SLS Associates .  .  .  A Not So Brief History

SLS Associates is a company that deals with high quality AMSOIL lubricants, filters and related products. While we only started as a company in 1992, the AMSOIL product line is one of the oldest and most respected names in the synthetic lubricants industry. My name is Jim Tully and for more than 50 years I have been driving and maintaining my own vehicles. I started this company almost by accident.

Like many people of my generation, I learned to maintain my own vehicles out of necessity, I couldn’t afford nice new cars and trucks. When I got a new vehicle, it was usually one with just under 100,000 miles on the odometer. Whenever these vehicles needed basic service be it preventative maintenance such as grease, oil and filter or basic repairs such as starters, water or fuel pumps, exhaust systems etc., they went into my “shop” (its normal outdoor parking spot) and I did the work.

From the beginning I was told “2,000 mile or 3 month oil and filter changes are the best thing you can do for your vehicle.” For over 25 years I stuck to that routine. Oil was almost always a brand name, usually purchased by the case when on sale. I tried all of the major brands from Gulf Sapphire for my first car (that got about 100 miles per quart if I took it easy) through Arco Graphite, Castrol, Kendall, Quaker State, Sears, Sunoco, and Texaco to name a few. I also tried the various “additives” that were carried by the automotive and department stores. I even tried things that weren’t available in the stores at the time. With all of the oils and additives I tried, I never found any significant difference in performance or fuel economy.

In 1976 I read an article by someone who had been testing synthetic oil. The author lived in the Chicago area, parked his vehicle outside year round and had gotten unbelievable results with this “new” product. He spoke of driving about 25,000 miles per year and never doing an oil change. (He was changing filters regularly, adding makeup oil and doing oil analysis). After 4 years and 100,000 miles, the engine was torn down for examination, found to be exceptionally clean, and they couldn’t find any significant wear. (My opinion at the time, “Yeah, right. If you believe that I’ve got a bridge to sell you! If you’re interested, the article was in Popular Science, April 1976.)

As time went by, the family grew, the cars got a little better and became more numerous, I kept reading articles about synthetic oil, and I kept doing oil and filter changes every 2,000 miles.

1991 – Wife and two out of three kids with cars plus my own truck. Underneath at least one vehicle every month doing oil and filter (plus all the other needed maintenance).

Enter, a Prodigy Bulletin Board discussion on the pros and cons of synthetic lubricants. (The “Garage” section for anyone who remembers back then.)

By this time I was starting to feel that there must be a better way. I requested more information from one of the AMSOIL Dealers who had answered questions on the board, read through the information, several times, and still couldn’t bring myself to switch. Old habits die hard. It took 6 more months and another New England winter to convince me to try synthetics.

I began by changing the transmission and differential in my “83” C-10 pickup. The results were significant. The truck was noticeably quieter and seemed to want to just keep going. The closest example I can give is the difference I felt when I first went from bias ply tires to radials (for those of you old enough to remember). An oil and filter change the next day finished that vehicle. Up to this point, the best fuel economy I had been able to get out of the 4.1 liter straight 6 was about 14.5 mpg. With the AMSOIL synthetic, the mileage immediately jumped to between 15.5 and 16 mpg and maintained that 1 to 1.5 mpg difference for the next 4 years that I owned it. Most of my driving at that time was short distance, stop and go which is not the best for efficiency. On one of my few highway trips, holding the speed between 55 and 60, I got almost 21 mpg. (That was an out and back run of 75 miles each way with about 5 hours between each leg. Truck was fueled at the beginning and at the end just to get an idea of what kind of mileage I was getting for that type of driving.)

Next was a complete change for my wife’s 84 Olds Delta 88. She also noticed the difference in sound and improved mileage. The thing that eventually impressed her the most, the motor turned over like it was summer, even when the temperature was down in the 0ºF range.

Then it was my son’s 88 Corolla. My daughter’s car at the time had a leaking rear main seal so that one didn’t get changed over.

Since then we have purchased newer vehicles, multiple times, and they have all been changed over to AMSOIL. That’s more than 15 vehicles I have personally changed over to synthetic. Vehicle mileage at changeover has ranged from a low of 11,000 to a high of 108,000. Four of the vehicles had over 70,000 miles when changed.

Any problems changing higher mileage vehicles? The C-10 which had 72,000 at changeover, developed a leak at the valve cover gasket at about 80,000 miles. Gasket probably needed replacement before the change and was being sealed by sludge and varnish buildup. The synthetic cleaned up the deposits and the gasket started leaking. The 84 Olds had a slight valve cover leak at the time of the changeover. Since I didn’t want to get into changing the gaskets at that time (getting lazy in my old age), I tightened the bolts in the covers to slow the leak. The leak stopped. When I sold the car in 96 with almost 145,000 miles on the odometer, it still wasn’t leaking.

AMSOIL warrants their Signature Series motor oils for up to 25,0001 miles or one year (whichever comes first) in non-turbo charged, mechanically sound gasoline engine applications. That was one of the things I found hardest to accept, that an oil could stand up for that mileage and time. I won’t get into the technical aspects of testing on this page but suffice it to say that over the last 26 years I have had numerous samples of oil analyzed (from small cars to heavy trucks) and the results show that AMSOIL is every bit as good as claimed. (For those who want to run a synthetic but aren’t ready to extend changes out to 1 year, AMSOIL now offers the OE Line which is changed at the vehicle manufacturers recommended interval and the XL Line  with a recommended change interval of 12,000 miles or 1 year, whichever comes first. These oils were introduced specifically for the lube shop owner who makes his or her living doing oil changes and for the consumer who just can’t accept that an oil can remain serviceable for 25,000 miles.)

AMSOIL Lubricants last longer, increase fuel economy, reduce wear, and cost less to use in the long run. Couple that with their other benefits and I felt that it was a product I was interested in supporting. That’s how SLS got started!

AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil is recommended for extended drain intervals in, non-turbocharged, unmodified, mechanically sound gasoline-fueled vehicles as follows:

  • Normal Service – Up to 25,000 miles, 700 hours of operation or one year whichever comes first in personal vehicles not operating under severe service.
  • Severe Service – Up to 15,000 miles, 700 hours of operation or one year, whichever comes first. Severe service conditions include commercial or fleet vehicles, excessive idling or frequent towing, hauling, plowing or driving in dusty conditions.
    • Modified engines (non-stock), racing vehicles and vehicles using alternative fuels (E85, CNG, propane etc.) are excluded from extended drain interval recommendations.
    • Change at the vehicle manufacturers recommended drain interval outside of the US and Canada.
    • AMSOIL Ea Full Flow Oil Filters are designed for extended drain intervals. Do not exceed 12,000 miles or one year with other brands of filters unless longer intervals are recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Always change the filter when changing the oil.
    • Check oil regularly to maintain proper fill levels.
  • When used with AMSOIL Signature Series Oils, AMSOIL EaO Oil Filters are warrantied to remain serviceable for up to 25,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first. The AMSOIL Ea15k series filters are warrantied for up to 15,000 miles,  or 1 year, whichever comes first. All other oil filters should be changed at 12,000 miles or whenever the oil is changed, whichever is first.

AMSOIL XL Series Synthetic Motor Oil is recommended for extended drain intervals in non-turbocharged,  unmodified, mechanically sound gasoline-fueled vehicles as follows:

  • Up to 12,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first.  (If your vehicle has an Oil Monitoring System, you can exceed the 12,000 mile / one year recommendation if the system hasn’t recommended a change before then.
  • All oil filters should be changed at the time of oil change.  Non AMSOIL oil filters should be changed at 12,000 miles if you are extending beyond that interval.
  • All oil filters should be changed whenever the oil is changed.

AMSOIL OE Series Synthetic Motor Oil is formulated for drain intervals equal to the vehicle manufacturers recommended intervals in unmodified, mechanically sound gasoline-fueled vehicles.

Oil Filters should be changed when the oil is changed.

In all non-gasoline-fueled vehicle applications, extend the oil change interval according to oil analysis or follow the OEM* drain interval.

*OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer

(1) Engines operating under modified conditions (non-stock) are excluded from extended drain recommendations. Examples include the use of performance computer chips; non-OEM approved exhaust, fuel or air induction systems; and the use of fuels other than those recommended for normal operation by the manufacturer.

(2) Mechanically sound engines are in good working condition and do not, for example, leak or consume excessive amounts of oil, are not worn out, do not overheat, do not leak antifreeze and have properly working emissions control systems. AMSOIL recommends repairing malfunctioning engines prior to the installation of AMSOIL synthetic oils.

(3) Personal vehicles frequently traveling greater than 10 miles (16 km) at a time and not operating under severe service.

(4) Turbo/supercharged engines, commercial or fleet vehicles, excessive idling, vehicles with more than 100,000 miles without prior continuous use of AMSOIL motor oil, daily short-trip driving less than 10 miles (16 km), frequent towing, plowing, hauling or dusty condition driving.

AMSOIL Ea® Full-Flow Oil Filters are designed for extended change intervals. They stop smaller particles, flow more oil and last longer than regular filters. For best performance, use AMSOIL EaO or Ea15k Full-Flow Oil Filters.

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