Pennzoil Platinum vs Ultra Platinum: Key Differences

The main difference between Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum is that Ultra Platinum contains has stronger detergents to keep the engine cleaner. Pennzoil Ultra Platinum can keep the engine piston 65% cleaner while Pennzoil Platinum keeps the engine piston 40% cleaner than the latest industry standards. If you drive a high-performance and high-mileage vehicle, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum would be better. Thus, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum is good for longer OCI due to its higher wear resistance and better cleaning action.

Pennzoil Platinum vs Ultra Platinum Synthetic Oil, both motor oils have fewer impurities, cleaning additives, and can withstand higher temperature levels. But, which one is better? In this guide, I will compare these two types of oil in a detailed way to help you decide which one of these two synthetic oils suits your car better.

Let’s take a look at both regular Platinum and Ultra Platinum motor oils formulated by Pennzoil, and discuss how they are made, in what viscosity grades they are available and how they meet industry standards.

Pennzoil Platinum

Pennzoil Platinum

Pennzoil UltraPlatinum

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum

To learn how Pennzoil Platinum differs from other motor oils, you can read my guide on Pennzoil Platinum vs Castrol Edge.

Some Key Insights for You
  • Both are synthetic oils made with Pennzoil’s PurePlus Technology
  • Ultra Platinum has more anti-wear additives like zinc and molybdenum
  • Ultra Platinum has higher concentrations of detergents for better cleaning
  • Pennzoil Platinum may be better for older turbocharged engines due to LSPI risk with high calcium
  • Ultra Platinum costs just $3-4 more than Platinum
  • Ultra Platinum provides better protection and cleaning overall

Pennzoil Platinum vs Ultra Platinum Formulation

Both Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum are synthetic oils made from natural gas, using Pennzoil’s patented gas-to-liquid PurePlus Technology. The technology converts pure natural gas into high-quality full synthetic base oil.

The end product is 99.5% free from impurities such as sulfur, nitrogen, and other saturated hydrocarbons that solidify at lower temperatures.

Since the base oil derived from natural gas has inherent performance characteristics over crude-derived base oil, the additives in the motor oil will enhance the performance of the base oil to a greater extent.

Pennzoil Platinum vs Ultra Platinum Viscosity

If you pick the same viscosity grades of Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum, the latter one is slightly thicker at hotter temperatures. PQIA conducted a test for Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum.

The viscosity of 5w30 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum was 10.1 cSt at 100°C and the viscosity of 5w30 Pennzoil Platinum was 9.9 cSt at 100°C. This shows that when the engine heats up to its operating temperature, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum is slightly thicker than Pennzoil Platinum.

So, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum will have slightly more oil pressure and lubricating ability in high-performance cars as compared to Pennzoil Platinum.

Pennzoil Platinum vs Ultra Platinum Wear Protection

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum has more antiwear additives compared to Pennzoil Platinum. Both zinc and molybdenum are antiwear additives in motor oil.

Zinc forms a coating on the top of all engine components that are under high pressure and molybdenum helps to reduce the deformation and spalling of the coating under high temperatures. Zinc combines with the phosphorus in the motor oil to form a strong oil film around the metal surfaces of the engine parts.

So, according to a test by PQIA (Petroleum Quality Institute of America), Pennzoil Ultra Platinum has 789ppm zinc, 708ppm phosphorus, and 86ppm molybdenum while Pennzoil Platinum has 715ppm zinc, 627ppm phosphorus and 81ppm molybdenum.

One person did a pressure test on 5w30 Pennzoil Platinum and 5w30 Ultra Platinum to check their wear protection ability. The person made it clear that his test equipment was NOT intended to duplicate an engine’s internal components. The load under which he tested both engine oils was significantly greater than the load that the most wicked flat-tappet race engine could exert on the oil film. The operating temperature for both Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum was set at 230°F.

The test results showed that 99,039 psi was the highest load that Ultra Platinum could bear and 87,241 psi was the highest load that Pennzoil Platinum could bear.

“The HIGHER the psi value, the BETTER the Wear Protection.”

Pennzoil Platinum vs Ultra Platinum Industry Standards Compliance

Both Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum meet the same latest industry standards i.e. ACEA, API SP, and ILSAC for engine cleansing and protection requirements. These industry standards are designed for the protection of Gasoline Direct Injection engines against Low-Speed Pre Ignition issues. 

One thing I would like to keep in mind is that in the past, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum did not meet API SP standards to deal with the LSPI issues.

The older stock of Pennzoil Ultra Platinum only met API SN standard while Pennzoil Platinum previously met API SN+ and Dexos1 Gen 2 standards.

GM Dexos1 Gen 2 was the first engine oil specification introduced to deal with LSPI (Low-speed Pre-Ignition) issues in modern direct injection engines in 2015. So, when engine oil is API SP and ILSAC  GF-6 certified, it basically moves closer to Dexos 1 Gen 2 requirements.

SN+ standard was introduced to deal with LSPI issues. After that, the latest industry standard for motor oils was introduced i.e. API SP, which exceeds the requirements of API SN+. So, now, both Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum meet API SP standard.

You might be thinking, why does Pennzoil Ultra Platinum not meet the Dexos1 Gen2 standard like Pennzoil Platinum?

Well, the answer is that it was just a business decision made by Pennzoil. Maybe Pennzoil just didn’t bother to pay the extra expense to get Ultra Platinum Dexos certified. Some people say that the Dexos licensing program is just an attempt by GM to take a cut of profit off the top of motor oil sales.

One person used Pennzoil Ultra Platinum in his GM vehicle. This is what he said:

“In the GM 3.6DI engine, Pennzoil Ultra has done as well as any oil I’ve seen.”

Pennzoil Platinum vs Ultra Platinum Cleaning Property

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum is known for its better cleaning action that allows longer OCI intervals and is specifically suitable for vehicles over 100,000 miles. This is why two main detergent additives i.e. calcium and magnesium have higher concentrations in Pennzoil Ultra Platinum oil as compared to Pennzoil Platinum.

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum has 1164 ppm calcium and 753 ppm magnesium while Pennzoil Platinum has 1006 ppm calcium and 674 magnesium. 

However, keep in mind that if you have a turbocharged direct injection gasoline engine, you should use Pennzoil Platinum instead of Ultra Platinum, especially if the engine is old. The higher concentration of calcium in engine oils increases the frequency of LSPI events.

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum vs Pennzoil Platinum Viscosity Grades

Pennzoil PlatinumPennzoil Ultra Platinum
  • SAE 0W-16  
  • SAE 0W-20  
  • SAE 5W-20  
  • SAE 5W-30  
  • SAE 10W-30  
  • SAE 10W-60
  • SAE 0W-20  
  • SAE 0W-40  
  • SAE 5W-20  
  • SAE 5W-30  
  • SAE 10W-30

SAE 10W-60 in Pennzoil Platinum is only designed for racing cars. 

Pennzoil Platinum vs Ultra Platinum Engine Compatibility

Both Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum are suitable for use in all cars, SUVs, light vans and truck gasoline engines; under all driving conditions.

However, for modern turbocharged engines, Pennzoil Platinum performs slightly better compared to Ultra Platinum in turbocharged downsized gasoline engines as you won’t have to worry about premature combustion and low-speed pre-ignition issues that cause engine knocks.


Is Pennzoil Ultra better than platinum?

Pennzoil Ultra provides better anti-wear and cleaning protection with slightly higher viscosity at the engine’s operating temperature as compared to the Pennzoil Platinum. With only a $3 to $4 price difference, you can’t go wrong with the Pennzoil Ultra Platinum.

Is Pennzoil Ultra Platinum a true synthetic?

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum is a true synthetic oil as it is made from natural gas by a hydrocracking process with which your vehicles your vehicle can experience complete engine protection including better fuel economy, cleaner piston, wear protection, better extreme high temperature and low-temperature performance. 

How many miles is Pennzoil Ultra Platinum good for?

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum can be good for 7000 to 10,000 miles due to its better cleaning property and higher wear resistance.

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One Comment

  1. Just the information I have been searching for on the web. I’m wanting to switch both our vehicles to Pennzoil but didn’t know the differences.
    My 2016 F150 3.5 Ecoboost is particular about servicing. With issues like LSPI how to treat the turbos and how it likes to be run. My wife just got a Hyundai Tucson 2019 w/2.0 GDI which IMO is under powered. I’ve been researching common issues with it and I’m seeing a few horror stories on the website but also supposedly Hyundai fixed the engine issues starting with the 2019.
    After reading the information you provided it kept me from making a mistake.
    I now know that Pennzoil platinum is best for my 3.5 Ecoboost because of the turbos in the smaller engine and it’ll help with LSPI.
    And I can use the Pennzoil ultra in the Hyundai 2.0 .
    I was going to use the ultra platinum in the 3.5 because it’s a little thicker viscosity and I have a problem with oil dilution (fuel) but the Platinum helping with LSPI will help that if I’m understanding correctly.
    I have signed up for your emails so keep on sharing information.
    Thanks. Douglas

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