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Tested: Can Engine Oil Really Last 20,000 Miles?

Road & Track logo Road & Track 2017-12-28 Bob Sorokanich

The newest synthetic motor oils claim you can go one year or 20,000 miles between oil changes. Here's how oil companies make, and test, these new lubricants.: Tested: Can Engine Oil Really Last 20,000 Miles?© Engineering Explained - YouTube Tested: Can Engine Oil Really Last 20,000 Miles? By now, you've seen the claims: 20,000 miles before your next oil change. A synthetic motor oil that can last a full year. It's tantalizing, especially if you're coming from a 3000 or 5000-mile oil drain interval. But can modern engine oil really last for 20,000 miles? And how do oil makers test these claims?

Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained is here to show us how oil companies design and manufacture high-mileage motor oil - and how they test the final product to see if it really lives up to the claims.

Research

Jason went inside Mobil 1's facilities to show us a behind-the-scenes look at how the company makes its Annual Protection motor oil, claimed to go 20,000 miles or 12 months between oil changes. First, Mobil 1 engineers set out the design parameters, determining which oils and additives would stack up to the performance they desired.

Then, they tested the heck out of it. Jason shows us how Mobil 1 makes sure the oil maintains its viscocity, resists ash, deposits and acidification, and protects against wear. Once these lab tests are passed, Mobil 1 moves on to real-world testing, running the oil for 20,000 miles in actual cars driven nearly around-the-clock on dynamometers simulating city and highway driving. Mobil 1 even put half a million miles on a Chevy pickup running Annual Protection oil, changing the oil and filter every 20,000 miles and doing a complete engine teardown at 500,000 miles to check for wear.

The full process is extremely interesting to anyone with an appreciation of what motor oil goes through with every mile you drive. If what you see in this video looks good to you, you can buy Mobil 1 Annual Protection right here.

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