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The History of Synthetic Oil (and AMSOIL)

The History of Synthetic Oil (and AMSOIL)

Research into alternatives to petroleum oils began long before Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939. But not until WWII choked off Germany’s crude-oil supplies and dramatically revealed petroleum oil’s failings on the front lines did a clear incentive to develop synthetic oil emerge and the history of synthetic oil begin to take shape.

Coincidentally, as Germany’s soldiers went backward on the battlefield, its scientists drove synthetic-oil technology forward in the laboratory. More than two decades later, a fighter pilot from Duluth, Minn., would take up the mantle and bring synthetic oil to the automotive world.

Here’s the story of how a technology forged in the world’s bloodiest conflict arrived in the vehicles we drive today.

The failure of conventional oil

Much must have weighed heavily on the minds of German and Russian soldiers as Germany’s 6th Army besieged Stalingrad, Russia on Aug. 23, 1942. Hitler had targeted the industrial city since it produced artillery and served as an important shipping route to the country’s eastern regions. Perhaps as importantly, he prized the city because it bore the name of his adversary – Joseph Stalin.

Maybe the Germans were thinking about their defeat earlier that winter in a failed attempt to take Moscow. Maybe the Russians had in mind Hitler’s proclamation that, upon taking Stalingrad, he’d have all the city’s men killed and its women deported.

Whatever the case, surely none of the soldiers or civilians had petroleum oil and its propensity to solidify in the cold on their minds.

However, as the fighting wore on through the winter, petroleum oil’s shortcomings emerged as one of several reasons the Germans lost the Battle of Stalingrad.

Despite early gains by Germany throughout the late summer and fall, the Russians refused to surrender. By late November, they’d trapped what was left of Germany’s 6th Army in a defensive ring around the city. Then Russia’s brutal winter set in. Hitler refused to surrender even as his soldiers slowly starved and ran out of provisions. Adding to the catastrophe, the army’s tanks, aircraft and other military vehicles refused to start due to petroleum oil solidifying in the bitter cold.

The battle ended in February 1943 as Hitler’s first publicly acknowledged failure of the war. It signaled a major defeat for the Axis powers. And it provided dramatic evidence of the inadequacy of petroleum motor oil to perform in temperature extremes.

The history of synthetic oil

Decades before the Battle of Stalingrad, scientists had been searching for an alternative to petroleum oil. In fact, French chemist Charles Friedel and his American collaborator, James Mason Crafts, first produced synthetic hydrocarbon oils in 1877, marking the first notable achievement on the timeline of synthetic oil history.

In 1913, German scientist Friedrich Bergius developed a hydrogenation process for producing synthetic oil from coal dust. Twelve years later, his countrymen, Franz Fisher and Hans Tropsch, developed a process for converting a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons.

In America, meanwhile, Standard Oil Company of Indiana tried to commercialize synthetic oil in 1929, but lack of demand doomed the attempt. That didn’t stop Standard Oil researcher F.W. Sullivan from publishing a paper in 1931 that disclosed a process for the polymerization of olefins to form liquid products.

At about the same time, German chemist Hermann Zorn independently discovered the same process. Their discoveries laid the groundwork for the eventual widespread use of synthetic oil.

For the time being, however, conventional petroleum oil remained the dominant technology.

The distillation process used to make conventional lubricants hasn’t changed much since then. Formulators start with crude oil, which contains wax and a mishmash of elements, such as sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen and various metals.

Many materials inherent to crude oil must be removed through refinement to increase the oil’s usability. Refiners do this by applying heat, pressure and other catalysts to separate crude oil into different groups, called fractions. Further processing results in many of the products we use today, such as kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel and lubricating oils used to make conventional motor oil.

The limitations of distillation

As soldiers on the front lines discovered, however, conventional lubricants have inherent limitations.

Distillation cannot completely remove impurities detrimental to lubrication, such as waxes that solidify in the cold and prevent engines from starting. Nor can it remove the lighter, unstable molecules that evaporate due to high heat. The extreme conditions of warfare exposed the limitations of conventional oil. It became obvious the world needed a better oil, and the history of synthetic oil began to take shape.

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Necessity drives synthetics forward

Synthetic lubricants were the answer.

Unlike their conventional counterparts, synthetic oils are “built,” not distilled. This means formulators start with individual molecules, typically ethylene if formulating polyalphaolefin (PAO)-based synthetic oil, and build the lubricant from the ground up in the laboratory.

To illustrate, think of crude oil like a pile of LEGO blocks haphazardly connected to form various shapes of different sizes. Each block represents a different molecule, including elements such as carbon, sulfur, nitrogen or oxygen.

Distillation separates the blocks into piles based on size. Larger blocks form a pile, medium blocks form another pile and so on. Each pile is analogous to a crude-oil fraction. The fraction containing smaller, lighter molecules is used to make products like kerosene and gasoline. Larger molecules become tar. Medium molecules become products that include base oils.

Distillation cannot prevent irregular molecules or molecules unsuited for lubrication from contaminating the fraction intended for lubricating oils, reducing the finished product’s performance.

Synthetics are built, not distilled

The process used to make synthetic oil solves this problem by removing contaminants. Formulators start with a crude-oil fraction, or a pile of LEGO blocks to continue the analogy. They use different chemical processes to “crack” the blocks into individual LEGO bricks, deconstructing each larger molecule into its constituent parts. They’re left with different molecules, like LEGO bricks spread out on a table.

They select only the pure, uniform materials best suited for lubricating an engine, which is typically ethylene when manufacturing synthetic lubricants. Using organic synthesis, chemists use ethylene to build larger molecules, called alphaolefins. Then they use alphaolefins to build polyalphaolephins (PAO). “Poly” simply means “many.” The final product is a PAO synthetic base oil used to make synthetic motor oil.

diagram on how synthetic and conventional oils are made.

By building the finished product from only pure, uniform molecules, synthetic oils remain fluid in sub-zero cold for easier starts and better startup protection, resist evaporation in extreme heat, provide better wear protection and last longer. Given their superiority, it’s easy to see why synthetics had been gaining popularity even before the war.

But the tipping point didn’t come until the war choked off supplies of petroleum oil to several countries, notably Germany, France and Japan. The Stalingrad disaster coupled with lack of crude oil forced Nazi Germany to undertake an intense effort to find alternatives to petroleum oil. Zorn and his colleagues investigated a wide range of synthetic base-fluid chemistries, many originating from coal and other bio-based sources. Germany evaluated more than 3,500 synthetic esters between 1938 and 1944, a key development in the history of synthetic oil. Their superior performance made them the focus of Germany’s synthetic-lubricant technology during the closing years of the war.

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In America, meanwhile, W.A. Zinsman led a more limited research program into synthetics at the Naval Research Laboratory between 1942 and 1945. The result was the development of the first diester synthetic base oils, a notable contribution to synthetic oil history.

Synthetics take flight

The increased performance demands of aircraft engines helped drive development of synthetic oil during the war. But the emergence of aviation gas turbine engines at the end of WWII and during the post-war era brought synthetics to the forefront. Conventional oils were incapable of providing the extreme-temperature protection required of jet aircraft. Only synthetics could deliver the protection needed to withstand supersonic flight.

Al Amatuzio in action jet F16

Born to fly

One person who’d come to understand this firsthand was Al Amatuzio, Lieutenant Colonel and squadron commander in the Minnesota Air National Guard. Stationed in Duluth, Minn., Amatuzio had experienced the benefits of synthetic lubricants in his squadron’s jet aircraft.

Amatuzio had taken an interest in aviation from a young age as he watched the Sikorsky mail plane fly over his neighborhood on its way to Lake Superior’s St. Louis Bay. At 12, a short ride in a Piper Cub cemented his love of aircraft.

In 1942, Amatuzio answered America’s call during WWII. He attended Naval Air Corps training until the Navy closed the program. After the war and eager to again pursue his dream of flying, Amatuzio joined the Air Force. He helped usher in the era’s new jet-aircraft technology by flying the F80 Shooting Star.

Al displaying the oil that started an industry.

“If it works that well in aircraft…?”

Seeing synthetic oil in action, Amatuzio wondered why it wasn’t used in automobile engines. He reasoned that the same performance benefits could be applied to the vehicles and equipment people depended on every day for work and fun.

When Amatuzio began researching synthetic oil in the 1960s, motor oil quality was poor and engines didn’t last long.

Then-modern oils were susceptible to breakdown in high heat and contributed greatly to hard-starting in cold weather. Oil industry giants thought conventional oils were good enough and thought synthetic oil was unnecessary for passenger cars.

Amatuzio undertook an intense period of research and development. He experimented with various formulations. He studied chemistry and learned about additives. In 1966, Amatuzio had formulated his first synthetic motor oil. To test his formulation, he asked one of his pilots to use it in his brand-new 1966 Ford station wagon.

Throughout the late 1960s, Amatuzio continued to develop and sell synthetic oils under a variety of names. By 1968, he was commercially selling his synthetic motor oil. He incorporated “Life-Lube, Inc.” on May 23, 1969 and continued to commercially sell various synthetic motor oil formulations.

By 1970, Amatuzio had settled on a single formulation and had renamed his company “AMZOIL” – an amalgamation of his name and “oil” – which he’d later change to “AMSOIL.”

Amsoil Logo from the 70's

Still serving in the Air National Guard, Amatuzio ran his company in his spare time, working from his basement and warehousing product in his garage.

His financial resources, however, didn’t match his energy, and he nearly bankrupted himself leading his fledgling company. Since no one believed in his idea, no one would lend him money. And few motorists were willing to pay for synthetic motor oil no matter how profound its performance benefits since it cost several times more than conventional motor oil.

The world’s first API-qualified synthetic motor oil

The omission of two important sets of letters on each can of oil also slowed sales: API and SAE. To earn the trust of motorists, AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil needed to meet the industry performance standards established by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

In 1972, Amatuzio sent AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil to an accredited third-party laboratory, where it was subjected to a battery of industry tests. The result? AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil became the world’s first synthetic motor oil to meet API service requirements. It outperformed conventional petroleum motor oils on all counts, heralding a new age in lubricant performance and engine life while marking a landmark achievement in the history of synthetic oil.

Resistant to change

From day one, synthetic motor oil was foreign to the Big Oil companies and automotive manufacturers of the time.

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil was guaranteed for 25,000 miles/one year, and other oil companies viewed such performance as detrimental to continuous sales. They didn’t want synthetic oil, nor did they believe cars needed it. They were satisfied with the status quo, and Amatuzio was ridiculed for peddling his “fake oil.”

Eventually Mobil, the king of the oil industry, acquiesced and introduced its synthetic oil in 1974. The automotive industry also slowly warmed up to synthetic motor oil’s benefits. Largely in response to the energy crisis of the late 1970s, automakers began to introduce smaller, hotter-running, highly efficient engines that delivered more power and greater fuel economy than their predecessors. Synthetic lubricants gained popularity thanks to their ability to withstand the intense heat, pressure and stress of modern high-tech engines. Chevron introduced a synthetic oil in 1990, while Valvoline followed suit in 1992. Eventually, every major oil manufacturer introduced a synthetic oil of its own.

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The same companies that had deemed conventional oil “good enough” a few decades earlier soon embraced synthetic lubricants as an enabler of higher levels of performance not thought of years before.

Hall of fame induction

The seismic shift in thinking, however, started three decades earlier when Amatuzio wondered why we weren’t using synthetic oil in our cars and trucks and set to work changing the status quo. His contributions to the synthetic-lubricant industry were validated in 1994 when he was inducted into the Lubricants World Hall of Fame, an honor that confirmed his status as a pioneer and thought-leader. His company had grown into a world leader in synthetics and had since introduced several other industry firsts to the market, including the first synthetic gear lube for automotive use, the first synthetic diesel oil and the first 100:1 synthetic two-stroke oil.

Today, more than 50 years after Amatuzio began commercially selling synthetic motor oil, AMSOIL INC. has solidified its status as the premier manufacturer of synthetic lubricants in the world. AMSOIL products are available in more than 60 countries, lubricate approximately half the wind turbines in North America and represent the only choice of millions of discerning enthusiasts across the U.S. and Canada.

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Ask AMSOIL: Should I Use Racing Oil in my Daily Driver?

I Drive Aggressive: Is Racing Oil a better choice for my Daily Driver?

Motorists who are passionate about engine protection and performance can easily succumb to the following line of reasoning:

1) Racing engines are more severe than my engine.

2) Racing engines use racing oil.

3) Therefore, I should use racing oil in my vehicle for best protection.

It’s true that the average racing engine creates operating conditions more severe than the average passenger car engine. However, that’s not to say that modern engines aren’t tough on oil, too.

Increased heat and stress

The turbocharged, direct-injection engines in modern vehicles generate increased heat and contaminants compared to their predecessors. Motor oil bears the brunt of the added stress. That’s why industry motor-oil specifications keep growing tougher and automakers are increasingly recommending synthetic oils to meet these strict performance specs.

Racing creates tougher operating conditions

Racing, however, is a whole different animal. The powerful, modified engines in racing vehicles produce extreme heat and pressures beyond the capabilities of the average car or truck. A 900-hp Pro 4×4 off-road racing truck can produce engine temperatures of more than 300ºF (149ºC). Engine temperatures in a typical passenger car/light truck fall somewhere between 195ºF and 220ºF (90ºC – 104ºC). The difference is even more striking when you consider that the rate of motor oil oxidation (chemical breakdown) doubles for every 18ºF (10ºC) increase in oil temperature.

The tremendous shearing forces the oil bears as it’s squeezed between the interfaces of the pistons/rings and cam lobes/lifters pose another problem. The pressure can tear apart the molecular structure of the oil, reducing its viscosity and film strength.

Racing oil must be formulated differently to protect these demanding engines. Even so, it doesn’t mean you should order a case of AMSOIL DOMINATOR® Synthetic Racing Oil for your car.

Racing oils are changed more frequently

Why? For starters, racing oils are changed frequently. Most professionals change oil every couple races, if not more frequently. For that reason, racing oils are formulated with a lower total base number (TBN) than passenger car motor oils. TBN is a measure of the oil’s detergency properties and its ability to neutralize acidic byproducts. Oils with longer drain intervals have higher TBNs. AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil features a TBN of 12.5 to enable its 25,000-mile/one-year drain interval. In contrast, DOMINATOR Synthetic Racing Oil has a TBN of 8 since it should be changed more frequently. As great as it performs on the track, DOMINATOR is not what you want in your engine when you’re driving thousands of miles and several months between oil changes.

Second, you want to use an oil in your daily driver that excels in several performance areas:

  • Wear protection
  • Long oil life
  • Maximum fuel economy
  • Engine cleanliness
  • Corrosion protection
  • Oxidation resistance
  • Easy cold-temp starts

Motor oil additives produce many of these benefits. For example, anti-oxidant additives fight high heat and extend oil service life. Anti-wear additives interact with the metal surfaces of engine parts and guard against metal-to-metal contact. Many additives form layers on metal surfaces. That being the case, they compete for space, so to speak.

Racing oils use different additives

Racing oils are often formulated with a heavy dose of friction modifiers to add lubricity for maximum horsepower and torque. The boosted level of additives meant to increase protection and performance during a race doesn’t leave room in the formulation for additives found in passenger car motor oils that help maximize fuel economy, fight corrosion or improve cold-weather protection.

Achieving the tasks of a passenger car motor oil requires a finely balanced formulation. Too much or too little performance in one area can negatively affect other areas – and the oil’s overall protection and performance. The list of tasks required of a racing oil, however, is much shorter.

The right tool for the right job is an axiom with which most are familiar. The same holds for motor oil. It’s best to leave racing oil to competition engines and use a properly formulated passenger car motor oil for your daily vehicle.

To find the right oil for your vehicle, use the AMSOIL Product Guide.

A closer Look At Engine Sludge

Preventing Causes of Engine Oil SLUDGE

Brands matter, quality matters and frequent oil changes will not alter this. It’s all based on the additive quality and it does effect the price.

Engine sludge occurs when oxidized oil and contaminants build up on engine surfaces. It can restrict the flow of oil to the point of engine failure and costly repairs.

As the oil installed in your vehicle ages, oxygen reacts with the lubricant, resulting in a permanent chemical change. The oil picks up oxygen and becomes thicker. Just like oxygen attacks metal surfaces and causes corrosion, it negatively affects lubricants and reduces their ability to lubricate, cool and protect components. Excessive heat speeds the oxidation process. In fact, every 18°F (10°C) increase in temperature doubles the rate of oxidation.

Adding to the challenge, contaminants begin to form during normal operation. In engines, hot combustion gases can blow by the piston rings and contaminate engine oil. Glycol from engine coolant, water that forms with temperature fluctuations and fuel are other common contaminants that affect lubricants. Left unchecked, contaminants accelerate chemical reactions, which overload the lubricant and cause the formation of sludge – a gelatinous substance that wreaks havoc in engines.

Sludge can block the oil passages and oil-pump pick-up screen, resulting in oil starvation. Often, the negative effects are cumulative rather than sudden. Many engines with variable valve timing (VVT) use oil pressure-operated mechanical devices to change valve timing, duration and lift. Sludge can plug the solenoid screen or oil gallies and impact the operation of VVT mechanisms, eventually leading to a costly repair bill. Sludge reduces efficiency and increases time and money spent on maintenance.

Signature Series vs. Sludge

Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil was subjected to the Sequence VG test to measure its ability to prevent sludge. As expected, Signature Series produced an oil pick-up tube screen virtually free from sludge (see image below). Our unique combination of detergents and high-quality base oils control oxidation and sludge to keep engines clean and efficient.

AMSOIL synthetic lubricants not only resist oxidation and sludge formation, they can help clean existing deposits in neglected engines due to superior detergency. With modern engines and equipment demanding higher-quality lubricants, it’s good to know AMSOIL synthetic lubricants are formulated to protect against sludge in the toughest operating conditions.

Sludge: a gelatinous substance that wreaks havoc in engines.

 

 

 

 

Signature Series has 50 percent more
detergents¹ to help keep oil passages clean and promote oil circulation. It provides 90% better protection against sludge².

 

 

Synthetic Warehouse note:

We own an ecoboost engine (on our Ford van) so based on our personal experience the Signature Series is the only choice in these engines. They run extremely hot effecting the process mentioned above. Test the oil you are using now at or near Ford’s maximum interval and I’m certain it’s beyond it’s life!! TBN and Oxidation levels can be at dangerous levels.  Signature Series gives you that extra benefit of the doubt because when the detergents dissipate you can start to have severe wear from corrosion and of course needless deposits from sludge AND increased oil consumption. We eliminated 75% of a resent F150 Ecoboost V6 oil consumption problem using the Engine Flush (FLSH) and the Signature Series 5W-30 (ASL).

It’s not just about keeping your car or truck longer. It’s the issues our competition causes such as carbon coating your intake valves which is an issue on modern gasoline direct injection engines.  It’s very costly to clean these as there is no-longer the gasoline we enjoyed as the cleaning agent. Fuel is shot directly into the quench area so oil vapors land on valves and build up over time.
Some newer cars do have an additional injector in the throttle body for start-up and cleaning but this will not be the common setup.

So AMSOIL Signature series will keep these areas cleaner as that’s part of what you are paying for. AMSOIL’s lowest volatility is by far worth paying for. And in some cases you pay less for our product than several of the “so called synthetics”.

Make our Sioux Falls locations your only source for lubricants! Many have made the switch for good. We’re at 47073 98th St just behind Marlins Diner. Exit 73 on I29. Or call to make sure I’m there at 605-274-2580.

 

Small engine won’t start? Identifying the Cause.

Small engine won’t start?

Bad gas is the number-one reason, and here’s how to prevent it.

Len Groom | TECHNICAL PRODUCT MANAGER, POWERSPORTS

In northern Minnesota, where I live, the temperature occasionally breaks 80ºF (27ºC) in the summer. When it does, it’s time to fire up my Jet-Skis* and hit the lake. The last thing I want to do on a sunny summer day is mess around with equipment that refuses to start or run properly.

Bad gasoline is the number-one reason seasonal equipment starts hard or runs rough. Over time, gasoline changes, leaving behind gums, varnish and other solids that foul the fuel system and prevent gas from flowing into the combustion chamber. In severe cases, gasoline can change so dramatically that it no longer ignites.

Gasoline is predominantly a mixture of carbon and hydrogen atoms bonded together into energy-dense hydrocarbons. Like conventional base oils, it’s derived from crude oil via a distillation process that uses heat, pressure and other catalysts to create different fractions. Gasoline is comprised of hydrocarbons that are lighter than those found in, for example, diesel fuel or conventional base oils. Refiners add ethanol to the formulation, typically 10 percent, but as high as 85 percent.

Time Takes Its Toll – You Must Treat Gasoline

Time, however, takes its toll on gasoline. Exposure to heat, humidity, atmospheric pressure, oxygen and other variables degrade fuel.

In addition to gums and varnish becoming more concentrated and less soluble as lighter hydrocarbons evaporate, gas is continually oxidizing, which further contributes to varnish and other gunk. Gasoline oxidizes more quickly than motor oil and its negative effects are more immediately noticeable. That’s why it’s important to use high quality gas and store it in approved containers where air infiltration is limited, like inside a ventilated garage or shed, and not in the back of your truck or under the deck.

Meanwhile, ethanol added to gasoline at the refinery can absorb water from the atmosphere, which can lead to phase separation, which occurs when ethanol and gas separate, much like oil and water. Ethanol that has absorbed enough moisture and has sat long enough can foul the fuel system and prevent the engine from starting.

AMSOIL Fights Corrosion

AMSOIL provides corrosion protection Sea Foam® Motor Treatment can’t match, helping maintain power and performance and keeping metal looking like new even when subjected to salt water.  ?

? Based upon independent testing of AMSOIL Gasoline
Stabilizer obtained Nov. 8, 2018 and Sea Foam Motor
Treatment purchased Oct. 25, 2018 in a modified NACE
TM0172 using synthetic sea water per ASTM D665 part B.

This all sounds dire, but it’s nothing treating your gasoline with AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer (AST) can’t solve. Gasoline Stabilizer keeps fuel fresh up to 12 months. AMSOIL Quickshot® (AQS) stabilizes gasoline during short-term storage up to six months, in addition to providing potent cleaning benefits and protection against ethanol issues.

What does stabilizer do?

That explanation may suit some people, but this is Tech Talk, so let’s look at the chemistry behind gasoline stabilizers.

You’ve probably heard terms like “free radicals” and “antioxidants” in relation to your health. A free radical is an unpaired electron, and most are unstable and highly reactive. They can either donate an electron to, or accept an electron from, other molecules. This starts a chain reaction that can lead to oxidative stress and cell damage. Left unchecked, free radicals can lead to health problems, like cardiovascular disease and cancer. To help fight free radicals, we should eat plenty of foods rich in antioxidants, which lessen their effects. Antioxidants can “donate” an electron to free radicals or trap them, effectively reducing their instability without becoming unstable themselves. Antioxidants aren’t silver bullets, but they go a long way toward improving our health.

By analogy, gasoline stabilizer is an antioxidant for your gasoline. It disrupts the free-radical-induced chain reaction that causes gas to oxidize and form varnish and gums. Some stabilizer products, like Quickshot, also contain chemistry that increases solvency and breaks down existing varnish, helping clean a dirty carburetor and restore performance. As shown, Gasoline Stabilizer also fights corrosion better than Sea Foam Motor Treatment.

Neglecting to stabilize your gas can lead to all sorts of headaches when it’s time to remove your lawnmower, generator, string trimmer or Jet-Ski from storage. For best results, stabilize your gasoline all year long. That’ll ensure your equipment is ready to roll when you are.

Things to Do at Daytona Bike Week

9 Awesome Things to Do at Daytona Bike Week

Ok, so you missed it.. Well it’s better without the crowds so here are some things to keep you busy in the heat. I’ll tell you what, there are a lot of chicks down there so plan for a good time.

March is here, and you know what that means – Daytona Bike Week.

And, with the 79th-annual rally set to kick off Friday, March 6, the “World’s Biggest Motorcycle Festival” is set to draw hundreds of thousands of bikers for the 10-day event.

We’ve been attending rallies for years, so we asked our resident rally experts for advice on what to do while at Daytona Bike Week.

Our list of must-do Daytona Bike Week activities

Hit the 23-mile white-sand beach

Daytona is home to America’s most famous beach.

And, whether you’re looking to get a tan or see the famous sea turtle hatchlings, 23 miles of beach await. It also has designated traffic lanes for bikes and automobiles, lending a unique riding experience over hard-packed sand. Your bike or classic car will love the salt.

Check out the rules, take a virtual beach ride and get inspired for your own travels here.

Daytona International Speedway

So, maybe this one isn’t such a surprise, but it still has to make the list.

Daytona International Speedway stems from the days when racers took to the beaches of Daytona to chase land-speed records. Now home to the iconic Daytona 500, it’s not just millionaires going around in circles on a track all day. You can find a mountain of activities on and off the track during rally week.

Top motorcycle manufacturers such as Royal Enfield, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Harley-Davidson and Indian offer free demo rides throughout Bike Week on the property.

Stop by Thunder Alley to enjoy live music, drink specials and contests.

Rockefeller’s Ormond Beach Home

On the Eastern Bank of the Halifax River lies the winter home of John D. Rockefeller.

“Neighbor John,” as he preferred to be called, took part in many community activities in the area and entertained such guests as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.

Having multiple functions until it was left unoccupied for many years, the City of Ormond Beach purchased the home in 1973 and completed restoration in October 1979.

Today the home serves as a museum, offering tours and exhibits throughout the massive home and grounds. Get more information here.

Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse

Just a short way down South Atlantic Avenue you will find another hidden treasure – the historic Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

Climb 175 feet to the top of the tallest lighthouse in the state and experience world-famous views of the world’s most famous beach.

Find maps and more info on making this part of your trip here.

Daytona Beach - You need to check this place out!! I go every year. Chicks everywhere.

Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier

Who doesn’t love shopping?

The Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier is a combination of entertainment, shopping and dining options accompanied by scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Among the entertainment options are indoor and outdoor rides. Racing enthusiasts (right here!) can enjoy a self-guided tour of commemorative plaques along the boardwalk.

Florida roads under the tropical shade bushes (trees).

The Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail

The Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail is a 33-mile loop traversing the natural scenery of northeast Florida.

Leave the Daytona Bike Week festivities for a few hours and ride this scenic loop with ready access to the Atlantic Ocean, state parks and trails. Make a pit stop and enjoy boating, hunting, fishing and hiking.

During migration season you can even find whales, turtles and dolphins. If you’re an outdoor lover like me, this is a must-do.

Learn more about the Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail, including maps and directions, here.

Daytona Bike Week means excellent seafood

What better place to enjoy fresh seafood than right next to the Atlantic ocean?

With more than 75 seafood restaurants to choose from, there is no shortage of fresh sea life and picturesque settings in which to enjoy it. The Ocean Deck Restaurant and Beach Club is situated right on the ocean and offers a relaxing environment with everything from fresh seafood to wings.

Looking for somewhere right on the water? Try Off the Hook at Inlet Harbor Raw Bar and Grill. Chances are you catch an awesome Florida sunset and maybe even see a manatee or two while enjoying your meal worm.

Cape Canaveral

For those looking for more of a journey than a jaunt, consider taking a ride from Daytona Bike Week to Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Located 75 miles south of Daytona, Cape Canaveral is home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the dreams of millions fascinated by outer space.

If you plan accordingly, you’ll arrive in time to witness a rocket launch.

There’s so much more to see and experience in Cape Canaveral, you should check out their website and make a day or two out of it.

The sun always shines at Daytona Bike Week (hopefully)

Let’s face it – for those of us struggling to get through another long, cold winter up north, Daytona offers a chance to soak up the sun and enjoy some warm weather. Simple as that. The Daytona area offers no shortage of opportunities to put winter behind you for a few days.

So, there you have it. Be sure to stop by the AMSOIL booth at the Welcome Center. AMSOIL oil changes and product sales will also be available at Daytona International Speedway. You can also buy products at Destination Daytona.

If you’re stuck at home, like me, and can’t make it to the rally, tune into Facebook , Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on all things rally related.