Engine Oil Types Explained

Motor oil is used to lubricate, cool and protect. It lubricated the moving parts and keeps your engine clean and cool by absorbing and dissipating some of the heat generated through friction and the combustion process. Its additive pack is also designed to collect particulates and other contaminants and transport them to the oil filter.

To know which would be the best motor oil for your car, you need to know different kinds of oils and what they can do for or to your engine. Quality of oil will mean different things to different people, but the better you know your engine and how it works, the easier it is for you to be able to identify the best motor oil for your engine.

There are synthetic motor oils, synthetic blended motor oils as well as regular motor oils. You need to know the difference and the attributes of all three.

Let’s have a look at synthetic motor oils

They can withstand a large temperatures range and still remain stable at both very high and very low heat conditions. They are actually the best motor oils with regards to protection and lubricity capability. They are great at decreasing resistance to friction.

They have one weakness though – they can penetrate and leak easily, but only on much older vehicles. They are also expensive, but on the up side and depending on the quality of the additive pack, they have a longer change cycle. You can usually keep the oil in your engine for a longer period before it needs changing.

Being the best, they are widely used in performance vehicles where the demands on oil are far greater.

If you are looking for a 0W-20 fully synthetic motor oil, have a look through our best of guide which will help you find the best oil for your truck or SUV.

Blended synthetic engine oil

Castrol 03102 GTX High Mileage 5W-30 Synthetic Blend Motor Oil

Blended synthetic motor oils are blends of synthetic and regular mineral oils. This means that they have picked the best qualities of both oil types.

They are usually a good compromise and the best motor oil for mid-range vehicles as they offer a good compromise between protection and cost. They can endure the tougher driving conditions whilst not costing the earth.

The fact that they are blended also brings down their price. Because of the mix with mineral based oil, the risk of leakage that you would get with synthetic motor oil is significantly reduced, but again, this really only applies to older vehicles.

Regular mineral oil

Castrol 03096 GTX ULTRACLEAN 5W-30 Motor OilLastly, we have regular mineral oil which. This is considered the most inferior kind of engine oil on the market.

They are, of course, the cheapest and are generally more suited for the much older or specialized vehicle. They are more susceptible to leave sludge behind in the crankcase. This is because they break down much easier than their synthetic counterparts.


When it comes to choosing the best motor oil, you’ll find lots of brands in the market. There are the obvious stand-out brands as well as the lesser known ones. The key is ensuring that they satisfy the relevant SAE, API tests etc and are suitable for your vehicle. Check with the owner manual and choose a suitable oil based on its suitability (specification wise), how often you change the oil (synthetic for longer changes) and the type of driving you do.


  1. Oil store
    • Jim Parsons

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