The Thick And Thin Of Wear Control

In some cases, for wear control, any fluid will work: top-of-the-line AMSOIL lubes to bottom-shelf petroleum lubes. So, why use the best when the rest will do? Because nothing’s ever as simple as it seems.


Encountered in all machine elements, friction is the resistance to sliding of two contacting surfaces. Friction results as contact areas – microscopic surface high points – shear.

Wear results as surfaces lose enough material to shearing to impair their usefulness. In engines, that occurs as component tolerances degrade and, as a result, performance suffers.


The study of wear control has been focused on lubrication, the simplest and least expensive wear control method.

In some lubricated systems, such as the journal bearings in automotive engines, a lubricant separates component surfaces during normal operations. Surface high points travel through the lubricant film without touching the mating surface.

Any fluid that tolerates the operating environment and resists being squeezed out from between the lubricated surfaces (a function, in part, of viscosity) may be used to inhibit wear in this kind of lubrication, called “hydrodynamic lubrication. “

Other lubricated systems, such as the cams and followers of the automotive engine valvetrain, depend on the lubricant’s additives for wear control. Anti-wear additives either coat the component surface or they chemically interact with the surface to form a protective shield. Often, the chemical shield is removed by contact and is constantly replenished as the components are splashed with lubricant in this kind of lubrication, called “boundary lubrication.”

Sometimes, such as during engine startup, hydrodynamic systems operate in boundary lubrication conditions. While at rest, a journal bearing shaft rests on its bearing. At startup, the shaft rotates against the bearing until a wedge of oil separates the shaft and bearing. Until separated, the shaft and bearing depend on anti-wear additives to provide a chemical shield of protection against wear.


If virtually any lubricant may be used for wear protection in hydrodynamic lubrication and presumably all motor oils contain anti-wear additives for boundary lubrication conditions, why use top-of-the-line AMSOIL synthetic motor oils?

  • Friction Control: As lubricants separate moving surfaces to minimize friction and wear, the layers of lubricant between the surfaces move against one another. A smooth, uniform molecular structure allows AMSOIL synthetic motor oil layers to slide easily over one another and consume comparatively little of the engine’s energy. That keeps fuel consumption down and power up.
  • Film Strength: Strong intermolecular bonds make the AMSOIL synthetic lube film tough to break so that even during sudden load increases, the hydrodynamic film remains intact, which helps prevent catastrophic damage and wear.
  • Heat control: Heat can change the hardness of sliding surfaces. Because the quantity of material lost to wear is influenced by surface hardness, heat control affects wear control. AMSOIL synthetic lubes keep heat and wear low.
  • Viscosity retention: Effective hydrodynamic lubrication depends on the lubricant maintaining its viscosity within a narrow range. However, cold raises viscosity, impeding lubricant flow, while heat reduces it, impeding the formation of protective films.

AMSOIL synthetic lubricants maintain excellent fluidity in cold temperatures and full, protective films in heat. By so doing, they minimize the time hydrodynamic bearings spend in boundary lubrication after startup and minimize the risk of component contact during high temperature operations.

One thing’s certain when motorists switch to AMSOIL synthetic motor oil: their engines are being treated to the finest lubrication money can buy. And while some engines appear to take the change in stride and continue operating the same as ever, others seem transformed. What may new AMSOIL users experience?

Oil pressure moderates – At idle, a slight oil pressure drop indicates the new oil flows more freely than the old oil did and that’s beneficial to the engine. High oil pressure at idle indicates the oil pump must work hard to push the oil through the engine, which is stressful for the pump. Hard-to-pump oil may also leave some components under lubricated and unprotected.

If they keep an eye on their oil pressure, new AMSOIL users will find it’s steady as she goes – at the new, better pressure.

Higher engine rpms – Because AMSOIL synthetic motor oil generates less intrafluid friction than conventional oils do and do a better job during boundary lubrication conditions, engine bearings rotate more easily with AMSOIL in the engine. You get more bang for your fuel buck. For a given amount of energy, a bearing that moves easily rotates faster than one that doesn’t move freely.

Increased fuel efficiency Less intrafluid friction and smoother boundary lubrication translates into fuel savings as less energy is used to overcome the friction required to move the vehicle a given distance.

More power Yet another side to lower intrafluid friction and better boundary lubrication. The power the engine used to overcome both with conventional oil now goes to moving the vehicle. Many users report their shift-points actually decrease due to the “extra” power their engines find with AMSOIL.

“Spring” cleaning – Synthetic oils clean as they go, removing sludge and deposits left by the previous oil. If AMSOIL synthetic motor oil is installed in a particularly fouled engine without an AMSOIL Engine Flush pretreatment, sludge and debris, freed by the cleaning action of AMSOIL, ends up in the oil filter. Motorists should change their filters frequently until the cleaning process ends. Oil consumption will increase if full-filters are not changed. Once completed, the vehicle’s oil consumption rate will return to normal or even to a rate lower than its customary rate.

Of course, AMSOIL synthetic motor oils actually help engines achieve extremely low oil consumption rates, due to the oils’ extremely low volatility.

Easier cold starting Less prone to low temperature gelling, AMSOIL synthetic motor oils allow engines to turn over more easily in colder temperatures than conventional oils do. In fact, most AMSOIL users find they no longer need block heaters.

Lower operating temperature Oil sump temperatures may run as much as 20° F cooler with AMSOIL than they do with conventional oils. Friction generates heat, and since AMSOIL synthetic motor oils generate less intrafluid friction than other oils do, they also generate less heat.

Additionally, AMSOIL synthetic motor oils are better heat transfer agents than conventional oils are, so the engine’s total heat “bill” adds up to less with synthetics. Flexible synthetic lubricant molecules allow heat to swirl away from hot surfaces and into the midst of the oil stream. (It’s called “turbulent flow.”) Rigid conventional oil molecules move heat along the hot surface. The surface of the oil film gets overburdened with heat while the core of the oil stream gets a free ride. (It’s called “laminar flow.”) Plus, the carbon deposits formed as conventional oils break down coat and insulate hot surfaces.

The bottom line? Better engine performance. Longer engine life. And fewer oil changes!

Reproduced With The Permission Of AMSOIL INC. All Rights Reserved.

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils

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