A reader asks: I have been using ATF in the front differential of my 2012 Polaris Sportsman 400HO for a while now. I see Amsoil now has specific fluid for Polaris front ends with the Hilliard clutch set-up. Is it OK to keep running the automatic transmission fluid?


Polaris 4X4 ATV Demand Drive

ATF may not be the best oil for your Polaris ATV Demand Drive front differential. (photo credit: atvillustrated.com)

Answer: While we know that some Polaris owners with the Demand Drive 4X4 front differential system do use all-purpose automotive ATF, it might not be the best option. Automatic transmission fluid may have acceptable frictional properties to help your 4X4 clutch system engage and disengage in a satisfactory fashion, but it may be lacking in terms of long-term wear control.

Hilliard Corporation supplies the front drive system for your Polaris (and some John Deere Gator models). This front differential contains an electrically actuated clutch that engages and provides power to the front wheels whenever the rear wheels lose traction. The system disengages when the rear wheels regain traction.

Hilliard originally recommended a tractor transmission/hydraulic oil for this differential with viscosity of 9.3 cSt at 100°C. AMSOIL designed their Synthetic ATV/UTV Front Drive Oil for Polaris Demand Drive Systems to not only have the proper additives, frictional properties and wear control; its viscosity is also precisely 9.3 cSt at 100°C. A typical ATF for automotive use is in the 6.0 to 7.5 cSt range at 100°C. This means that automatic transmission fluid is considerably thinner than the viscosity suggested by Hilliard.

So while ATF may work, it is not an ideal replacement oil for your Polaris Demand Drive 4X4 system.

A reader asks: We suspect that an oil change shop put the wrong ATF in our Dodge Ram transmission. Can your oil analysis testing determine if the transmission fluid that they installed is ATF+4 compatible?

Answer: Let’s expand your question. Can oil analysis testing determine the type, specification or brand of oil submitted when this information is unknown? Unfortunately the answer to these questions is no. The type of testing that you require is beyond the scope of typical oil analysis. Oil analysis testing is used to provide the following information for oils in engines, transmission, gear boxes and various industrial components.

  • Determine the condition of the oil and suggest whether it is suitable for further use.
  • Report on the levels and types of wear metals in the oil.
  • To detect contamination from items such as fuel, coolant or dirt.

Unless the actual brand and type of fluid is known, the lab cannot pick out whether it meets a particular specification or not. Despite having the profiles of thousands of oil types on file, general oil analysis cannot necessarily determine the specific brand, model or specification of a given sample.

Again the oil testing is meant only to offer a comprehensive report on the condition of the fluid. These reports can be very helpful for automotive and industrial applications.

Questions? Contact us using the form on this page or call us at 1-800-748-5781.

You may have heard radio ads for the BG Performance Oil Change Service and wondered what it is all about. Let’s examine what is involved in this procedure. We will also offer an alternative to this service that you can perform yourself.

The idea behind the BG Performance Oil Change Service is not only to change the engine oil, it also utilizes additives that clean the engine and fuel system. This service is performed by shops that offer BG products. BG Products Inc. is a supplier of a multitude of specialty automotive fluids and additives that are generally installed in a shop setting. BG recommends repeating this oil change procedure every 7500 to 10,000 miles (12,000 to 16,000 km). The cost of this service averages around $90 with conventional oil and oil filter.

Here are the supplies used for the BG Performance Oil Change Service:

  • BG 109 Engine Flush Additive
  • BG Performance Oil Change Air Purge Machine
  • BG MOA Engine Oil Supplement/Additive
  • BG CF5 Gasoline Additive

Here is how the process goes:

1. The BG 109 Engine Flush is poured into the oil filler hole. The engine is then started and idled for about 15 minutes to circulate the additive and break-down deposits.

2. The engine is then shut down. The engine oil is drained and the oil filter is removed.

3. The BG Performance Oil Change Air Purge Machine is hooked up to the engine by way of an adapter that attaches to the oil filter base. A charge of compressed air is sent through the adapter that pushes any of the remaining old motor oil out of the drain hole.

4. The drain plug is replaced. A mixture of engine oil and BG MOA Motor Oil Additive is injected by the machine into engine oil passages. The idea behind this step is to “prime” the engine with motor oil to prevent a dry start after the service.

5. The BG Performance Oil Change Air Purge Machine is unhooked from the engine.

6. A new oil filter is installed and the remainder of the new motor oil is poured into engine.

7. BG CF5 Gasoline Additive is added to the fuel tank.

What Do We Think of This BG Oil Change Method?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this process. In fact, the clean-up of the internal engine and fuel system deposits can certainly improve the performance and efficiency of higher mileage vehicles that may have been neglected.

First, the BG Performance Oil Change Air Purge Machine chases out the last few drops of oil by way of injecting air into the engine.  Second, the use of this machine to inject fresh motor oil into engine oil passages.

As for the additives, the BG 109 Engine Flush and CF5 Gasoline Additive can certainly help to rid the engine and fuel system of deposits for improved operation. Additives similar to this are inexpensive and can be employed during any “do-it-yourself” oil change. As for BG MOA Engine Oil Additive, this one may be fine, but we are not fans of aftermarket motor oil additives in general.

Our Alternative To Oil Flush Service

We can offer a few products that you allow you to perform a similar “clean-up” to your engine in your own garage. Here are the steps.

1. When the vehicle in place for its oil change, add AMSOIL Engine and Transmission Flush to current motor oil. Idle the engine for 10-15 minutes while the detergents scrub deposits and varnish from engine internals. Drain the old motor oil and install a new oil filter.

2. Install AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil (available in a wide variety of viscosities). This 100% synthetic oil is highly resistant to deposit and varnish formation compared to regular motor oil. Engine flushes are rarely needed going forward. Signature Series also has inherent cleaning properties that keep engine parts clean, even under heavy loads and extreme heat. Lastly, it is capable of some of longest drain intervals in the industry, so you can spend less time under your car or truck. Absolutely no engine oil additives are needed with this powerful synthetic formula. As a bonus, install an AMSOIL Ea Oil Filter. These oil filters deliver ultra-high-end filtering capabilities and have long-lasting construction.

3. Lastly add AMSOIL P.i. Gasoline Additive to the fuel tank. AMSOIL P.i. is a complete fuel system cleaner that can revitalize lost fuel efficiency. P.i. can also eliminate pinging and knocking caused by dirty combustion chambers. P.i. requires just a few repeat doses per year.

With these steps, you can achieve the cleaning advantages of a flush service provided by professional and be left with a world-class engine oil in the crankcase after the oil change.

Best of all, we can offer these products at wholesale in Canada and the United States. Feel free to contact us for prices with the form on this page or call us at 1-800-748-5781.

Last week, we profiled our customer Tim’s dazzling 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Two-Door Coupe. This week, let’s take a look at his other classic car that’s arguably even more engaging. This car is Tim’s 1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster 4-door Sport Sedan that has been transformed into a North Carolina Sheriff’s Car. Like the Cutlass, this vintage gem is no garage queen.

The Sheriff Car was originally built in Georgia and eventually ended up at The Hot Rod Shop of Woodland Hills, California. The owner of The Hot Rod Shop exhibited this car at LA-area car shows and it was often displayed alongside of Jay Leno’s classic cars. Tim purchased the car from the California shop in 2014. Tim tells us that he’s owned a few classic cars in his day, but none elicit the response that this car can. When Tim and his wife Kathy take a drive in the Sheriff car, heads turn, truckers honk their horns and people rush to take pictures. Not surprisingly, a crowd immediately gathers wherever they park this car.

Tim uses AMSOIL Z-Rod 10W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil for classic cars in the Sheriff Car’s engine.

Highlights Of Tim’s 1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster Sport Sedan North Carolina Sheriff Car

Body & Frame:

  • All Steel Factory Straight Sedan Body Mounted On A 1985 Chevy S-10 Pickup

Engine & Transmission:

  • 1969 350 Small Block Chevy – Higher Horsepower 4-bolt Main
  • 1969 Turbo 350 Automatic Transmission
  • 10 Bolt Open Differential Rear Axle w/ approx: 3:42 gears
  • Aluminum Radiator
  • Summit 4V 600 CFM Carburetor
  • Edelbrock Performer Intake
  • HEI Distributor & 1-Wire Alternator
  • Custom Aluminum Air Cleaner Box
  • Tall Chrome Valve Covers & Breather
  • RV Cam (for a mild rumble and lower RPM range)
  • Mechanical Fuel pump
  • Chassis Mount Transmission Cooler
  • Higher Than Stock Torque Converter
  • Chrome Oil Pan
  • Custom 22 Gallon Gas Tank
  • Magna Flow Exhaust


  • Brand New Interior- With new headliner, seats, door panels, kick panels, package tray,
    carpet, seat belts, visors, and classic 3-spoke hot rod steering wheel
  • 1948 Police Radio

Steering & Brakes:

  • Tilt Steering Column
  • Power Steering (steering is one finger EASY)
  • Power Front Disc Brakes
  • Rear Drum Brakes


  • Independent Front Suspension


  • Red “Cherry Light” On Roof,
  • Chrome “Safety Star” Brake Light
  • Functioning Siren (with authentic sound!)
  • Chicago Vintage Unity Chrome Spotlight
  • Cowl Vent Works With Under-Dash Actuated Lever
  • Chrome Front Push Guard and Rear Push Guard
  • Rear Package Tray Brake Lights
  • 1956 Chevy Bel Air Hood Bird
  • Electric Windshield Wipers

Thanks very much to Tim for sharing his beautiful cars with us!

Every one in a while, a customer sends along pictures of their vehicle that stops us in our tracks. Seeing pictures of Tim’s two show-stopping collector cars was definitely one of those times. Tim has a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Two-Door Coupe and a 1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster 4-door Sport Sedan that is fashioned as a North Carolina Sheriff Car. For now, we’ll profile the Cutlass and showcase the Sheriff car in the coming days.

Tim purchased this Cutlass five years ago and is just the third owner. The previous owner had spent a decade restoring the car and as you’ll see below, the results are quite spectacular. Not only does this Cutlass turn heads, with an estimated 400 horsepower, it also gets up and goes. For Tim and his wife, cruising in their Cutlass is a favorite pastime. It is smooth, comfortable and has an unbelievable exhaust note. Tim uses AMSOIL Z-Rod 10W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil in the 350 Rocket engine.

Highlights For Tim’s 1968 Olds Cutlass Supreme Coupe

  • 350 Rocket Engine, Bored 30-over – 355cu. in.
  • 650 Edelbrock 4BBL Carb
  • 468 Lift High Performance Cam
  • Flow Tech Headers
  • Turbo 350 Transmission – 3000 Stall Converter
  • 12 Bolt GM Positraction Differential
  • 3.08 Rear End
  • Custom Aluminum Racing Driveshaft
  • B&M Floor Shifter
  • American Racing Torque Thrust II Mag Wheels
  • HEI Distributor
  • Northern Aluminum Radiator With Built-in Transmission Cooler
  • Mechanical Fuel Pump
  • Interior Redone Except For Door Panels (original)