Engine oil additive: characteristics and functions

The engine oil additive is important for the care of each internal combustion engine: let’s see together what it consists of and when it is advisable to use it.

What is the engine oil additive

Like fuels and the same synthetic oils that are used in your car’s powertrain, the engine oil additive is a refining product. The substantial difference between a type of oil and a specific additive consists in the research and in the technical solutions adopted, which make the latter a liquid that has exceptional properties, essential to allow the vehicle in your possession to perform at its best.

The engine oil additive protects the mechanical parts from corrosion and helps to avoid material wear; in this way, not only does each gear tend to wear less, but the residue produced by the continuous friction between one component and another decreases significantly. The engine of any car can only benefit from the use of an additive, thanks to which its operation is guaranteed for a longer period of time.

The various types of engine oil additives

There are different types of engine oil additives and each has its own specific function. Specifically, you can find the following products on the market:

  • engine cleaners: they are used in the workshop and it is advisable that they are used exclusively by a mechanic or by experts. These additives have the task of cleaning the engine and must remain inside it for a limited period of time, during which they act on the mechanical components and deposit the metal residues on the bottom of the sump. The cleaning additives must be added to the old oil with the engine warm and must be left to act with the engine idling for about 10 or 20 minutes; subsequently it is necessary to replace the oil;
  • engine protectors: they reduce the friction between the mechanical parts and become effective 20 or 30 minutes after their pouring into the engine oil. Many products are a panacea for the road use of the vehicle, some are instead specific for track engines and it is important in this sense that you make sure of what you are buying, especially if you use online portals;
  • anti-consumption oil: the main feature of this product consists in softening the sealing gaskets present for example in the sleeves; in this way the dispersions decrease and with them the excessive consumption of oil;
  • viscosity enhancers: these additives compensate for the excessive play present between pistons and cylinders in older or more worn engines; thanks to the viscosity enhancing additives, the oil fills the empty spaces more effectively and improves lubrication. In these cases it is not wrong to prefer mineral oils rather than synthetic ones;
  • protective valves: these are products that protect the cylinder head, making it quieter and more efficient;
  • turbo protective: these are specific to lubricate the turbine bearings and overcome the most critical moments, generally due to temperatures that are too cold or too hot.
    When to use an engine oil additive
    From a theoretical point of view, you should use an engine oil additive every time you change your car’s engine oil; if you prefer to intervene when unequivocal symptoms of malfunction appear, know that an additive can be useful in the following cases:
  • excessive consumption of engine oil: this situation can be due to many factors. Assuming the power unit is undamaged and does not require major repairs, the use of an anti-oil type additive could help resolve the problem. In any case, be careful not to make “excessive” use of this product; if a lot of smoke comes out of the vehicle exhaust, the engine may need repairs and it is useless to insist on the use of an additive, which would mask the presence of a bigger problem;
  • excessive noise of the mechanical parts: when the engine becomes noisy it means that the friction between its various parts is greater and that the lubricant is no longer effective; in these cases you could use an additive of the motor protective type, which would certainly contribute to improving the situation. This fact invites you in any case to change the oil as soon as possible; if you are the owner of a particularly dated car, the play between the various mechanical parts may have increased and it is advisable for you to always use new (not regenerated) oil together with a good additive.

Using an engine cleaner type oil additive helps to clean the circuit, especially in the narrowest passage points. Some engines, such as the single-cylinder ones of some cross or enduro motorcycles, have continuous-cycle lubrication circuits and do not have an oil pan; this system is also used in a few sports car models. In these cases, the use of an additive would significantly contribute to cleaning the engine and improving performance; after the oil change you may also benefit from a good increase in speed and a better recovery.

Final remarks

Unlike fuel additives, which are almost always useful for improving performance, you must use engine oil products with due skill and choose the right additive for your specific needs. If you have no experience in this regard, it is highly recommended that you consult a professional who can advise you on the best solution for you. In any case, even engine oil additives are not the solution to all mechanical problems; it is often much more important to have an engine in excellent condition and to use these products only for the purpose of maintaining the components in play.

The engine oil additives are a great help for the older car, for which a significant improvement of performance would be obtained only by changing the engine in its entirety.


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