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Oil & Fluids

Top 5 Best 5w20 Oils Reviewed & Ranked Based on Performance

Looking for the perfect engine oil for your beloved vehicle is never an easy task. Most motorists find themselves juggling between different brands and types before they find that one oil that fits their engine perfectly. However, if you’re well aware of the economic aspects of engine oils, you would want to avoid juggling between motor oils (especially the full synthetic ones) and go for the best one straight away.

In the realm of engine oils, even the biggest names can disappoint you in terms of quality. So, just knowing the recommended specifications of your engine won’t help you that much. If your vehicle’s manual recommends 5W-20 oils, you’re in great luck! Here, we will review the five best 5W-20 oil that you’ll ever find. We’ll also include a buying guide so you can make an informed purchase.

Top Rated 5w20 Oils: Comparison Chart

Pick Name Thumbnail Product Name Price
Top Choice Castrol 03063 GTX MAGNATEC 5W-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil Castrol 03063 GTX MAGNATEC 5W-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil Check Price
Great for Superior Engine Protection and Performance Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-20 Motor Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-20 Motor Check Price
Top High Mileage Option AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil – 5W-20 – 5 Quart AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil – 5W-20 – 5 Quart Check Price
Exceptionally High Viscosity Index Mobil 1 Extended Performance Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-20 Mobil 1 Extended Performance Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-20 Check Price
Compatible with Most Vehicles Pennzoil – 550045202 Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20 Pennzoil – 550045202 Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20 Check Price

Our Top 5 Best 5w20 Oils Reviewed

01 Castrol 03063 GTX MAGNATEC 5W-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil (Top Choice)

Castrol 03063 GTX MAGNATEC 5W-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil, Green , 5 Quart

Why It Stands Out to Us

There are very few engine oils out there that can compete with the performance of the Castrol 03063 GTX Magnatec. This full synthetic oil comes with features that any motorist would love to have in their motor oil. Putting a protective layer on the critical engine parts, this oil saves the engine from wear.

The reduced friction allows the engine to operate smoothly. The GTX Magnatec is famous for its performance in both hot and cold temperatures. Besides, it doesn’t fall too heavy on your wallet. If you’re one of those who don’t want to settle for anything but the best, this is the engine oil for you.

Our Experience With the Castrol 03063 GTX Magnatec

  • Castrol did a very good job in the packaging of this motor oil. It came in a top-quality container that had all the required information written on it. The handle was nicely placed and we found it really easy to pour oil from.
  • Though the mileage wasn’t the best in the world, it got us around 5000 miles between oil changes with ease. We tested the oil on a regular basis and found out that the engine was performing better than most of its kind.
  • Being extremely thin, the 03063 GTX Magnatec lubricated the engine with perfection. The vehicles sounded a lot smoother than before, which indicates that the oil reduced friction by a great margin.
  • We found out that with the help of the additives, this engine oil sticks with the critical parts of the engine even when the vehicle wasn’t running.
  • The oil seemed to put some kind of protective layer throughout the engine, which kept it safe from wear.
  • One of the most impressive features of this oil was its cleanliness. We found no sign of sludge and the engine stayed clean to the point of refueling every time.
  • After using it in several cars, we figured that it performed best in petrol engines. The performance in other systems like fuel injection, gasoline engines, spark-ignited injection, and Ford EcoBoost was noteworthy as well.
  • In terms of heat management, it worked better than most of the 5W-20 engine oils we reviewed. In low temperatures, the engine started quicker compared to when we used other motor oils. On the flip side, while driving in extremely hot weather, we noticed no sign of overheating.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Though the pricing on amazon is usually cheaper than local stores, the price of this product changes drastically over time.

What Could Be Improved

  • The mileage could be improved.

Our Recommendations

  • Make sure to change the filter regularly. This will enhance the mileage and increase the lifespan of your engine in the long run.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 9.61” x 4.57” x 12.01”
  • Weight: 9.5lbs
  • Oil Type: Full Synthetic
  • Available Sizes: 6
  • Certifications: API

Pros

  • Exceptional lubrication
  • Amazing cleanliness
  • Enhances performance
  • Works great in extreme weather conditions
  • Easily affordable

Cons

  • The price fluctuates over time

02 Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-20 Motor (Great for Superior Engine Protection and Performance)

Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-20 Motor

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic Motor oil is one of the best engine oils you’ll ever find. It provides exceptional lubrication that protects the engine and enhances performance at the same time. Having a thin construction, the oil travels throughout the engine faster and keeps the friction in check.

The oil also transfers heat out of the engine faster than most of the engine oils on the market. Valvoline manufactured this oil to perform great in both hot and cold temperatures. So, you can stop thinking about the weather and enjoy your ride to the fullest. With the kind of mileage it provides, it’s hard to guess that it’s a budget-friendly product.

Our Experience With the Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE

  • We received the oil in perfect condition. The packaging was minimal and the handle of the container was perfectly placed. All information about the oil was written thoroughly on the container.
  • The oil offered great lubrication to the engine. It spread throughout the engine and minimized friction. We could tell by the sound of the engine that the lubrication was top-notch.
  • Regarding performance, the Valvoline Advanced was better than most engine oils we reviewed. The acceleration seemed to be improved by a lot. Besides, the engine started quickly in both hot and cold weather.
  • We got up to 11000 miles between oil changes with this oil. We tested samples of the oil halfway through the refueling and also when it was changed. The results showed that the engine was in tip-top condition.
  • Having a high viscosity index, it worked great in both hot and cold temperatures. The performance in sub-zero temperatures was praiseworthy.
  • The oil kept the engine neat and clean throughout the time. There was no sign of sludge and the engine looked to be good as new every time we inspected it.
  • We compared it with the other engine oils of the same configuration by putting a cup of each oil in the refrigerator for a significant period. The Valvoline Advanced surprisingly stayed in its thin liquid form while the other oils turned thicker.
  • The oil worked great in generators as well. We ran a 10000W generator for about 30 hours at a stretch on full load with the oil and it kept the engine smooth for the entire time.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not so great for bike and aviation engines.
  • In some of the units, once the caps were taken off, they didn’t seal the container tightly.

What Could Be Improved

  • Valvoline could use better materials for the container.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 8.22”x 4.6”x 12.66”
  • Oil Type: Full synthetic
  • Available Sizes: 6
  • Available Configurations: 7
  • Certifications: API

Pros

  • Great heat management
  • Prevents friction
  • Amazing lubrication
  • Recyclable
  • Enhances fuel efficiency
  • Improves overall performance
  • Great pricing

Cons

  • Doesn’t suit bikes and aviation engines

03 AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil – 5W-20 – 5 Quart (Top High Mileage Option)

AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil - 5W-20 - 5 Quart

Why It Stands Out to Us

Ever since it was introduced to the market, the motor oil from AmazonBasics has gained massive interest among motorists all over the world. This engine oil does the job without bells and whistles. Coming in a simple-looking container, the Amazon Basic Full Synthetic Motor oil offers exceptional mileage and lubrication. It reduces friction and keeps the engine safe from any damages.

With this oil flowing through your engine, you’ll notice a quicker start and smoother performance. You can even guess how good it works from the sound of the engine. If you’re looking for engine oil that offers great mileage and comes at a relatively cheaper price point, make sure to go for this one.

Our Experience With the AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil

  • The oil came with very simplistic packaging. We found all the information we’d need on the container including the API certification. Amazon did well to place the handle of the bottle and it was very easy to pour oil from it.
  • In terms of mileage, we were fairly satisfied with the oil. It got us about 7000 to 10000 miles between oil changes. We tested the oil regularly and found out that it had plenty of juice left even after 7000-8000 miles of use.
  • The vehicles performed great with the AmazonBasics engine oil. The engines started quickly and ran smoothly throughout the time. While testing in turbocharged engines, we noticed that the turbo sounded a lot better than before.
  • With world-class lubricating features, the oil controlled the temperature like a champ. The reduced friction made a smoother noise and we found no trace of wear or any other internal damages as well.
  • Though we have reviewed thinner oils than the AmazonBasics, it worked wonders in a wide range of vehicles. The viscosity index was satisfactory as well.
  • We tested the oil in extremely cold and hot weather and the results were amazing. Performance in sub-zero temperatures was beyond our expectations. The engine started instantly every time in both low and high temperatures.
  • Performance in generators was satisfactory as well. We used the oil in a 10000W generator and powered a lot of appliances with it. It gave an exceptional runtime and the engine generated clean energy throughout the time.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The oil seemed thicker than other motor oils with the same specs.
  • The materials used in the bottle weren’t the best.

What Could Be Improved

  • Amazon could have used better materials in the container

Our Recommendations

  • Though the AmazonBasics Full synthetic oil offers exceptional mileage, make sure to change the oil before you cross the 6000 miles mark. This will help increase the longevity of your engine and keep it factory-clean for a long time.

Specifications

  • Oil Type: Full Synthetic
  • Configuration: 5W-20
  • Dimensions: 7.75” x 4.25” 12.5”
  • Certifications: API
  • Available Sizes:

Pros

  • Offers great mileage
  • Keeps the engine factory clean
  • Exceptional temperature management
  • Top-quality additives
  • Great pricing
  • Amazing lubrication

Cons

  • Packaging could be improved
  • Thicker than other full synthetic oils

04 Mobil 1 Extended Performance Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-20, 5 Quart, 120765 (Exceptionally High Viscosity Index)

Mobil 1 Extended Performance Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-20, 5 Quart, 120765

Why It Stands Out to Us

Coming from one of the renowned brands in the motor oil industry, the Mobil 1 Extended Performance Full Synthetic Motor Oil offers everything you can ask from top-quality engine oil. For starters, it’s miles better than most of its competitors in terms of fuel consumption. You’ll get 10000-150000 miles between oil changes depending on the vehicle.

The viscosity index of this oil is exceptionally high. So, you won’t have to worry about the weather as well. You’ll notice a huge boost in performance as soon as you put it in your car. Besides, with world-class lubrication, your engine will be safe from any kind of internal damage. Considering all of the features and functionalities it comes with, this engine oil is a no-brainer if you’re looking for nothing but the best.

Our Experience With the Mobil 1 Extended Performance

  • The oil arrived with zero dents on the container and properly sealed. The container was top-notch, as you would expect from a brand like Mobil. It was easy to pour into the engine and the handle made it easy to hold in one hand.
  • We got more than 10000 miles between oil changes in all of the vehicles we tested the oil with. We tested the oil on both 5000 and 10000 miles. On the 5k mark, it seemed very fresh and on the 10k mark, it had a lot of juice left. We can confirm that it can keep the engine in good shape up to 15k miles.
  • There was a significant boost in the performance after we started using the Mobil 1 Extended Performance. The vehicles started faster and seemed to run smoother.
  • In terms of lubrication, the oil worked wonders. The engine seemed a lot more powerful after using it. We tested the engine for wear or other internal damages after 12000 miles but surprisingly, there were none.
  • Temperature management was spot on as well. The oil performed exceptionally well in both high and low temperatures. It had a viscosity index of 171, which was higher than most 5W-20 oils we reviewed.
  • The oil performed great in generators. It powered a 9000W generator with ease and oil consumption was relatively low as well.
  • During our time with the oil, we didn’t face any overheating issues. It protected the engine very well and kept it neat and clean for a long time.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The price fluctuates a lot.
  • It doesn’t suit a lot of vehicles.

What Could Be Better

  • The price could be a little lower

Our Recommendations

  • Though the oil can give you up to 15000 miles between fuel changes, make sure to not cross that 10k mark. This will increase the longevity of your engine.
  • Make sure to change the filter halfway through to the oil change. If you change your oil after 10k miles, change the filter to 5k miles or so.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 4.4x 8.1x 12.66 inches
  • Package Type: Jar
  • Configuration: 5W-20
  • Vehicle Type: Car
  • Certifications: API

Pros

  • High-quality engine oil
  • High viscosity index
  • Exceptional lubrication
  • Protects the engine from internal damages
  • Enhanced performance
  • Fuel efficient

Cons

  • Inconsistent price
  • Not suitable for all vehicles

05 Pennzoil – 550045202 Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20 (Compatible with Most Vehicles)

Pennzoil - 550045202 Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-20

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Pennzoil 550045202 Ultra Platinum from Pennzoil is one of the most versatile engine oils on the market. It works exceptionally in all engines that support 5W-20 motor oils. This oil is made from natural gas instead of crude, which makes it very lightweight. With exceptional lubricating capabilities, this oil keeps the engine out of harm’s way. It has a great viscosity index that allows it to perform flawlessly in both hot and cold weather.

The best feature of this oil is that it keeps the engine factory clean for a long time. It covers everything that you can ask from budget-ranged engine oil. If you’re looking for an oil that’ll increase the lifespan of your engine, make no mistake and go for the  Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic Oil.

Our Experience With the Pennzoil 550045202 Ultra Platinum

  • We loved the packaging of the oil. Having two handles, the container was very easy to hold. It had every bit of information written on the container.
  • The oil was exceptional in terms of mileage. No matter what vehicle we tested it on, we got at least 5000-6000 miles between the refueling. During our tests, we figured that the Pennzoil Regular Platinum is more fuel-efficient than the ultra. However, the Ultra Platinum had the edge in other categories.
  • Performance in both hot and cold temperatures was outstanding. You won’t find many 5W-20 oils with a viscosity index as high as the Pennzoil Ultra Platinum. The engine started faster in cold weather and there was no overheating issue as well.
  • Pennzoil handled the additives with perfection. Despite having so many additives, this oil seemed extremely lightweight. This seemed to help the oil spread evenly throughout the engine and transfer the heat out of the system.
  • We tested the oil in several vehicles that support 5W-20 oils and the performance was almost identical in all of them. They seemed smoother and more powerful than before.
  • The best feature of the oil seemed to be its cleanliness. Being lightweight and fully synthetic, it kept the engine neat and clean from top to bottom. We tested the oil in the lab after we changed it and the results were marvelous. You can’t ask for more from engine oil.
  • The Pennzoil Ultra Platinum worked like magic in generators. We tried it in a few 9000W generators and the performance was flawless. The fuel consumption wasn’t too bad either.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The mileage wasn’t the best we’ve seen.
  • It cannot be poured into the engine directly from the container.

What Could Be Improved

  • Though the design of the container is eye-catching, it needs to be improved.
  • It would be an even better product overall only if the mileage was enhanced a bit.

Our Recommendations

  • Make sure to shake the container before putting the oil in your car. This will mix the additives properly with the oil and you’ll get optimum performance from the oil.
  • Because this oil isn’t a high mileage one, make sure to change the oil every 4000-5000 miles to keep your engine away from internal damages.

Specifications

  • Package-Type: Jug
  • Vehicle Type: Car
  • Configuration: 5W-20
  • Available Sizes: 3

Pros

  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Performs great in both cold and hot weather
  • Excellent lubrication
  • Great compatibility
  • Amazing cleanliness
  • Easily affordable

Cons

  • Container needs improvement
  • Not the best in terms of mileage

Best 5w20 Oil – A Comprehensive Buying Guide

Top 5w20 Oil

1. Compatibility With the Engine

There may be a plethora of engine oils available but very few of them will work out for your engine. Every vehicle comes with a user manual that contains any information you’d need. This includes a list of preferred oil types. So, before deciding to go for motor oils with fancy viscosity grades, make sure to give the manual a read.

From the manufacturer’s manual, you can get a clear idea about the weight or weights that will suit your car. You’ll also know why your car needs that kind of weight depending on the usual temperatures your vehicle operates in. Only if the guide recommends motor oils that have a viscosity index of 5W-20, you can decide to go for it.

No matter which oil you go for, just ensure that it’s approved by authorized organizations like the API

2. Viscosity

Viscosity in motor oils represents the level of oil thickness in different temperatures. Regardless of the type, every engine oil comes with a specific viscosity grade. Generally, the viscosity grade of engine oil is measured at 0 °F.

Viscosity grades are rated in the format of xW-y, where,

  • ‘W’ simply means winter
  • ‘x’ denotes the viscosity of that specific oil in low temperature
  • ‘y’ denotes the viscosity of that oil in high temperature

The lower the value of ‘x’, the better your oil will perform at a lower temperature. On the flip side, the greater the value of ‘y’, the more efficient your engine oil will be in higher temperatures. So, engine oils with a viscosity grade of 0W-20 will be thinner in lower temperatures than oils with a viscosity grade of 5W-20. Similarly, a 5W-20 oil will perform significantly better than a 5W-15 oil in hot weather conditions.

3. Applications

5W-20 engine oils have very straightforward applications. Being less viscous than most other engine oils, they ensure exceptional lubrication of the engine. They also protect the engine from internal damages by keeping the friction in check.

The lack of thickness in either hot or cold temperatures allows them to spread throughout the inside of the engine and regulate heat. Besides, they work exceptionally in both vehicles and generators. Having a temperature range of -31°F to 68°F, these oils will perform great in sub-zero temperatures.

4. Additives and Their Purposes

  • Anti-wear agents: Slowing down metal degradation for extending the engine’s longevity.
  • Antioxidants: Preventing the oil from degrading prematurely.
  • Rust and Corrosion inhibitors: Protecting the metal parts from being affected by rust.
  • Dispersants: Removing any blockage created by sludge or dirt. These substances also help enhance the engine’s performance and fuel efficiency.
  • Detergents: Removing debris and keeping the engine neat and clean
  • Foam inhibitors: Neutralizing bubbles and increasing longevity and effectiveness of the oil
  • Pour-point depressants: Preventing wax particles from hardening and keeping the viscosity grade intact.
  • Friction Modifiers: Reducing or eliminating friction between the metal parts and keeping the temperature in check.
  • Softeners: Stopping oil leaks in the engine with softened and conditioned seals

Benefits of 5w20 Oil

  • Efficiently removes impurities
  • Reduces tear and wear
  • Prevents sludge and oil deposits
  • Optimum engine performance in extreme temperatures
  • Protects the engine from overheating
  • Keeps the engine clean
  • Prevents oil breakdown with antioxidants
  • Protects turbocharged engines

Types of Synthetic Oil

a) Synthetic Blend

Synthetic blends are simply a mixture of synthetic and conventional engine oils. Having been introduced to the market in 1966 by Mobil, the blend’s key selling point was that it offers almost the same features as its all-synthetic counterpart at a lower price.

But here’s the catch – no matter how many additives are included, the mineral portion of the oil doesn’t let the synthetic blends perform as efficiently as the full-synthetic oils. However, they still work great in low temperatures and offer amazing oxidation resistance. For the duality, they offer, a large number of motorists prefer synthetic blends over traditional or full-synthetic oils.

b) Full Synthetic

You can probably guess from the name that these oils are completely artificial. Engineered especially for enhanced engine performance, the full synthetic oils offer much better oxidation resistance, thermal breakdown, and viscosity grades than any other type of engine oil.

The advantage of being fully tailor-made is that these oils can be manufactured based on different purposes such as; compatibility, mileage, engine protection, different viscosity indexes, and so on. These oils lubricate the engine to perfection and protect it from any kind of damage.

Being the thinnest of all motor oils, the full synthetic oils move heat throughout the engine and eventually get it out of the system. They’re also the most expensive type of engine oil. But, that doesn’t stop millions of people around the world from choosing the full synthetic oils instead of any other type.

FAQs

Q. 1: Is 5W-20 oil thicker than 10W-30?

Ans: Oil thickness depends on its viscosity. Generally, the lower the numbers on both sides of the “w”, the thinner the oil gets. In that case, 5W-20 oils are thinner than 10W-30 oils.

Q. 2: How many miles is 5W-20 oil good for?

Ans: Depending on the vehicle, 5W-20 oils can keep the engine at it’s best for about 5000-6000 miles on average. However, the best 5W-20 oils can get you 10000 miles or even more between oil changes.

About the author

Nick Steiner

Nick has been a car nut for his whole life as far as he can remember. His father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. As a result, Nick had the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and learned to get his hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

Nick is a great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity. His deep passion lies in older models that he believes have a flair that takes him back to his childhood. He also loves their durability and reliability when compared to the modern models.

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