Next-Level Performance: Alan Amatuzio on the New Signature Series Motor Oil Formulation
After more than two years and countless iterations run through bench, dyno and field tests, Signature Series delivers on all fronts. AMSOIL Co-President & COO Alan Amatuzio recently spoke to us about taking Signature Series to the next level. Omaha drivers, unite!
AMSOIL Magazine: In keeping with AMSOIL tradition, the changes to Signature Series move beyond superficial updates aimed at meeting the upcoming industry standards. How did the story unfold?
Amatuzio: The previous version of Signature Series was the highest performing motor oil we’d ever made – it had remarkable qualities. As we began developing the next generation of Signature Series to prepare for the arrival of the ILSAC GF-6 specification, we didn’t expect to see substantial performance gains, but we were sure going to try.
As with all our products, we put in long hours to find the best solutions to meet the requirements, then pushed beyond them. We ended up with a motor oil that breaks through the previous iteration’s benchmarks in almost every category. The new formulation demonstrates substantially better oxidation resistance – which means it can withstand incredible heat without breaking down and losing its original viscosity. It’s simply more durable than it’s ever been. The test results were surprising – even to us.
AMSOIL Magazine: It sounds like Signature Series is highly stable. What does this mean for drivers in the real world?
Amatuzio: It means Signature Series is great at fighting thermal breakdown – it’s not going to thicken. Controlling the rate of thickening is one of our fundamental goals. Thinner oils have less internal drag and are therefore more efficient – that translates into better fuel economy for the user. It’s a continuum; if the oil maintains its viscosity for the duration of its time in your engine, its performance after 25,000 miles will be comparable to the day it was installed. Signature Series maintains “like new” performance throughout extended drain intervals.
AMSOIL Magazine: Full protection from low-speed pre-ignition is one of the prominent new features of Signature Series. What is LSPI and why is it garnering so much attention?
Amatuzio: LSPI is the spontaneous ignition of the fuel/air mixture prior to spark-triggered ignition. It’s a big issue in today’s advanced engines and is more destructive than typical pre-ignition. The combination of direct injection and turbochargers is particularly conducive to LSPI, and the combination of those technologies is increasing in popularity. GF-6 will address this issue, but it continues to be delayed and the vehicle manufacturers can’t wait for it to come out. They’ve asked the API and ILSAC to introduce an intermediate specification as a stop-gap to address the issues they are facing in the field today. GM handled it on its own with the new dexos1® Gen2 specification.
We engineered Signature Series to fulfill the dexos1 Gen 2 requirements, then moved way past them. A passing score in the GM test is five LSPI events – our oil had zero occurrences. We reached that level of protection by incorporating a unique detergent system [TBN (total base number)]. You might think of TBN like Tums® for your engine. Taking Tums prior to a large meal will likely stop your heartburn before it starts. We’ve fortified Signature Series with an abundance of the right kind of detergents to preemptively neutralize the coming acids and fight LSPI. We’re stocking our passenger car motor oil with the amount of detergents once only common in diesel oil – in fact, Signature Series has more detergents than you’ll find in diesel oils.
We can say Signature Series has 50 percent more cleaning power than OE because that’s an easily verifiable measurement. But the reality is, if you go out into the market, you’ll find Signature Series has more cleaning power than almost everybody. It’s over-engineered. And we’re proud of that.
AMSOIL Magazine: In what other respects is Signature Series “over-engineered?”
“Signature Series is more durable than it’s ever been. The test results were surprising – even to us.”
Alan Amatuzio , Co-President & COO
Amatuzio: It’s shown to be phenomenal in its cleaning power and heat resistance – but we can’t forget about the cold-temperature side of the equation. A lot of wear occurs during cold starts. Signature Series 5W-30 easily flows in temperatures as low as -58ºF. For drivers this translates into easier starts, better fuel economy and reduced wear, not just in extreme cold, but in all conditions.
AMSOIL Magazine: You’re excited about this line, aren’t you?
Amatuzio: I’m proud of all the products in our line, but I had an extra amount of anticipation for this one. I was so excited for the new formulation to be in the Signature Series bottle so I could change the oil in my vehicle. It’s that personal for me. Signature Series stacks up against any motor oil out there. I have no hesitation in calling it the world’s best. None.
AMSOIL Magazine: How can Signature Series receive these substantial advancements in performance and protection without a price increase?
Amatuzio: Our philosophy has always been that allocating resources to research and development is simply part of the cost of doing business. Creating a high-performance motor oil demands it. But there are situations that allow you to lower costs. If you find a high-quality material, you may not have to use a lot of it. Sometimes two materials working in tandem will give you a performance gain. Maybe you previously used twice the amount of additive at twice the cost, but weren’t reaching your goal. Room for experimentation is built into our R&D process at AMSOIL. Thanks to our on-site mechanical lab, we can perform endless amounts of testing to uncover new capabilities, explore new chemistry and just keep pushing the boundaries. That R&D experimentation process is what allowed us to make these improvements without increasing costs.
AMSOIL Magazine: How would you describe the new Signature Series Motor Oils to those unfamiliar with the line?
Amatuzio: I classify the family of Signature Series Oil as exotics. They’re beyond the realm of other motor oil in terms of quality and performance. Our competitors simply can’t match them. Our mechanical laboratories allow us to discover the subtle additive changes that ultimately have big effects. If you’re not running hundreds of experiments, you’re not attempting to be the best. The combinations sometimes seem endless, but we’re dedicated to the process and finding what works. It’s part science and part art.
“Signature Series stacks up against any motor oil out there. I have no hesitation in calling it the world’s best.”
Alan Amatuzio, Co-President & COO
AMSOIL Magazine: In which markets should Dealers pursue sales of Signature Series?
Amatuzio: Dealers should pursue sales with anyone who wants the best. Automotive enthusiasts are looking for a motor oil with all the qualities we’ve been talking about – excellent durability, cleaning power and wear protection. They want a unique product. We answered that call and engineered, or maybe over-engineered, Signature Series for them. Independent repair shops and auto parts store owners want to drive new customers into their stores by setting themselves apart from the competition. With its heightened performance and protection, Signature Series is a great fit for these locations. Couple that with our established following among the do-it-yourself (DIY) crowd and you have a great opportunity for sales.
Available in the Omaha store on 84th.
Omaha viscosites which fall under this label are 0W-30, 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, 0W-40, and 5W-50!