Motor Oil 106

Chapter Six – A personal preference.

These are the motor oils I recommend. This is based on information that I just happened to collect. I have not gotten the specifications of all oils out there. My opinion on these oils is most based on viscosities. By this I mean less honey like at start up temperatures and appropriate for the required viscosity at operating temperature. I also looks at the oil tests others have done.

I broke it down to several classes:

  • Fully Synthetic
  • Race Track Oils for Street Use
  • Semi-Synthetic
  • Mineral ( dinosaur ) Oils

The asterisk (*) is my preferred from each group of very similar products. And these are usually easier to find in my experience. Remember, all oils are too thick at start up. There is no such thing as an oil that is too thin below 100°F. The thinnest motor oil made is still too thick at start up temperatures of 75°F.

It seems that many engines work best with a multi-grade 30 weight / grade oils. Others would do better with a 20 grade oil and few would require a 40 grade oil. You can only determine what is best by experimenting. Admittedly I did not think my Ferrari Maranello would need a 20 grade oil. In truth I could actually have used a 10 grade oil. A 0W-10 would be good but it simply does not exist for normal use. Red Line does make 2W, 5W and 10W oils (this acts as a 0W-10 multi-grade oil) but they are for racing only. One Formula 1 team has actually used these very oils off the shelf from Red Line.

Synthetic Class

60 Grade:
  • Agip Synthetic PC 20W-50 (a thick 50 wt oil)
  • Redline straight 60 wt racing oil (racing only, acts as a SAE 20W-60 oil)*
  • Penn Ultra Synthetic 10W-60
  • Shell Helix Ultra Racing Oil 10W-60
50 Grade:
  • Castrol Syntec 5W-50
  • Penn Platinum Synthetic 5W-50
  • Red Line 5W-50*
40 Grade:
  • Amsoil 0W-40
  • Castrol European Formula 0W-30 (a thicker 30 grade oil, almost a 40 grade oil)*
  • Mobil One 0W-40
  • Penn Ultra Synthetic 5W-40
  • Renewable Lubricants Inc. 5W-40*
30 Grade:
  • Mobil One 0W-30
  • Penn (Any) Synthetic 5W-30
  • Red Line 5W-20 (a thick 20 grade oil)*
  • Renewable Lubricants Inc. 0W-30*
20 Grade:
  • Mobil One 0W-20
  • Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic 0W-20
  • Renewable Lubricants Inc. 0W-20*
  • Valvoline SynPower 5W-20

Race Oils for Street Use

( Use these when continued sump temperatures over 240°F are expected. )

60 Grade:
  • Redline straight 60 wt racing oil (racing only, not for the street, acts as a SAE 20W-60 oil)
  • Shell Helix Ultra Racing Oil 10W-60
  • Valvoline SynPower 20W-50
50 Grade:
  • Castrol Syntec 5W-50
  • Shell Helix Ultra 15W-50
40 Grade:
  • Red Line 5W-40
  • Penn Ultra Synthetic 5W-40
  • Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40
30 Grade:
  • Red Line 10W-30
20 Grade:
  • Amsoil 5W-20
  • Red Line 5W-20

Synthetic Blends

60 Grade:
  • Castrol Syntec Blend 20W-50
50 Grade:
  • Valvoline 20W-50
40 Grade:
  • Agip 4-Synt 10W-40
  • Valvoline Durablend 10W-40*
30 Grade:
  • Castrol Syntec Blend 5W-30
  • Motorcraft Blend 5W-30
  • Valvoline Durablend 5W-30*
20 Grade:
  • Motorcraft 5W-20*
  • Valvoline Durablend 5W-20


50 Grade:
  • None recommended – all relatively too thick at start up.
40 Grade:
  • Penn regular Multi-grade 10W-40*
  • Valvoline All Climate 10W-40
30 Grade:
  • Penn regular Multi-grade 5W-30*
  • Valvoline All Climate 5W-30
20 Grade:
  • Penn regular Multi-grade 5W-20
  • Mobil Clean 5000 5W-20*

If while on the road you are forced to add oil there are rules. Let us say for example that our engine has synthetic Mobil One 0W-30. Use the same type and brand if you can. If you are using Mobil 1 then it is acceptable to mix different grades but use a close grade when possible. It is not a good idea to mix say 1/2 your oil tank with 0W-30 and 1/2 with 15W-50 Mobil 1. If there is no Mobil 1 available then use the mineral based Mobil oils next.

The last choice is to mix a synthetic of another brand. They should not react adversely if mixed but it may dilute additives. This is not a good combination. Use this combination if you must but only until an oil change can safely be performed some time soon.

I personally used 0W-20 Mobil 1 in the 575 Maranello and for the first oil change I drained the Murcielago’s (OEM) 5W-40 Agip and replaced it with 0W-30 Mobil 1. The engine became much quieter. A valve tappet noise disappeared. I then used the 5W-20 Red Line in the Lamborghini. Used oil analysis showed that this oil worked well for my non racetrack application. The same oil went into my Maybach 57. My Enzo Ferrari calls for the Shell Helix Ultra racing 10W-60 but I have used the Castrol Syntec European Formula 0W-30. This is different than the easy to find plain 0W-30 Syntec. It MUST say European Formula across the front of the label. I buy it at AutoZone stores but it is often mixed with the plain stuff. I am now using Renewable Lubricants Inc. (RLI) 0W-30 in the Enzo and 0W-20 RLI in the new Maybach 57s AMG.

You have to try by experimentation what operating oil grade your engine requires. In all cases however, you want the oil that gets least honey-like at startup and thins to the appropriate thickness for normal operation. Always recheck the oil label as they change a lot.


Chapter Five