Jason Fenske took to his YouTube channel, Engineering Explained, to break down exactly how much goes into a high-mileage engine oil. Fenske had the opportunity to visit the creators of Mobil 1's Annual Protection motor oil and study the huge amount of testing that goes into making sure the oil can withstand 120,000 miles.
Now, 20 minutes worth of chemistry might not seem all that interesting on the surface, but as Fenske breaks down, it's quite the fascinating process.
There's a lot of information packed into this video, quite a bit of preparation and fact-checking went into this, and I know it's a massive amount to consume. I learned an immense amount over the two days I spent at their facility learning about the testing, and I believe this video captures what I saw very well for only being a 20-minute video. It was fascinating learning about how much testing goes on that we rarely hear about, and it was super cool to see the viscosity and wear metals analysis with time over the 20k mile drain intervals (as demonstrated towards the end of the video).
Of course, the process of creating the oil begins in a lab, where the professionals at Mobil 1 combine a variety of chemicals to make sure that the resulting product is reliable and capable of achieving the goals they've assigned to it. After that, some interesting methods of testing take place.
Now, back to video. As you can see, the oil is pumped through engines to test how well it protects each motor. That's pretty standard stuff, but following that stage, the MADS testing begins. This stage requires the oil to be tested on cars running 120,000 miles on outdoor dynos. The engines of the cars are then taken apart to study how well the oil performed.
It's an interesting dive into the development of a product that is too often taken for granted. And, don't forget, even the best oil in the world will be no good if the filter isn't up to the task.
This post was originally published on August 7, 2019.