Engine treatments and additives are substances that can be added to engine oil to enhance its performance and protect the engine. These products typically contain a variety of specialized chemicals that are designed to address specific issues, such as reducing friction, preventing deposits, improving low-temperature performance, and reducing wear and tear. They are available in various forms, including liquid, gel, and powder, and can be added to the engine oil during an oil change or between oil changes. Engine treatments and additives can be a cost-effective way to improve the efficiency, performance, and longevity of an engine, and are commonly used by car owners and mechanics alike.
10 Engine Treatments and Additives
The products available to consumers often include multiple benefits as listed below. Some bundle several types, thus you may only need one product. Consult your owner’s manual or your mechanic for recommendations. Never use a product that isn’t suitable for your vehicle.
1. Friction modifiers
These additives reduce friction between engine parts, which can improve fuel efficiency and reduce wear and tear on the engine.
These additives help keep the engine clean by preventing the buildup of sludge, varnish, and other deposits.
3. Anti-wear agents
These additives form a protective film on engine parts, reducing wear and tear and extending the life of the engine.
4. Viscosity modifiers
These additives assist in regulating the viscosity, or thickness, of the engine oil, which can help maintain proper lubrication under different operating conditions.
5. Corrosion inhibitors
These additives assist in preventing rust and corrosion in the engine, which can be caused by moisture and other contaminants.
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6. Pour point depressants
These additives help improve the low-temperature performance of the engine oil by reducing the temperature at which the oil will flow.
7. Seal conditioners
These additives help soften and condition engine seals, which can help prevent leaks and reduce oil consumption.
8. Anti-foaming agents
These additives facilitate the reduction of foam formation in the engine oil, which can interfere with proper lubrication.
9. Oxidation inhibitors
These additives help prevent the oil from breaking down due to exposure to high temperatures and oxygen, which can cause the oil to thicken and lose its lubricating properties.
These additives alleviate contaminants, such as dirt and soot, suspended in the oil, which can prevent them from settling and causing damage to the engine.
Engine Treatments and Additives: How Often
The frequency with which you should use engine treatments or additives depends on the specific product and the condition of your engine. Some products are designed to be used with every oil change, while others may be used less frequently. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for the product you are using.
In general, most engine treatments and additives are designed to be used intermittently, rather than on a regular basis. Using them too frequently could potentially have negative effects on your engine, such as causing excessive buildup or altering the oil’s chemical composition.
Additionally, it’s important to note that engine treatments and additives are not a substitute for proper engine maintenance, such as regularly changing the oil, replacing filters, and following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. While these products can provide additional benefits, they should be used in conjunction with, rather than as a replacement for, proper maintenance practices.
Ultimately, the best way to determine how often to use an engine treatment or additive is to consult the product’s instructions and guidelines, and to speak with a qualified mechanic or automotive expert if you have any questions or concerns.
November 2022. Lubrication Fundamentals. Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers – STLE
(2012, September 18). Pour Point and Pour Point Depressants. Noria Corporation.
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Image via Oak Ridge National Laboratory, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons