The engine is the heart of your vehicle. It’s where all the work happens to give you a smooth, comfortable, and safe ride. For that reason, maintenance of the engine is crucial regardless of what vehicle you have. And to keep it well-maintained, you must choose only the best oil — synthetic oil, to be exact. Why? Although you can use just any regular motor oil, the synthetic type of oil is the most suitable pick because they provide maximum performance and superior cleaning. If you want your engine to last long, using synthetic oil would be your best move.
As you probably know, there are different viscosities for motor oils. You’ll see something in the label like “15w-20” or “10w-30”. But in this case, we’re looking at 0w-20 oils simply because they’re the most recommended by automotive manufacturers. If you’re wondering what all the numbers mean, we’re here to explain. For filter recommendations, see our list of best oil filters for synthetic oil.
Top 5 0w-20 Synthetic Oil – Reviews & Buying Guide
1 – Castrol 03124 EDGE 0w-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Castrol remains to be one of the top brands when it comes to engine lubricants. It’s well-loved and trusted by manufacturers, mechanics, and drivers — and it deserves the commendations too. Take a look at one of their best synthetic oils, the Castrol 03124 EDGE 0w-20. With a Group IV base stock, it’s a fully synthetic oil that will take the best care of your car. It’s suitable for gasoline and diesel engines, so there’s no compatibility issues there.
We love how cost-effective the Castrol 03124 EDGE is. Although it comes in a cheaper price tag, it doesn’t compromise on performance. In fact, it’s ready to face extreme engine pressure even from newer engines, thanks to Castrol’s patented titanium fluid technology. The titanium tech provides a boost of strength that allows your motor oil to last longer even under high pressure. You’ll have maximum fluid viscosity at all times, because this synthetic oil is three times stronger than other oils at fending off breakdowns.
- Effortlessly handles extreme pressure with titanium fluid technology
- Excellent lubrication for preventing wear
- Superb oil cleaning capabilities.
- Not the best oil for a cold start
As for engine cleaning, the Castrol 03124 EDGE is also one of the best. It effectively flushes out all the dirt, sludge, and other deposits that cause harm to your engine. Dispersant molecules included in this product take cleaning to another level so oxidation and corrosion will not take place.
Combustion is a messy process by nature, so you absolutely need a synthetic oil that cleans like a pro. With high-quality formulation plus cleaning additives, Castrol 03124 EDGE reduces deposits by 42% — that’s more than what most motor oils can provide. When dirt and debris are out of the way, this synthetic oil can better lubricate the metal parts to ensure they won’t wear out fast.
If fuel efficiency is another priority on your list, the Castrol 03124 EDGE helps you with that too. It reduces your fuel consumption so you get less visits to the gas station and therefore save more money.
Overall, the Castrol 03124 EDGE 0w-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a great product that will protect your engine and make sure it’s running at its peak performance. The only fault we’ve found is that it’s not the best oil for cold starts despite the 0w rating, but once you get it up and running, you’ll have no problem at all.
2 – Liquimoly 2208 Special Tec AA 0w-20 Motor Oil
Albeit made in Germany, the Liquimoly 2208 Special Tec AA Motor Oil works surprisingly well for Japanese and American cars. It sports an array of certifications including API and ILSAC, meaning it meets the industry standards and requirements. Since this 0w-20 oil is 100% synthetic, it provides all the benefits you expect including engine protection and performance.
The Liquimoly 2208 has a heavy-duty formula that thickly lubricates the engine parts to prevent metal-to-metal contact. This synthetic oil minimizes friction between components, lessening wear and ensuring that everything is in optimum condition.
When engine parts are properly lubricated, all the pieces will work together in their best state to give you a smooth ride. The Liquimoly 2208 Special Tec AA Motor Oil is formulated with premium base oils and first-rate additives that significantly improve the performance of your car. Sludge, grime, varnish, and other deposits will effectively be eliminated to give way to a clean engine. You’ll definitely notice the difference with this synthetic oil.
Aside from performance, a clean and well-lubricated engine is a well-maintained one — and a maintained vehicle will take you further distances. The Liquimoly 2208 does give you the protection you need for your engine to stay in shape. But it’s not only that. The heavy-duty, long-lasting formula is engineered to surpass the typical frequency between oil changes, so you get more miles out of this oil, too!
- Lasts long and gives you more miles
- Ideal for high-performance vehicles
- No problem with cold starts
- A bit expensive
The way the Liquimoly 2208 handles temperature is superb as well. Whether you live in a cold or hot climate, this synthetic oil has got your back. For many motor oils out there, cold starts are a common problem, but not for this synthetic oil.
Even in low temperatures, you don’t get cold weather starts. This oil maintains a nice, steady flow so you can get going ASAP. As for performance in hot weather, it fares pretty good too. It doesn’t thin as much so you still get superb lubrication and cleaning action. Whatever the weather, you can always depend on the Liquimoly 2208.
We love that this 0w-20 synthetic oil is compatible for many vehicles including Ford, Mazda, Honda, Kia and Toyota. Nevertheless, it’s best for high-mileage vehicles because of its increased fuel economy.
If there’s a reason to complain, it’s the price tag for a 5 quart container. The Liquimoly 2208 is a bit more expensive compared to other synthetic oils in the market. That’s probably because it’s an international brand. However, you really get what you pay for. And besides, it’s one of the longest-lasting oils, so you save money by not buying a new one so soon.
3 – Pennzoil Platinum 0w-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil
The first thing we noticed about this oil is its ergonomic container. While others are typically in a one-handle container, the Pennzoil Platinum has full double handles. That makes it easier to put in your engine, showing that the company goes that extra mile for customer satisfaction.
But of course, the oil performance matters more than the container, and the Pennzoil Platinum 0w-20 does not disappoint. This high-performance synthetic oil is engineered to handle even the modern turbocharged engines, taking on intense pressure without any problems.
It also has horsepower protection to help protect engines from loss of power. Lubrication is great as well, because this synthetic oil protects your engine components from friction and wear. Overall, Pennzoil Platinum will improve your engine’s performance substantially for a smooth and reliable driving experience.
But this synthetic oil’s claim to fame is its unsurpassed cleanliness. With a base oil made from natural gas, this is definitely one of the cleanest oils in the market. It’s astonishingly clear because it has fewer of the impurities found in crude oil, which is used in many conventional oils and even some synthetic ones.
Adding to that pure base oil, Pennzoil has incorporated its patented PurePlus Technology which involves a gas-to-liquid process that converts natural gas into a full synthetic base oil. High-performance additives are then combined to this base to create a high-quality oil that offers complete engine protection.
With all that said, Pennzoil Platinum is the best synthetic oil for those who prioritize a clean engine. A natural gas base, PurePlus Technology, and top-of-the-line additives all work together to protect your engine from sludge, varnish, grime, and other harmful contaminants.
Based on a Sequence IIIH engine test, Pennzoil Platinum keeps pistons up to 50% cleaner than the toughest standards in the industry. Customers have backed this up as well, and they are delighted that the oil comes out almost clear when it’s time for an oil change.
In terms of temperature handling, the Pennzoil Platinum performs excellently. You’ll find that oil flow is still steady and smooth even in low temperatures. That’s also the case in extreme heat. Whatever the weather, you can depend on this 0w-20 synthetic oil to protect your engine against cold starts and breakdowns.
4 – Royal Purple 51020 API-licensed SAE 0w-20 Synthetic Motor Oil
Royal Purple is another trusted brand when it comes to motor oils. In fact, it has climbed to the top tier of the industry by working with race cars — so it’s not a surprise that their synthetic oils perform well even when placed under high pressure.
The Royal Purple 51020 is a 100% synthetic oil that provides superb protection for your engine parts. With premium base oils plus proprietary ZDDP additives, it effectively coats components to prevent metal-to-metal contact, ensuring reliable performance and preventing wear. The zinc/phosphorus compound zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) is actually present in all Royal Purple engine oils because of its several benefits.
For one, ZDDP prevents the formation of rust by acting as a barrier against moisture. It’s also an anti-wear additive, meaning it adds an additional layer of lubricant which helps when the oil thins due to high temperature. Operating conditions give way to a rise in temperature, which reduces the oil’s strength and lubricating properties.
But because the Royal Purple 51020 has ZDDP, the synthetic oil will still improve the performance of your engine despite hot conditions. Furthermore, ZDDP also inhibits oxidation, therefore allowing you to maximize the life of the lubricant. It will take more time before your next oil change, as compared to other motor oils that fall short.
You don’t have to worry about compatibility issues with this product because it works with conventional oils and synthetic oils. It’s even compatible with fuels that contain ethanol. The Royal Purple 51020 is designed to prevent white sludge and lubrication starvation which are caused by fuels with 20% or higher ethanol percentage. Whether you have a gasoline or diesel engine, you’d have no problems using the Royal Purple 51020.
Fuel efficiency is an important factor to consider when choosing the best 0w-20 synthetic oil. Royal Purple 51020 reduces your consumption of gas so you get to save more and drive further.
This 0w-20 synthetic oil also meets a wide range of standards. It’s API-licensed and meets the requirements of ILSAC GF-5 and Dexos1, so you’re sure to get only the best performance from this oil. The only downside we found is that it’s not recommended for all car types. But overall, the Royal Purple 51020 is one of the best 0w-20 synthetic oils in the market.
5 – Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy 0w-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil
If fuel efficiency is at the top of your list, the Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy 0w-20 Full Synthetic Oil is an excellent choice. We can’t deny that gas is expensive, so we could really use saving a few bucks. This synthetic oil from Mobil 1 improves the efficiency of your vehicle while increasing fuel economy, as is stated in the name.
This high-grade 0w-20 oil has an advanced synthetic formula that effectively improves the performance of your car while protecting it from the inside. Maintaining the integrity of your engine parts is crucial for its long life. If your engine is well-maintained, you get the maximum use of your vehicle. You can expect reliable performance, high mileage, and a safe drive.
- Lubricates well for enhanced engine performance
- Protects the engine against oxidation and breakdowns
- No cold starts
- Not compatible to diesel engines
Engineered with a proprietary blend of high-performance base oils plus special additives, this Mobil 1 synthetic oil superbly lubricates the metal components to prevent friction and reduce wear. As such, the metal parts won’t rub together, but they will easily glide over each other.
Furthermore, the formula is precisely balanced for excellent lubrication and protection. In addition, the Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy inhibits oxidation and provides thermal stability. These provide long-lasting protection for your engine and also reduce oil aging so you can use this synthetic oil for longer.
Whatever the weather is like where you live, you get full engine protection with this Mobil 1 synthetic oil. You’d have no problem with cold starts on this oil, unlike many motor oils. Whatever your driving style is, this is the best 0w-20 synthetic oil that supports cold-weather starting.
Overall, the Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy is a great pick for a 0w-20 oil. It improves vehicle efficiency, saves on gas costs, cleans well, and protects your engine from oxidation and thermal breakdowns.
Our Top Pick: Castrol 03124 EDGE 0w-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil
We hand over the winning verdict to the Castrol 03124 EDGE 0w-20. As a fully synthetic oil, it’s packed with tons of benefits that improve the performance of your engine. Its titanium fluid technology creates an extra-strong film that allows the oil to handle the extreme pressures of engine operation. This takes protection to another level, only by Castrol. With outstanding cleaning action, the Castrol 03124 EDGE reduces sludge and deposits by 42%, ensuring your engine is in tip-top shape. Even at a cheap price, you can expect this motor oil to last longer between changes and extend engine life as well. Overall, we can confidently say that the winning edge belongs to none other than the Castrol 03124 EDGE 0w-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil.
How to Choose the Best 0w-20 Synthetic Oil
Check the label
Understanding what the product label says will tell you basically everything you need to know about a 0w-20 synthetic oil. Aside from the 0w-20 viscosity grade, you may also find out what the synthetic oil “prioritizes”. If you see “Fuel Economy” or “High-Performance”, it gives you an idea of what the oil is made for. You may also find what additives are included. More importantly, find out its compatibility if it suits your engine.
Along with label-checking, you should know what your car type is to get an idea of what oil suits it best. Not all synthetic oils will suit every car and every engine. Some oils are only good for diesel, some only for gasoline. In many cases, there are synthetic oils that are specifically engineered for some car types. If you don’t want to get too much into all the technicalities, you can just look for an oil that says it’s a perfect fit for a Honda, Toyota, Acura, Lexus, or whatever your car is. Also know that not all motor oils are good for the break-in process, so you might want to choose something more suitable for the job if your car is new.
There are different kinds of additives, so make sure to check which ones are infused in your motor oil. There are antioxidants, rust and corrosion inhibitors, viscosity index improvers, anti-wear agents, extreme pressure additives, detergents, dispersants, anti-foaming agents, friction modifiers, and more.
Know your needs
What do you really look for in a motor oil? High mileage? Fuel efficiency? Performance? Consider your needs and preferences to help you narrow down your choices.
As always, price is something that should be considered before making a buying decision. Not all cheap motor oils are lax, the same way that not all expensive motor oils are the best. In order for you to choose the best 0w-20 synthetic oil, consider what it brings to the table before looking at the price.
What does 0w-20 mean?
0w-20 is actually a code for oil viscosity as classified by the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE). You may have seen “0-20 oil” or “0w20 oil”, these all mean the same.
The “w” refers to winter classification, and the preceding number refers to the temperature at which the oil is able to flow smoothly. This is essentially the oil’s resistance to low temperatures, so when you get a lower number such as 0 (which is the lowest rating) that means the oil will still flow even at freezing temperatures (i.e. 0 degrees Fahrenheit). On the other hand, the second number “20” refers to the oil’s resistance to thinning at high temperatures. Generally, the higher the second number, the better the oil will perform in high temperatures.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should choose a synthetic oil with Group IV or V base stock, meaning it’s purely synthetic and not just a synthetic blend.
In a nutshell, 0w-20 synthetic oils are the best at handling extreme temperatures. So if you don’t want your oil freezing over during the winter, it’s a great choice. Plus, it provides reliable protection against engine wear and oxidation.
With all that said, 0w-20 oils are not made equal. You should still take some time to research for the best 0w-20 synthetic oil for your vehicle. So, we’ve selected our top picks for 0w-20 oil to help you make the right choice. You can also check our top-rated suggestions for diesel oil here.