5 Best Oil For Flat Tappet Cam Engine To Get High Performance

Valvoline VR1 SAE 30 High Performance Racing Oil

Since the lifter of the flat tappet cam engine is flat, it is extremely vulnerable to wear because of its design. So when choosing motor oil for the flat tappet cam engine, you must ensure the oil contains more ZDDP than regular oil. 

If you want to choose the best oil for flat tappet cam engines, scroll down and check our list. Here, we have discussed all the technical parts of our selected 5 engine oils, the benefits you get from the oil, and even their drawbacks. So that you can justify their impact on your engine performance. 

Best Oil For Flat Tappet Cam Engine Comparison Table

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Best Oil For Flat Tappet Cam Engine Reviews 

1. Valvoline Synthetic Blend Motor Oil – Best For Daily Protection 

Is your vehicle’s flat tappet cam engine running roughly due to poor oil? It’s time to change that poor oil with the Valvoline Synthetic Blend Motor Oil to ensure it runs smoothly, and its mileage improvement.

However, if you live in a regional area where you get partial summer heat and a partial pretty cold winter. This SAE 10W-30 viscosity oil will offer you great performance for your engine’s daily protection. 

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It can prevent building sludge and deposits by cleaning your engine with its added detergent. Even the low friction technology of the oil protects your engine from getting metal-to-metal contact by constantly lubricating all the parts of the tap engine. 

Once you start using this oil for your flat cam engine, the engine will be as good as new even after running more than 57,000 miles. What does it indicate? Basically, it indicates the engine’s prolonged life with the best potential. 

Besides all those qualities, Valvoline Oil is 30%- 50% more economical than any other motor oil, depending on the brand. So there are many valid reasons to pick this oil for the tap cam engine’s daily protection. 

What We Like

  • Meets industry standards and pure synthetic oil 
  • Ensure smooth running as silk in every weather condition
  • Increase anti-wear properties to offer long-lasting performance
  • Fuel efficient and ensure less fuel cost

What We Don’t Like

  • Once the oil lost its viscosity, it won’t be good for the engine’s moving parts


The Valvoline Synthetic oil will be the right choice to prevent your engine from deposits, rust, corrosion, and wear damage. As it comes at a reasonable price, once you try it, you’ll be a fan for the rest of your engine life

2. Shell Rotella T6 Diesel Engine Oil – Best For Multiple Engines 

You must choose the hard-working oil if you don’t want to lose your hard-working flat cam engine. In this case, we recommend the Shell Rotella 15w-40 diesel engine oil because it is formulated following Triple Protection Plus technology to offer you 3 key benefits. 

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It has high detergent and multi-functional additives to ensure superior protection against dirt, sludge, lead corrosion, deposits of copper, and other engine-contaminated particles. So the engine’s internal components will remain clean and easily optimize its longevity. 

The 15W-40 viscosity of the oil will perform excellently in higher low-temperature flow at -15°C temperature. As a result, you won’t have to face your engine’s hard starting due to slowly reaching oil to the critical engine parts. 

On top-notch, its advanced low ash formulation reduces carbon emissions in the environment by ensuring 1.5% less fuel consumption. So, as an environmentally friendly oil, Shell Rotella must be your right choice to protect the environment without compromising your engine’s performance and durability. 

What We Like

  • Meet API industry wear tests and excellent quality 
  • The engine feels better, is quieter, and performs greater 
  • Runs the engine 15000 miles between intervals
  • Excellent gallon’s design to easily transport and drain the oil with no mess up

What We Don’t Like

  • The large container needs better packaging 


Shell Rotella T6 is good for flat tappet cams, ATVs with wet clutches, trucks, and agricultural motorized vehicles. Moreover, it can ensure the engine’s higher performance by protecting it from stress, pressure, friction, and corrosion even in cold weather. 

3. Valvoline™ Synthetic Blend Motor Oil – Best For High Mileage 

How would you feel if the high mileage engine oil shipped to your door for approximately the same price as driving to your local store? Pretty exciting, as it saves you hassles of lines or rude employees. Yes, this time, we pick the most high mileage but budget-friendly synthetic oil for your flat tappet cam engine from the renowned brand Valvoline. 

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Valvoline™ Synthetic Blend Motor Oil meets almost all industry standards and contains anti-wear additives to protect the engine’s critical parts from metal-to-metal contact. So the parts won’t get any chance to be fragile due to frictional engagement. 

In addition, this 20W-50 viscosity oil flows easily to the engine, perfectly lubricates all the engine’s parts, and protects against stress even in harsh weather conditions. As a result, your engine can offer you 75000 extra mileage efficiency. 

The engine will be corrosion and rust-resistant because of the oil’s smooth coat. As the engine will be free from sludge formation, it prevents higher emissions that cause environmental pollution. 

What We Like

  • Outstanding quality and viscosity for the price
  • The oil lasts around 90 days with moderate use
  • Its premium seal conditioner prevents the engine inside and outside from leaking
  • Ergonomic design plastic container is easy to pour

What We Don’t Like

  • Sometimes the container cap leaks oil for poor packaging 


Valvoline™ Motor Oil is one of the best selections for those with tight budgets but who want the high mileage oil for their tappet cam engine. Because it can excellently lubricate the engine’s internal elements to keep it free of internal problems.

4. Valvoline VR1 Racing Motor Oil – Best For High Performance 

Are you looking for motor oil that suits your hydraulic or mechanical lifters racing car? If so, the Valvoline VR1 Racing Motor Oil will be the best bat for you. Because the great horsepower of this oil will boost up racing performance by lubing all the moving parts of the engine. 

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Though it is non-synthetic oil, it contains higher zinc and phosphorus levels than its fully synthetic counterpart. So that it can provide extreme wear and tear protection that enhances the longevity of your engine, which means there is nothing to worry about the engine’s frictional damages. 

In most cases, high temp weather is one of the racers’ concerns, as it slows the oil’s transformation to the engine compartment. Forget this hassle, even if you live in a summer-based region, as the oil lubes the engine well, even over 100 degrees. So no matter the weather, you can use this oil to get smooth racing performance for your racing car. 

This oil is also compatible with other passenger vehicles besides oval, paved, and drag racing cars. So if you have multiple motorized vehicles, that saves your bucks from buying separate oil for those cars. 

What We Like

  • Right choice for racing and old engines 
  • Great value for the high-quality oil
  • Less friction means cars seem to leak less
  • Incredibly wear protection and boost power 
  • Comes with easy handling container at a reasonable price

What We Don’t Like

  • Not recommended to use in wet clutches or catalytic converters engine 


You won’t find a better option than Valvoline VR1 Racing Oil for your racing car with a flat tappet cam engine. As it ensures the highest protection, optimal performance, and longer engine life, undoubtedly try it and feel the racing excitement. 

5. Triax Fleet Supreme ESP Diesel Engine Oil – Best For Friction Optimization 

Are you a lazy guy who wants good diesel oil for your flat tappet cam engine, with no hassle of frequent buying? Our last pick is Triax Fleet Supreme ESP Diesel Engine Oil only for you, which comes with a 5-gallon pail. Your engine will run approximately 25k to 80k miles drain interval for pickups and class 8 semi-trucks. That means it offers extraordinary mileage efficiency to most other engine oils.

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The oil contains boron and many other friction modifiers that work for your engine to make it a top performer. So there is no need to add other popular zinc and prosperous additives to the oil; that is a big money saver for you. In addition, all those friction modifying properties offer up to 65% less frictional damage. 

The excellent 15W-40 viscosity of the oil is good to fit in the summer and winter seasons. Because it won’t drop its viscosity level in hot and maintain oil-flowing resistance even at -45°f. temperature.  Since it can lubricate all the engine components, it can magically reduce the startup wear of the engine, which prolongs its durability and lifespan. 

The oil also dramatically controls deposit and sludge formation that keep oil clean even after burning. That’s why you can always get a smooth and quiet running engine that enhances your peace of driving. 

What We Like

  • Superior protection against friction, rust, and corrosion 
  • Ensure better high temp and oxidation stability
  • Offer 75% less wear than most other oils 
  • The oil will stay clean longer to change easily 

What We Don’t Like

  • Large container and pretty expensive 


If you don’t have budget issues, choose this Triax Fleet ESP Diesel Oil for better thermal stability and reliable engine performance. No metal friction means less wear and longer engine life. 

A Complete Buying Guide To Choose The Best Oil For Flat Tappet Cam Engine

The flat tappet camshaft engine is different from most other engines because it is designed and located to spin the lifter on the cam lobe. So, you must keep some specific features in mind before choosing oil for this engine. Let’s see what they are 

Amount of Zinc & Phosphorus 

Most engines have base oil, crude petroleum, different additives, and unique compositions. But when you are selecting engine oil for a flat tappet cam, you have to check if there is zinc and phosphorus in the oil composition or not. 

If yes, check its amount, as the oil must have 1000-1400 parts per million (ppm) zinc and the same amount of phosphorus to protect the engine from friction and wear. 

Viscosity Grade 

The viscosity grade of engine oil shows you how it performs in different weather conditions to flow oil to the engine and protect it from heat. You should choose 10W-40 or 20W-50 synthetic oil for flat tappet cam to ensure high performance. 

Protection Ability 

Quality engine oil always protects your engine from rust, corrosion, and friction, which are the culprits that lead the engine to immature wear and tear. The oil, which can ensure greater protection from these, helps to increase your engine life. Check the oil’s protection ability before placing your order. 

Ensure Cleanliness

Besides protecting your engine, the oil should have kept it clean from sludge and deposits. Both of these can lower the engine performance by making it gooey, which causes high fuel consumption, power loss, hard starting, oil pressure problems, and overheating. In addition, in the long run, sludge can seize the engine that needs repairing and costs thousands of dollars. 

Price & Volume 

The price points of engine oil depend on the brand, quality, viscosity, and volume. So you should check the price by considering all of these three things. Of course, it is wise to consider quality over price. But at the same time, it’s not good to waste your bucks only for considering a brand if you get the same quality engine oil at a reasonable price. 

Overall, the ending note is to choose an engine oil for your flat tappet engine that has perfectly matched all the discussed factors. 


Is diesel oil good for flat tappet cam?

Yes, diesel oil is good for gasoline flat tappet cam engines with the right amount of ZDDP to ensure anti-wear protection. If your flat tappet cam engine is gasoline, the 

Triax Fleet Supreme ESP Diesel Engine Oil is a good fit for you. 

Do flat tappets need zinc?

Yes, flat tappet engines need zinc to protect them from frictional damages. 

Can I use race oil on my flat tappet cam?

Yes, you can use race oil on your flat tappet cam if the oil contains enough zinc, phosphorus, and other additives to provide an excellent buffer against cam lobe damage.

What causes a cam lobe to go flat?

Inadequate lubrication to the engine’s internal components, inaccurate break-in, mechanical interferences, old or worn-out components, and hardware with less torque to spec are some of the causes that turn a cam lobe to go flat. 

How do I know if my tappet cam is flat?

If you find a hard starting of your engine and create a popping noise when it starts, you should consider it as the tappet cam is flat. 

Can you use roller lifters on a flat tappet cam?

Yes, you can use roller lifters on a flat tappet cam. 

How long does it take to break in a flat tappet cam?

A flat tappet cam needs approximately 20 minutes to break in, and in this time, the tappet’s bottom will mate in with its lobes. 

How long will a flat tappet cam last?

On average, a flat tappet cam engine will last 150000 miles with proper care, maintenance, and the right oil. But if all those are missing, and you run the engine hard, it may break down within 100000 miles. 


There is no alternative to choosing the best oil for a flat tappet cam engine to keep it healthy and perform at its peak. The oil we recommend has zinc, phosphorus, and other additives to ensure proper lubrication and all kinds of protection. However, as there are 5 alternatives, choose one which fits your locality according to its viscosity and budget. If you want our experts’ suggestions, you can go with Valvoline Synthetic Blend Motor Oil, which protects your engine from daily wear and tear. 

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