Do Not DPF Delete Logo

Feb 22, 2021 - 11 minute read

John Henry Profile Photo by John Henry

Recommended Oil for High Mileage Cars

Odometer showing the car’s mileage


If you own a high-mileage car, then the engine is most likely fairly worn and has gaps between its components. Some gaskets and seals may also have begun to crack, resulting in a reduction in performance. So, it would be best if you had a quick solution to preserve your car’s value and improve your experience.

Which is the most effective way to solve or prevent these engine troubles and preserve your high-mileage car for many more years? Well, other than ensuring you maintain your vehicle, you need special oil designed for high mileage cars. Read on for more on how these cars operate and why they require the special oil, different motor oil types, the recommended oil for high mileage cars, and other vital details.

What is a High Mileage Car?

The traditional definition of a high mileage car is a vehicle that has covered over 75,000 miles. However, with the emergence of advanced technology, today’s cars can safely cover 200, 000 miles or even more. At the same time, how you drive and maintain your vehicle also determines its rate of wear.

A high mileage vehicle’s definition may slightly vary from one person to another due to these factors.

So, when should I consider switching to high mileage oil? This is a common and rational question given that one needs to switch to the unique oil only when they own a high mileage car. There is no straightforward answer to this due to the factors we have seen above. Nonetheless, as an average driver, you should consider anything above 100,000 miles a high mileage car.

Some drivers can switch to high mileage oil at 200, 000 miles or 80,000 miles.

Types of High Mileage Car Oil

There are many types of motor oils, and the best way to differentiate them is by considering the formula that manufacturers use to produce them. Here are the three main types of motor oils:

1. Mineral Motor Oil

Mineral motor oil dated back to the 1800s and was the standard of the industry for several decades. It is petroleum-based and relatively easy to produce. However, they cannot serve you well if you own a high-performance car. Mineral motor oil for high mileage cars contains some additives.

Pros Cons
Works well during the "break in" period on new vehicles Less lubrication at extremely cold or hot temperatures
Less costly Less friendly to the environment
An excellent option for short trips

2. Synthetic Motor Oil

Synthetic motor oil emerged in the global market in the 1990s and remains the favourite for many motorists today. The oil provides excellent lubrication and wears protection, making it the current industry standard. It is best for high-performance and heavy-load vehicles.

Pros Cons
Excellent performance in extreme weather More costly than conventional motor oils
Less impact of evaporation Risky on significantly older engines
Increases engine lifespan due to the extra additives
High resistance to oxidation, thermal breakdown, and oil sludge

3. Synthetic-Mineral Blend

This oil blend was introduced in the market in the late 1960s. As the name suggests, it is a mix of synthetic and mineral oils. So, synthetic-mineral oil is cheaper than synthetic oil but offers more advantages than mineral oils.

Pros Cons
Offers better protection than mineral motor oils Lasts for a shorter period than full synthetic options
Safer in older car engines
Less costly than synthetic oil

Which Oil is Best for Older Cars- Mineral, synthetic, or Synthetic-Mineral?

While some people use mineral oils in their high mileage cars, you should never do the same unless under the guidance of an experienced mechanic or expert in the field. Most of them lack the additives required to reduce friction, defend against corrosion, rejuvenate seals, and more.

Synthetic oils are more effective since they have the following additives:

Anti-Foam Agents: Reduce the production of foam and bubbles, which often cause corrosion and loss of lubrication.

Rust/Corrosion Inhibitors: These chemical compounds are effective at inhibiting oxidation.

Metal Deactivators: Creates a thin film on metal surfaces, which prevents metal ions from reacting with Oxygen and producing harmful end-products.

Antioxidants: These are chemicals that limit oil degradation, meaning they help increase the oil’s lifespan.

Detergents: They neutralize impurities such as water and mineral compounds, which helps prevent engine sludge.

Seal Conditioners: Shrinkages can emerge over time as gaskets and seals get brittle, so you need seal conditioners to limit them.

Now that you understand why additives make motor oils suitable for high mileage cars and the different types of oils, you may be asking for the recommended oil for high mileage cars. We shall look at that shortly.

We want to remind you that synthetic motor oil is the most reliable for high mileage cars, but, as we mentioned earlier, it puts your car engine at a greater risk than the blends do.

Criteria to Consider When Choosing the Best Oil for Your High Mileage Car

Engine Age

To avoid many preventable problems in the future, you should find and start using oil with the best viscosity before the vehicle’s engine begins stalling. The best time for that is as soon as your car becomes seven years old or after covering 75,000 miles. This excludes the car models that are designed to cover one million miles.

Remember, the chance that your car requires high mileage oil right now is high.IHS Markit is one of the organizations that recently reported that the average age of light trucks and cars in the US alone is approximately 11 years.

Temperature and Viscosity

The best engine oil should have the ability to maintain its viscosity at extreme temperatures. One that starts with 5W or 0W will serve you well in cold weather.


The additives in the oil should indicate the motor oil’s protective qualities. So, check for the desired additives before making your buying decision.


As we have seen, there are conventional, synthetic, and semi-synthetic oils in the market. Their prices vary depending on quality, brand, and grade. Synthetic is the most costly. So, you should only choose cheap high-mileage oil if it meets your needs. Otherwise, you may be forced to dig deeper into your pocket later to rectify a more costly problem.

There are hundreds of oils for high mileage cars, making the decision-making process a little complicated. If you are looking for some of the top options, you are in the right place. Some of the recommended oils for mileage cars are:

1. Best Overall

Royal Purple is best known for its synthetic oils such as the HMX high mileage synthetic oil. Many auto enthusiasts regard the HMX high mileage motor oil mainly due to its synthetic qualities.

The synthetic motor oil restores the lost performance in older car engines and minimizes wear. With additional detergents, you can rely on this motor oil to remove all carbon deposits. The conditioners also revitalize all the dry and hardened seals. However, since the oil is synthetic, it is more costly than many other motor oil types.

Pros Cons
Restores the lost performance of high mileage car engines Costly than other options
Minimizes engine deposits
Provides superior corrosion protection

2. Best Value

Mag 1 Full Synthetic is highly regarded-viscosity grade oil. It offers the best protection during extreme weather. This motor oil has also proven to increase fuel efficiency and reduce engine wear in older cars. Moreover, it is suitable for most engines around the world.

Pros Cons
Best in cold weather 32 fluid ounces not enough for some drivers
Increase fuel efficiency
Preserve the engine
Compatible with almost all older cars across the world

3. Best for Older Engines

We have said that synthetic oils are the best for most high mileage engines. However, this may not be the case in some cases. Some extremely old engines cannot handle synthetics efficiently, leaving mineral oil with added protection as the only solution.

This oil consists of petroleum-grade materials and is designed for car engines with 75,000 miles or more. Unlike other conventional oil options, it contains detergents that can effectively remove all the impurities. At the same time, its seal conditioners preserve and restore leaky seals. Nonetheless, it is more costly than other conventional motor oils.

Pros Cons
Proven engine parts wear protection Designed for vehicles that cannot handle synthetic oils
Best for cars with more than 75,000 miles Best for short distances
Exceeds industry standards Exposes the engine to some risks

4: Honourable Mention:

If your car’s odometer indicates 75,000 miles or more, you can also use this synthetic –blend motor oil. It was designed to maximize car engine performance and extend its lifespan. The oil’s extra detergents that ensure the engines remain clean. Moreover, its extra antioxidants effectively prevent sludge and deposits from clogging your car’s engine. The oil also does an excellent job at suspending engine deposits and debris.

However, it will break down at some point, but it depends mainly on the prevailing weather conditions and how you drive. At the same time, this oil will not enhance the performance of severely damaged car engines.

Pros Cons
Advanced anti-wear additives Cannot improve the performance of some older engines
Protect the engine from deposits and sludge More costly than mineral oils
Limits motor oil break down in extreme weather

Wrap Up

To revive your older car’s performance or preserve it, you should use the recommended oils for high mileage cars. You can do this by following the above tips to select the best oil based on your car’s specifications and requirements. Moreover, you may need to combine the best motor oil with proper maintenance for the best result.