Is looking for the perfect conventional motor oil driving you crazy? Not to toot our own horn, but this article may just steer you in the right direction.
Topping up your motor oil is arguably the most important aspect of routine maintenance for any vehicle so it’s important that you’re using the right one for you.
Motor oil is essential for the function of your vehicle as it lubricates the engine and absorbs heat, allowing the internal parts to work together without overheating. Investing in a good quality motor oil can improve your engine performance and even save you some money in the long run.
If your vehicle runs on conventional, old-school motor oil we’ve got you covered. Below we’ve compiled a list of our favorite conventional motor oils on the market right now, along with a Buyers’ Guide and helpful FAQ section to get you on the road in no time.
In a hurry?
We understand that shopping around for the perfect motor oil can be exhausting, not to mention time-consuming. So below we’ve included a quick analysis of our favorite oil on the market and a few reasons why we think you’ll love it.
Our top pick is the AmazonBasics Conventional Motor Oil- here is a quick rundown of its key features:
- Available in a variety of different configurations and size options
- Extremely budget-friendly
- API SN approved
- High-quality lubricant that prevents engine damage by reducing friction
- Helps to reduce exhaust emissions
- Over 9,000 five star reviews on Amazon
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Our favorite conventional motor oil on the market right now has to be the AmazonBasics Conventional Motor Oil.
Although Amazon is not a name often associated with motor vehicles, the AmazonBasics range is renowned for making quality everyday products for lower than average prices. Despite not being a high-flying motor company, this oil is very popular among reviewers and customers alike.
Possibly the most appealing feature of this oil is its price as it is much cheaper than similar products on the market and we recommend trying out this option before splurging on high-end motor oil. This oil also claims to help enhance fuel economy and promote better output and performance, further helping you to save a few bucks.
This oil also comes in a variety of different configurations, so there’s plenty of choices. These include 5W-30, 5W-20, 10W-40, 10W-30 and 20W-50. You can also choose from a 5-quart bottle size or a 6 pack of 1-quart bottles.
This oil helps to prevent harmful build-up that can cause rust and erosion and event reduces exhaust emissions, making it a healthier option for the planet as well as your engine. It even boasts a high resistance to viscosity and thermal breakdown in addition to fighting volatility burn-off which reduces nasty engine deposits with continued use.
We were drawn to this motor oil due to its praise online. In fact, this oil has over 9,000 five-star Amazon reviews with most customers commenting on the affordability and quality of the product.
Some reviewers disliked that there is no transparent strip on the side of the bottle and found that it can be difficult to know how much oil you are putting in your vehicle.
- Reduces friction helping to prevent engine wear
- High resistance to viscosity and thermal breakdown
- Protects against low-speed pre-ignition issues
- Reduces exhaust emissions
- Cheap compared to other options on the market
- Comes in a range of configurations
- It’s only suitable for gasoline engines
- No transparent strip on the side of the bottle to know how much you’re using
Next up is the Valvoline-779307 Daily Protection Conventional Motor Oil.
We like this oil for its durable anti-wear additives. These are designed to stay in the oil longer to give you extra peace of mind as they protect against oxidation to help reduce oil thickening.
This oil comes in multi-viscosity and mono-grade formulations, meaning it has options suitable for all climates. We recommend checking out which formulation will work best where you live.
The packaging of the Valvoline-779307 is another feature that makes it stand out from other conventional motor oils. It comes equipped with a precision pour spout making topping-up a walk in the park and free from messy spillages.
The bottle even boasts an anti-glug tube that Amazon customers seem to love as it makes the process of refilling your oil quicker and mess-free.
This oil is slightly more expensive than the AmazonBasics option for a bottle of the same size, but it’s not too extortionate for a product that is praised for being a high-quality motor oil.
- Made with added detergents to prevent sludge and deposits
- Meets the API SN Plus classification
- Different formulations for different climates available
- Precision pour spout and anti-glug tube prevent spillages
- Slightly more expensive than other options on the market
If you’re still unsure which motor oil is the best option for you, going with a well-known brand is always a good idea. Quaker State has been a leading motor oil dealer for over a century so you know you’re in good hands when using their products.
Their Advanced Durability Conventional Motor Oil is specifically designed for those looking for a 5W-30 viscosity rating. It is also API tested and approved so you won’t have to worry about lack of quality.
This oil contains rust and corrosion inhibitors to protects your vehicle for longer. In fact, the manufacturer boasts that this oil offers up to three times better wear protection than the typical conventional oil on the market and works well even in high-temperature environments.
It’s also pretty affordable compared to other high-quality products of the same size. Unfortunately, this oil is not suitable for diesel for vehicles with diesel engines. Nevertheless, it’s a great option for those with gasoline-powered cars.
We recommend flicking through your vehicle’s user manual to confirm whether or not it is compatible.
- Rust and corrosion inhibitors
- API tested and approved
- Good viscosity rating
- Maintains engine health
- Not suitable for diesel engines
- Only available in a 5W-30 viscosity rating
Here we have another household name in the world of motor vehicles as Shell has been a reputable brand in this game for many years. Their Formula Conventional Motor Oil is unique as it can be mixed with other conventional and synthetic oils to customize the viscosity.
We recommend checking your owner’s manual to see if this is suitable for your vehicle.
Much like other conventional motor oils, this product is brimming with helpful additives that prevent the build-up of harmful deposits and acids.
This oil is great for use in hotter climates as it is specially designed to remain viscous even at extremely high temperatures.
While this product is great for gasoline-powered vehicles, those with diesel engines will have to look elsewhere. This oil isn’t the cheapest on the market, in fact, it is the most costly on this list.
- Improves fuel efficiency
- Choice of different viscosity formulations
- Works well in high temperatures
- Protects against harmful deposits and acids
- Not suitable for diesel engines
- More expensive than other conventional motor oils
Last but certainly not least is the Pennzoil 550045208 Motor Oil.
This particular oil had to make our list due to its anti-sludge technology. In fact, it claims to contain a special detergent that eliminates at least 40 percent of sludge deposits built up in your engine after just a few hours an oil change.
This is ideal for those who drive a turbocharged engine and experience low-speed pre-ignition.
Although it only comes in a 5W-30 viscosity, this is generally good enough to keep its lubricity even in higher temperatures.
Although it’s loved overall by Amazon customers, it’s important to note that it can take a few days for any effects and benefits to be felt. However, with consistent use and regular changes, this oil won’t let you down.
- Great for removing sludge deposits
- Long-lasting lubrication
- Antioxidants in the formula help to prevent engine wear
- Works well in high temperatures
- It can take a few days to take effect
Best Conventional Motor Oil Buying Guide
If you’re ready to try out a new brand of motor oil, there are some important things to consider before spending your hard-earned cash.
To help you make the right decision, below we’ve touched upon a few important factors you should consider before making a purchase.
Some motor oils come with an array of additives in their formulas, some can help to prevent general wear, some inhibit corrosion and others even contain antioxidants.
The higher-quality oils tend to have more additives, but this can make the price tag a little larger. It’s a good idea to purchase a conventional motor oil that has specific additives that can help your unique engine issues.
If you’re unfamiliar with what viscosity means in relation to motor oils, we understand. To put it simply, the viscosity grade of a motor oil provides information on the oil’s resistance to flow inside the engine.
The grades used are based on how the oil reacts and flows in different temperatures. At low temperatures, we recommend choosing an oil with a low viscosity grade as it is thinner and can therefore circulate the lubricant more efficiently in cold conditions.
Choosing an oil with a high viscosity grade is a good idea at high temperatures as it is thicker, the oil will form a protective coating on the engine parts which reduces the risk of wear and breakage.
The numbers that are positioned before the “W” in the grading is the viscosity rating of the motor oil when it is cold. The numbers that come after the “W” relates to the thickness of the oil at higher temperatures. We recommend referring to your user manual for guidance on what viscosity grade is right for your vehicle.
Although it’s easy to ignore the boring details on product labels and packaging, when you’re putting something directly into the internal workings of your car, it’s essential to know a few key things.
Firstly, make sure that the bottle states that it is suitable for your engine type, as many conventional motor oils don’t agree with diesel engines.
Secondly, check if the product is environmentally friendly and ethically sourced. Also, keep an eye out for the approval stamp by American Petroleum Institute (API) or if it states that it has passed The Energy Conserving Test. This will ensure that the product has been appropriately tested and is safe for your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is meant by ‘conventional motor oil’?
Conventional motor oil is probably the most widely used type of motor oil and is by far the cheapest option. This is because conventional oil is extracted using traditional drilling methods as opposed to unconventional oils that use complex modifying processes.
Synthetic oils are better suited for high-performance vehicles but they are certainly not essential for older vehicles.
How often should I change my conventional motor oil?
Depending on how old your vehicle and the driving conditions you’ll be experiencing, oil change intervals will vary.
Many modern lubricants recommend changing your oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. Just to be sure, we recommend finding this information in your users’ manual.
Is thicker oil better?
In many cases, thicker oil can be used to compensate for increased bearing clearances (gaps between bearing and rotating shaft) that can develop overtime. A large change in bearing clearances can result in poorer lubrication.
For peace of mind, always follow the recommendations for motor oil viscosity in your vehicle's manual.