Navigating the Choices: Best Car Oil Brand for Your Vehicle

With so many car oil brands on the market, picking the best one is a challenge. As a mechanic with extensive experience, I’ve seen how the right oil can enhance an engine’s performance and longevity – and vice versa. In this article, I’ll share my insights into selecting the best car oil brand for your vehicle, focusing on quality, value and car specs. Whether you drive a high-performance sports car or a family sedan, I’ll guide you through the noise to find the oil that meets your car’s unique demands.
Two 1-liter bottles of motor oil placed side by side, with one bottle featuring a prominent question mark symbol. This represents the decision-making process in choosing the right oil brand. Next to the bottles, there is a white oil filter, highlighting the related automotive maintenance products

Key Takeaways:

  1. The best oil brand for your engine is the one recommended by your car’s manufacturer.
  2. This doesn’t mean you must use only the top oil brand for your car. Often, you can find alternative brands that will work just fine, as long as they meet the same specifications as the one recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. The key specifications you need to identify if an oil is suitable for your vehicle are: SAE, ACEA, API and OEM (If available).
  4. I have listed recommended engine oil brands for the most popular vehicles below in this article, so you can easily find out which one to use for your particular car make.

What is the Best Oil Brand for Your Car?

The best oil brand for your car’s engine is the brand recommended by your car’s manufacturer. The reason for this is that manufacturers engineer their car engines to run on certain types of oil, and many internal components of the oil system are designed for oils within specific specifications. 

Therefore, they know exactly what oil you need because the engine is built with this consideration in mind, and I see no reason not to trust them.

Is It Okay to Use a Different Brand of Oil?

However, it’s perfectly fine to use a different brand of oil if its specifications match those recommended by the manufacturer. While the original and recommended brands are the best fit, an alternative brand with the same specifications can work just as effectively.

When choosing an alternative oil brand, it’s important to do your research. Read online reviews and gather information about the brand to avoid low-quality or counterfeit products that may lack the necessary additives, despite what’s claimed on the packaging. 

With a reputable and well-known brand, you are less likely to encounter such issues.

Finding the Right Oil for Your Car

A car technician, dressed in a blue uniform, is meticulously selecting the correct oil brand from a shop's storage area. He is attentively reading the specifications on the oil containers to ensure the right choice for vehicle maintenance.

To pick the right oil for your vehicle, begin by understanding the specific type recommended by your manufacturer, with a focus on industry standards such as SAE, ACEA, API and OEM (which are commonly used).

For finding an exact oil type match for your particular car, you can utilize resources like:

  1. LIQUI MOLY oil guide;
  2. Mobil oil guide;
  3. Pennzoil oil selector;
  4. MOTOREX oil finder.

Keep in mind that these are just a few examples; there are many more similar websites on the internet. Also, be aware that these sites are owned by oil manufacturers and will naturally recommend their own products.

The main pieces of information to extract from these resources are:

  1. SAE (Oil viscosity): For example, SAE 5w30;
  2. API Specification: One oil type can have multiple API specifications, such as API SJ, API SL, etc. You can read more about these on the official website of the API (American Petroleum Institute);
  3. OEM Specification (if available): For example, Ford WSS-M2C947-A for some Ford cars.

How Exactly to Find the Correct Oil Type for My Car

Let’s run through an example to further clarify how to choose the right oil. Suppose I need to find the correct oil for a specific vehicle: a 2016 Toyota Camry with a 3.5-liter XLE petrol engine. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do:

  1. Select, for instance, the Mobil oil guide from the previous section as our resource.
  2. Choose my vehicle’s details: 2016, Toyota, Camry, XLE 3.5.
  3. The first result for this car is: Mobil 1™ Extended Performance 0W-20. Click on it. (P.S. I don’t have any particular preference for this oil, it’s chosen merely as an example).
  4. Immediately, we see that our SAE specification is 0W-20. Note that down!
  5. Since Toyota’s OEM specification isn’t listed there, let’s check the API official website.
  6. Our vehicle has a petrol engine and is from 2016, so the corresponding API specification will be API SN. This matches the information from the Mobil oil guide as well!

By going through this process, we’ve determined that the correct oil for our 2016 Toyota Camry XLE 3.5 is an oil with SAE 0W-20 and API SN specifications.

After replicating this process for your specific vehicle, you can check which oil brands offer oil with those exact specifications. So, the further decision about which oil brand to buy is up to you, as long as it meets the correct requirements.

Recommended Oil Brands for the Most Popular Car Makes

A modified red Subaru Impreza with a sporty look, featuring low clearance and stylish rims. This model is known for its substantial oil usage, a distinct trait of Subaru engines.

As promised at the beginning of the article, here is a list of the most popular car makes and the oil brands they recommend for their vehicles (Including links with the proofs):

American Makes

European Makes

Japanese Makes

Korean Makes


In summary, choosing the right car oil brand is key to enhancing engine performance and longevity. The best oil for your vehicle is usually the one recommended by the manufacturer, following key specifications like SAE, ACEA, API, and OEM. 

While the recommended brand is ideal, alternative brands that meet these specifications can also be effective. It’s important to research and avoid low-quality products. Guides like LIQUI MOLY, Mobil, Pennzoil, and MOTOREX can help identify the right oil. 

The article provides a comprehensive list of recommended oils for various car makes, ensuring you make an informed decision for your vehicle’s specific needs.

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Picture of Victor Shvetsov
Victor Shvetsov
Victor is a car technician with 10 years of experience in the auto repair industry. He's an enthusiast of blogging and he likes nothing more than spending his weekends working on his car.

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