What’s The Best Oil For A Chevy Truck?

We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

When you own a Chevrolet pickup, you know you own a quality truck that you want to last a long time. Doing regular maintenance, especially oil changes, is one of the best ways to keep your Chevy running strong. But deciding what oil to put in your Chevy Colorado or Silverado gets confusing with their 1500, 2500, and 3500 designations on top of their two Chevy Colorado and Chevy Silverado models. We have looked at Chevy’s recommendations and sorted all of this out for you.

The Chevy pickup options are the Colorado 1500 and Silverado 1500, and the Silverado Heavy Duty (HD) in either the 2500 or 3500 weight. Chevrolet requires the following synthetic oil by the model and its engine:

SAE 0W-20 engine oil for: 

  • Chevy Colorado – 2.5L 4-cylinder, 6-speed
  • Chevy Silverados 1500 – 5.3L EcoTec3 V8, 6-speed 
  • Chevy Silverados 1500 – 6.2L EcoTec3 V8, 10-speed 

SAE 0W-30 engine oil for:

  • Chevy Colorado – 3.6L V6, 8-speed
  • Chevy Colorado – 2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel, 6-speed  
  • Chevy Silverado 1500  – 2.7L Turbo-Diesel, 8-speed 
  • Chevy Silverado 1500 – 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel, 10-speed  
  • Chevy Silverado 1500 – 4.3L EcoTec3 V6, 6-speed 
  • Chevy Silverado 1500 – 6.6L EcoTec3 V8, 10-speed 
  • Chevy Silverado 2500 – 6.6L EcoTec3 V8 engine, 6-speed 
  • Chevy Silverado 2500 – 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8, 10-speed  
  • Chevy Silverado 2500 – 6.6L EcoTec3 V8 engine, 6-speed 
  • Chevy Silverado 3500 – 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8, 10-speed  

Choosing the right engine oil is crucial for a long-lasting engine. In this guide, we’ll talk about whether the 1500, 2500, and 3500 designations change the oil type, which oils are best to use for Chevy pickups, what oil the dealers use, and how often you should change the oil. Keep reading as we answer all of these questions and more as we explain in detail motor oil’s importance to the engine’s health.

A collage of a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and a motor oil, What's The Best Oil For A Chevy Truck?

Chevy Pickup Oil Needs

Four models comprise Chevy’s pickup truck line: 

  • Chevy Colorado
  • Chevy Silverado 1500
  • Chevy Silverado 2500 HD
  • Chevy Silverado 3500 HD

Each model with its assorted trims has engine options. The lighter engines use SAE 0W-20. The heavier engines and all the diesel engines use SAE 0W-30. The difference between these two partially synthetic oils is in their viscosity-temperature range.

The thicker oW-30 oils start in colder and more engine stressful conditions. It is designed for stronger engines that have more heavy lifting and big towing to do. Both of these oils are partially synthetic as they are chemically made with actual petroleum. 

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck

What is the Best Oil for 1500, 2500, and 3500 Pickups?

The best oil for all the 2500 and 3500 Chevy Silverados is the SAE 0W-30 oil. The 2021 Chevy Colorado and the Chevy Silverado 1500 may use SAE 0W-30 or SAE 0W-20 oil.

Click here for Mobil 1 0W-20 on Amazon.

Remember to check the pickup’s door label to see what oil your Colorado or Silverado requires. If you have a diesel engine, it takes SAE 0W-30 oil.  

Click here for Mobil 1 0W-30 on Amazon.

Make sure you pay attention to your Chevy Pickup’s model year as the 2019 Chevy Colorados require SAE 5W-20, but the 2021’s require SAE 0W-20.

Why Does the Engine Need Oil?

The engine in any motor vehicle needs oil to keep the parts of the engine lubricated so that they move smoothly and efficiently. The engine oil also reduces friction, which decreases the engine’s temperature, helping it run longer and smoother.  

What is Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil is petroleum-based motor oil that has been chemically designed to work longer in high-stress environments. In 2011 Chevy’s parent company, General Motors (GM), invented a partially synthetic oil called Dexos 1, which was designed for smaller engines that would run hotter as they do the work of the previous bigger engines.

In 2015, GM developed the Dexos 1 Gen 2 motor oils. These oils are designed to not only lubricate the engine but help to extend both the life of the engine itself and the life of the catalytic converter. Dexos 1 Gen 3 is set to enter the marketplace in late 2021 or early 2022.

What does SAE 0W-20 or SAE 0W-30 mean?

These oil letters designate under what conditions the oil will perform well.  The designations meaning is:

  • SAE – Society of Automotive Engineers
  • 0 – Temperature at 0 degrees 
  • W – Weather
  • 20 – Viscosity (lower numbers are thinner oil)
  • 30 – Viscosity (thicker than the 20)

The Chevy Colorado and Silverado both use synthetic oil that can function at 0 degrees in the winter.  

Mechanic measuring oil level

How do you choose an oil brand?

The two main factors for choosing an oil brand for your Chevy Colorado or Silverado are to choose the best oil for the engine requirement and the number of miles driven. Even with a smaller engine that might not require synthetic oil, when you get over 100,000 miles driven, switching to a synthetic oil may lengthen the life of the engine. 

What Oil does the Chevy Dealers Use?

Chevrolet Dealers predominantly use General Motor’s developed motor oils made by ExxonMobile for the United States or Petro-Canada and ExxonMobile for Canadian Chevrolet dealers. Both ExxonMobile and Petro-Canada produce the motor oils for the GM subsidiary ACDelco. The three main choices at most Chevy dealers are:

  • ACDelco Gold Conventional Oil
  • ACDelco Dexos1™ Full Synthetic
  • Mobil 1™ Full Synthetic Oil

What is the Best Oil for the Chevy Colorado?

Chevrolet Colorado High Country on display

The Chevy Colorado is a mid-size pickup truck designed for light hauling and/or towing with a smooth ride for passengers. The ones with the lighter gasoline-driven 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission use SAE 0W-20. This truck with the heavier gasoline-driven 3.6L V6 engine with 8-speed automatic transmission and the diesel-driven 2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine with 6-speed automatic transmission use SAE 0W-30 oil.

At What Percent Do You Change Oil?

Most newer Chevrolet’s have the computer-monitored Oil Life System (OLS), which, when it reads 15%, indicates the need for an oil change. The OLS monitors the many factors that decrease the effectiveness of the engine’s oil: speed, engine temperature, outdoor temperature, driving habits, etc. All these factors help the OLS estimate the useful life of the present oil. 

The OLS is not an indicator of how much oil is available. Chevrolet has determined that the amount of oil and even the miles driven is less an indicator of the oil life than these other factors.

How Many Miles Can You Really Go Without An Oil Change?

The answer to this is more complicated than one would want as expert opinions differ. Here is the short answer:

  • 3,000 to 5,000 for gasoline engines using standard motor oils
  • 7,500 to 15,000 miles for diesel and gasoline engines using partially or fully synthetic oil

Automotive companies’ recommendations for the miles between oil changes are usually shorter than what automotive engineering experts believe to be true. If your vehicle is still under warranty, make sure you get the oil change at the interval recommended by your manual, as this secures the integrity of the warranty.  

What Does the Oil Indicator Light Mean?

When the Oil Indicator warning light comes on in your vehicle, it means that the oil pressure is low. It is time for an oil change and inspection. The light may come on if you have an oil leak. The inspection will help your mechanic make this determination. Dirty oil from driving in heavy conditions can also light up the Oil Indicator light on your dashboard.

Check the quality of the oil by pulling the dipstick. You will see the level of the oil on the dipstick.  If the level is low, add some oil. The oil should be transparent.  If the oil is dark or thick, it is dirty and your pickup needs an oil change.

Mechanic measuring oil level

How Much Does A Truck Oil Change Cost?

An oil change with a new oil filter may cost between $40 to $75 for conventional oil.  The same change with synthetic oil may cost between $70 to $125. Factors that affect this cost include the region where you live, labor costs at the lube shop or the Chevrolet dealer, price markup on the oil itself, and old oil disposal fees. 

If you decide to change the oil yourself, six quarts of conventional oil and a new filter is about $35, plus tax. Six quarts of synthetic oil and a new filter will be about $45, plus tax. All prices are dependent on where you live.  

How Much Oil Is Needed for a Pickup Truck Oil Change?

Many automotive websites use five quarts as the standard need for an oil change, but the Chevy Pickups need more.  The Chevy Colorado needs six quarts of oil, and the Chevy Silverado needs six to eight quarts of oil, depending on which engine it has.

When buying the oil for the oil change, remember to buy enough for the entire change as the oil often comes in one or five-quart containers.  You’ll need both, or the more cost-effective route is to buy two five-quart sizes, so you have enough oil for future needs.

Get ACDelco SAE 0W-20 oil on Amazon.

What do 1500, 2500, and 3500 mean for the Chevy Silverado?

The Chevy Silverado 1500, HD 2500, and HD 3500 are full-size pickups. The Silverado 1500 weighs half a ton. The Silverado 2500 HD weighs three-quarters of a ton, and the Silverado 3500 HD weighs a full ton. The Silverado 1500 is a light-duty truck intended to do easy work and can give a smoother ride.  The 2500 and 3500 are designed as work vehicles for heavy loads with less concern for how smooth the ride may be for any passengers. 

Each Silverado comes with a variety of engine choices, including gas engines and diesel engines.  The largest engine offered is the 6.2L EcoTec3 V8 engine, 10-speed automatic transmission, which requires SAE 0W-30 motor oil.

In closing

The best motor oils for the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado and Silverado 1500, 2500 HD, and 3500 HD pickups are either the  SAE 0W-20 or SAE 0W-30 motor oil. The choice between these two oils is based on the engine type with the smaller gasoline engines using SAE 0W-20 and the bigger engines and the diesel engines using SAE 0W-30. These two synthetic motor oils will help your pickup engine run smoothly and efficiently in even the most stressful environments. 

Leave a Reply