The real story on AMSOIL Synthetic Oils
PART ONE – AMSOIL’s Engineered Technologies in Synthetic Engine Oils, Drivetrain Lubricants, and Filtration
Less than 0.1% of Americans and Canadians realize that AMSOIL is the global leader in synthetic automotive lubrication technology, and even fewer really understand AMSOIL. Unfortunately, most have never even heard of AMSOIL. Even those who know of AMSOIL still far underestimate the superiority and breadth of the AMSOIL product line, despite their 45 year history.
In this PART 1 of 2 articles, we explain the superiority of “real synthetics” vs petroleum lubricants, and of AMSOIL synthetics vs others. In PART 2, we unpack the mystery of an AMSOIL Dealership, and the unique advantages it provides in private business ownership. This two-part series will help you understand AMSOIL products and the AMSOIL Dealership business opportunity with minimal bias, from the perspective of a seasoned AMSOIL dealer and mechanical engineer with two decades in automotive engineering and OEM headquarters.
Marketing Bias? Or Engineering Benchmarking?
Am I “biased”? Everyone is. I am radically biased toward facts, toward data, and toward results. I take months, years or decades to form a solid opinion, and remain open to new information that needs considered, because I believe that the statements and opinions of a man and of an engineer need to carry the weight of truth, accuracy and certainty, with estimates leaning to the conservative numbers. Otherwise, what’s the point of another opinion? And what is the value of a dishonest man or dishonest engineer? Not much. Truth is of great value.
I am often assumed to be biased about AMSOIL. That’s partly because I rarely state my central premise, which is based on the bedrock engineering concepts of benchmarking, data and logic. It’s in BOLD below, but first it’s important to mention what led me to those benchmark conclusions:
I considered a researched history of AMSOIL and the lubrication industry, along with the standardized ASTM tests that the entire global lubrication industry and the API use every day (while pretending to consumers that their test data doesn’t exist). I’ve examined the issues and data for years, as an automotive industry mechanical engineer who has had both petroleum and synthetic lubrication training. In personal vehicles, friends vehicles, and commercial fleets, AMSOIL became my benchmark for superior performance, and after more than 15 years I’ve still been unable to find any relevant and valid data to set a higher benchmark for lubrication performance than AMSOIL. That’s the basis of my conclusion.
Engineering Benchmarking and Marketing Bias are extreme opposites. Benchmarking is an engineering method of comparing all newcomers or improvement testing to a proven best-in-class standard, and then adopting better performance as the new Benchmark, or, Reference-Standard. In gross contrast, Marketing Bias is claiming, implying, or generating feelings that a product is the best in its class, without any meaningful supportive data.
“AMSOIL is the Best Lubricant made, the Standard to which all others are judged.” – Bobby Unser, 2003. The remarkable engineer and racing legend was publicly, emphatically stating his lifetime experience and racing conviction that AMSOIL is THE benchmark standard. Many experts and many of the top racing teams agree with Bobby’s convictions.
The AMSOIL Benchmark Conclusions
My historical and engineering benchmark premise, which remains because I have been unable to refute it, is this:
AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants are the most rigorously tested, widely acclaimed, widely proven, widely superior, widely unassailable synthetic oil product line in the world.
From having little access to data and facts, most people would assume that’s a marketing statement rather than a historical and industry engineering statement of fact. But ask the hard questions. Is that a biased marketing statement, or is it a highly informed engineering benchmark statement? Are YOUR opinions based on benchmark data, or on being a victim of emotional-marketing psychology? Let’s find out.
Lack of exposure to the overwhelming superiority of benchmark synthetic lubrication technology is truly the core obstacle that every new customer has with AMSOIL, because the #1 comment we hear from them is the same thing we said over and over: “I wish I had heard about AMSOIL years ago!”
This lack of exposure is not accidental. The continued prevalence of petroleum oils is almost exclusively due to clever petroleum-monopoly strategies, enabled by self-serving OEM silence, to keep consumers ignorant of technology and data. In this state, consumers reliably make purchasing decisions guided by the emotional marketing which is most effective in creating the feeling that they are making “smart” decisions based on logic and facts.
Nearly everyone greatly underestimates AMSOIL’s product-line, both in span and in performance. Just days before writing this, I talked to someone who was surprised that AMSOIL had more than motorcycle lubricants. But AMSOIL has such a large span of synthetic (engineered molecule) products that their assumption could easily have been “just” snowmobiles, or chainsaws, or diesel oil, or racing, or outboard-motor, or commercial lawnmower oil and hydrostatic fluid, or brake fluid…
However, far more important than AMSOIL’s product-line breadth is this: product performance!
Why do subject-matter-expert engineers consider AMSOIL synthetic lubricants to be, as Bobby Unser said, “the standard to which all others are judged”?
Very few are aware and fewer know why apparently the majority of highly trained lubrication experts who investigate AMSOIL products identify them as The Benchmarks in lubrication performance. Why? These are the important summary explanations and reasons, some of which are covered below in more detail:
- AMSOIL was birthed from the intense persistence of jet fighter squadron commander Al Amatuzio who dreamed of bringing the synthetic lubrication technologies used in jet engines, into automotive applications. Amatuzio began designing and constructing 3D molecules to serve as ideal lubricants with robust endurance: that’s a modern industry model that’s VERY different from the oil-drilling, tanker-fleet, refinery, pipeline world of petroleum oil. Similarly, the military nanofiber filtration media technology that AMSOIL brought into automotive is dramatically superior to cellulose paper and other filter media.
- True synthetics are inherently superior technology, while petroleum oil profits are directly and inextricably linked to the minimum level of crude oil refinement that will pass the minimum required performance standards. As a result, synthetic “hype” is like the claim that 65″ 4k flatscreens and new OLED TV’s are breathtaking fantastic enhancements over 1970’s Cathode Ray Tube televisions. Meanwhile, because the petroleum industry is powerless to change their billions invested in their dying petroleum market, they cleverly market people into emotional beliefs that grandpa’s 25″ CRT TV is the reliable, unbeatable, classic choice of informed consumers everywhere. And they altered the legal landscape to erase petroleum fraud: since ~1999, ethics aside, it’s no longer fraudulent advertising to label highly refined Group III “hydro-cracked” petroleum oils as “synthetics”.
- Petroleum needs consumers to assume or FEEL that their R&D works to provide maximum performance, because it doesn’t: maximum performance has never been part of the mainstream petroleum business model. Petroleum formulation R&D works to minimize the manufacturing costs of lubricants exceeding the minimum performance that OEM’s specify to protect their warranty periods.
- It is the never-duplicated “DNA” of AMSOIL’s relentless fighter-pilot drive for better performance, coupled with their unmatched business model, which fuels their intense R&D and continually pushes the technical envelope of oil and grease formulations to set new performance benchmarks that outperform all competitors.
- AMSOIL’s 45-year track-record has included the first consumer-available synthetic lubricants ever produced in many categories, and the dramatically superior performance demonstrated in standardized tests, racing, and fleet maintenance has established AMSOIL’s reputation for being THE global gold-standard in mechanical lubrication performance. The depth and breadth of AMSOIL’s engineering expertise are unmatched in commercial/consumer lubrication products, and that expertise is displayed throughout AMSOIL’s entire lineup – one of the broadest product-lines in the vehicle lubrication industry.
- Other synthetic lubricant lines do exist, but most seem stuck in a petroleum marketing mindset that formulates “once”, shows superiority against petroleum oils, and then focuses on manufacturing improvements and better ways to market themselves. Like petroleum oils, other non-AMSOIL synthetic lubricants are not typically reformulated to excel, but instead are reformulated when they need to meet additional performance requirements or new oil-content restrictions.
- Performance overkill has real value. More than once, AMSOIL’s “overkill” formulations have pre-emptively rescued countless thousands of customer vehicle engines before OEM’s realized that standard API licensed “starburst” lubricants were failing: AMSOIL protection was preventing the damage all along while OEM’s were silently investigating, without waiting years for a new SAE Service Grade and new oil formulations. And AMSOIL is the dominant invisible presence in racing winner’s circles. Such superiority can’t be faked. It demonstrates that AMSOIL’s dedication to ultimate performance inherently provides a wide safety margin that protects against unexpected circumstances – such as road debris bouncing up and causing damage that empties the engine oil pan.
For one current example, see the section below on the crucial issue of LSPI damage in the T-DGI engines in many new vehicles. The most common: the turbocharged 2.0L engines. (Perhaps AMSOIL is right in saying that their “overkill is underrated”?)
- Many lubrication “facts” and “truths” don’t apply to dramatically superior synthetic lubricants, because they inherently violate the constraints, limits, and normal practices of the petroleum oil industry. Since AMSOIL is completely unconventional from a petroleum viewpoint, the majority of “obvious” conclusions and assumptions about AMSOIL are wrong.
- Use of dramatically superior synthetic lubricants does NOT invalidate warranties, and AMSOIL backs up all their recommendations and performance claims with a full warranty – even if the OEM warranty has expired. AMSOIL stands alone in providing a protection warranty, and it includes the extended service drain intervals of their flagship Signature Series oils. Contrary to emotionally marketed consumer beliefs, mainstream lubricants have no performance warranties, and the licensed API Starburst logo provides no warranty whatsoever.
- On an annual basis, AMSOIL synthetic oils and filters are typically lower-cost maintenance than any other solutions, even when their prices are higher, because of the value of long-enduring protection and performance that results from superior design engineering.
Essentially, you could describe AMSOIL as intense engineering excellence, plus a superior pro-consumer business model: it’s that rare combination which continues the dominance of AMSOIL product performance and maintains their fast growth, year after year.
I doubt that AMSOIL’s business model can be adequately comprehended without substantial study and in-person, onsite exposure. It’s challenging even for AMSOIL or a long-term dealer to explain. In fact, the financial power and allure of the AMSOIL Dealership as an exceptional business ownership opportunity usually takes years for Dealers to grasp, even though they’re “on the inside”. It seems that everything about AMSOIL is unconventional, which helps explain why “conventional wisdom” and online “expert” viewpoints about AMSOIL and their engineered synthetics are mostly wrong, or very limited.
In this PART 1 of 2 articles, we explain the superiority of “real synthetics” vs petroleum lubricants, and of AMSOIL synthetics vs others. In PART 2, we will unpack the mystery of an AMSOIL Dealership, and the unique advantages it provides in private business ownership.
What is a “TRUE synthetic lubricant” anyway?
That’s a fantastic, important question. Since everyone seems to have an opinion, a marketing statement, or a logical definition, let’s be unusual and examine facts.
Every lubricating oil consists of a primary “base stock” oil, plus a complex cocktail of enhancements called the “additive package”. The base stock determines the oil’s main performance characteristics. That much is universally agreed on, but beyond that in the last 15 years especially, opinions diverge. It is rare to find an engineer who realizes the vast chasms between synthetic and petroleum lubricants. It’s partly because in the USA the definition of “synthetic” has been smeared and altered by “big oil” for their advantage. But the biggest portion of the engineering blindspot is due to ignorance of synthetic lubricant R&D, design and manufacturing.
In comparison, these two worlds are almost aliens from different planets Petro and Synth. But to realize that, you have to hear and compare the two stories of two worlds, because your opinion is based only on what you know. In marketing, the petro-oil story has had a megaphone, and the synthetic oil story just a telephone. This article is your “telephone call”to learn the Synth planet story. As Solomon said about 3,000 years ago, “every man seems right until another comes forward to question him”.
FREE YOUR MIND – from BIG-Oil Assumptions and Emotional-Marketing Mental Programming
“Big oil” began with the 1859 Pennsylvania Oil Rush, and by the end of the 1870’s the industry had been standardized and monopolized by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. During the 140 years since, millions of hours of engineering have gone into the intricacies of how to most efficiently separate crude oil into groups of similar molecular types and lengths, and remove impurities, and store and transport and market the thousands of crude-oil byproducts… and test them (we’ll get to that later). And in the small fraction of crude that’s used for oils and greases, millions of hours have been spent in training tens of thousands of people about producing, testing, using and marketing petroleum lubricants.
In this petroleum-framed world are a collection of petroleum-industry-based facts which are always or generally true regarding this 150-year-old multi-trillion dollar petroleum oil industry, shaped by billions of dollars invested in refineries, tankers and pipelines. Many facts became textbook statements, and sales-course statements, and auto-parts training statements that actually were always true or generally true, because every automotive lubricant on the market before 1970 was refined from petroleum crude oil.
Refined petroleum engine oil was all that existed for normal mortals until the early 1970’s. So petroleum is the overwhelmingly dominant mindset in the marketing, engineering and “oil industry” environments, because until 100 years after the “oil rush”, synthetics didn’t exist in the automotive market. I’ve observed that even on an OEM headquarters level, it’s rare for any counterbalancing training to exist outside the technical/historical mental cage of petroleum-oil eduction: for many reasons, a full disclosure of the “other” story of completely new synthetic lubrication technology is never heard.
So most lubrication experts who are well-trained in petroleum industry facts, and in skewed market-controlling statements on synthetics, are also mostly or completely uneducated in true synthetic lubricants. MOST of the top-level engineers who are true industry lubrication experts are experts because of their long employment by either large petroleum oil companies, or companies who supply them. So to avoid “career suicide”, some of what they know about synthetics can’t be seriously discussed or even mentioned, especially in any public way.
For all these reasons, the internet is filled with many authoritative statements which are true for petroleum-industry products, yet are untrue, misleading or irrelevant for true synthetics. Frequently, experts are unaware that their true statements are based purely on petroleum-industry norms which do not apply to true synthetic base-stocks and oils, and they are unaware that their assumptions are likely wrong.
For example, most mechanically-inclined vehicle owners have read online advice like this more than once (haven’t you?):
“You should always and only use the specific OEM-recommended products in the owner’s manual, because it (transmission/engine/differential) was designed and tested with that fluid, and other lubricants might not have all the equivalent properties needed for good function and long life.”
That tried-and-true advice is deeply rooted in many factual examples in the joint history of petroleum-oil & OEMs, and was recommended by many experts in past decades. But it’s been abandoned by lubrication engineers for two major reasons:
- 50 years ago it was wise advice. But has anyone noticed that technologies have radically changed? The risks of inadequately developed performance tests which gave value to that wisdom also drove the OEM’s and the API to resolve those risks by expanding SAE Service Grade requirements (or European or Asian equivalents). The modern SG’s are designed to fully define and examine minimum performance requirements (according to the OEMs) using the specified ASTM tests. Consequently, although the advice of your great grandfather’s day may still be true to a small degree in some cases, it’s become a minimal issue even for petroleum oils.
- That advice completely assumes the petroleum-oil business model. Does it apply to high-performance non-petroleum synthetic oils? NO.
Why doesn’t it apply to synthetic lubricants? In true synthetics, the base-stock oil has specific molecular construction(s) which is purpose-designed for superior performance. It’s long been an accepted rule-of-thumb in the lubrication industry that a (designed molecule) synthetic base-stock has 7 to 10 times the film strength of a petroleum oil. This means it is a technical near-certainty that if you test a petroleum fluid and a synthetic fluid of the same viscosity which are designed to meet/exceed the same Service Grade requirements, the synthetic fluid will be superior. And in most ASTM test categories, and in the most important test categories the synthetic will exhibit superior performance, which can dramatically exceed many of the ASTM test minimums.
SAE Service Grades: The Society of Automotive Engineers establishes new Service Grades with the API to support different lubrication needs of new mechanical designs. The Service Grade identifies what types of equipment it applies to, but more importantly it defines which ASTM tests are required, and what test results/scoring/points are required to partly or fully meet the requirements of the new SG.
The use of ASTM tests is a crucial global norm that is used either mostly or exclusively by every major lubrication specification in the world. Why? Because ASTM tests require use of specific test equipment designs, specific calibrations, and specific technician training, and are standardized by fully defining exactly how the test must be performed, and measured/scored/evaluated/graded/reported. The industry knows that a test performed on the same lubricant in a different certified laboratory is going to produce a closely similar testing result, because they are standardized by international engineering teams for that very purpose!
A true synthetic, according to traditional historical engineering and legal definitions (until a shift began in the USA in the late 90’s), has a central “base-stock” fluid that’s created in precise chemical reactions which build specific molecular structures, because the structures are designed to excel in specific performance targets.
Contrast that with petroleum oils, where the engineering is applied to take crude oil with an entire universe of varied molecular structures, and refine it by separating out the molecular structures that most adversely affect the desired properties in a lubricant’s base-stock oil. Contaminates and compromising content abounds in a petroleum base-stock: most of it isn’t exactly ideal, some of it you definitely don’t want but it’s more cost to take it out.
Understanding those basic differences between these two vastly different worlds is very helpful in separating scientific engineering from psychological marketing, facts from endorsements, and objective data from implied benefits. So to accomplish that, let’s contrast the two – petroleum and synthetic worlds:
Big-oil has greatly confused USA consumers and industries by convincing the government to agree (in the late ’90’s) that Group III petroleum hydro-cracked base stocks are “synthetic”, merely because they have to go beyond conventional refinery operations to create them by “cracking” apart the problematic longer molecular chains – these “hydrocracked” oils are referred to as Group III base stocks. As a result of redefinition, there are dozens of “synthetic” oils and “synthetic blends” to choose from on auto-parts-store shelves, which contain nothing but petroleum oil base stocks. This legalized strategy has been quite lucrative for petroleum companies. Outside the US in countries that aren’t already changing their laws, these oils are not advertised as synthetic because it is still advertising fraud.
Traditionally, and still with consumers, a synthetic oil was understood (and sometimes legally defined) to be a designed molecular structure that is manufactured, built with some precision, to ensure an intended ideal uniform molecular structure throughout the finished base-stock. Although well-designed and controlled processes can provide high-performance Group III oils which can rival basic synthetic performance IF they are given high-performance additive packages, there are a lot of ifs that I would never recommend anyone to rely on, because Group III base stocks can vary wildly in content and performance.
What is a Synthetic Oil Company really, and What Category do They Fall Into?
In a recent issue of the industry’s periodical Lubes ‘n’ Greases, an editor identified Valvoline as a “blender”. This term refers to companies who buy ready-finished base-stock oils and then blend them with additive packages to create bottled product. It reminded me of a condescending accusation that AMSOIL is “just a blender”. (In a stark contrast to Shell or Exxon-Mobil, this implies that Valvoline’s expertise in lubrication is mostly an impression created by marketing.)
In ill-informed or petroleum-trained mental spaces which lack a solid education in synthetic lubricants, AMSOIL “cannot” be anything else: AMSOIL’s lack of a petroleum refinery automatically means they are “just a blender” (wrong) – who “just buys their base stock” (wrong), “doesn’t actually make anything” (wrong) and “has no real expertise” (180-degrees wrong).
By that logic, Tesla’s lack of a combustion-engine manufacturing plant means they aren’t an OEM car manufacturer, and the lack of a transmission and a radiator grill on a Model S proves it is not a “real” automobile. Does that mean a TESLA is just a soap-box derby car? Or, could it mean that a TESLA is something completely new, different and perhaps far superior than traditional automobiles?
As a true synthetic oil company, AMSOIL is not “just a blender” of additives into petroleum-oil base-stocks. Why? Because like TESLA, AMSOIL is something entirely different, and in many ways inherently superior.
Perhaps the biggest similarity between the new technical paradigms of TESLA and AMSOIL is that many design limits, rules and “facts” are completely erased or can be drastically altered. For example, huge numbers of automotive design principles are based around the presence and characteristics of combustion engines and transmissions, including size, location, weight and mounting. Because an all-electric car has no combustion engine and no transmission, thousands of long-established “automotive design principles” DO NOT APPLY, and thousands of traditional moving automotive components don’t exist at all. In fact, a TESLA on the highway has roughly a dozen moving parts.
So in the realities of AMSOIL synthetic lubricants, the petroleum-industry conclusions are automatically wrong. Why? Because as soon as petroleum-industry facts are assumed to be THE ONLY facts needed, most synthetic oil conclusions WILL be wrong.
In summary, real synthetic oil companies like AMSOIL are chemical design engineers, and lubricant research experts, and innovative designers of base-stock lubrication molecules and manufacturing processes, and manufacturers and bottlers.
Blending? They do that too, but that’s the simple last part before it goes in a bottle. They don’t buy their base-stock oils: they buy any convenient “feed-stock” bio fluid (often a petroleum product, but bio-mass farm-crop fluids work too), then break it down, then begin building that new fluid into uniform molecular structures of specific designs. This is chemical manufacturing of synthetic base stock oils. AMSOIL DOES have a tank farm, but much of it is inside the factory. They need less than 1% of the volume capacity than if they had a refinery, because they only construct lubricants: AMSOIL doesn’t have to process 100% crude oil to get 5% lubricants, and doesn’t require processing to turn the other 95% into fuels and thousands of other products.
Olympic competition, it turns out, provides an eye-opening analogy to understand AMSOIL. We recently compared Michael Phelps Olympic Gold Medal dominance to AMSOIL’s even more dominant performance in automotive lubrication, and it’s stunning. READ IT, because you’ll never view AMSOIL the same way again. As Michael Orr’s mom told his first football coach, Burt, “you can thank me later.”
A Huge Clash Between Synthetic and Petroleum Business Models is Inherent, and Only the Synthetic Model is Pro-Consumer
In AMSOIL’s world, they are always discovering and creating new ways to increase the performance of the base stock molecular structure, and increase the performance of their proprietary additive package design. Standardized global industry ASTM test-data is their yardstick to develop and validate the performance enhancements that they have devised, to set new benchmarks. Most of the cost in creating new benchmark performance levels is in the engineering of initial R&D and testing of thousands of iterative changes. For better performance, they just invest engineering brilliance and modify the production sequence and/or minor catalyst additives, or improve the design/balance of the additive package.
AMSOIL’s business model provides incentive to continually improve, because excelling in performance and value is what continues to grow their reputation and marketshare. They win new customers by showing them objective ASTM test data, and helping them discover the huge advantages of those high-performance designed synthetic oils in their own vehicles and equipment.
A stark contrast exists in oil formulation and reformulation. In the petroleum world, an oil is formulated once and sold unchanged for four to ten years (or longer) because it still meets the required minimums. The main reason for new lubricant formulations is because prior minimum-performance-level products rarely meet new OEM standards specified in new SAE Service Grades.
In comparison, petroleum lubrication engineers work under a business model where the elephant-in-the-room to optimize is the balance between the least amount of petroleum refinement (expense), with the most efficient way to refine it, and the lowest additive-package combination that will deliver the required minimum performance level at the highest profit margin. “Needing better performance” is a product-development tug-of-war where in order to reach minimum performance standards, a bit more profit margin may be lost. Why? Because to get better performance, the classic options are to spend more money in refining operations, which directly increases in production costs, OR to spend more money on additive packages – which also increases production costs.
This rope-pulling tug-of-war dilemma between higher corporate profits and bonuses, OR higher levels of oil protection & performance for customers, is permanently baked into the petro-oil industry business model. Through the Service Grades, the OEMs state the minimum lubricant performance that is required for warranty protection. On the other end of the rope is sales profit margins. So, where is the motive to maximize lubricant performance in customer vehicles? With the tension of this inescapable dilemma, what is the most likely result?
How does petroleum oil win new customers? They use new marketing slogans, strategies, and product labels that are psychologically targeted to make consumers FEEL like they are smartly buying better / newer protection for their vehicle or equipment. Those marketed feelings allow the petro-industry to dodge the stark realities of minimum performance and old formulations that haven’t changed in 5, 10, or sometimes 15 years.
Which Oil Groups are Truly Synthetic Base Stocks?
In traditional thinking, un-muddied by big-oil semantic and legal manipulation, “synthetic” always meant Group IV (4), and Group V (5). These oil Groups are neither refined nor hydrocracked petroleums. Instead, these synthetics are sequentially built, manufactured to reproduce uniform molecular structure designs – or at least that’s the manufacturing target. Groups I (ancient), II (old), and III (recent) in a sense are generations of petroleum oils which represent increasingly superior levels of fractional refining, and hydro-cracking. Hydro-cracking (Group III) breaks up problematic long chains of molecular hydrocarbons into shorter molecules which are still varied, but shorter and inherently more stable.
Ironically, Group III oils are only as good as you want them to be, and span a broad range of characteristics many times greater than variations in the Group IV and V oils. So Group III oils remain trapped in the same conflict-of-interest problem of conventional petroleum oil performance: how “hydrocracked” do they have to be in order to pass the minimum requirements published on the bottle? This is a very different business question than when manufacturing constructed synthetic lubrication molecule designs: “how uniform is the molecular structure of that last production batch?”
Where did synthetic automotive engine oils come from? AMSOIL !
Synthetic automotive engine oils came primarily from one American company, specifically created for that purpose through the persistent, determined dream of one man. Imagine the 1960’s, when aside from secretive military applications, the only synthetic lubricants used in equipment were in jet aircraft engines. During this time Al Amatuzio was commanding a jet fighter squadron, and he became fascinated with the dramatically superior and improving performance of these purpose-designed synthetic lubricants that could make such a big difference in jet engine performance, maintenance rebuild intervals, and fuel efficiency. (Jet engines have ALWAYS used synthetic lubricants because the extreme demands of jet-engine operation make it impossible for engines to survive more than a few minutes with petroleum lubricants.)
Amatuzio began dreaming of adapting synthetic oil technology to the automotive market, reasoning that there would be a big consumer market for the wildly superior performance and protection of similar purpose-designed, constructed lubrication molecules. He knew that a synthetic engine oil would – inherently – completely outclass the wildly varying, partly refined fractions of crude oil. He applied intense work and great persistence to achieve that goal, becoming inducted several years later into the rare air of the Lubrication Hall of Fame.
Several years after beginning to sell his Amz-Oil, Amatuzio introduced the first API certified synthetic automotive engine oil in 1973. From the very beginning, its superior constructed-chemical design gave it a 25,000 mile or 1 year service life, in addition to vastly superior performance in every test category – plus categories and tests that hadn’t been created yet. And in 1975, in response to AMSOIL’s public proof that it exceeded all requirements for API certification, Mobil 1 was introduced.
The four decades afterward strongly suggest that Mobil 1 was never intended to be superior to AMSOIL performance, but was introduced as a strategy to control and direct the marketing, messaging and training on synthetic engine oils, and to limit its’ rate of market growth, while pretending to be the technology and performance leader. Mobil 1 has never been either the technology or performance leader, and has never attempted to match or exceed AMSOIL performance. In fact, Mobil 1’s formulation has been changed only a few times, mostly with the introduction of a new variation like “Extended” which according to an interviewed Mobil 1 engineer at the Indy 500 announcement, was nothing more than an increase in the additive-package/base-stock ratio.
How do we know that AMSOIL’s performance is superior? Because testing proves it over and over and over and over and over and over and…
The entire lubrication industry has worked with the SAE and other global engineering groups to develop dozens of ASTM tests which are standardized to ensure accurate and comparable test data when performed by certified labs on equipment of specific design criteria, by certified testing technicians. It is these ASTM tests that are the foundation and measured definition for ALL of the minimum performance levels required in the SAE service grades, and for the entire API logo licensing/marketing enterprise.
Although the petroleum industry (which is the American Petroleum Industry) pretends that their licensed trademark certification system is required for equipment or vehicle warranties, it’s a pure marketing ploy. (See this article for in-depth details on API licensing.) The industry knows very well that what the OEM’s require is the use of oils and lubricating fluids that meet the SAE service grade requirements, and that API certification warrantees absolutely nothing to consumers, and guarantees only minimum to mediocre performance.
Clearly, one of the most important questions for vehicle owners is this: how can I compare and pick a motor oil that really IS high performance?
The answer: ASTM testing data lets you do exactly that, because performance in important characteristics is exactly what ASTM tests are painstakingly designed to measure.
Remarkably, the API treats consumers like con-artist “marks” who need to be kept in the dark to protect their profit interests. Unfortunately, they have largely succeeded. Nearly the entire lubrication industry, which conducts these dozens of ASTM tests on a daily basis, just pretend that these ASTM tests and their test data don’t even exist. Why do they do this? There are many reasons, but these are probably the most central:
- The petroleum oil industry is at great disadvantage technologically against real synthetic lubricants, because of their business model of pumping crude, refining it minimally, marketing it greatly, and maximizing profit margins. [You can think of them as CRT television manufacturers, selling TV sets like your grandparents had, watching Gunsmoke in their living rooms.] They have billions invested in a vast industry of drilling, pumping, transporting and refining, in producing not merely lubricating oils (only 1-2% of their products), but many products and vast quantities of fuel. Contrast this with the manufacturer/designers of synthetic lubricants who can take any one of a number of inexpensive biological seed-stock fluids, breaking them down into a uniform base, and building specific molecular structures of high purity, in very efficient production processes that are built for a small fraction of the investment costs of a refinery. These engineered lubrication molecules are inherently superior, and have long been characterized in the lubrication industry as having 7-10 times the film strength of a refined petroleum oil, and several times more stability that naturally results in service life that’s double to quadruple the service life of a petroleum oil.
- AMSOIL created a real marketing danger for the petroleum companies by publishing actual measured values of the lubrication industry’s key ASTM tests. With so much AMSOIL test data available, nearly any publishing of ASTM test data became risky because it would essentially serve to educate consumers that the tests not only existed but that they were widely accepted by global engineering groups as providing specific comparative performance measurements across every lubrication attribute. This is why customer inquiries about ASTM test data and AMSOIL comparative performance are still ignored, sidestepped and redirected by the oil companies to this very day. [You can think of AMSOIL like the upstart inventors and builders of LED and Plasma TV’s , HD TV, 4k, and OLED 4k televisions that were threatening the market for grandpa’s fuzzy TV screens… if flatscreens were only available in a few stores and by ordering online, and most people hadn’t heard of them yet.]
Even worse for big-oil, AMSOIL didn’t take their market manipulations laying down. They started embarrassing the petroleum companies by paying for testing the main oil-market brand leaders along with AMSOIL, at the same time, in the same certified laboratory, and publishing the comparative results. It was an unassailable strategy that API members couldn’t counter, when AMSOIL became the king of published ASTM test data. And when AMSOIL started putting comparative test charts on the sides of their oil cases, with the named market-leading oils (including Mobil 1), it was an even more publicly-visible proof of AMSOIL superiority.
Of course, every major oil company tested AMSOIL themselves, for many years, in hopes that they could nail AMSOIL with some claim of marketing fraud. But AMSOIL’s data was as accurate and unassailable as it was embarrassing, and the testing laboratories couldn’t risk their certifications and credibility by violating test standards to influence outcomes. After more than three decades of enduring this humility by pretending that the ASTM test data – the beating heart of the lubrication industry – doesn’t even exist, the thousands of oil-company lawyers STILL haven’t brought one single claim against the validity of AMSOIL’s certified performance test data.
To equal AMSOIL’s performance margin, Michael Phelps would need to swim five times further than the 100M and complete those 500 meters at twice the speed of the world record pace for the 100-meter race. That’s laughably impossible, proving that AMSOIL’s track record of superiority is more dominant than Phelps’.
The American Petroleum Company (API) member companies strategy of silence has been very effective in the marketplace. Probably under 1% of drivers understands the firm mountainous certainty of standardized ASTM test data produced by certified independent laboratories. It’s impossible to count the number of times I’ve seen people accuse AMSOIL of publishing “dubious” data from tests “they created” – the consumer ignorance is glaring proof of the effectiveness of the “big-oil” market strategies.
How to Handle Confusing Online or “Buddy” Information
Be careful that you don’t allow anyone to talk you out of the advantages of buying the superior level of robust, high-performance protection that is provided by true synthetic lubricants! How can you easily identify the opinions of people who are ignorant and unqualified in vehicle lubrication fluids? Anyone who tells you that an OEM fluid is always the best choice, or that any name-brand fluid is going to work just as well, or that AMSOIL’s published laboratory ASTM test data is bogus or highly suspect, is absolutely wrong: such statements prove that their lubrication opinions cannot be trusted.
So how do you choose the synthetic lubricants that will deliver superior performance? I’ve made it easy here. And here’s why we so highly respect the one synthetic oil company whose ASTM test-data has towered above the rest for over 4 decades. Actually, they are the only synthetic lubricant company we know that embodies the operational business model of “true synthetic oil companies” that I described above: AMSOIL is the First in Synthetics in both history and performance.
AMSOIL is the reason that Mobil 1 was introduced, and it appears that Exxon-Mobil produced it as a means to control the synthetic-oil marketing messages while pretending to be the technology and performance leader that they have never been and apparently have never attempted to be.
What if your “buddy” is giving you a hard time? Simple – help him and save frustration by referring him to our website. Here are some suggested pages…
- Compare Michael Phelps to AMSOIL (less of a gimmick than a serious eye-opener – let us know if you like it)!
- Answering the toughest “Scamsoil” Skeptics with facts
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All Rights Reserved
Typical advantages of AMSOIL synthetic motor oils and filters:
- Save time and money with extended oil drains;
- boost fuel economy 2-10%;
- lower operating temperatures;
- reduce engine and component wear by over 70%;
- triple the remaining life of your lubricated mechanical systems & components.
In nearly every case, AMSOIL‘s synthetic lube and filter products provide best-technology solutions that far exceed OEM specifications. And they provide optimum solutions considering the three greatest automotive insider secrets for vehicle maintenance. That is why we recommend AMSOIL products.
You will not get any of these benefits with conventional petroleum oil !!!!!
AMSOIL – the First In History and In Quality
- First to develop an API rated 100% synthetic motor oil (1972).
- First to introduce the concept of extended drain intervals, with a recommended 25,000-mile/12-month drain interval.
- First to produce synthetic motor oils for diesel engines.
- First to produce synthetic motor oils for racing engines.
- First to produce synthetic motor oils for turbo engines.
- First to produce synthetic motor oils for marine engines.
- First to manufacture synthetic gear lube for automotive use.
- First to manufacture a 100:1 pre-mix synthetic 2-cycle oil.
- First to manufacture a synthetic automatic transmission fluid for automotive use.
- First to manufacture a full-synthetic cartridge-style oil filter.
AMSOIL is proudly made in the U.S.A.
AMSOIL is privately owned by patriotic Americans
Additional and Special Resources:
Gear Lube Comparison Research
This “white paper” gives extensive certified performance data using all of the definitive ASTM tests – with shocking results that explain why so many differentials fail in 3/4 and 1-ton pickups, as well as larger GVWR fleet trucks.
Recommendations and Related Articles:
- Carefully consider the lessons from the Million Mile Van.
- Related article: how to pick the best engine oil.
- Know a skeptic who thinks AMSOIL may be just marketing hype? Send them to our AMSOIL Skeptics page.
- NO, AMSOIL synthetic oils don’t cause gasket leaks or oil-seal leaks: oil-seal leaks are caused by petroleum oils.
- Fleet management resources include the diesel and fleet page, and the Christian ministry and business fleet vehicle maintenance page.
For more specific info on oil selections and tips for turbodiesel pickups, we invite you to expand and turbocharge your knowledge when you…