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Layman's Guide to Synthetic Oil

Choose what you would like to know more about from the list below

The 3000 mile Oil Change Conspiracy

Motor Oil Additives...Who needs them?

Synthetics: The Auto Industry's Best-Kept Secret ..... Revealed!

Do You Change Your Oil When the Dipstick is...?

The Components of Lubricants

How Important is Your Oil Filter?

The History of Synthetic Lubricants

Do I need to use AfterMarket Additives?

Ten Myths of Synthetic Lubricants

FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)


Now that you have learned some of the basic chemical additives engineered into a motor oil by highly skilled chemists, scientists and lubrication engineers I ask you to think about this question:

How can it be that an aftermarket additive company can come out with an off-the-shelf additive that they claim you can pour into any motor oil and it will perform all kinds of phenomenal things the motor oil as engineered by the oil manufacturer seemingly cannot?

My answer is that they cannot.

First of all, the chemistry of a particular motor oil is proprietary and there is no way an aftermarket additive company can engineer one additive to enhance the performance of any motor oil without knowing the exact chemical composition of that particular motor oil. Different base stock motor oils and manufacturer additive package formulations each respond differently to aftermarket oil additives.

Secondarily, a base oil formulation, which is inferior, cannot be converted into a top quality motor oil simply by pouring in an aftermarket oil additive, contrary to the additive manufacturers claims. What works in one motor oil may have totally different effects in another brand and/or type of motor oil. Yet, look on the bottle of any of these miracle additives and they are stated to work with any brand or type of motor oil.

Ironically, if you research the ownership of a few of these aftermarket additive companies the parent company is an oil company.

To me, that raises questions about the motives of these companies in relation to sales figures and profits.

The additives manufactured and marketed by these companies have recently come under scrutiny by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. I strongly believe the additives are on the market because of the profit potential that exists and the consumer demand that can be created by an effective advertising campaign for these products. I have not seen one single iota of documented test data from an auto manufacturers R&D labs that can substantiate the use of aftermarket oil additives.

The claims these aftermarket additive companies make are absolutely ridiculous. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued charges of false and unsubstantiated advertising claims against many of these aftermarket additive companies. After both the FTC and the various companies presented their cases in a court, the false and unsubstantiated advertising claims were upheld and the manufacturers were assessed damages and consumer redress and placed restrictions on the type of advertising they can do in the future.

There is no mystery here.

The additives that are used primarily consist of Polytetrafloeraethylene (PTFE) suspended in a standard motor oil, zinc (remember, zinc is used as an additive in most every major brand of motor oil, however, more zinc does not necessarily mean more protection and can cause other engine problems if not properly blended into the overall additive package of the motor oil), ZDDP, kerosene, acetones, xylene, naphthalene, isopropanol, and chlorine blended with some type of carrier, which is typically a high viscosity motor oil. These aftermarket additives can offset the critical balance of additives the oil company has carefully engineered and blended in as well as cause detrimental reactions with the chemicals already in the motor oil that can either strip away useful additives the oil company blended in, attack internal engine components or plug critical internal oil passages.

The bottom line is that there is absolutely no credible documented data or evidence by any major oil, automotive or equipment manufacturing company that substantiates the use of aftermarket oil additives. My advice is to stay away from any aftermarket oil additive. Based on my engineering knowledge of lubrication it is my professional opinion as an engineer that they are a waste of money and can cause additional engine problems. Instead, spend your money on a premium quality synthetic motor oil and you will be far better off. Don't think just because a particular store sells these additives that they are "ok". Some owners of businesses will sell whatever the public wants and if it moves off their shelves, then it's money in their pockets. Some business owners are more ethical and will not sell anything that they know is detrimental and do not personally use and endorse.

As a side note, I know of two auto-parts stores within a half-mile of each other. One is a well-known family owned high quality performance type store. The owners of this store use the products they sell and also design and build racing and performance cars and have a full machine shop. They will not sell any type of brand of aftermarket oil additive and while in their store I have heard the owner state "I don't sell that crap in my store" when a customer comes in and asks for it.

Yet, just down the road the owner of a large discount chain walked down the aisle with myself and a business associate where he has at least a dozen different aftermarket oil additives prominently on display and waves his hand as he walks by these additives and says "this stuff is all junk, but we sell a lot of it". Unfortunately, for the unwary consumer, there are far too many unscrupulous business owners out there that will sell anything the public will buy, whether it be any good or not.

In fact, "in the case of oil additives, there is a considerable volume of evidence against their effectiveness. This evidence comes from well-known and identifiable expert sources, including independent research laboratories, state universities major engine manufacturers, and even NASA".

Additionally, a friend of mine is an engineer at one of the major automotive engineering and manufacturing companies, and has had the opportunity to work with some of the worlds most skilled and knowledgeable engineers from one of the most successful and well-known national race teams in history. None, and I mean absolutely none, of their cars ever use an aftermarket oil additive. They only use synthetic oil, and not just any synthetic oil, but the absolute best synthetic oil there is.

In summary

I do not recommend the use of any aftermarket oil additives, regardless of how convincing their claims are. Instead, I recommend that you research the different brands of premium quality synthetic motor oil on the market and select the product that proves to offer the best overall performance and protection.

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John Reed
Independent AMSOIL Dealer
343 Main Street
Cadiz, KY 42211






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