Synthetic motor oil is considered the gold standard for lubricating an engine. Tests and real world experience has shown, without a doubt, that motor oils formulated using 100% pure synthetic base oils outperform conventional petroleum based motor oils in all applications and conditions. Before we examine who makes the best synthetic motor oil, let’s take a short journey back in time and look at the history of where synthetic oils originated and developed.
The History of Synthetic Motor Oil
In 1877, a French chemist by the name of Charles Friedel and his American counterpart James Mason Crafts were the first scientists to produce synthetic hydrocarbon oils. In 1913, Friedrich Bergius, a German scientist, was able to synthesize an oil from coal dust. A few years later in 1925, two other German scientists named Hans Tropsch and Franz Fisher together created a process that industrialized the production of synthetic oil.
In America, in 1929, Standard Oil Company of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to commercially market synthetic oil, but the demand was simply not there at that time. In 1931, two scientists Zorn and Sullivan were able to create a process for the polymerization of olefins. For the first time, in 1937, polyalphaolefins were synthesized.
In 1943, the Germans lost the battle of Stalingrad. One of the reasons given for the loss of this critical battle was that all tanks, military equipment, and aircraft refused to start during the brutal winter weather in Russia. They discovered that the petroleum based lubricants such as motor oil, gear oil, etc. solidified and gelled due to the bitter cold. This led to German scientists desperately looking for alternatives to petroleum oils, thus focusing on trying to produce an effective synthetic oil.
After World War II, aircraft turbo propped engines were replaced by jet engines. These jet engines drove the development of synthetic lubricants because conventional oils were not capable of delivering the type of extreme temperature protection needed for jet engines. Only synthetic oils could handle these extreme conditions.
During the mid-1960s, Lt. Colonel Al Amatuzio, a squadron commander in the Air National Guard, began researching synthetic lubricants for use in automobile engines. He had experienced firsthand the superior benefits of synthetic oils in the jet aircraft that his squadron’s aircraft fleet utilized. He surmised that if it works well in a jet engine, then why not in an automobile engine?
By 1968, Amatuzio was now starting to commercially sell synthetic oil under the company name “Life-Lube, Inc.” By 1972, Amatuzio changed the name of his synthetic oil company to AMSOIL and he released AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil, which was the world’s first synthetic motor oil to meet API (American Petroleum Institute) requirements. It wasn’t until 1974 that a major oil company named Mobil introduced its first synthetic oil named Mobil 1.
AMSOIL Delivers the First API Engine Oil
From the very first time that AMSOIL has introduced their synthetic motor oil, which was guaranteed for 25,000 miles/1 year of service life, all the major oil companies and automotive manufacturers during this trailblazing time found synthetics to be completely foreign to them and in fact the industry saw synthetic lubricants as counterproductive to their marketing efforts and sales of their petroleum based conventional oils.
For many years, oil companies and car manufacturers were pushing 3,000 mile drain intervals. You could imagine, along comes a pioneer motor oil manufacturer pushing their 25,000 mile drain interval motor oil. The major oil companies and car manufacturers did not want synthetic motor oils and felt that cars did not need this type of lubrication protection.
In fact, they considered AMSOIL’s lubricants as “fake oil.” As AMSOIL started to make waves and in-roads into the marketplace, the first major oil company to see the light and give in was Mobil, considered to king of the oil industry. They first introduced their first synthetic motor oil named Mobil 1 in 1974, years after AMSOIL had already perfected the technology.
Little by little, over the years, the automotive industry soon started to grudgingly realize the huge benefits that were delivered by the superior properties and characteristics of synthetic oils.
During the energy crisis that occurred during the late 1970s, car manufacturers were forced to design smaller, hotter running, and more efficient motors that could produce better power and enhanced fuel mileage economy than prior vehicles. Because the engines were now being designed to operate in more extreme conditions, engineers were forced to take a careful look at synthetics since conventional petroleum based lubricants were failing in these new modern designed engines.
The fact that synthetics withstood much higher temperatures, pressures, and stress, synthetics started to be not only accepted, but required.
Eventually, through the 90s, all the major oil companies and car manufacturers that had said conventional lubricants weren’t good enough for engines were now fully accepting and utilizing synthetic lubricants as products that delivered much better levels of performance than conventional oils. A major shift took place.
In terms of who makes the best synthetic motor oil, it appears that the first company to produce a synthetic motor oil that meets API requirements should be and is considered the first choice in synthetic motor oils.
Next, we’ll go into specifics as to the reasons why AMSOIL produces the best synthetic motor oil on the market.
Who Makes the Best Synthetic Motor Oil? AMSOIL!
First of all, the fact that AMSOIL was the first lubricant manufacturer to engineer a 100% pure synthetic oil that met the API requirements can be considered the very first reason in stating their superiority over other competitors. They have more experience, more engineering know-how, and a philosophy of wanting to be the best that earmark their products as standing apart from the crowd as a superior performer in the industry.
What exactly is a synthetic motor oil? For those that have only used conventional petroleum oil, that is a good initial question to ask. AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil is chemically engineered to create a very pure man-made lubricant. These synthetic oils are free of any contaminants and only are engineered with very specifically designed molecules that exist for the sole purpose of performing very specific tasks.
The molecular structure of AMSOIL synthetic lubricants are of pure nature and perfectly even so that their properties deliver superior friction reducing capabilities and impart better fuel economy efficiencies. In terms of their film strength, these molecules are designed to be stronger. When it comes to dealing with the extreme operating conditions of today’s modern engines, AMSOIL synthetic lubricants’ molecular structure is designed to perform amazingly well over a very wide temperature range, be it extremely cold or very hot.
In comparison, conventional lubricants are not created in the laboratory. Rather, they are refined from crude oil that is extracted from the ground. Crude oil is filled with contaminants such as nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, vanadium, and nickel, all of which cannot be totally refined out of the oil. When an oil is refined for lubricating purposes, the molecules are separated by weight but their structure is of differing sizes, thus delivering inferior performance when compared to synthetic oils whose molecular structure is perfectly the same.
Recently, over the last decade, government regulations on emissions and fuel economy have forced original equipment manufacturers to engineer engines that run more efficiently and are lighter and smaller in size. These strict requirements for better fuel economy from vehicles have caused automotive engineers to develop engines that place huge burdens on motor oil.
Conventional Lubricants vs. Synthetics
Skyrocketing engine temperatures and low speed pre-ignition are two issues that have placed difficult challenges on today’s motor oils to adequately protect engine components from adverse wear and damage.
To show you an example of the superiority of AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil, their Signature Series 0W-20 Motor Oil was independently tested in the ASTM D-6891 Test. This is a leading industry standard test that is required by the API SN specification. When the tests were concluded, this AMSOIL motor oil provided 75% superior motor protection against wear and the loss of horsepower than is required by this test, which means that critical engine components such as cams and pistons will be adequately protected for much, much longer periods of time and more effectively than competitive motor oils.
Signature Series Motor Oil provided an amazing 100% protection against low speed pre-ignition (LSPI.) It provides 50% better cleaning power than the competition, which translates to your engine staying cleaner inside much longer.
Additive Chemistry for Synthetic Motor Oils
For turbo charged engines, AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil utilizes a specialized synthetic additive formulation that is highly resistant to oxidation and has an ability to neutralize damaging acids. Turbo chargers create tremendous stress and heat and many conventional and synthetic oils are unable to withstand these types of conditions. In many cases, these oils break down and start to form damaging bearing deposits, which is known as turbo coking. If this process continues and is not addressed, the turbo charger’s performance is greatly affected and could over time fail completely.
During the GM Turbo Coking Test, AMSOIL’s Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil provided 72% better protection for turbo chargers than was required. Another area that can illustrate who makes the best synthetic motor oil is how the motor oil is able to preserve an engine’s horsepower.
During one field test, Signature Series 5W30 Synthetic Motor Oil was used in a Ford F150 pickup truck that had a new 3.5L Eco Boost motor. The goal of the test was to see the motor oil’s ability in protecting this turbo charged direct injection motor from any loss in horsepower and torque when the motor oil was drained at 25,000 mile drain intervals. At the beginning and at the end of the test, power sweeps were conducted so as to evaluate torque and horsepower retention. At the end of the tests, 5W30 Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil very effectively was able to maintain engine performance throughout this tough and difficult 100,000 mile test.
The next area that can illustrate a synthetic oil’s superiority is its extended drain capabilities. For a synthetic oil to offer longer drain intervals, it must be engineered with a high performance synthetic oil additive package. Such a package should offer outstanding resistance to oxidation and superior acid neutralization capabilities over long durations of time.
More Reasons for AMSOIL’s Superiority
AMSOIL’s Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil line contains robust volumes of the finest additives available anywhere. The goal has always been to offer motor oil that would outperform the competition in terms of drain intervals, cleanliness, friction reduction, protection against wear, and be able to prove this during industry standard tests.
This oil is guaranteed to provide up to 25,000 miles of protection, 700 hours of operation, or 1 year, whichever of the three comes first.
Another factor to consider when determining who makes the best synthetic motor oil is how much oil is actually consumed during the service life of a motor oil. The molecular structure of an oil determines how much of the oil will actually evaporate or burn off. Burn off, or volatility, happens when an engine oil becomes too hot, thus causing the much lighter in weight molecules to evaporate or burn off. Left behind are the heavier molecules that cause the oil to thicken up, the additive chemistry to become unbalanced, the release more damaging emissions, and much higher oil consumption.
AMSOIL’s Signature Series Motor Oil is engineered with a molecular structure of equal size and this uniform structure greatly limits the potential of evaporation, thus maintaining the proper lubrication for an engine.
To prove an oil’s ability to be thermally stable and resist volatility and consumption, Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil was put through the tough NOACK Volatility Test. This is the industry standard test to check how a motor oil performs during high temperatures and will illustrate the amount of evaporation that may occur. The test is run for one hour at a constant air flow temperature of 482 degrees Fahrenheit. The point of the test is to measure the percentage of burn off after the engine oil is put through this test. The lower the number achieved during this test shows an oil’s superior resistance to evaporation.
AMSOIL’s Signature Series scored a far lower number than the API set limit for volatility. The industry standard maximum allowable level for volatility was a 15% weight loss. AMSOIL’s 5W20 Signature Series Motor Oil scored a 5.8% weight loss, which is a huge reduction and a very impressive score. Ultimately, this translates to very little need, if any, to add extra oil. Plus, it means less harmful vehicle emissions are emitted into the environment.
Cold Weather Performance for Synthetics
The next area that needs to be looked at is how an oil performs during extremely cold temperatures and during cold start ups. Conventional motor oils contain paraffins or wax. When petroleum based motor oils are exposed to extreme cold temperatures, the oils tend to thicken, thus depriving critical engine parts of lubrication during cold start ups. It has been found that 80% of engine wear occurs during cold temperatures and cold start ups. These dry starts contribute to much faster engine wear and can even prevent vehicles from starting up if the temperatures are too cold.
Synthetic motor oils formulated by AMSOIL do not contain paraffins or wax. Because they are free of these oil thickening byproducts, the oil will stay fluid when temperatures drop to minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit and lower. AMSOIL’s 5W30 Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil will give 66% superior cold temperature performance versus a conventional 5W30 motor oil. For the car owner, this translates to enhanced cold temperature oil flow, fast cold starts, less engine wear, and enhanced fuel economy.
Stay In Grade Viscosity
The last area this blog post will address when answering the question of who makes the best synthetic motor oil will be the motor oil’s ability to maintain its designed viscosity. The goal that was set when engineering Signature Series Motor Oil was to deliver an oil that would withstand extremely hot temperatures and not thin down or break down during tough high elevated engine temperatures. One industry standard test is called the Sequence IIIH Test that is run utilizing the Chrysler 3.6 L Pentastar Engine that will evaluate an engine oil’s ability at resisting thermal breakdown when exposed to extreme heat.
The test is performed with an oil temperature of 304 degrees Fahrenheit. This is 100 degrees F hotter than typical operating temperatures so as to quicken oil deposits and thickening. Even during these extreme test conditions, AMSOIL’s Signature Series 5W30 Motor Oil was able to keep pistons clean and the motor oil only thickened by 6%. This 6% was only considered a minimal amount if you compare the fact that the proposed industry specification limit was to be 150%.
AMSOIL’s ability to stay in grade during extreme heat conditions allows the engine to maintain peak performance and deliver the designed fuel economy, all the while allowing the various high technology systems, such as variable valve timing, to perform as engineered during the whole drain interval service life.
Hopefully this blog post has presented sufficient information in answering the question of who makes the best synthetic motor oil. AMSOIL’s 100% synthetic motor oil provides superior protection against engine wear, protects pistons from LSPI, protects turbo chargers, provides longer drain intervals, helps engines perform at peak efficiency, reduces oil consumption, provides faster cold starts, and maintains its viscosity over a broad temperature range.
All these facts should make the decision quite easy and make you a happy and loyal AMSOIL user for life!