Your vehicle cannot run without engine oil; it’s a crucial element in the engine, and it needs to be changed about every 8,000 miles (12,874 km).
There are many different kinds of oil you can use for your vehicle, but two of the most highly recommended are Pennzoil Platinum and Mobil 1.
Both Pennzoil Platinum and Mobil 1 provide supreme protection and performance, so the choice between them can be a bit of a toss-up. However, Mobil 1 is slightly better for race cars, whereas Pennzoil Platinum has a slight edge in how many different engines it can protect with one formula.
With this article, I intend to make it easier for you to choose between Pennzoil Platinum and Mobil 1. But before we get to that, let’s first look at the similarities between these two products.
Pennzoil Platinum and Mobil 1 are synthetic motor oils made from a group of compounds called esters.
These compounds help the oil to stay on top of the engine, preventing sludge and wear from building up over time.
Both products also contain additives that help extend their longevity and prevent corrosion in your vehicle’s engine parts.
Both products also come from the good old U.S.A. Pennzoil is manufactured in Pennsylvania, while Mobil 1 is made in Texas. Last but not least, both products have gotten high marks for performance engine protection.
Now while these oils are designed to prevent thermal engine breakdowns, we must “break down” each to get to the bottom of their differences.
Let’s start with Pennzoil Platinum.
About Pennzoil Platinum
Pennzoil Platinum is a synthetic blend motor oil that contains both Group III and Group IV esters.
It also includes detergent and dispersant additives to help clean your engine and prevent sludge from building up over time. The product is designed for gasoline engines with or without turbocharged direct injection technology (TDI).
Pennzoil Platinum is suitable for gasoline, hybrid, and Diesel engines. There’s also a Euro version of this brand that meets the European Union’s emission standards.
Pennzoil Platinum’s base comes from natural gas. 80% of natural gas is methane, which makes the component easier to purify than products made from crude oil.
Other versions of the product include “Ultra Platinum” and “Platinum High Mileage.” The former is designed to protect extreme-performance engines, while the latter serves to protect engines with over 75,000 miles (120,701 km).
Pennzoil Platinum Pros & Cons
So, is Pennzoil Platinum the type of oil to trust in your engine? The short answer is yes, but I can do better than that. Let’s take a closer look at its pros and cons.
- It’s made from natural gas, which means no contaminants to gunk up your engine and better extreme temperature performance than regular motor oil.
- Platinum High Mileage can actually seal leaks in older engines.
- Works great in high-performance engines.
- Compatible with both Diesel and gasoline engines.
- Can be used for 15,000 miles (24,140.16 km) between changes.
- The price for 5 quarts (4.73 liters) is a bit higher than more common brands.
- Not recommended for racing unless you use Ultra Platinum.
And that is the lowdown on Pennzoil Platinum. Overall it is a terrific choice for your vehicle — but then again, so is our next product.
About Mobil 1
Mobil 1 engine oil is a popular brand of synthetic engine oil that has been on the market for over 40 years. It’s known for its high quality and excellent performance, which makes it a favorite among professional mechanics.
The brand is often touted as top-of-the-line when it comes to protecting racing car engines. In particular, Mobil 1 15W-50 is used in turbocharged and supercharged engines worldwide. F1 teams turn to it for superior protection in their race cars.
Like Pennzoil Platinum, Mobil 1 is a synthetic oil, which means it maintains its effectiveness under extreme temperatures and can last over 10,000 miles (16,093.4 km) between changes.
Mobil 1 base oil is crude, meaning it contains more hydrocarbons at different levels per deposit. These hydrocarbons take longer to refine than Pennzoil’s Platinum series but still create an effective motor oil.
But I’m not here to sell you any one brand of oil. I’m here to compare two popular brands that owners of high-performance engines trust but are sometimes undecided about which to choose.
So let’s look at the pros and cons of Mobil 1.
Mobil 1 Pros & Cons
Like any product, Mobil 1 comes with a few caveats. Before we get to those, I decree that we accentuate the positive. It’s a healthier way to go about life.
- Does not lose performance under freezing temperatures.
- Cleans engine parts as it lubricates.
- Keeps engines cooler and quieter.
- Works even in older cars.
- Improves fuel economy.
- Clocks in a little cheaper than Pennzoil Platinum.
- Mobil 1 is not suitable for Diesel engines (unless specified on the label).
- Appears darker than Pennzoil Platinum due to its crude oil base.
I should note on that last point that the color doesn’t especially matter. Darker oil may look older or less effective, but as the adage goes: Looks are deceiving. Just ask the pit crews over at NASCAR.
If you’ve already mulled over these two products at the store, you probably noticed that they come in different grades. Some are 5W-30. Others are 15W-40.
Why exactly are these grades important?
The W in the grade number stands for “weight.” Grades describe an oil’s viscosity — how thick it is. The grade has a direct relationship with the thickness and quality of the oil. The thicker the oil, the more protection your engine gets.
Great, you might be thinking, so I’ll just buy a high-grade version of Pennzoil or Mobil 1 and call it a win.
Not so fast. High-grade oils are fine for the summer months when the weather is hot. During winter, thicker solutions may only hinder your engine’s performance. The safest bet here is to use the oil grade recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Both Pennzoil Platinum and Mobil 1 come in multiple grades. Shop around, and don’t be cavalier about what you put in your engine. The correct oil grade will give you better protection, higher fuel economy, and cleaner emissions.
Pennzoil Platinum vs. Mobil 1: The Lowdown
We’ve gone into rich detail with both of these products. With the following table, I hope to make them all a bit easier to digest.
|Mileage Between Changes
|15,000 miles (24,140.2 km)
|10,000 to 15,000 Miles (16,094.44-24,140.2 km)
The two oils are pretty evenly matched, except for that last merit: the Noack Volatility Test. Since Mobil 1 receives the lower score, you may feel that Pennzoil Premium is the winner here.
Turns out this is not the case. The Noack Volatility Test is sort of like golf: the lower the percentage, the better the quality.
More About the Noack Volatility Test
This test was developed by Kurt Noack in the 1930s (the doctor, not the musician). The test’s job is to determine how much a motor oil evaporates at 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit). The percentage you see in the above table is the percentage by weight the oil evaporates.
Industry standards for the Noack Volatility Test float between 13% and 15%. Thus, both oils pass with flying colors.
But if we judge by this test alone, Mobil 1 has the edge. Less of it evaporates under high revving conditions, which in turn means better protection for the engine.
Which Oil Should I Use?
Chances are you’re not cruising around town in an ultra-high-performance racing machine. That being said, Pennzoil Platinum and Mobil 1 make perfectly safe choices for your vehicle.
There are three different variations of Pennzoil’s Platinum line: Platinum, Platinum Euro, and Ultra Platinum. All are synthetic, and all are designed to protect turbocharged engines.
The Euro version’s primary purpose is to conform to that continent’s emission standards. As for the other two, Pennzoil Platinum is almost always a smart choice. Ultra Platinum is meant for racing cars or drivers who like to keep their vehicle’s tachometer close to the red as often as possible.
Mobil 1 also comes in different versions. There’s a Diesel version, a high mileage version, a European car formula, and so on. Check the label and match it up with the vehicle you drive.
There’s really no wrong choice with these two motor oils. Both are designed to protect high-performance engines for a minimum of 10,000 miles (16,094.44).
In summary, Mobil 1 holds a slight advantage for use in race cars, whereas Pennzoil Platinum holds sway in how many different engines it can protect (gas, Diesel, hybrid) with just one formula.
At the end of the day, you’re in good company with both. Have a nice drive.