UTV Torture Test: See How AMSOIL Performs

Whether at work or play, enthusiasts push their UTVs and ATVs to the ragged edge. They need lubricants that deliver excellent wear protection despite intense heat and stress. To test the performance of AMSOIL ATV/UTV Synthetic Motor Oil, we installed it in a 2018 Polaris* Ranger* and subjected it to an extreme test in our mechanical lab. As the results show, AMSOIL delivered exceptional protection.

Heat and stress destroy lesser oils

Extreme heat and stress are the biggest enemies to long ATV/UTV life. High-rpm, hot-running engines create extreme conditions that can quickly degrade inferior oils.

Churning engine parts combined with elevated heat create shearing forces that can tear apart, or shear, the molecular structure of the oil. Additionally, the intense pressure the oil undergoes as it’s forced through tight clearances, such as the interfaces of the piston ring/cylinder wall and cam lobe/lifter, also causes viscosity loss due to shear. Oil that has sheared out of its intended viscosity range can fail to form a protective lubricating film on critical engine parts, leading to accelerated wear.

Heat-seeking torture test

We designed the UTV Torture Test to replicate real-world, high-stress conditions.

To achieve maximum power output, a computer-controlled actuator held speed at 45 mph (72 km/h). The tachometer exceeded 6,000 rpm, pushing the engine and transaxle to their limits.

Transaxle temperatures exceeded 280°F (138°C), far beyond normal conditions. Engine oil temperature rose to 280°F (138°C) while the continuously variable transmission (CVT) belt hit 270°F (132°C). In these conditions, lubricants must withstand heat to protect precision parts.

After 100 hours and 4,000 miles (6,437 km) of torture, the engine and transaxle were torn down.


Visit youtube.com/amsoilinc to check out the UTV Torture Test and UTV CVT videos. Just type “UTV” in the page search (under “AMSOIL INC.”).

Here’s the first one


The results

AMSOIL Synthetic ATV/UTV Motor Oil maintained viscosity despite the heat and delivered flawless protection, keeping pistons, cylinders, cams and trans-axle gears in excellent condition.

As the images show, the oil protected against piston scuffing despite the extreme conditions. The piston skirt coating remained intact, while the piston crown and ring lands demonstrated no abnormal deposits or stress. The piston rings remained free and didn’t stick for maximum engine compression and power.

The oil also delivered bulletproof transaxle protection. The transmission gears are clean, virtually free of wear and appear like-new despite the extreme heat and elevated rpm.

Amsoil lab hosts a UTV torture test. Intense pressure and heat


  • 2018 Polaris Ranger UTV
  • 45 mph (72 km/h)
  • Wide open throttle
  • 6,000 rpm
  • 100 hours (4,000 miles [6,437 km])
  • Transaxle temp: 280°F (138°C)
  • Engine oil temp: 280°F (138°C)
  • CVT belt temp: 270°F (132°C)



No visible wear on UTV piston, 100 hours at 6000 RPM.
The piston skirt contained no scuffing and appears like-new while the piston crown demonstrated no abnormal deposits following 100 severe-service hours.
Gears appear like new although temperatures would break down other brands of gear lubricants.
The transmission gears are in excellent condition and appear like-new despite the extreme heat.
280 degrees on external gear box parts.
This thermal image shows the intense engine heat generated during the test.


ATV and UTV CVT transmission explained - diagram.



Most UTVs have a CVT, or continuously variable transmission.

A CVT allows the engine to operate at optimum power and efficiency in varying conditions by changing the gear ratio based on speed, rpm and load.

The CVT has three basic components:

  • Drive pulley connected to the engine
  • Driven pulley connected to the trans-axle
  • CVT belt

Each pulley has weighted sheaths that move in and out due to centrifugal force. This changes the diameter of the pulley. The belt constantly moves back and forth to create the ideal gear ratio, much like a bicycle.

When you depress the throttle, the drive pulley narrows and the driven pulley widens, creating a higher gear ratio. When you let off the gas, the drive pulley widens and the driven pulley narrows, creating a lower gear ratio. When you’re hard at work, the drive pulley senses the increased load and narrows, creating a lower gear ratio. This gives you the torque needed to get the job done.

Watch how it works in action on AMSOIL’s corporate video.


Your UTV’s CVT is sophisticated. And, while the CVT itself doesn’t require lubrication, the transaxle does. With CVT replacement costs of $2,500 or more, it pays to protect your UTV’s transmission with AMSOIL synthetic lubricants.

Main UTV Torture Test Article Page two of UTV Torture Test

UTV Torture Test: See How AMSOIL Performs
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