Do engine oil additives actually work? (aftermarket ones)

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70
W
A good quality oil that meets the requirements of your engine has all the additives you need. Just because some is good, doesn’t necessarily mean more is better.
What is a good quality oil? If the bottle has the right logo and words on it for your engine, it should work.
 
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3,375
Location
Millbrae, CA
By work i mean if they give any effect by adding those additives that supposed to reduce friction and give better mpg, or is it a waste of money...
back in the day maybe 30 years ago maybe adding in extra whatever was a good idea in improve sludge, wear etc .

But now days oil do not need a boost to work well adding to whats there is probaly a waste of money.

focus more on correct OCI and good filters.
 
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24,130
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
Well do they? There is like a ton of engine oil additives that supposed to boost oil performance, reduce wear and friction and give a mpg boost as well. Well do they really reduce friction and boost mpg in a healthy engine with quality oil to begin with?
The aftermarket is flooded with snake oils, it is a huge money maker. That being said some work for specific conditions and work quite well eg Berrymans Chemtool for varnish issues, Rislone for sticking rings and deposits.
These are just examples and these products are generally not for use every oil change or to be run above idle in some cases. Some products can do more harm than good, strong solvents to swell seals isn't something to be taken lightly, they may well stop a leak by swelling the offending seal but they swell every other seal in the engine.
Some additives like ZDDP are necessary in certain engines but those are becoming fewer and fewer.

The ones that claim higher MPG, less wear, etc are for the most part very old formula's that are no longer needed in modern engine oils as it is obsolete chemistry or just useless cans of puke that do nothing other than clean your wallet. IMO you are better served buying a higher quality oil than buying less expensive oil and spending more money in an attempt to improve it.

JM2C
 
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30
Location
Norway
Thread starter
The aftermarket is flooded with snake oils, it is a huge money maker. That being said some work for specific conditions and work quite well eg Berrymans Chemtool for varnish issues, Rislone for sticking rings and deposits.
These are just examples and these products are generally not for use every oil change or to be run above idle in some cases. Some products can do more harm than good, strong solvents to swell seals isn't something to be taken lightly, they may well stop a leak by swelling the offending seal but they swell every other seal in the engine.
Some additives like ZDDP are necessary in certain engines but those are becoming fewer and fewer.

The ones that claim higher MPG, less wear, etc are for the most part very old formula's that are no longer needed in modern engine oils as it is obsolete chemistry or just useless cans of puke that do nothing other than clean your wallet. IMO you are better served buying a higher quality oil than buying less expensive oil and spending more money in an attempt to improve it.

JM2C
I use engine flush upon a oil change and fuel cleaner in the tank once in a few month, mostly because they clean my engine and fuel system. But engine oil additives that promise less wear and reduced friction is something i`m sceptical to. But i chose to ask a question about them to hear if anyone else used them with a certain effect... But this thread do somewhat confirm my scepticism towards oil improvers/additives so i just stick with regular OCI as normal.
 
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6,525
Location
Wet side WA
Well they work to some degree but if they worked as well as claimed you'd be still driving that car in 2121 if you were still alive! The one's that work to poorly well they go bankrupt!
 
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2,420
They all "work" in the sense of they will perform at the limit and level of the specific chemistry but that's not the question I believe you are wanting the answer too.

What you asked is too broad to be adequately addressed because the "additive" may (or may not) deliver a tangible benefit due to innumerable factors beyond the control of the additive.

Brand has nothing to do with it and conversely an oil "additive" can have an adverse effect by changing the oil properties in the specific brand used.

There are no miracles in a bottle.
AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God bless ya if you need it. If you pick up that low cost abused engine I'd rather go the super short OCI with a decent NAPA filter and maybe MMO or SeaFoam last 500 miles and see how it goes. Not a believer in much of the gunk that's out there. Do a few of these short OCI's and slowly clean that crummy engine up I feel (because it isn't science) is the better route than looking to dislodge it all at once.
 
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4,100
Location
Kansas
AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God bless ya if you need it. If you pick up that low cost abused engine I'd rather go the super short OCI with a decent NAPA filter and maybe MMO or SeaFoam last 500 miles and see how it goes. Not a believer in much of the gunk that's out there. Do a few of these short OCI's and slowly clean that crummy engine up I feel (because it isn't science) is the better route than looking to dislodge it all at once.
Many would say that Seafoam and MMO are precisely gunk. I myself would just use Gumout Multitune since it does both of what the other two products are trying to do and you get some PEA content that is proven to clean .
 
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24,841
Location
Upstate NY
If you read your owner's manual it's highly likely it says not to use additives (other than what's already in your oil). It probably also says your warranty becomes void if you do.
Its also mentioned that some oil additives on the shelves at Walmart or similar may intefer with the additive package that is part of the oil you buy.

You cannot do much better as far as lubrication, keeping engine clean, best MPG than some of the quality brand name synthetic oils.

Now if your engine is really beat or sludged there may be additives that can help or help mask the problem. (Good to use before you trade in a car with a beat engine).
 
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4,100
Location
Kansas
I'd almost consider the ultra high end oils an additive as they do naturally what some higher end otc additives are try to achieve.
Redline,Amsoil SS , Motul 300V,etc could probably be added to a mix of lower grade Grp three and two to give it a better package possibly.
Running a 1:1 mix to use up the M1 and go full RL again but its ran well and quieter than when I used 0w30 by itself. Running M1 0w30 with lubegard biotech was not a bad combo for a lower cost. All input is from personal experience,guestimations,speculation,etc
 
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1,141
Location
USA
By work i mean if they give any effect by adding those additives that supposed to reduce friction and give better mpg, or is it a waste of money...
That's impossible to answer by anyone for 2 reasons ( by answer I mean in a method validated and vetted by a legitimate scientific method tenet)

1- Most additive packages ( bottled entities) are simply blended to pass a TEST and not provide an actual performance standard. This is how they are legally protected to a degree AND they already know an individual engine is an "infinite unknown set of variables" and nobody can make a product that "guarantees" to do a "thing" for every scenario. ( that's simply impossible)

Manufacturers know the "standard tests" are designed to measure QUALITY AND CONSISTENCY so products can be evaluated to a common standard horizontally and vertically. RARELY are the tests directly representative of actual conditions encountered in the field. To make it even worse, it is often that a test is designed to isolate a specific part at the expense of other parts or define a parameter ( such as temperature) that may or may not be the same in the field.

These are reasons that we often have to design custom tests ( that match real world conditions) and routinely find that the "published" advertising points are meaningless and sometimes "lesser rated items" actually perform better in the real world. ( or have to create a special blend)

2- Even if you knew all about 1, its a virtual impossibility to separate and segregate the additional performance of "product X" from the base oil in use. Even under laboratory conditions, this would be almost impossible with a huge range of error and cost tons of money and have to test enough engines to have a good data set and nobody is going to do this.

Snake oil manufacturers know this too and will use it to promote their products and to hide behind because you "cant prove it doesn't" either.

Summary- "waste of money" is subjective and in the eye of the beholder and there is something to be said about "peace of mind" but know its a false sense of security and confidence because its based on a belief solely based on anecdotal evidence and only verified by confirmation bias and suspension of disbelief.
 
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