With all the hype surrounding aftermarket additives, you might be wondering if they’re worth the effort…or the price. Unfortunately, the answers can vary depending on who you ask. Here’s a look at what both sides say so you can decide for yourself.
The Function of Motor Oil
Standard motor oil has a number of important responsibilities. It keeps the engine clean by absorbing contaminants, cools the engine by holding and releasing heat, lubricates parts that can overheat due to intense friction, protects against wear, prevents corrosion by neutralizing caustic material, and transfers energy.
What are Oil Additives Supposed to Do?
If you’ve browsed the shelves at your local auto parts store, you’ve likely seen a plethora of aftermarket additives promising benefits like increased fuel economy, premium horsepower, reduced friction, and improved engine cleanliness. To supplement your standard oil, they employ various chemicals. Some of the most common ones advertised include Teflon, graphite, and molybdenum (a few even have chlorine).
The Case Against Using Additives
Some people think in most cases, you shouldn’t need additives to protect your engine. To live up to oil’s crucial tasks, companies create specially-formulated, proprietary blends of standard motor oil. Just like modern engines have improved to become more efficient and powerful, so have oils risen to the many demands of more sophisticated machines. If you tamper with the delicate balance by adding other chemicals to the mix, you risk negatively-affecting oil performance.
Those in this camp recommend investing in high-quality motor oil to begin with. When you choose a product that provides superior protection and enhances vehicle performance, you won’t need extra products.
The Case for Using Additives
With older vehicles and those that underperform, some commercial additives have been shown to improve engine quality and performance. And there are always people who swear by additives.
The Bottom Line
Far more experts fall into the “nay” than “yay” camp. Instead of investing in additives, most technicians will tell you to use high-quality gasoline and motor oil from the get-go. It might cost a bit more, but you’ll be able to skip the step of manually injecting additives. Besides, quality motor oil already contains a number of additives designed to keep your engine healthy long into old age. And an ounce of prevention….