Not all oils are created equal, and there’s a new product on the market that comes with a pretty bold claim. Mobil 1 Annual Protection promises a life of 20,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first, before the oil needs to be changed.
Intrigued by the claim, chief explainer Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained decided to go behind the scenes and look at the testing Mobil 1 used to make such an assertion in its latest oil blend. It’s fascinating because, contrary to popular belief, marketers don’t simply slap on some graphics and hope for the best. Market research suggested a consumer desire a product like Annual Protection, and Mobil 1 engineers stepped up to the challenge.
Jason’s video takes a look at the process Mobil 1 used, but it’s also much broader in appeal, at least for anyone interested in oil. It delves into the additives in today’s oils and the process by which any oil is tested to become certified for use in today’s cars. Watch this video and you’ll learn more about oil than you ever thought you wanted to know.
Back to Mobil 1 and its testing procedure for Mobil 1 Annual Protection.
The company first looked at various oil additives to choose what will help achieve the 20,000-mile claim. These included:
- viscosity index improvers: large molecules that prevent the oil from getting too thin when it heats up
- antioxidants: used to prevent the oil from oxidizing or breaking down
- anti-wear additives: create a sacrificial layer on metal surfaces that is constantly being removed and replaced
- ashless dispersants: used to prevent sludge from accumulating
- detergents: neutralize acids and attach to deposits to keep the engine clean
- defoamants: prevent oil from foaming
About 10 percent of the oil is composed of additives. Engineers arrived at a formula using these additives and created a test sample. The sample was sent to lab screening to determine if the formula would pass the required tests.