If there’s one thing that’s been a running controversy within the people of the automotive industry, it would be engine oil additives.
It’s a highly debated topic among car owners and mechanics alike. While some say it’s practical to use engine oil additives and swear by these, some would disagree and would say it’s not worth all the hype it’s getting. While additives promise better efficiency, mileage, and reduced engine noise, are they worth your money? We’re going to talk about that in this post. Also, we are going to tackle what they are, how additives work, and the pros and cons so you can weigh out your options.
Engine Oil Additives – The Whole Nine Yards
Engine oil primarily provides lubrication to your engine. The extra lubrication allows the engine to work more efficiently while minimizing friction with its parts. Apart from that, motor oil also prevents corrosion and sludge buildups while it get rids of contaminants and make engine temp normal – not too cold and not too hot. But motor oil can’t consistently do all of this. And this is where additives come in.
Additives are compounds of chemicals that are included in the engine oil to maximize the oil’s function. You can get the additive by buying engine oil already mixed with additives or as a stand-alone oil supplements. There are many types of engine oil additives, and each additive has a different purpose, which you can choose according to your desired properties and applications. One example is an engine oil additive that can clean diesel engine, and another one is an additive that block leaks and improve sealants.
How Does Engine Oil Additives Work?
As mentioned above, the primary purpose of an oil engine is to keep the engine function properly. With engine oil, you won’t be able to listen to that screeching metal sounds as you drive your car, because nobody wants that.
Engine oil additives are essential for engine oils because it helps in making the oil do its function better. But not all engine oil has additives due to several reasons. Thus, you have to double-time in choosing the right engine oil for you. One, oil’s function degrades in time. When it doesn’t have the right additives, oil does more harm than good to your engine. Another factor is that some oil engines available in the market today have inadequate formulation and can potentially damage your car’s engine the longer you use it.
So what do you have to look out for when looking for quality oil additives? The first one to pay attention to is the viscosity of the oil. It would be best if you made sure that the oil is not too thick and not too watery. If the oil is too thick, it’s going to have a hard time passing through the engine tubes and may cause buildup. If the oil is too “watery”, then it’s not sticky enough to do its job. To add, oil’s viscosity can change depending on the temperature. Therefore, you also have to pay attention to the temperature of both the weather and your engine.
Benefits of Engine Oil Additives
Since there are different types of additives out in the market today, the benefits that you get vary as per formulation. But below are the different benefits that you may get commonly when you use engine oil additives for your engine.
Additives Are Mostly Compatible With Both Mineral and Synthetic Engine Oils
Most additives are okay to use for both mineral and synthetic engine oils. Whether you use one or the other, you’d still be able to bring in additives to the system. Just to be sure, however, consult a mechanic first if the additive of your choice would be an excellent add-on for the oil your using and, basically, your engine.
Additives Reduce Friction
We’ve mentioned above that additives reduce friction. But, we haven’t mentioned yet as to why friction of engine parts should be avoided at all costs. If you’ve owned a vehicle for quite some time now, you probably understand why they consider engine friction as the “main nemesis of car engines”. Without proper lubrication, moving parts are going to rub each other vigorously. When this happens, it may affect gas mileage.
For this reason, it’s important to lubricate your engine. And with an additive, the performance of the engine oil may last longer than usual. Not only will it maintain the engine performance, it can also slow down the engine parts’ wear and tear.
Prevents Crankshaft Foam Buildup
Engine oil is good, but it can also cause a foamy buildup in the crankshaft. One reason why this happens is when you overfill the engine with the oil, causing it to churn the oil like a butter. You can say so if the foam doesn’t have a color. But when you didn’t overfill the engine, then it merely means your oil doesn’t have an additive with an anti-foaming property. Although crankshaft foam may seem harmless, it’s crucial to take care of this as soon as possible, as it can cause damage.
Prevents Sludge Buildup
Yet another engine killer that engine oil additives can prevent is sludge buildup. A sludge is a gooey deposit that, when left untreated, is detrimental to the proper engine oil circulation as well as fuel economy. With that, it solely means your engine shuts down, and you may spend thousands of dollars on repairing it. By using additives, the sludge buildup is preventable by using the right engine oil additive with sludge-preventing properties.
Oil Additive Disadvantages
Above are just some of the many benefits when you use engine oil additives. But are there disadvantages as well? Yes, there are, if you’re not careful how to use it. Below are some of the disadvantages you may experience.
Increase in One’s Function While Decreasing The Other
As you can see, there are many benefits that you can get from using additives for your engine. But one’s additive’s purpose may also overshadow the other. According to research conducted by Penn State University students (published by Science Magazine), the zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDPP) additive is useful to minimize engine wear. But, they also found out that ZDPP acts as an agent to increase catalytic converters friction.
Can Potentially Do The Opposite Of What The Additive Prevents
Things can turn in the opposite direction if you’re not going to use some additives the right way. For example, anti-foaming agents are just as active as many claim it. But one should never focus entirely on anti-foaming agents. When you overdo, there’s a big chance that your anti-foaming agents may gather more foam instead.
Claims Say Additives Are Not Necessary
According to an Angelfire post, engine oil additives are not necessary. The post says it might damage your engine in the long run. The post claims that it’s only an additional cost that you can prevent from having and that engine oils already have enough components and additive to protect your engine and prolong its performance.
Should you use engine oil additives? First off, you have to know that most engine oils already have additives with it. If you’re going for the aftermarket additives, however, it’s essential to know that most of these don’t have enough scientific claims to back up its effectiveness.
Be that as it may, it may be wise to use engine oil additives. But before you do, consult with an expert mechanic first if you don’t know which one to go after. Mechanics can tell straight away what to use depending on your car’s manufacturer’s specifications. And it’s also best if you can do car engine maintenance regularly. Regular maintenance is the best, fool-proof way to know the health of your engine, and that is to keep the engine’s health in top shape and prevent engine problems before problem becomes a costly one.
If you are planning to sell your vehicle, have your car pre-inspected first to check the health of your car, its engine, and other components before selling it.