It’s no secret that the 6.0 Powerstrokes can be problematic, especially due to their HEUI system. One of the most important things you can do to keep your 6.0 Powerstroke running healthy is to use the best motor oil you can with regular (and pretty frequent) oil change intervals.
The high-pressure oil pump in the 6.0 Powerstroke pressurizes engine oil to well over 3000 PSI. It’s a very precise system that depends on the oil being clean and free of debris. Any type of contaminants in the oil can cause trouble starting the engine and can even cause serious damage to the high-pressure oil pump, leading to expensive repairs.
In this article, we’ll help you choose the best oil for your 6.0 Powerstroke and go over everything else that you need to know about keeping the injection system on these engines healthy. Stick around to the end of the article for more information on which viscosity oil is best for the 6.0 Powerstroke HEUI system.
Top 5 Best Engine Oil for 6.0 Powerstroke
|Motorcraft Super Duty 15W40||Check Price On Amazon|
|Rotella T5 15W40||Check Price On Amazon|
|Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck 5W40||Check Price On Amazon|
|Valvoline Premium Blue Extreme 5W40||Check Price On Amazon|
|Schaeffer's Ultra Performance 10W30||Check Price On Amazon|
1. Motorcraft Super Duty SAE 15W-40
Let’s start with the best 15W-40 oil for the 6.0 Powerstroke – Motorcraft. That’s right, nobody knows the engine better than the engineers who designed and built it.
It goes without saying, but the Motorcraft 15W-40 was built by Ford specifically for the 6.0 and it features excellent lubrication and protection. After all – the Motorcraft Super Duty 15W-40 is the lifeblood of your Powerstroke as it rolls out of the factory.
It’s formulated with premium hydro-processed base oils and features Motorcraft’s proprietary additive technology, which resists shear during oil pressurization for the HEUI system. Furthermore, it controls foaming and sludge formation very well, and resists breakdown under high temperatures.
Motorcraft Super Duty contains over 1000 ppm of phosphorus, which is pretty impressive. The addition of phosphorus provides significantly better protection against metal-to-metal contact and helps prevent oxidation.
Lastly, Motorcraft provides great soot control and protects the engine from diesel fuel combustion byproducts from blowby. The additive package of this motor oil makes it a great choice for older diesel engines that use high-sulfur diesel.
We have nothing but good things to say about the Motorcraft Super Duty SAE 15W-40. It’s a great oil all around, and it will keep a 6.0 Powerstroke whistling and towing for a long time. The only drawback is the price, though.
2. Rotella T5 SAE 15W-40
If you’re on a budget and want to minimize operation costs, then Rotella T5 is a great 15W-40 alternative to the Motorcraft above.
The Rotella T5 is a synthetic blend, which means that it has most of the advantages of synthetic engine oil, while still remaining inexpensive. Furthermore, Rotella T5 produces less friction than conventional oil – this means it takes less energy for the engine to run, which should improve fuel economy.
Interestingly, while the Rotella T5 is very inexpensive, it actually protects engines better than Motorcraft. So much so, that Rotella T5 is classified CK-4 AND it exceeded maximum wear requirements by 37%. API CK-4 is the most recent and the strictest performance category for engine oils.
Lastly, Rotella T5 flows better in cold temperatures when compared to other 15W-40 conventional engine oils. Not only does this help with reducing engine wear, but it also helps the HEUI system build pressure (500 PSI minimum) quicker in order to fire the injectors.
The Shell Rotella T5 is a very popular choice among 6.0 Powerstroke owners, and it’s easy to see why. It’s very inexpensive, has excellent wear protection, and helps with cold starts.
3. Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck 5W-40
Let’s shift gears and move to 5W-40 viscosity oil – starting with Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck.
People who live in colder regions swear by 5W-40 oil and Mobil 1 makes probably the best 5W-40 oil for the 6.0 Powerstroke. Turbo Diesel Truck 5W-40 is API CK-4 classified (strictest and most recent API classification) and is a very popular choice today.
The main reason why we chose Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck as the best 5W-40 oil, is due to its outstanding shear stability. Turbo Diesel Truck 5W-40 effectively resists viscosity loss through shear, which is extremely important for the high-pressure oil pump at 3000 PSI. This means less noise at high RPMs and an all-around smoother running 6.0 Powerstroke.
If you live in colder regions, we highly recommend switching to Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck 5W-40 oil. Not only does it reduce wear and improve fuel economy, but it also helps the high-pressure oil pump build pressure quicker in order to start the engine when it’s really cold outside.
4. Valvoline Premium Blue Extreme SAE 5W-40
If Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck 5W-40 is too expensive for you, then Valvoline Premium Blue Extreme SAE 5W-40 is a great alternative.
Valvoline is one of the most trusted brands in the oil industry, and their Premium Blue Extreme 5W-40 is no exception. It’s an API CK-4 full synthetic oil, which means that it’s much better than conventional oil at resisting high temperatures and preventing sludge formation.
Furthermore, Valvoline Blue Extreme 5W-40 offers excellent wear protection and helps the engine run smoother due to its low-friction synthetic base stocks. It also helps the high-pressure oil pump build pressure quicker in order to fire the injectors at startup and effectively resists oxidation at extremely hot temperatures inside the turbocharger.
One of the main selling points of the Premium Blue Extreme is deposit control. The additive package of the oil does a great job at controlling deposits and preventing sludge formation – better than the industry average.
Valvoline Blue Extreme 5W-40 is a fantastic oil overall. It’s formulated with low-friction synthetic base stocks and it helps the high-pressure oil pump build pressure quicker. Not to mention, it’s one of the most trusted brands in the oil industry and it’s very inexpensive.
5. Schaeffer’s Ultra Performance 10W-30
We’ll finish off this list with a bang – Schaeffer’s Ultra Performance 10W-30. If 10w-30 is the viscosity you use in your 6.0 Powerstroke, then this is THE oil for you.
Schaeffer’s is a very well-known brand in the oil industry, though not as much as some of the others on this list. Though their products are expensive, they’re definitely worth the money and the Ultra Performance SAE 10W-30 is no exception.
The SynShield Ultra Performance 10W-30 exceeds the requirements of the most recent and toughest CK-4. It has an outstanding additive package, which does a great job at preventing thickening due to high-temperature oxidation.
The oil has great shear stability, which is very important for the HEUI system, and is known to help 6.0 Powerstrokes start quicker and run smoother.
The Schaeffer’s Ultra Performance 10W-30 is our top choice when it comes to 10W-30 oil for the 6.0 Powerstroke. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but it’s definitely worth the money.
How to Choose the Best Oil for Your 6.0 Powerstroke
There you have it – the best motor oil for 6.0 Powerstrokes. But wait, we’re not done yet!
In order to maximize the life of your 6.0 Powerstroke and prevent expensive repairs, you obviously need to use the best oil you can. But, what’s more, important than that is using the right viscosity oil.
Viscosity: 15W-40 VS 10W-30 VS 5W-40
The vast majority of 6.0 Powerstrokes come from the factory with Motorcraft 15W-40 oil. We recommend sticking with this viscosity unless you live in a very cold region, in which case we recommend switching to 5W-40, which should be perfect for temperature ranges from -20°F to over 100°F.
Actually, some 6.0 Powerstroke owners have noticed that using 5W-40 engine oil helps the engine start much faster and smoother than with 15W-40.
Now, a lot of people don’t understand oil viscosity ratings and we believe that’s a big problem. So, let’s clear things up a bit.
The first number in the viscosity rating (i.e. 15W) is called the winter viscosity rating and it tells you how thick the oil is at low temperatures and at startup. The lower the number, the better the oil flows at low temperatures. This means that 5W oil flows better than 15W oil at low temperatures.
The second number in the viscosity rating (i.e. 40) is called the high-temperature viscosity rating and it tells you how thick the oil is at normal engine operating temperatures. The higher the number, the thicker the oil at high temperatures.
When it comes to 6.0 Powerstrokes, we believe that 15W-40 oil is the best choice if you live in an area where the ambient temperature never goes below 10°F. If you live in a colder region and have issues with cold starts, then you might want to switch to 5W-40, as it flows better in freezing temperatures. Remember, the HEUI system needs to pressurize motor oil to 500 PSI in to fire the injectors – if it’s struggling to reach that pressure, then the engine won’t start.
In any case, your best bet is to always consult your owner’s manual for the right viscosity recommendations for your engine.
API Classification: Which One is Best For 6.0 Powerstroke?
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the main organization that classifies engine oils. Each classification has different requirements and is designed for different types of engines.
The most recent classification is CK-4, which was released in 2017 and has MUCH stricter requirements than the previous CJ-4.
When it comes to the 6.0 Powerstroke, API CK-4 is your best choice. Engine oils classified as CK-4 provide better protection against oxidation and viscosity loss due to shear, as well as enhanced protection against oil aeration and better catalytic convert protection.
You can also use CJ-4 oils, as they provide very similar protection. However, while the use of CI-4 oils is possible, we advise you to switch over to more recent classifications, as CI-4 will be obsolete soon.
Also Read: The Best Oil for 6.7 Powerstroke
Type: Conventional VS Synthetic Blend VS Full Synthetic
Now, when it comes to the type of oil, you have three choices – conventional, synthetic blend, and full synthetic.
Conventional oil is the cheapest but provides the worst protection and thermal stability. It’s made from refined crude oil and it also contains additives, though in much smaller quantities than synthetic or synthetic blend oils.
Synthetic blend oil is a mix of conventional oil and synthetic oil, and it’s a popular choice among 6.0 Powerstroke owners. It provides good protection and thermal stability and also resists shear better than conventional oil.
Full synthetic oil is made entirely from synthetic base stocks and it’s the best you can get. It provides the best protection, thermal stability, pumpability, resistance to shear, etc. The only downside to synthetic oil is the cost. Apart from that, there’s no reason not to use full synthetic engine oil.
It is especially important to use full synthetic oil in the 6.0 Powerstrokes, as the oil needs to be tough enough to handle being constantly pressurized to very high pressures AND deal with high temperatures inside the turbocharger.
Additives: Does the 6.0 Powerstroke Need Them?
A lot of people are of the opinion that their 6.0 Powerstroke needs special additives in order to run properly. However, that’s simply not true.
If you’re using good quality full synthetic engine oil that’s API CK-4 classified, then you do not need any oil additives. Modern engine oil is more than capable of handling the HEUI system.
While oil additives likely won’t do any harm to your 6.0 Powerstoke, you will be wasting money.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I change the oil on my 6.0 Powerstroke?
How often you should change the oil on your 6.0 Powerstroke depends on a few factors, such as driving habits, how well you maintain your truck, and the quality of the oil you’re using.
If your operating conditions are classified as severe, then you must change your engine oil and filter every 5,000 miles.
Severe operating conditions include:
- Towing a trailer for over 1,000 miles
- Frequent high-speed driving at maximum weight in temps above 90°F
- Extended idling (10 minutes per hour of normal driving)
- Driving in severe dust
- Frequent short trips (10 miles)
Under normal operating conditions, you should change your oil and filter every 7,500 miles.
What size is the oil drain plug on a 6.0 Powerstroke?
The drain plug is M14-1.5 with a 16mm head size.
What is the oil capacity of a 6.0 Powerstroke?
The oil capacity of a 6.0 Powerstroke is 15 quarts with a filter change.
Also Read: The Best Oil for 6.4 Powerstroke
There you have it – everything you need to know about choosing the best oil for your 6.0 Powerstroke.
Remember, the most important thing is to use the right viscosity oil for your engine and to change your oil and filter regularly. If you do that, your 6.0 Powerstroke will serve you well for a long time.
Do you have any questions? Please contact us or post them in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!
Eddie is the co-founder of CarCareCamp.com, and the site’s primary contributor.
Under his belt, Eddie has a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Electronics Engineering and almost a decade of experience working as a semi-truck technician (specializing in electrics).