Do Motor Oil Additives Really Work?

Your local auto parts stores are full of shelves of motor oil additives and oil treatments that guarantee many benefits, like increased fuel economy, lower friction, maximized horsepower and a cleaner engine. So do oil additives really work? Should you use them?

To provide this extra performance, oil additives use different chemical components to supplement the motor oil formula. Some oil additives have promoted materials like Teflon, molybdenum or graphite. Some have even used chlorine, which is corrosive when it comes into contact with water.

Is it worth it to use motor oil additives?

Motor oil has to achieve many things. Although protection against wear is the number one concern for many drivers, your motor oil also has to:

  • Assist in keeping engine parts clean by suspending contaminants so they don’t gather on metal and cause wear
  • Keep engine parts cool by attracting heat and moving it to an area where it can be dispersed, like an oil cooler or oil pan
  • Be a dynamic seal to keep combustion byproducts from polluting the lubricating system, like the piston ring and cylinder wall interface
  • Reduce shock to aid in wear protection
  • Protect engine parts from corrosion by chemically counterbalancing corrosive products or creating a barrier between the components and corrosive substance
  • Transfer energy, like a hydraulic equipment or valve lifter in an engine

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Motor oil additives can’t do it all

Chemists and engineers at motor oil companies work diligently to perfect formulations to meet all requirements of an oil. While oil additives claim they boost performance in a few areas, it’s impossible to achieve them all. Oil additives are not even necessary in quality oil formulations. Superior engine oils already include additives that are ideally balanced to achieve peak performance together.

direct-injected turbocharged motor oil created for the advanced engines of this day and age not only have to prevent against wear, but also withstand intense heat produced by the turbo, resist fuel dilution decreasing viscosity of oil, battle low-speed pre-ignition at times, and amplify fuel economy. And it all has to be done in a longer oil-change interval without compromising any performance.

Modern oils are almost as sophisticated as the engines they perform in. Therefore, adding other chemicals can impact chemical balance and oil performance, sometimes drastically.

Oil additives—buyer beware

Do motor oil additives work? Should you use them? When it comes down to it, purchasing and using oil additives is your decision, but be cautious when purchasing based on advertising claims. Some additive manufacturers have been charged by the FTC with making false claims previously.

AMSOIL does not recommend using aftermarket additives. AMSOIL synthetic motor oils are already fully-formulated to provide exceptional protection and performance. Using aftermarket additives will decrease its superior performance and can even lead to engine failure in extreme cases. Aftermarket oil additive use is not approved by AMSOIL INC. and will void the AMSOIL Limited Warranty.