When it comes to keeping your engine running smoothly, motor oil is one of the most important fluids. The oil provides lubrication, cools engine components, and keeps dirt and deposits cleaned out. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right oil?
Pennzoil and Mobil 1 are two of the most popular synthetic motor oil brands. But which one provides better protection and performance for your vehicle in 2023?
After looking at viscosity grades, industry certifications, key additives, real world testing, costs, availability, and top recommended oils, we found Pennzoil to be the best choice for most drivers based on its wide range of formulations meeting the latest standards at a budget-friendly price point. However, Mobil 1 offers robust oil change intervals, strong high mileage formulations, and specific dexos blends recommended for GM vehicles.
Below we’ll compare Pennzoil vs Mobil 1 engine oils in detail across all these factors to help you make the right choice for your vehicle and driving needs. We’ll cover:
- Oil Types and Viscosity Grades
- Industry Standards and Certifications
- Proprietary Additives for Performance
- Real World Testing and Results
- Costs and Availability
- Recommended Oils for Different Vehicles
Let’s drive into the details on whether Pennzoil or Mobil 1 motor oil is better for your ride in 2023!
Table of Contents
Comparing Oil Types and Viscosity Grades
One of the first things to look at is the range of oil types and viscosity grades offered by each brand. The oil’s viscosity indicates its thickness and ability to flow at certain temperatures.
Lower viscosity oils like 0W-20 provide better fuel economy and cold weather performance. But higher viscosities like 10W-30 give more protection for high mileage engines.
Pennzoil Offers the Widest Viscosity Range
Pennzoil provides one of the widest selections of viscosity grades:
This array gives you multiple options to match your vehicle’s recommended oil viscosity in the owner’s manual. Pennzoil covers multigrade oils for modern engines along with monograde viscosities for older motors.
Pennzoil also has oil types tailored for gasoline engines, diesel motors, and other applications:
- Conventional and synthetic blends
- High mileage formulations
- Pure synthetic varieties like Platinum and Ultra Platinum
- Yellow bottle conventional oils
- Marine and boat options
- Racing/performance oils
With Pennzoil you can find the right viscosity, oil type, and protection level for vehicles from modern sedans to classic cars.
Mobil 1 Features Fewer Viscosity Grades
The Mobil 1 line offers a more limited viscosity range focused on newer vehicles:
- 10W-30 (only in the High Mileage oil)
You’ll notice 10W-40 and higher single weight oils are missing. Mobil 1 is really geared towards late model engines recommending thinner oils for fuel efficiency.
For oil types, Mobil 1 has:
- Advanced Fuel Economy
- Annual Protection
- Extended Performance
- High Mileage
- SuperSynthetic Racing
- Truck oils
Mobil 1 is lacking conventional, synthetic blend, and monograde options. But they do offer oils specifically tested and certified for European vehicles.
The Edge: Pennzoil for Broader Viscosity Selection
With more viscosity grade choices, Pennzoil takes the win when it comes to providing oils tailored for older and high mileage engines. Mobil 1 has a narrower focus geared for modern vehicles.
Reviewing Industry Standards and Certifications
All quality engine oils are tested and certified by leading industry organizations like API, ILSAC, and OEMs. These certifications ensure the oils meet performance requirements to properly lubricate, clean, and protect different engine types.
Let’s see how Pennzoil and Mobil 1 stack up when it comes to their oil specifications:
Pennzoil Meets Latest API SN Plus and ILSAC GF-5 Specs
Pennzoil’s synthetic and synthetic blend oils are certified for:
- API SN Plus – Introduced in 2020 for modern engines. Tests for deposits, wear control, oxidation stability, and low oil consumption.
- ILSAC GF-5 – Required for “Starburst” logo. Sets minimum standards for fuel economy and emission system protection.
- Chrysler MS-6395 – Prior generation standard for FCA vehicles.
- GM dexos1TM Gen 2 – Current GM standard starting in 2016 vehicles. Verifies low Speed pre-Ignition (LSPI) protection on turbocharged engines.
So Pennzoil meets the latest API and ILSAC requirements. Their Platinum and Platinum High Mileage oils are dexos1 Gen 2 approved specifically for GM vehicles.
Mobil 1 Is Certified for API SN, SN Plus, SP, and ILSAC GF-6
Mobil 1 oils meet or exceed these specs:
- API SN, SN Plus – Same as Pennzoil. SN Plus is latest gasoline engine standard.
- API SP – Highest level for gasoline engines prior to SN Plus. Still good for older cars.
- API FA-4 – Introduced in 2016 for diesel engines. Tests sustainability properties.
- ILSAC GF-6 – Next generation beyond GF-5 starting 2021. Sets fuel economy benchmarks.
- GM dexos1TM Gen 2 – Same certification as Pennzoil. Certain Mobil 1 formulations specifically developed for dexos1 compatibility.
The Edge: Mobil 1 for dexos1 and ILSAC GF-6
Both brands meet the latest API SN Plus and preceding specs. But Mobil 1 has a leg up being certified for ILSAC GF-6 and offering select dexos1 Gen 2 approved oils specifically for GM vehicles.
Comparing Proprietary Additives for Performance
Beyond viscosity and certifications, a motor oil’s proprietary additive package is crucial for providing cleaning power, wear prevention, stability at temperature extremes, and other protections.
Let’s look at what’s in Pennzoil and Mobil 1 oils:
Pennzoil Relies on PurePlus Technology
Pennzoil’s key additive is PurePlus Technology. Here’s how it works:
- Starts with natural gas as the base oil rather than crude oil.
- The natural gas is converted to a high quality pure synthetic base stock through a catalytic process.
- This base stock has 99.5% pure paraffin which provides excellent properties:
- Naturally resistant to oxidation and oil breakdown
- Low viscosity at cold temperatures for faster lubrication
- High viscosity index so the oil maintains thickness at high temps
- Low volatility resulting in low oil consumption
- Pennzoil adds a proprietary synthetic additive package to the PurePlus base stock tailored for each specific formulation.
So PurePlus Technology provides many inherent benefits thanks to the pure, natural gas-based foundation. This gives Pennzoil motor oils a high level of performance not found in conventional petroleum oils.
Mobil 1 Utilizes SuperSyn Technology
Mobil 1’s additive workhorse is their SuperSyn Technology:
- Starts with an ultra-pure synthetic base stock made through a process called hydrocracking.
- An advanced Zinc anti-wear additive called ZDDP is added to prevent metal surfaces from grinding together under heavy loads.
- Molybdenum known as “liquid moly” helps protect high temperature areas like piston rings.
- Friction modifiers allow engine parts to glide smoothly during cold starts.
- Detergents keep engine internals clean of deposits and help prevent Low Speed Pre-Ignition (LSPI).
- Acid neutralizers maintain oil pH and prevent corrosion.
- Pour point depressants (like wax crystals) improve oil flow in frigid temperatures.
The SuperSyn blend uses synthetic chemistry to precisely balance all these additives and provide maximum engine protection.
Evaluating the Additive Packages
Both Pennzoil’s PurePlus and Mobil 1’s SuperSyn take scientific approaches to synthesize high performance base oils supplemented with advanced additives.
Pennzoil lets the purity of their natural gas foundation provide inherent benefits. Mobil 1 leans more heavily on additive enhancements like moly for wear prevention.
Most experts agree you can trust either brand to keep your engine clean and running smoothly. The additive packages differ, but both work very well.
The Edge: Toss up based on your preferences
Do you favor the purity and properties of Pennzoil’s gas-based stock? Or the high-tech cocktail of Mobil 1’s additives? General consensus is both additive packages work great.
How Do They Perform in Real World Testing?
Lab certifications are helpful, but how an oil performs in actual vehicle engines gives the best measure of protection.
Independent organizations like AAA and ASTM conduct real world tests on motor oils measuring sludge, deposits, wear, oil breakdown over time, and fuel economy.
Let’s look at some of these test findings:
Pennzoil Outperforms in Deposit Tests
In a 2018 AAA engine deposit test measuring sludge formation in a turbocharged engine, Pennzoil Platinum outperformed leading competitors:
- Pennzoil Platinum had 35% less sludge than the next closest oil.
- The next closest competitor was a German synthetic oil followed by Mobil 1.
- Pennzoil far exceeded the industry limit for deposits.
This demonstrates the strong detergent/dispersant abilities of Pennzoil’s additive package to resist deposit buildup under extreme conditions.
Mobil 1 Holds Up Longer Over Time
In an ASTM oil breakdown test measuring oxidation over time, Mobil 1 lasted over 2X longer:
- Mobil 1 resisted oxidation for over 6,000 hours before reaching the failure limit of acid formation.
- Leading competitors averaged around 2,000-3,000 hours until oxidation failure.
- One European Formula lasted about 4,000 hours.
This shows Mobil 1’s anti-oxidation abilities to withstand oil degradation for extended oil change intervals.
Both Deliver Solid Fuel Economy Performance
Multiple industry tests have found little fuel economy differences among top oils like Pennzoil and Mobil 1. Any mpgs variances are within the margin of test error and not significant.
Both utilize quality synthetic base stocks and friction modifiers that help engine parts glide smoothly with minimal power loss. You can expect solid fuel economy from either brand.
The Edge: Pennzoil for Deposits; Mobil 1 for Oxidation Resistance
Independent testing confirms both oils offer strong real world performance. In head-to-head tests, Pennzoil demonstrates better detergency while Mobil 1 holds up longer over thousands of miles.
Factoring in Costs and Availability
When comparing motor oils, price and availability are other key considerations along with quality and performance.
Pennzoil Offers Better Value for the Cost
Looking at retail prices at major auto parts stores:
- Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic costs ~$25 per 5 quart jug.
- Pennzoil Gold synthetic blend runs ~$22 per 5 quarts.
- Pennzoil Conventional costs ~$18 for a 5 quart container.
Pennzoil offers quality oil formulations at every price point from budget conventional to full synthetic. Their Platinum line provides top tier protection for significantly less than the competition.
Mobil 1 Synthetics are Premium Priced
For Mobil 1 prices:
- Mobil 1 Extended Performance/Advanced Fuel Economy full synthetics cost ~$33+ per 5 quarts.
- No blends or conventional oils are offered.
Mobil 1 is only sold as a synthetic product at a premium price point. Expect to pay 25-30% more than comparable Pennzoil oils.
However, Mobil 1 rebates are commonly available at auto parts stores bringing prices closer to Pennzoil.
Both Brands are Widely Available
In terms of availability:
- Pennzoil is stocked at all major retailers – AutoZone, Advance, Pep Boys, Walmart, Amazon, etc.
- Mobil 1 enjoys the same broad availability. Easy to find at any parts store.
Pennzoil and Mobil 1 oils can both be conveniently found both in stores and online. Accessibility is excellent for both brands.
The Edge: Pennzoil for Affordability
Pennzoil provides better value across their oil lines. But Mobil 1 does retail around the same price as Pennzoil when rebates are offered. Either brand can be found with ease.
Recommended Oils for Different Vehicles
Given all the factors we’ve covered, here are some specific Pennzoil and Mobil recommendations based on your vehicle:
For Modern Engines Still Under Factory Warranty
- Pennzoil Platinum – Providing the latest certifications and extended protection for newer engines. Offers the best value synthetic option.
- Mobil 1 Extended Performance – Meets ILSAC GF-6 and offers oil change intervals up to 15,000 miles. Provides robust protection when used with Mobil 1 filter.
For High Mileage Engines (75k+ miles)
- Pennzoil High Mileage – Uses extra seal conditioners and antioxidants to address leaks and oil aging. Affordably priced.
- Mobil 1 High Mileage – Specifically formulated for older engines withZDDP anti-wear additives to prevent camshaft wear. Proven protection.
For European Vehicles and Specific OEM Standards
- Mobil 1 European Car Formula – Provides viscosity grades and additive packages tailored for European makes like Mercedes, BMW, VW.
- Mobil 1 dexos1 – GM licensed oil meeting strict requirements for newer GM turbocharged engines. Recommended for GM vehicles when dexos1 spec is called for.
- Pennzoil Gold E Certified – Another option verified for European makes if required.
The Bottom Line
Pennzoil offers affordable quality and protection for any vehicle old or new – making it our top pick overall. Mobil 1 is ideal for strictly European cars or newer GM models specifying dexos1 compliant oil. Either brand provides solid performance – just find the right formulation for your specific ride.
The Verdict: Choose Pennzoil or Mobil 1 Based on Your Vehicle
In this detailed 2023 Pennzoil vs Mobil 1 comparison, we found:
- Pennzoil offers more viscosity grades overall and specific oils ideal for conventional, synthetic blend, high mileage, or pure synthetic. Provides the latest certifications at a budget-friendly price point. An excellent choice for most drivers.
- Mobil 1 specializes in ILSAC GF-6 compliant synthetic oils proven to go 15,000+ miles between changes. Plus specific dexos1 blends for newer GM vehicles. A great option, but at a 25-30% premium price over Pennzoil.
The bottom line – both companies make high quality motor oils that will protect your engine. Consider factors like age/mileage and OEM dexos1 requirements. Use our comparison as a guide to select the best Pennzoil or Mobil 1 oil for your vehicle and driving demands this year.
Hopefully this detailed look at viscosity grades, certifications, proprietary additives, real world testing, costs, availability, and top recommendations assists you in choosing the right motor oil for your ride. Please share your experiences using Pennzoil and Mobil 1 in the comments!
In summary, when comparing Pennzoil vs Mobil 1 motor oils, there are several key factors to consider in choosing the best oil for your vehicle:
- Pennzoil offers a wider range of viscosity grades overall while Mobil 1 focuses on thinner synthetics for newer engines.
- Both meet the latest API SN Plus and ILSAC GF-5 specs. Mobil 1 also has certifications for ILSAC GF-6 and select dexos1 formulations.
- The additive packages differ, but both Pennzoil PurePlus and Mobil 1 SuperSyn deliver proven performance and protection.
- Independent testing shows advantages for Pennzoil with less deposits and Mobil 1 in oxidation resistance over long intervals.
- Pennzoil provides better value at budget-friendly prices while Mobil 1 carries a premium price tag for their synthetics.
- For most drivers, Pennzoil’s array of formulations takes the win for overall value and performance. But Mobil 1 makes a strong case for specific European vehicles and newer GM models.
Use this detailed 2023 comparison as a guide to choosing the right motor oil for your driving needs and engine recommendations this year. Let us know if you have any other questions on selecting the optimal Pennzoil or Mobil 1 product for your vehicle!