Any more, it is rare to find a company that makes truly great products, adapts to changing times without lowering its standards and takes good care of its people. It is rarer still to find a strong American company whose products also help protect the environment. In 1983, I found and joined such a company. This is my story.
From planes to tractors
In late 1982, I was flying aircraft out of a small airport in Illinois. One day, I stopped to talk with a farmer who farmed many acres of land around the airport. In the course of conversation, he mentioned that the previous year he found a new lubricant that reduced his maintenance cost. Better yet, it lowered his diesel fuel consumption. As a certified aircraft mechanic, I found this intriguing.
I asked him to tell me more. He proceeded to explain that farm equipment typically gets used heavily during the summer months then sits idle for several months over winter. So, these machines need good heat protection when running and an oil that provides good corrosion resistance when idle. Apparently, this new lubricant provided both those benefits. In addition, the oil did not need to be changed as often, which saved him time and money.
I asked the farmer if it worked in cars and where I could find it. He told me it worked in cars but was only sold “from the factory” and was not available in any stores. He gave me the name of the company but could tell me little else.
Making a connection
Later, I went to a training school for ultralights. While there, I learned that petroleum 2-stroke oil would often foul the spark plugs in ultralight engines in less than 50 hours of operation. This had forced a number of pilots to land unexpectedly. Not the best thing for your heart!
However, they were experimenting with a new synthetic lubricant that had, at that point, gone 200 hours without any spark plug fouling. I immediately made a connection with what the farmer had told me. Sure enough, it was the same company, called Amsoil. I was so impressed with what I saw and heard that I joined the company as an independent dealer. Frankly, at the time, my only interest was to get some product for my own use.
The bottom line
Since then, I have tested and used their lubricants in mowers, string trimmers, passenger cars, chain saws, compressors – I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea. Every time, the products worked as advertised and saved me money. Now, almost 40 years later, none of that has changed.
While the quality of the products have not changed, the company has. They recently implemented some innovative ways to benefit their customers, lower cost and make the company more resilient. It has been interesting to watch.