ExxonMobil Follows AMSOIL into Extended Drain
Motor oil technology has gradually progressed since the days of the earliest automobiles. In those days,
standard motor oil drain intervals were between 500 and 1000 miles, and motorists had to switch viscosity grades
with the changing of the seasons. The development of oil filtration and additive technology in the 1930s allowed
drain intervals to increase to 2000 and later 3000 miles, while the development of viscosity modifiers in the 1940s
allowed the formulation of multi-grade oils that could be used in both hot and cold temperatures.
When AMSOIL introduced the world’s first synthetic motor oil for internal combustion engines in 1972, it
set all new standards for quality. Its premium synthetic base stocks were comprised of pure, uniform molecules not
subject to the shortcomings of conventional motor oil, such as volatility and shear. Based on engine tests, drain
intervals could be increased substantially, and AMSOIL recommended 25,000 mile/one year drain intervals. AMSOIL
continues to be the leader in synthetic lubricant and extended drain technology, blending its oils with
top-of-the-line synthetic base stocks and premium additive packages that provide optimum protection and performance
and extended drain intervals.
ExxonMobil recently announced a new line of motor oils recommended for extended drain intervals. It was
only a matter of time before another company followed the path forged by AMSOIL over 30 years ago. Some motorists
may recall that Mobil also followed AMSOIL into the synthetic motor oil business, introducing its synthetic motor
oil several years after AMSOIL. The technology for extended oil drains is obviously available, but until now, the
major oil companies have had other agendas. Marc Graham, who is president of Pennzoil-Quaker State-owned Jiffy Lube
International, was quoted in a 2001 Lubricants World interview as saying, “At [PQS] we use a number internally that
if we [shortened the drain interval] by 100 miles [for each car serviced], it would mean an additional $20 million
in revenue for the company.” He also explained that “if we could move our customers to get one more oil change per
year, it’s worth $294 million for the oil change alone and $441 million in revenue, when you include the ancillary
products and services customers typically buy along with the oil change.”
Mobil backed off 25,000 mile oil change intervals in 1974. Mobil briefly recommended 25,000 mile oil
drains in the 1970’s. It’s not difficult to figure out who they were trying to compete with. AMSOIL was the only
other company offering synthetic motor oils and recommended 25,000 mile drain intervals. However, it may be that
because vehicle manufacturers weren’t yet comfortable with extended drain intervals, Mobil retracted its extended
drain recommendations and simply recommended motorists follow the intervals specified in their vehicle’s owners
manual. Of course, traditional oil change recommendations also allow Mobil and other motor oil companies to sell a
lot more oil. Everyone wins but the customer.
AMSOIL stands apart from the competition. AMSOIL has always formulated its products to be the absolute
best, continually researching ways to make its already outstanding products even better. Other oil companies,
however, are beholden to shareholders, and one could speculate that their incentive is to maximize profit. They
formulate oils down to a price, rather than formulating them to be the best they can be. Then, they price their
products to maximize profits. In addition, AMSOIL has 33 years of experience blending premium extended drain
synthetic oils. That’s 33 years worth of proven performance in the field.
A close look at ExxonMobil’s new long drain motor oil line reveals that two are petroleum based, one is a
synthetic blend and only one, Mobil 1 Extended Performance, is a full synthetic. The petroleum based products are
recommended for 5000 mile drains, the synthetic blend for 7500 mile drains and Extended Performance for 15,000 mile
drains. However, a look at the fine print reveals that ExxonMobil is still recommending drivers follow the oil
drain recommendations listed in their owners manuals during the warranty period. AMSOIL synthetic motor oils are
recommended for 25,000 mile or one year drain intervals in both new and older vehicles. The AMSOIL warranty stands
behind this recommendation.
AMSOIL has recommended 25,000 mile/one year drain intervals since 1972. AMSOIL delivers the highest
quality lubricants on the market. It’s the AMSOIL identity, and it’s what customers expect. Al Amatuzio coined the
phrase “extended drain interval,” and from the beginning, AMSOIL synthetic motor oils have been formulated for
extended drain intervals.
Vehicle manufacturers are pushing for extended oil drain intervals. Vehicle manufacturers in Europe have
been recommending extended oil drains for years. In fact, the average drain interval in Europe is 10,000 miles.
Vehicle manufacturers in the United States are definitely coming around to extended oil drains as well. Most owners
manuals from recent model vehicles recommend 5000 to 7500 mile oil drain intervals. In addition, oil life monitors
have become increasingly common on today’s vehicles, allowing and encouraging motorists to increase drain intervals
up to 12,000 miles, even when using conventional oil. Vehicles equipped with an oil life monitor no longer
recommend oil changes based solely on mileage. The system measures engine operational data such as temperature,
revolutions and speed to determine when the oil is nearing the end of its life.
The motor oil industry is faced with the extended oil drain interval issue. The success of oil life
monitors has posed a threat to motor oil companies who insist oil must be changed every 3000 miles. It becomes
increasingly difficult to maintain this position when vehicle manufacturers are recommending significantly longer
intervals with the use of their oil monitoring systems. This is no doubt one of the reasons ExxonMobil finally
introduced a line of long drain motor oils.
AMSOIL products are available for less. The suggested retail price of the top oil in ExxonMobil’s new
line, Mobil 1 Extended Performance, is $5.79 to $5.99 a quart. That’s right in line with AMSOIL 5W-30 and 10W-30,
which retail for $5.95 a quart. By registering as an AMSOIL Preferred Customer, customers pay only $4.65 a
quart, and even less when purchasing by the case.