There is no question that Mobil 1 is an excellent consumer motor oil, but there are a lot of different flavors – do you know which one is best for your car? I’ll help you unpack what the different formulations are for – and try to cut through the marketing speak!
Mobil 1 is a brand of synthetic motor oil that is manufactured by ExxonMobil.
In this post, I cover the different grades of Mobil 1 Synthetic oil. Each formulation has differences that go beyond just viscosity, which is very important, but also includes differences in additives. Here I go through what the different additives are, and how you can use this knowledge to select the best Mobil 1 Synthetic Oil for your vehicle.
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Alright, let’s get started. Before we dive into the different oil/additive packages, I want to say a few words on the base oil that is used in Mobil 1 consumer motor oil.
What is Mobil 1 Base Oil?
Synthetic motor oils are artificially made chemical compounds. That is so say, they are not just pumped out of the ground and filtered. In order to be classified as a synthetic motor oil, the base product must be sufficiently chemically modified. Interestingly, there is not a standard definition of what ‘synthetic oil’ means, therefore it is up to interpretation. The ways that the oil is modified is usually considered a trade-secret of the various manufacturers.
Base Oil Groups 1-5
It can be helpful and constructive to understand what the base oils used in commercial motor oil are. In order to do this, we introduce the concept of Group 1-5 oils. The American Petroleum Institute (API) has broken down base oils into 5 categories and labeled them Groups 1-5.
Group I-II-III: These are petroleum oils in various states of refinement, with Group III being the most refined. Conventional motor oil usually consists of a Group III base oil.
- Group I base oils: These are the lowest quality base oils and are made from crude oil through a simple refining process. They have a higher viscosity and are not as stable as other base oils. They are not commonly used in high-performance applications due to their lower quality and performance characteristics.
- Group II base oils: These base oils are of a higher quality than Group I base oils and are made through a more advanced refining process that removes impurities and contaminants. They have a lower viscosity and are more stable than Group I base oils. They are commonly used in a variety of applications, including automotive lubricants and industrial lubricants.
- Group III base oils: These are the highest quality base oils and are made through a more advanced refining process that removes even more impurities and contaminants. They have the lowest viscosity and are the most stable of all base oils. They are often used in high-performance applications, such as aviation and racing lubricants, where a high level of performance is required.
Group IV: Polyalphaolefin (PAO) base oils. These oils have been chemically altered, usually to make the molecules more uniform which offers more predictable behaviour in harsh environments such as an engine. Mobil uses PAO’s as a correction fluid.
Group V: Synthetic esters, polyalkylene glycols (PAGs), and anything that is not already categorized as a Group I-IV.
What Additives are Used in Synthetic Oil?
In addition to the base oils, synthetic oil includes a variety of different additives depending on the specific use-case of the oil. Additives usually make up about 5-25% of the volume of the oil and typically fall into several different categories.
- Antioxidants – Prevents oil thickening by reducing oxidation.
- Anti-Wear Agents – Additional lubricant. E.g. Zinc dialkyldithiophosphate.
- Corrosion Inhibitors – Creates a passivation layer on engine components limiting access to moisture and acids.
- Detergents – Limits formation of deposits (sludge) on engine components. E.g. magnesium sulfonates.
- Dispersants – Reduces clumping of solid particles (sludge).
- Foam Inhibitors – Reduces bubbling of the turbulent shearing action of the oil.
- Friction Modifiers – Reduce friction by creating a thin non-compressible layer on engine components.
- Pour-Point Depressants – Keeps oil flowing even in cold temperatures.
- Viscosity-Index Modifiers – Limits viscosity thinning with increased temperatures.
What Are the Different Mobil 1 Oil Types?
Mobil 1 Annual Protection
This is Mobil 1’s premium oil. If you’re looking for the highest quality oil, this is the one you are after. Also, because of that, it is the most expensive. The Annual Protection oil is PAO and AN based, meaning that it uses very high-quality base oils. Protection for 20,000 miles or 1 yr whichever comes first. The spec sheet for Mobil 1 Annual Protection. This oil is 60-70% PAO (1-decene, homopolymer hydrogenated) which is not listed on the spec sheet, instead you have to go to the MSDS (0W-20), the PAO is 5-10% for the higher viscosities of 5W-20 and 5W-30 (MSDS (5W-20) and MSDS (5W-30)). This particular oil can be more difficult to find for sale commercially.
Mobil 1 Extended Performance (EP)
This is a full synthetic motor oil that is designed for extended drain intervals and is suitable for use in both gasoline and diesel engines. It is formulated with a unique blend of synthetic base oils and advanced additives to provide superior protection against wear, corrosion, and high temperatures for longer periods of time between oil changes.
Mobil 1 EP is a very high-quality motor oil, and the one I would recommend to most drivers. It is usually expensive because it is one of the few oils out there that is primarily PAO and AN based.
You don’t have to take my word for it, you can check out the MSDS sheets (linked below which list the % of PAO in the various weights of Mobil1 EP Oils.
Mobil 1 (0W-20) – MSDS is 60-70% PAO
Mobil 1 (5W-20) – MSDS is 5-10% PAO
Mobil1 (5W-30) – MSDS is 20-30% PAO
Mobil 1 Extended Performance High Mileage (EP HM)
The high mileage version of Mobil 1 EP does not have as much PAO. For example, the Mobil 1 EP HM of weight 0W-20 only has 5 – 10% PAO. Still a great oil, just not as much PAO. High mileage oils typically have more ZDDP and other anti-wear compounds.
ZDDP (zinc dialkyldithiophosphate) is an antioxidant and anti-wear additive that is commonly used in engine oils. It is added to motor oil to help protect against wear on metal surfaces, particularly in areas with high loads and high temperatures, such as valve train components in internal combustion engines. t works by reacting with metal surfaces to form a protective film that helps to reduce the amount of wear that occurs. It is particularly effective at reducing wear on camshafts, lifters, and other components that are subjected to high loads and temperatures. It’s also an antioxidant, which means it helps to prevent the breakdown of oil due to heat and oxygen exposure. This helps to extend the life of the oil and improve its performance.
High mileage oils also have swelling agents to help swell seals in an attempt to reduce leaks. If your vehicle is not leaking or burning oil, I would recommend avoiding “high mileage” oils.
Mobil 1 High Mileage (HM)
Mobil 1 High Mileage Full Synthetic Motor Oil is a full synthetic motor oil that is designed for vehicles with high mileage and is suitable for use in both gasoline and diesel engines. It is formulated with a unique blend of synthetic base oils and advanced additives to provide superior protection against wear, corrosion, and high temperatures, as well as help reduce leaks and oil consumption in older vehicles.
Mobil Super Synthetic Motor Oil is a good general-use motor oil that is formulated with a unique blend of synthetic base oils and advanced additives. It is designed to provide protection against wear, corrosion, and high temperatures, as well as excellent shear stability to help maintain proper lubrication and protection.
Mobil Super is based on Group III oil but does not contain significant portions of the Group IV or V oils. It is generally considered a lower-tier oil designed to compete with less expensive motor oils.
Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy (AFE)
Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy oil has additives to help improve fuel economy as much as possible.
- Improved fuel economy: Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy is formulated to help improve fuel economy by reducing friction and wear on engine components. This can lead to better fuel efficiency and longer engine life.
- Reduced emissions: Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy is designed to help reduce emissions by improving the efficiency of the engine. This can help reduce the environmental impact of driving.
- Enhanced protection: Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy is formulated with advanced additives that help provide enhanced protection against wear, corrosion, and high temperatures. It is also designed to maintain its protective properties over a wide range of temperatures, making it suitable for use in a variety of driving conditions.
Mobil 1 Truck and SUV
Mobil 1 Truck & SUV Full Synthetic Motor Oil: This is a full synthetic motor oil that is specifically formulated for use in heavy-duty trucks and SUVs. It is designed to provide superior protection against wear and high temperatures, as well as excellent shear stability to help maintain proper lubrication and protection in these demanding driving conditions.
Mobil 1 Racing 4T – High performance 4-Stroke Motorcycles
This is a full synthetic motor oil that is specifically formulated for use in four-stroke motorcycle engines. It is designed to provide superior protection against wear and high temperatures, as well as excellent shear stability to help maintain proper lubrication and protection.
These oils generally have higher levels of zinc and phosphorus in order to reduce engine wear in the extreme conditions that racing encounters.
What is the Best Synthetic Mobil 1 Oil for Me?
There are several things to keep in mind when choosing the best motor oil for use in your own personal vehicle. The first is that you should consult your owner’s manual.
Believe it or not, one thing that happens all the time is that someone has some sort of oil-related engine problem, and the reason for it ultimately comes down to them not using the type of oil that is recommended for the vehicle in the manual.
Unless you have a good reason for using something other than what is specified in the manual, just plan on using the rating and oil weight listed in the manual.
That being said, there are a lot of variations available with oil apart from just the weight rating. The following are a few questions that may be helpful to consider. It basically comes down to matching the oil to the application.
- How often are you planning to change your oil?
- Do you drive a vehicle with high mileage (generally higher than 100,000 miles)?
- Do you have extreme driving habits, such as aggressive acceleration?
- Do you drive in harsh conditions? (Cold, dusty, mountainous, etc…)
Engine oil additives are generally in oil to try to help with extending the time necessary between oil changes, cleaning the engine, or reducing sludge buildup.
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The following are my recommendations based upon what is most important to you and your characteristic driving and maintenance styles.
Long Time between Oil Changes
If you would like to promote a longer interval between oil changes, like 10,000 miles or more, then you should use Mobil 1 Extended Protection.
If you are an average driver and do not push the vehicle excessively, then plan to use Mobil Advanced Full Synthetic. This should be changed every 5,000 – 10,000 miles.
High Mileage Car
If you drive a car with over 75,000 miles on it, and especially if you leak or lose oil between oil changes, then use Mobil 1 Extended Performance High Mileage.
If the high price of gas is your bugaboo, and you want to get the best gas mileage possible, then use Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy (for the oil weight recommended for your vehicle).
Mobil 1 synthetic motor oils are known for their high-quality and performance-enhancing properties. They are formulated with advanced technology and are designed to provide excellent protection and performance for automotive engines. Whether you are driving in extreme temperature conditions, on long road trips, or in stop-and-go traffic, Mobil 1 synthetic motor oils can help keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently.