What is the straight dope on Amsoil?

Are Amsoil oils a scam?

They have published various charts that show far superior characteristics than oils from other established brands like Mobil, Castrol, etc. Yet their oils do not meet major manufacturer specifications, like BMW LongLife 01 and 04, VW 505, MB 229.3 etc.

They claim that their oils are actually exceeding all those specifications but they haven’t bothered to get the certification because it is a costly and time consuming process :dubious:

Does their claim hold water? This is a list of all oils covering BMW LL-04 (Warning PDF) and there are some really obscure brands there. They got the certification but Amsoil won’t? :dubious:

Doing a basic Google reveals that it seems like the only sites to even mention Amsoil are very consistently synthetic-something-or-another-dot-com. And all of those just links to Amsoil’s own tests. After something like ten pages I still hadn’t found a general purpose (i.e. an obviously unaffiliated site) with an independent study.

I did find this thread which seems to indicate that Amsoil not only doesn’t get certified for BMW, but they pretty much don’t get any sort of certification, instead just saying, “Can be used in lieu of X-certified oil.”

They almost certainly do perform according to their tests, but their tests aren’t the same as what everyone else uses as their standards for comparison. For instance the 4-ball test appears to be largely pointless as an engine oil test.

WAG: Most likely they’re of perfectly decent quality, but I’d venture to guess that mystical powers will fail to arise. For almost all applications, it will probably perform just as well as anything else and possibly cost less (I didn’t compare prices), but given that it doesn’t follow certifications and engine manufacturers likely base the materials and tolerances and whatnot on what can be expected via particular certifications, it’s most likely going to have a higher chance of causing an issue.

It is the same quality as other premium synthetic oils. Back in 1986 I convinced my brother’s neighbor, an Amsoil seller, to sponsor a demo derby car I had built. I put the oil in the engine and used a transmission conditioner in the tranny. I slapped Amsoil stickers all over the car too. Early in the derby, I lost my radiator and figured the engine would quit soon after due to overheating. The engine would not die. It ran for at least another 30 minutes without coolant. The transmission also continued to work fine despite the constant slamming from reverse to drive and back. A broken driveline finally stopped me. I took the car home and dropped it on the ground behind my garage.

2 months later I was asked about the engine in the demo car. I charged up the battery for a few hours and when I hit the starter, the engine fired right up. The engine was pulled and put in a 67 Chevy pickup, it ran fine for a couple more years. Based on this I have pretty much used synthetic oils in all my vehicles.

Racer, it’s good to see that you’re not only unbiased and free of conflicts of interest, but that you only base conclusions on rigorous, scientific research. :wink:

I blew up a lot of engines (especially Vega engines) and spent a lot of money doing it. As someone that would drive anything on a race track and do so trying to be as cheap as possible, I would use anything given to me free to save a buck or two. As far as Amsoil goes, I have never bought it personally. I used Mobil 1 for many years then changed over to Royal Purple about 5 years ago. A friend of a friend knows a distributor of RP and I get if for about half the shelf price.

If you think that people get into long, drawn out, heated debates on the SDMB, go on one of the many ‘car guy’ sites and read. I’m on one or two and the mere question of ‘which oil should I use?’ quickly runs into so many pages that it would leave the constant arguers in the SDMB Pit in slack jawed awe.

Having said that, the way that Amsoil is sold and marketed sounds to me a little ‘cult like’. So it makes the hype hard to believe.

The people I know use either Mobile 1 (I do), Royal Purple, or Castrol synthetic. And the Castrol guys insist upon ‘german’ Castrol, not just the regular synthetic.

Srsly, they call us car ‘nuts’ for a reason.

I dunno, all I know is that my manual tranny no longer suffered “kickouts” on attempted shifts anymore (unless I myself make a mistake) once I switched to Amsoil last year.

Those certifications are not required in the US. Only that the oil meets them. And AMSOIL backs their products up with a free parts and labor warranty, should their oil ever fail.

I think the general conensus is that it is just a high quality synthetic oil. What’s unique about it is the multi-level marketing system they employ-- it’s sometimes called Amway for men.

Notice that anytime a board starts one of these threads, you get new members vigorously defending Amsoil. Hmm… what a happy coincidence!

AMSOIL hardly needs defending. Just that the facts need to be presented, instead of wives tales and other nonsense. They are the largest privately owned motor oil company in the world. I retired from Shell Oil Company, the largest publicly owned motor oil company in the world. Any questions?

I’ve found a lot of information about motor oils at this site in the past. You may want to check it out.

My Amsoil story:
I wanted an Amsoil air filter for my car and I knew the (Amsoil) part number but NONE of the dealers that I called would just sell me a filter, they ALL wanted to help me get rich in the motor oil game.
I finally would ask dealers up front if they were going to sell me a filter or try to recruit me, after a LONG search I found a dealer (in Alvin, Texas) that was willing to JUST sell me a filter.

It was a great filter (oilless is indicated for turbo cars as the oil screws up the MAF).


Just call AMSOIL direct. That is what I do.

Yup - Amsoil oil filter user here (on the race car). The well-known industry guru who does my oil analysis suggested I use their oil filter. He recommends a different brand of oil as there’s one that he feels will perform better in my car. I’m using a K&N air filter, even though he doesn’t like oiled filters on supercharged cars, because it is an oddball size that doesn’t interchange out to anything else. The filters that interchange into this K&N part number are different enough that they won’t fit in the custom housing.

This doesn’t really say anything concrete about their oil products, but if they’re making the effort to produce the best filter, I expect they’re at least trying hard with their oil products.


You might check out AMSOIL’s new line of race oils. They are the same race oils that the AMSOIL race teams use. https://www.amsoil.com/a/catalog.aspx?zo=1181889 .

Interesting, thanks. I’ll ask my oil guru about it when I send him my end-of-season analysis sample next week. He does stay up-to-date on new products / formulations (most likely because he’s helped formulate lots of them), so it’ll be interesting to see what he says.

You are welcome. I like the AMSOIL dry synthetic nanofiber 100,000 mile air filters too. I’ve got them in my motorhome, minivan and on the INJEN cold air intake on my sports car. They work great, low cost, won’t have to buy another, nor dispose in a landfill. I just vacuum clean once a year when I change my AMSOIL oil and AMSOIL oil filter.

It helps that we’re Google-indexed now, since this thread was started and ended months ago. We get a lot of old threads on people’s pet topics resurrected that way.

I won’t use Amsoil just to avoid the “Amsoil people” and the cult. Really. I am into high-performance cars and high-performance boats, and one of the least fun things is dealing with Amsoil people (and they stick out like sore thumbs on many boards).

If they all got together, drank funky Kool-Aid and waited for a space ship to take them to mine a comet for special lubricants for their next line of products, I would not be surprised in the least.