Shell Rotella T6 Review: A Hybrid Gasoline/Diesel Engine Oil

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Shell’s impressive lineup of Rotella T motor oils has shunned away from the spotlight despite being one of the best. In the highly competitive lubricants sector, marketing is everything and is part of the reason why not many people are familiar with Rotella T6. In this Rotella T6 review, we’ll talk about why it’s is good enough to outperform the best in the business – and it does it at a lower price.

shell rotella T6

Recently my buddy Mike wrote about Oil for 454 Motorhomes and included the Rotella T6. Well some people started asking us questions about why this oil made the top 5, so we wanted to expand into a deeper review of the Shell Rotella T6 for gasoline engines.

Shell Rotella Lineup

The entire Shell Rotella lineup consists of heavy-duty engine lubrication products including motor oil, gear oil, and engine coolants. Older versions of Rotella like T3 and T4 both meet the API CJ-4 and SM specifications, which makes ideal for both gasoline and diesel applications.

However, the T3 is specifically formulated for older vehicles, specifically those without a catalytic converter. The reason is Rotella T3 contains higher levels of phosphorus that may damage the catalysts in the long run.

But with Shell Rotella T6, all variants are API SM rated, which means it applies to pre-2011 vehicles with catalytic converters. Rotella T6 is facing direct competition with Mobil Delvac and Chevron Delo, the latter of which is also a favorite among tuners and auto enthusiasts. Interestingly enough, Delo is also a diesel engine oil that also works for gasoline motors.

Ghetto van adventures made a full review video on this oil. So check it out if you’re into videos.

Wait, does this mean Rotella T6 is a diesel motor oil?

Yes, but allow us to explain. Shell is marketing Rotella T6 as a heavy-duty diesel engine oil, but there are actually two types of Rotella T6. The first is Rotella T6 fully synthetic and heavy-duty diesel engine oil. But since it utilizes Shell’s proprietary Triple Plus Protection formula (and the fact it’s available in 15W-40, 5W-40, and 0W-40), it’s also good for high-performance gasoline engines for both street and track applications – particularly those with forced induction.

The second type is Rotella T6 fully-synthetic Multi-Vehicle. Shell said this oil is engineered to perform extremely well in both gasoline and diesel applications. If you think about it, Shell is referring to fleet customers who want to save big on maintenance costs. Rotella T6 Multi-Vehicle is only available in 5W-30, but it meets both API CK-4 and SN performance standards.

Shell Rotella T6
12,454 Reviews
Shell Rotella T6
  • Full synthetic 5W-40 diesel engine oil with Triple Protection Plus technology protects against wear, deposits, and oil breakdown
  • Improved wear performance with significantly increased level of protection against harmful engine wear (compared to previous generation API CJ-4 engine oils)
  • Enhanced fuel economy capability of 1.5% without compromising engine protection or durability (compared to 15W-40 oils)

Is Rotella T6 applicable to motorcycles?

Even though Rotella T6 is primarily aimed at diesel trucks, Shell was able to grab a slice of the motorcycle industry despite having specific lubricants for both two-stroke and four-stroke bikes. Rotella T6 fully synthetic meets and exceeds the JASO MA standard. This means the oil is good for 4-stroke motorcycle engines with one oil system for the actual motor, wet clutch system, and gearbox.

In case you need to know, JASO is the acronym for the Japanese Automotive Standards Organization. If you see this rating in motor oil, it means the formula has met the Japanese standard for four-stroke motorcycle engines. The reason why Rotella T6 is great for motorcycles is the absence of friction modifiers. You see, friction modifiers tend to destroy wet clutches and cause slippage with extended use. But since Rotella T6 is non-friction modified, it’s a good match in your 4-stroke bike as long as you follow the manufacturer’s requirements for multi-grade viscosity.

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Which Rotella T6 is best for my vehicle?

It depends on the make and model of your car, truck, or SUV. When choosing Rotella T6 fully synthetic heavy-duty diesel oil, you can choose from three variants: 15W-40, 5W-40, and 0W-40. Check the owner’s manual to determine the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If you have a large diesel pickup truck, Rotella T6 15W-40 is a great choice. According to Shell, Rotella T6 15w-40 is specifically formulated to meet the crucial demands of modern low-emission heavy-duty engines and older diesel motors. It offers improved wear protection and protects against early oxidation for higher-mileage performance. It also cleans the engine better than conventional 15W-40 motor oil while maintaining low-temperature oil for effortless cold starts even in the dead of winter.

In fact, Rotella T6 15W-40 offers better low-temperature pumpability at -15 degrees Celsius compared to synthetic blend motor oils. This motor oil will actually minimize wear and tear in colder climates. And if you know anything about engines, cold starts in lower temperatures is the time when friction eats away at piston rings and bearings.

But if you have a fast car with a powerful, high-revving engine, Rotella T6 5W-40 and 0W-40 is a good choice. We heard stories on how this oil is able to silence noisy valve tappets and ticking lifters on complicated multi-valve engines with variable valve-timing or similar technology. All Rotella T6 diesel oils are applicable to four-stroke motorcycle engines as long as the oil adheres to the manufacturer’s recommendations for specific motor oil.

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On the other hand, Rotella T6 5W-30 fully synthetic Multi-Vehicle is formulated to exceed both API CK-4 and API SN performance standards. The formula consists of fully synthetic base oil combined with advanced additive technology to offer superior protection against oil breakdown and harmful deposits.

But the primary advantage of Rotella T6 5W-30 is the better fuel economy. According to Shell, this oil offers up to 2.8-percent better fuel efficiency compared to other diesel motor oils. Triple Protection Plus technology means a cleaner, smoother, and more responsive engine. And if you’re wondering why Rotella T6 Multi-Vehicle 5W-30 is a diesel engine oil that meets API SN standards, the answer is in the synthetic base oil. Shell utilized lower levels of phosphorus to avoid damaging the catalytic converters in gasoline engines.

check engine oil
No matter what oil you run, make sure to routinely check the levels so you don’t run out!

What are the advantages of Rotella T6?

It has one main advantage over more popular brands of motor oil, and we’re talking about the price. Admittedly, Rotella T6 is costlier than T3, T4, and T5. But Rotella T6 still costs less than similar products from Motul, Royal Purple, and Mobil. Of course, each brand utilizes proprietary additives, but Rotella T6 is known for three main factors: oxidation protection, shear stability, and wear protection.

In order to prove this claim, Shell exposed Rotella T6 Multi-Vehicle 5W-30 in one of the most demanding driving environments known to man: the yellow taxi cabs of New York City. The oil was tested for 100,000 miles at 60-percent longer oil drain intervals. Mind you, those yellow cabs are mostly powered by large V8 gasoline motors, but Rotella T6 fully synthetic diesel motor oil was able to physically reduce wear and tear on the valvetrain while offering excellent protection against sludge and varnish in gasoline engines.

 Pro tip Read more about Conventional vs Synthetic motor oil


According to Shell, using Rotella T6 5W-30 Multi-Vehicle will clean internal engine components 75-percent higher than the minimum rating. Meanwhile, piston cleanliness also improves by 20% than minimum while reducing deposits in turbochargers as well. This is the reason why turbocharged and naturally-aspirated high-performance gasoline engines prefer Rotella T6 when it comes to wearing and corrosion protection.


Shell Rotella T6: Pros and Cons

  • Multi-grade diesel engine oil that conforms to API SN standards
  • Great for gasoline engines
  • Ideal to most four-stroke motorcycle engines conforming to JASCO-MA standards
  • Superior viscosity and flow in cold weather
  • Also meets API-CJ-4 specifications and DPF standards
  • Affordable price
  • Rotella T6 hard to find in some markets

Do I need to add separate additives when using Rotella T6?

No. Using additives from a different manufacturer will not necessarily harm your engine (in some cases, it might actually make your motor better), but compatibility is key. Shell Rotella T6 and Rotella T6 Multi-Vehicle are formulated to work admirably without the need to pour additional additives. In fact, some additives contain friction modifiers and may alter the performance of the oil.

When in doubt, it never hurts to consult the owner’s manual or service manual of your vehicle.

How often should I change the oil when using T6?

Again, the golden rule is to follow the maintenance schedule of your vehicle. Since not all cars or trucks are made the same, the owner’s manual is your best friend when it comes to taking care of your vehicle.

We’re sure you already heard stories of fully synthetic motor oil lasting more than 8,000 or 10,000 miles between oil changes, and we’re not saying it’s untrue. Synthetic motor oil was created for many reasons, and one of them is due to longer oil change intervals. But if your vehicle falls under the ‘high’ or ‘severe’ use category (when the car is exposed to daily traffic jams or shorter trips), waiting 8,000 miles before changing the oil is not exactly a good idea.

In order to be sure, consult your best friend – the ever-dependable owner’s manual.

oil filter replacement
Make sure you get new oil
and a new oil filter before you start!

Why do I need to change the oil filter every time the oil is drained?

Simple. The oil filter traps harmful metallic particulates and prevents it from being pumped back inside the motor. And if you don’t the filter, the fresh oil will easily get contaminated with the dirt and sludge from the old engine oil. If you like changing the oil yourself (and that’s a good thing), remember to always replace the oil filter every time you drain the motor oil.


There are literally hundreds of different types and brands of motor oil, but Rotella T6 stands out. It offers better wear protection and prevents oil breakdown without burning a hole in your pocket.


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