to the right place.
We reviewed all the best-sellers to pick out the best of the best.
There’s a full guide later on, but for now take a look at the reviews below to see which ones came out on top.
Best Budget Option
Best Budget Option
When it comes to choosing the right motor oil there are a lot of options out there.
To help you out we’ve have narrowed your search down to eight of the best synthetic motor oils in this category.
Let’s kick things off with our top pick.
Rating: (4.8 / 5)
Castrol GTX MAGNATEC takes our number one spot thanks to some incredible features.
It helps critical engine parts run up to four times smoother, and has been proven by industry experts to offer superior wear protection to its rivals.
It’s especially effective against viscosity breakdown, ensuring that there’s no sludge build up.
The real magic occurs on start up.
According to tests, up to 75% of engine wear occurs during the first few minutes of warm up.
When you turn off your engine, oil drains from the critical parts. That’s not the case with this stuff.
Instead the “intelligent” molecules in this motor oil form an added layer of protection during warm up when your engine needs it most.
The result is that engine wear reduces dramatically, and with it the chance of damage and repairs.
With GTX MAGNATEC you’ll have a smoother running engine, and you’ll enjoy better fuel economy than with its competitors, which is a nice touch.
It’s also, surprisingly, no more expensive than any of the others on our list. What’s not to like?
Rating: (4.8 / 5)
On another day this could have been number 1. There’s really not much in it, but the openness of Castrol’s testing just gives it the edge for us.
That shouldn’t put you off though.
This advanced synthetic motor oil from Mobil 1 comes in a five-quart container, but you can also get it is a three pack and save a little bit of cash.
It’s a full synthetic formula scientifically advanced with low viscosity for improved engine efficiency and fuel economy.
It comes into its own in cold conditions. The fast-start protection that it provides will help to extend the life of any engine oeperatinf in low temperatures.
Boasting outstanding thermal and oxidation stability, Mobil 1’s leading 0w 20 motor oil helps to reduce oil aging, resulting in longer lasting protection.
If you go with this it will save you money on gas with around a two percent fuel economy saving performance, so the more you drive, the more you save!
This is one of the best motor oils out there for low temperature performance, allowing for free oil flow even in extreme cold.
Rating: (4.2 / 5)
A surprise entry here at number 3, but it shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise given there’s not a lot that this powerhouse doesn’t do well!
AmazonBasics is a lot like the store brand in your local supermarket in some cases, but in other cases it is completely different.
When it comes to quality, especially on certain products, AmazonBasics is one of the best kept secrets for buying high quality items on a budget.
Often, the AmazonBasics product exceeds established brands and heavily advertised products while still being offered at a lower price.
That’s definitely the case with this motor oil, which competently reduces friction, fights burn off, and prevents engine wear and tear.
Don’t let the label fool you. This is one of the best synthetic motor oils on the market. A view shared by many independent users on review.
It’s also the best priced option on our list – at less than 20 bucks for five quarts it represents great value for money.
Rating: (4.7 / 5)
Very unlucky not to make our top three, this best-selling synthetic motor oil from Valvoline is the top choice for supercharged and turbocharged vehicles.
And it does a perfectly good job with naturally aspirated vehicles too.
It comes in several different sizes including a one-quart size, five-quart size or a case of 6 quart bottles.
Valvoline keeps your engine clean and protects against sludge and varnish build up as standard.
It’s one of the best motor oils out there for providing protection at high temperatures due extreme driving conditions – you can see why the turbo guys and gals like it.
If you’ve got a powerful engine, and you intend to use it, this is the oil for you.
It also functions well at low-temperature, providing a faster oil flow than most on start up.
A very solid choice.
Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Pennzoil makes the next motor oil on our list. It’s fully synthetic and designed to protect high grade engines.
As a result it costs quite a bit more than the others, so if you’re looking for high performing oil for a “regular” engine then perhaps go with one of the four listed above.
Like the others on our list, you’ll get improved fuel efficiency when you use this motor oil in combination with a high quality filter.
In fact you can expect an improvement of an extra 550 miles or so per year. Impressive!
This is one of the best products out there for preventing loss of performance, including horsepower, in extreme temperatures.
In particular Pennzoil flows faster at low temperatures, meaning your engine will stay protected even when it runs hot, and your pistons will stay up to 30 percent cleaner, reducing the risk of damage and disrepair.
A bit pricey, but for many it’s worth it!
Rating: (4.8 / 5)
Royal Purple is a really popular brand, and given the high quality of their products, that reputation is well deserved.
So it’s no surprise that their leading synthetic oil made our list – it averages a whopping 4.8/ 5 from over 250 independent user reviews!
It comes in many different buying options so you can get whatever is perfect for your needs including a single quart or a five-gallon container.
This motor oil does amazing things for your engine, improving fuel efficiency, cutting down on emissions and protecting you from corrosion.
It’s compatible with fuels that contain ethanol and keeps your expensive engine parts running efficiently and fully protected.
According to the manufacturer it also provides better protection for expensive catalytic emission systems. So there!
Their premium base oils combine with proprietary technologies to create one of the highest performing motor oils on the market.
If you’re a Royal Purple fan, go for it!
Rating: (4.7 / 5)
ZEPRO is far from a budget option.
It’s an advanced engine oil that is optimized for vehicles with stop-start technology, and engines that are constantly on the go in demanding inner city conditions
This is the perfect for vehicles that operate in urban areas where there is a great deal of stop and go traffic including long commutes on crowded highways.
This synthetic oil provides a more balanced performance and better engine efficiency than others in these conditions.
You do have to pay a bit of a premium for that though.
It’s also suitable for all high performance cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks that specify the use of API SN (SM, SL, and SJ) engine oil – you’ll need to refer to your owner’s manual to be sure.
Available in both a five-quart and a one-quart container.
If you’re an inner-city driver your car will thank you for this.
Rating: (4.8 / 5)
Finally, let’s take a look at Castrol Edge, which comes in a five-quart size or a pack of three.
This premium full synthetic motor oil is strong enough to stand up to the extreme pressure of your engine, even in some of the most powerful vehicles out there.
This motor oil protects your car and lubricates to prevent metal on metal grinding in lots of different situations when driving at different speeds.
It also reduces debris deposits which helps your engine to perform at optimum levels.
This 0w-20 comes from one of the top brands, who claim that it’s the best synthetic motor oil money can buy.
It’s designed for use in engines that will be tested under consistent high pressure, so for those kind of situations it may well be the best choice (although Valvoline might have something to say about that).
It is however the most expensive option on our list.
It deserves it’s place, but if you’re not planning on thrashing your engine perhaps pick one of the others.
If you are planning on putting your foot down then fill your boots – it’ll do you proud.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of motor oils to choose from, but all of those listed here are going to improve your engine performance, reduce your emissions, make your vehicle last longer and make it run better than it has before.
If you pushed us to choose one, we’d have to go with Castrol GTX MAGNATEC. We love the transparency of the manufacturer explaining how it’s product works (rather than using generic jargon like many others).
It’s well priced, performs well in extreme temperatures, is suitable for so many vehicles, and is consistently praised on review by independent users.
Mobil 1 Advanced comes in a very close second and if you prefer that brand there’s no reason not to go with it.
For value for money AmazonBasics is very hard to beat. And for turbo and supercharged performance engines you should give Valvoline SynPower some serious consideration.
So, we’ve looked at some of the leading brands, now let’s consider why you should choose a synthetic oil over a regular, conventional oil, for your vehicle.
The answer, in short, is that you’ll experience greater levels of protection for the key components of your engine with a synthetic oil, and with that comes superior performance.
But that’s a fairly blanket statement that we feel needs a bit of explaining so we can understand exactly how synthetic oil is made.
Like conventional motor oil, synthetic oil is made from crude oil mined from the earth. After extraction, it undergoes the normal refining process of regular motor oil.
The difference is that it is then put through an intensive purification process that involves distilling the oil to separate it into its basic components.
The process removes contaminants and impurities from the oil, leaving behind a purer substance whose individual molecules are better equipped to protect your engine.
There are lots of reasons why synthetic oil is better than regular, but the most important four are set out below:
1. They Provide Greater Protection Against Wear And Tear
When it’s working, an engine’s parts move at great speeds. They come into contact with one another constantly, and therefore need a layer of protection, in the form of your motor oil, to prevent wear and tear.
Given the stress that is placed upon your engine, the conditions in there can get quiet extreme. This means that over time, your engine oil will break down.
A traditional engine oil will break down a lot faster than a synthetic blend. With the breaking down process your oil loses its ability to properly lubricate and protect your engine.
Synthetics are a lot more resilient. This means that you get premium protection for longer periods between changes. the result is less wear and tear, less damage, and therefore less repair costs.
2. Sludge Resistance
There are plenty of impurities for your oil to pick up as it makes its way around your engine. A traditional motor oil will pick up all type of debris as it circulates, eventually turning to sludge.
Sludgy oil is not a good thing! It loses its lubricating, protective characteristics, meaning that your engine will be exposed to more wear and tear.
A synthetic oil on the other hand has less of its own impurities, which makes it more resistant to deposits within your engine. This ability to maintain lubrication for longer periods significantly reduces the likelihood of damage, extending the life of your engine.
3. Cold Weather Start Up
When you shut your car off for the night, the oil in your engine comes to a rest. When you start it again the next morning the oil flows through, as it’s designed to, to lubricate and protect your parts.
Regardless of the temperature a traditional oil takes longer to change from its resting state to full flow, so your engine is exposed to friction for that bit longer.
In particularly cold weather the time that it takes to get into this flowing state can be even slower, compounding the damage.
The same is not true of synthetic motor oil. The distillation process helps to create a more fluid oil that is adept at getting into this vital flowing state much quicker, meaning that your engine and its parts are protected as soon as you turn on the ignition.
4. Hot Weather Break Down And Evaporation
Conversely, if you’re driving in extreme heat the oil in your engine is put under greater stress than in moderate temperatures.
The first consequence of this is that break down happens much faster, bringing forward the onset of friction damage.
The second consequence is that your oil can begin to evaporate at these higher temperatures, leaving your engine exposed with less lubrication.
In the heat this is par for the course for a conventional motor oil, but not so for synthetics, which are specifically designed to resist heat and endure, even when the thermometer is off the chart.
You can quickly see why, when it comes to synthetic oil vs conventional oils, the former is a strong favourite!
Choosing the correct oil to lubricate your engine can be a bit daunting to begin with. There are lots of letters and numbers to understand before you begin to look at different brands.
Here’s a few handy tips to help you out:
1. Check Your Owner’s Manual
You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by referring to your owner’s manual to see what type and grade of oil the manufacturer recommends.
2. Understand The Viscosity Grading System
In this article we’ve been looking at 0w-20 synthetic oil, but what do the numbers actually mean?
Well, they refer to the viscosity level of the oil at extreme cold and extreme hot temperatures.
The first number (before the “W”) refers to the oil’s viscosity level at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the second number (after the “W) refers to the oil’s viscosity level at 100 degrees Celcius.
Yes, both temperature scales are used, that’s not a mistake.
A low first number indicates that a particular oil thickens less in the cold than an oil with a higher first number (ow-20 thickens less in the cold than 10w-30 for example).
A low second number indicates that a particular oil thins out quicker in the heat than an oil with a higher second number (5w-30 thins out quicker in the heat than 5w-40 for example).
3. Applying It To Your Driving Conditions
Once you understand the viscosity grading system you’ll be in a better position to pick a motor oil to suit your driving conditions.
The lower viscosity level of your oil in the cold, the easier it is to pump around your engine.
So if you regularly drive in cold weather you’ll need a motor oil with a low first grading number to ensure easy start us and quick lubrication in the cold.
The higher the viscosity level of your oil in the heat, the more viscous it will remain at higher temperature.
So if you regularly drive in extreme heat you’ll need a motor oil with a high second grading number.
4. Types Available
There are several types of motor oil available, but if you’re looking to change yours there are few reasons not to go for a synthetic.
For completeness there are:
- Conventional motor oils which have not gone through such a rigorous distilling process;
- Synthetic blend oils, which are mix of conventional and synthetic oils; and
- Full synthetic motor oils, like the ones on this list offering maximum protection.
5. High Mileage And Age
If you have an old vehicle that has more than (or is approaching) 75,000 miles on the clock, you might consider changing to a “high mileage oil” that is specially formulated to extend the running life of high mileage engines.
We’ve written a full post on the best high mileage oils here.
There are plenty of questions that crop up when choosing a motor oil, ow-20 or otherwise, so we’ve set out below answers to some of the most common ones:
Q – Is Synthetic Oil Better For High Mileage Cars?
A – We’d say yes, for all of the reasons discussed above, and especially for cars with lots of miles on the clock.
Typically you’ll see brands advertising high mileage oils for cars with 75,000 miles on the clock or more. It’s not imperative that you change at that point, but the closer you get to 100,000 the more you should be thinking about switching to a synthetic product for the superior level of protection that it will provide to your engine parts, particularly in extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Q – How Often Should I Change Synthetic Oil?
A – This really varies from vehicle to vehicle having regard to the type of use (and therefore stress) that your car is being used for. As a rule of thumb every 3,000 to 5,000 miles is a good yard stick.
The best place to look is your car’s user manual. Some manufacturers make certain recommendations – Toyota for example have some models where 0w-20 synthetic oil is required and they have been approved for extended oil changes of every 10,000 miles.
Circumstances are always different, so if in doubt on how long between synthetic oil changes, err on the side of caution.
Q – Is 0w 20 Oil Always Synthetic?
A – No, not always – as set out above a synthetic oil could in theory be blended with a conventional oil – for more information check out this discussion on BobIsTheOilGuy.
As you’d expect, all of the leading brands make good 0w-20 motor oil, however, based on price, popularity and performance, there are a few that deserve a special mention.
Castrol, with two entries in our top 8, seem to tick every box when it comes to making their customers happy. And its no surprise when you consider the size of their network – they operate directly in over 46 countries, employing around 7,500 staff worldwide and indirectly in nearly 74 others.
Their delivery network extends throughout 120 countries, covering 800 ports, and with product ratings consistently around the 4.8 mark, it’s clear these guys know what they’re doing.
And, as you know, they make our number one choice:
Mobil 1 from Mobil was released over 40 years ago, the first full synthetic motor oil available globally and several decades later it has gone from strength to strength. Mobil have pioneered synthetic oil development, paving the way for others after them.
They have teamed up with several winning Formula overs the years, but perhaps their greatest partnership is with their customers, who loyally buy from this number 1 brand time and again.
We feel that Valvoline deserves a special mention also. They make excellent motor oil for all types of vehicles and are developing a bit of a cult following to keep the two brands above on their toes.
Hopefully you’ve now got enough info to decide which is the best 0w-20 synthetic oil for you.
If you feel that there is another brand that deserves a place on our list please let us know. We did review plenty of others before settling on the eight above, but we’re always open to opinion.
Likewise if you’ve had a bad experience with any of the products listed above we want to hear from you. Let us have your thoughts below.
What next? We’ve got plenty of great articles for you.
How about checking out our ultimate guide to motor oil here. Check out our comprehensive oil filter guide.
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