Do You Really Need Oil Additives For Your Car?

Do You Really Need Oil Additives For Your Car

Because of the constant barrage of info-mercials, slick advertising and snake oil salesmen trying to make a quick buck, more and more of our customers are asking us about engine oil additives. Some have brought their additives in to have us install them with an oil change. Our opinion on oil additives is this: IF IT DOESN’T HAVE AN API OR SAE RATING ON THE CAN YOU SHOULD NOT PUT IT IN YOUR ENGINE! In fact the chemical balance in today’s high-tech motor oil is so delicate that adding anything besides pure motor oil can cause trouble.

That is why entities such as SAE (society of automotive engineers) and API (the American petroleum institute) were formed. Anything you put in your crankcase with API certification will not disrupt the chemical balance of your oil. Most of the oil additives on the market today won’t harm your engine but will do little if any good. There is a class of additives that can (in our opinion) cause substantial harm and in some cases severe damage. These are also the most popular ones on the market right now.

We won’t mention the names but the ingredients would include TEFLON or PTFE. These solid particles can congeal and clog oil passages and oil pickup strainers. Fortunately in most cases the oil filter traps a majority of the particles soon after the engine is started. We won’t go into the physics behind how this happens but if you have questions feel free to call us. To see how the Federal Trade Commission dealt with false claims made by one such company, click HERE. To see the final settlement agreed to by the company, click HERE. In the mean time if you feel the need to spend an extra $20 to $30 on your engine at oil change time, all you have to do is switch over to synthetic oil. You will have quicker starts in the morning and better friction protection from the improved viscosity range. Its been proven by API and SAE to be compatible with all other oils and is superior in lubricating ability. Contrary to popular belief though, it still should be changed at 3,000 mile intervals just like petroleum oil.

TIMING BELTS

We’ve seen quite a few timing belt failures lately and several instances where engines were damaged as a result. Most 4 cylinder (and Japanese V-6) engines have timing belts. These belts need to be replaced at regular intervals or they can break. We recommend that you read your owners manual and have your timing belt replaced at the recommended interval (usually 60,000 or 90,000 miles). If there is no recommendation then call us and we can look it up for you. If in doubt just have it done at the 60,000 mile interval. To find out your timing belt replacement interval and if you have a valve interference style engine, visit the Gates Timing Belt area of the Gates Web Site.

TIMING CHAINS

Same as above, especially General motors 3.8 and 3800 V-6 and Ford V-8 engines. We usually see these chains go bad at between 80,000 and 130,000 miles. These engines can be seriously damaged if the timing chain fails.