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Oil Additives, Do You Need It?

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Chemical substances that improve the lubricating performance of base oil for cars are known as engine oil additives. Oil additives enhance the existing base oil by functioning as antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors, antifoam, and demulsifying agents. Through the oil additives' pour-point depressants and viscosity index (VI) they are also able to control unwanted base oil qualities. They also use extreme pressure (EP) additives, detergents, metal deactivators, and tackiness agents to give base oils new qualities.

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Oil additives have long been a source of debate among mechanics and car enthusiasts. While some argue that oil additives aren't worth the hype, others swear by them to boost their engine's efficiency and longevity. Oil additive users enjoy various advantages, including improved fuel mileage, longer service intervals, and less engine noise.


Although motor oil comes with a variety of additives, aftermarket oil additives are also available. The usage of chemicals that are foreign to motor oil is an obvious contradiction of mass-marketed aftermarket oil additives.


Commercial additives, on the other hand, are available for extended drain intervals (to replace depleted additives in used oil) or in-situ formulation of oils (to make a custom motor oil from base stock). Commercial additives are identical to those found in off-the-shelf motor oil, whereas mass-marketed additives contain a combination of the two.


Consumers and the US Federal Trade Commission, who studied various mass-marketed engine oil additives in the late 1990s, have been outraged by some mass-market oil additives, particularly those containing PTFE/Teflon and chlorinated paraffins. Although there is no reason to believe that all packaged engine oil additives are beneficial and all aftermarket oil additives are bad, the aftermarket business has a history of making false claims about the efficacy of their oil additives.


Consumers have been enticed into adding a bottle of chemicals to their engines that do not reduce pollution, increase wear resistance, lower temperatures, or extend engine life any more than regular (much cheaper) oil.


Many users believe that aftermarket oil additives work, but many others believe that they don't and are actually harmful to the engine. The subject has been a cause of debate on the internet so it always pays to do your own research. In this article we will learn more about oil additives.

Do any oil additives really work?


The advantages of these performance additions should be obvious once you understand how engine oil additives function. The role of motor oil in vehicles is extremely critical as it lubricates and minimizes friction between moving elements in your engine. It helps to keep the engine cool and prevents corrosion, as it removes impurities, and prevents sludge build-up. But motor oil by itself is not enough. Here is where oil additives come in. Do oil additives really work? The answer is a big Yes. Motor oil cannot do everything on its own and needs oil additives to improve performance.


Chemical substances added to a base oil during manufacturing or through aftermarket oil supplements are known as oil additives. Different oil additives can be used to improve a certain oil's desirable qualities for a specific application.


Oil additives, for example, do wonders on getting dirty diesel engine run cleaner. It can also be a solution when you want to improve seals and stop leaks in an older engine. Off the shelf, most motor oils contain about 15 to 30 percent oil additives. Aftermarket oil additions can also be utilized to improve the performance of the oil and the engine.


Motor oil cannot perform its key functions without the addition of additives. However, due to a variety of causes, motor oil may be deficient in critical oil additives. Because of oxidation and breakdown, motor oil declines over time.


Motor oil additives can also be lost by filtration or settling, as well as adsorption of oil additives onto particulates, metals, and water surfaces. Due to poor formulation, low-quality engine oil may be missing crucial additives from the start. In general, the longer an oil is utilized, the more additives are lost.


Using motor oil that lacks critical oil additives can cause your engine to wear out faster over time. Poor fuel economy, rust and corrosion, oil sludge, overheating, failures, and other major engine damage are all possible outcomes.


While some oil additives coat internal engine components to increase lubrication, others cause favorable chemical reactions that delay oxidation and degradation inside the oil. Oil additives from the aftermarket can help your engine perform better between oil changes and safeguard it in the long run.


An aftermarket or extra engine oil additive in between oil changes re-energizes oil as rapidly as possible. The value of an additive, on the other hand, would be determined by whether it contains depleted ingredients and whether it compensates for any residual additives in the oil. Oil additives connect their molecules to an internal engine component in a variety of ways. Too much of one additive can prevent a second, equally important additive from performing its function.

What are examples of oil additives?


  1. Viscosity Modifiers


Viscosity modifiers improve an oil's viscosity index and are frequently regarded as the best engine additive. The viscosity of oil changes as it heats and cools in an engine. The viscosity index of an oi reflects how much the viscosity changes over time. When the viscosity of a motor oil varies dramatically, it becomes too thin at high temperatures and too thick to flow adequately in the cold. Viscosity modifiers, also known as viscosity index improvers (VIIs), keep the viscosity of your motor oil within a safe range regardless of the outside temperature.


  1. Antiwear Additives


Anti-wear oil additives protect engine parts and surfaces from wear by coating them with a protective coating. These heat-activated oil additives generate a thin lubricating coating when they come into contact with metal. Anti-wear additives minimize friction and avoid engine seizure by enhancing engine lubrication, even if the lubricating film in the motor oil has eroded. Some anti-wear engine oil additives also help to prevent corrosion and reduce oxidation.


The phosphorus compound zinc dithiophosphate (ZDDP) is found in most anti-wear compounds . Although ZDDP offers adequate lubrication, when it is present in exhaust gas, it may increase emissions and impair the service life of your catalytic converter. Hy-per Lube offers a Zinc Replacement Additive that is free of ZDDP and designed to adequately lubricate your engine while cutting emissions and maintaining your catalytic converter.


  1. Corrosion and Rust Inhibitors


Corrosion inhibitors protect machine surfaces, metal work pieces, cutting tools, and machine tools against corrosion. Corrosion and rust inhibitors neutralize acids in your motor oil and limit oxidation, protecting your engine from destructive chemical breakdown. These engine oil additives, which are often manufactured with barium sulfonate and calcium, build barriers on metal engine components to repel water and prevent rust and corrosion.


  1. Detergents


Detergents are used to maintain your engine clean by eliminating deposits and avoiding rust on engine parts. Oil contaminants and acids generated during oxidation are neutralized by detergents. These sorts of oil additives are essential for reducing oil sludge in your vehicle's engine since detergents keep engine oil deposits and pollutants soluble.


  1. Dispersants


Dispersants, including detergents, help reduce sludge and deposits by suspending solid particles in your engine oil. By preventing particles and pollutants from resting on metal components, dispersants keep your engine clean. Dispersants also aid in maintaining the viscosity of your engine oil, ensuring that it performs consistently at all temperatures.


  1. Antifoaming


Anti-foaming is oil additives that stop motor oil from foaming up as it passes through the engine. Anti-foaming lowers the surface tension between air bubbles and engine oil, making it easier for them to pop and evaporate. Motor oil can develop microscopic air bubbles that cause oil pressure loss and cavitation if it is not treated with anti foaming chemicals.


Oil foaming also decreases engine lubrication, which leads to corrosion. As a result, anti-foamants defend against corrosion indirectly by avoiding engine oil foaming. When applying antifoaming agents, however, be careful not to use too much. Excessive usage of these oil additives can have the opposite effect, increasing the creation of air bubbles.

Do stop smoke oil additives work?


Motor oil enters the combustion chamber and burns alongside the gasoline, resulting in oil burning and exhaust smoking. When friction and metal-to-metal contact have worn down parts and caused gaps between the cylinder walls, piston rings, and valve guide seals, this problem is known as oil blow-by. STP Smoke Treatment was created particularly to address these issues.


Oil combustion produces blue smoke from the exhaust tailpipe and it is suggested to do smoke treatment for this case and it does work. Look for a product that can help you get rid of cigarette smoke. A smoke treatment is an additive that aids in the reduction of oil combustion, which causes blue exhaust smoke to emerge from the tailpipe. Long-chain polymers and viscosity-index improvers are commonly used in these additives, although some also clean the oil rings.

Will thicker oil stop oil burning?


If your car is rapidly emptying oil or emitting white smoke, it may be time to add an oil additive to stop the leak. These oil additives will aid in the sealing of your vehicle's engine and the reduction of oil leakage via the gaskets.


But will thicker oil put an end to the burning? Sadly, thicker engine oil will not prevent your car from burning oil. This remedy has been proposed several times, with the concept that a more viscous oil will flow more slowly and have a harder difficulty passing through worn-out valve guides. Because an engine's piston rings are worn out, a lot of oil is burned, and thicker oil won't help. Using thicker oil is also a terrible idea for current vehicles. To ensure that all of the moving elements of the engine are lubricated, they employ low-viscosity lubricants that easily spray all over them.


In essence, a thicker oil will still seep past the worn piston rings, causing your vehicle to burn oil. There are various disadvantages to using heavier oil in your vehicle. The first is a drop in gas mileage, as the heavier oil within your vehicle forces the engine to work harder. A modern vehicle engine, which relies on oil that flows smoothly and reduces friction throughout the engine, will be severely harmed by this procedure.


A vehicle that burns oil rapidly has a high mileage in most circumstances. The piston rings in your car are worn out, and it's beginning to show in its performance. A high-mileage synthetic oil is the ideal choice for a car that burns oil.


High-mileage oil acts like a multivitamin, repairing damaged engine parts and avoiding additional damage. Less oil seeps out of your engine as the seal conditioners in high mileage oil stretch and renew seals. As a result, less oil is consumed, resulting in fewer oil changes and engine troubles down the road.


High mileage oils also contain various antioxidants, additives and detergents to decrease wear and friction, which are advantageous for engines past their prime. These ingredients clean out the grime and sludge that naturally builds up over time.


Specific additives in high-mileage oil halt leaky piston rings and restore a tight seal. These additives in high-mileage oil also help with other issues associated with aged engines, such as oil sludge and rust. While you shouldn't anticipate a miracle from high-mileage oil, you can cut down on the amount of oil your car consumes. To use a viscosity one grade higher or lower than what your engine requires is unlikely to cause long-term damage. Use the viscosity indicated in your owner's manual to ease any concerns about engine protection and your vehicle warranty.



Although aftermarket oil additives aren't essential for your car to run, they do give important benefits that help your engine perform better and last longer. So examine your vehicle's age, mileage, and condition when deciding whether or not oil additives are required.  You may actually enjoy more reliable long-term vehicle operation as well as longer service intervals when you choose the optimum engine additive for your car.

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