The Truth About Oil Additives?

Home Bottled Oil

Home Bottled Oil

One of my friends who has been a practicing mechanic for 55 years informs me of how much engines have changed over the years. He’s built a lot of race engines, has hours and hours of time on the dyno and has seen the damage done by infrequent oil changes in modern engines. Part of the problem is a mentality that an extended warranty means you don’t need to do oil changes or you can do them less frequent because if anything goes wrong you’re covered.

Newer designs take less torque to turn over, lower tension in the piston rings, roller cams, and more. Part of this effort is to make the engine more compatible with modern engine oils that are more compatible with emission systems. Antiwear agents containing certain metals can kill a catalytic converter.

But what about our old engines? Especially our older diesel engines with mechanical fuel pumps, and old-style cams? What about journal widths, the bearing surface area and more?  I think the answer is clear, antiwear agents were part of the lube oil package when these engines were developed, and they are needed if you are going to get the expected life out of your engine that was designed knowing these antiwear agents were there to mitigate some of the wear.  I see a number of additives designed especially for these engines,  and I certainly use it in my lister six one.  As for the fuel oil, people have been using ATF as a fuel additive for many years, and if you have an older diesel running this new low sulfur fuel, you might consider adding a little lubricity to the fuel? Of course, there will be others who will tell you your pump will be fine on the new fuel, but do check the cost of a new pump, and consider how cheap a little ATF could be as a preventative.

Yes, this is an old conversation, but I think there’s even less wear protection in lube oil today than the last time we discussed it.


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4 Responses to The Truth About Oil Additives?

  1. Steve says:

    Hello; Glad to see you still around. I think you are correct on the zinc additives and such. Aside from a Lister 6/1 and a changfa, I have old ford flatheads with the same needs. I have heard too many stories of round cam lobes to not believe it happens.

  2. BP says:

    I had previously used Slick 50 three times over life of our 2.2 liter MPFI Mazda 626 with 238K miles now. After replacing 16 tiny hydraulic lifters & valve seals 2007 switched to full synthetic oil. Crank seal leaks became excessive so switched back to high mileage blended types after full synthetic had cleaned most the sludge out. Only recently hearing repeated ticking of lifters (youngest frequently driving it to work few miles down the road) so added bottle Risole thin oil additive with zinc.

    Long story short additive stopped smoking tail pipe and frequent lifter ticking. The exhaust has a new sweeter smell and magically some missing power returns. Perhaps rings weakening over time cylinder wall scratches loss of compression were to blame. Hey no monthly payments so we now instead pay the utility company the very same sized car payment. Is that middle class renewed economic progress – have to say not at all!

  3. George B. says:

    I got a private message about oils that have plenty of these additives, you just need to get the right one! That is very true, Mobile One has an off-road blend designed for engines without CATs. My problem is this oil is never at wall mart where I find great prices on the more typical Mobil one products, and then I pour in the additives and save some money.

    It might be worth checking with Walmart online to see what it would cost to order the high-performance Mobil one and pick it up at the store?

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