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The Best Motor Oils for Your Engine

Senior woman pours oil into an outboard engine through a funnel.
Brendan Delany/Shutterstock.com

Truthfully, if you own a car and know your engine, you probably know what type of oil it runs on best. But there is always room for improvement! Many big brands carry products for specific engine needs, such as cars with high mileage. Perhaps your car’s engine would run better and longer if you switched to a different oil. Always check your driver’s manual and mechanic first. Here are some great motor oils we recommend.

How to Select Motor Oil

When searching for the right motor oil, consider these factors:

  • Engine: You must know what kind of engine you are dealing with and the type of oil it requires. You don’t want to pour motor oil for lawnmowers into a motorcycle engine. Always check the product’s description to ensure the oil is correct for your motor. Ask an expert if you don’t know. There’s no shame in that!
  • Preferences: If you have found a brand name you trust, it makes sense that you would want to stick with it. However, most brand names carry several blends similar to the motor oil you are used to buying. You never know, you might find something that will better meet your engine’s needs.

Best for High Mileage: Castrol GTX High Mileage 5W-30 Motor Oil

Front of green bottle of Castrol Oil

Have you hit the 100,000-mile mark and need to take better care of your car? It’s important to begin using a high-mileage motor oil that will help prevent catalytic converter failure, a common and costly problem that takes older cars down. Interestingly, many high-mileage motor oils contain too much phosphorus, an ingredient that negatively impacts catalytic converters. Castrol High Mileage GTX High Mileage motor oil is worth consideration. It contains less phosphorous and more of the good stuff, including detergents, conditioners, and additives, all of which help prevent engine breakdown.

Best for High Mileage

Castrol GTX High Mileage 5W-30 Motor Oil

Castrol meets the needs of a high-mileage engine, adding elements to prevent engine wear down.

Best for Motorcycles: Honda Pro GN4 Motor Oil 10W-40

The front of black bottle of motor oil with a handle on the top.

Honda Pro GN4 motor oil has been the golden standard for motorcycles since 1974. However, the recipe has evolved to include additives specific to motorcycle and ATV engines. With regular testing and pushing for excellence, Honda has improved its oil’s shear resistance, cleanliness, and viscosity stability.

Best for Motorcycles

Honda Pro GN4 Motor Oil, 10W40

This oil has additives to increase viscosity, resistance, and more.

Best Full Synthetic: Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 5W-30

Front of silver bottle of Valvoline oil with a side handle.

Heat, deposits, and wear are the most harmful stressors to your vehicle’s engine. Valvoline created its fully synthetic formula to build a strong defense against these stressors. The solution includes anti-wear additives that remain in the oil for longer. Also important are extra detergents to combat sludge and antioxidants to protect motor oil in extreme temperatures.

Best Full Synthetic

Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 5W-30

Valvoline's fully synthetic oil wards off the effects of common stressors with anti-wear additives and detergents.

Best for Small Engines:  STP 4 Cycle Oil Formula

Brown bottle of STP motor oil with a green cap.

STP formulated its small engine oil specifically for outdoor power equipment like lawnmowers, tractors, generators, and snow blowers. These four-cycle motors require protection against high temperatures, friction, and periods of seasonal dormancy. To address these needs, STP added corrosion inhibitors, antioxidants to sustain durability, and detergents to keep the engine clean.

Best for Small Engines

STP 4 Cycle Oil Formula

STP formulated its four-stroke oil specifically for small motors in outdoor power equipment.

Best for Sports Cars: Lucas Oil 10W-30

Four silver bottles of Lucas motor oil.
Lucas Oil

Lucas Oil is a big name in hot rod and classic car motor oil. Many classic cars and race cars don’t have catalytic converters, so it’s important to use oil that can withstand high operating temperatures. The ingredients of this Lucas Oil product include high-quality paraffinic base oils fortified with zinc, phosphorus, and molybdenum. These substances create a stronger film to slow oil burning.

Best for Sports Cars

Lucas Oil 10W-30

Lucas Oil's specialized product for motors without catalytic convertors addresses high temperatures with additives like zinc, phosphorus, and others.

Britta Kallevang Britta Kallevang
Britta is a professional writing tutor and freelance writer that is trained in journalistic, technical, and creative copywriting. At LifeSavvy, she researches products, writes about the items, and shares what she's uncovered with readers. Her writing is comprehensive and sometimes a bit silly. Read Full Bio »
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