Studies show that average engine oils have plenty of shortcomings. They have limited friction performance and lack high thermal conductivity. Overall, these significantly lower engine efficiency and longevity while increasing engine parts maintenance.
As an automotive enthusiast, you want better gas mileage, more horsepower, extended engine life, reduced engine heat, friction reduction, and fuel economy. Conversely, none of these is easy to achieve with ordinary engine oil.
The good news is this is where oil additives go a long way. According to an IndustryARC study, oil additives enhance the internal combustion engine’s mechanical efficiency by 10%. The study also posits that oil additives result in 30% less corrosion than typical lubricants.
You’re probably wondering what oil additives are, how they work, and whether it’s worth it to get some. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand oil additives and how to get some for your private car or commercial vehicles.
What is an Oil Additive?
An engine oil additive is a chemical compound for improving the lubricant performance of a base oil. They are versatile and can either be organic or inorganic. In addition, they can be dissolved or suspended as solids particles in the base oil.
The typical composition of oil additives in base oils is usually between 10% and 30%. This is the optimal range because too much oil additives in a lubricant reduce performance. That being said, oil additives have three main roles, as summed up below!
- Intensify base oil properties: Oil additives are rich in demulsifying agents, anti-foam agents, corrosion inhibitors, and antioxidants. All these work collectively enhance base oil properties.
- Repress undesirable base oil properties: Oil additives have plenty of pour-point depressants and viscosity index (VI) modifiers. These go a long way in suppressing undesirable properties in the base.
- Add new properties to base oils: Specific types of oil additives like the extreme pressure (EP) additives and detergents add new properties to base oils, helping improve the overall performance.
Types of Oil Additives
There are plenty of oil additives, each adding a unique benefit to the base oil. Below, we dive into the different types of oil additives!
Anti-oxidants are oxidation inhibitors used to prolong the base oil life span by delaying oxidation. That said, oxidation is how the base oil reacts with oxygen in the air to form acids and sludge.
The acids produce corrosion while the sludge increases surface deposits and oil thickness, also known as viscosity. Surprisingly oxidation can take place under all temperature conditions. However, the rate increases under high operating temperatures.
Extreme Pressure (EP) Additives
Extreme pressure (EP) additives are chemically aggressive oil additives. They’re meant to react with metal surfaces (mostly iron) to create a sacrificial surface film. In turn, the resulting surface film prevents friction between metals.
EP additives mainly contain phosphorus and sulfur compounds used in gear oil. In addition, these additives work best under high contact temperatures. As a word of caution, you want to avoid using EP additives on yellow metals owing to their corrosive nature.
Rust and Corrosion Inhibitors
Rust and corrosion inhibitors form a chemical protective barrier to keep water off metal surfaces, helping minimize or get rid of rust and corrosion. These inhibitors are versatile and can prevent rust and corrosion on any metal. However, you can also go for rust and corrosion inhibitors made for specific metals like iron or steel if you want.
Detergents are usually alkaline and are mostly used in engine oil. Metals in engine components heat fast and accumulate deposits. Detergents come in handy because they serve two primary purposes.
They help rid the metal components of any deposits, and two, they neutralize acidity in engine oil. Their main downside is leaving behind ash deposits while the oil is burning.
Anti-wear (AW) Agents
Excessive wear and tear can reduce efficiency and performance significantly. Therefore, the best way to prevent this from happening is to use an anti-wear (AW) agent. These additives protect engine parts by reducing friction between surfaces.
In addition, Anti-wear agents also prevent oxidation and metal damage through corrosion from acids. Anti-wear agents are the best if you’re looking for multi-purpose additives.
That said, other oil additives to consider include;
- Viscosity Index Improvers
- Pour Point Depressants
- Anti-foaming Agents
How does an Oil Additive Work?
Oil additives are primarily meant to improve both engine performance and engine oil. Therefore, your car engine and oil efficiency depend on the oil additive you use. Overall, oil additives work on engine parts such as metal surfaces and engine oil to;
- Reduce friction
- Prevent oxidation
- Neutralize acidity and alkalinity
- Clean deposits from surfaces
- Prevent rust and corrosion
But that’s not all. Oil additives also shut engine valves and pistons, helping restore engine compression. In turn, this helps reduce oil consumption while improving fuel economy.
Benefits of Oil Additives
You can never go wrong when you use oil additives since they come with many benefits. Probably, it’s your first time, and you’re still wondering whether an oil additive is worth it or not. Below, we take a deep dive into the many benefits of oil additives.
1. Better Fuel Economy
According to a ReaseachGate study, friction accounts for approximately 12% of fuel consumption in a vehicle. This is unsustainable and significantly lowers vehicle efficiency. The good news is this can be avoided by using oil additives such as rust and corrosion inhibitors.
2. Reduces Engine Noise
Engine noise is mostly due to mechanical shocks in non-lubricated engines. The best engine oil lubrication contains sufficient oil additives to help absorb mechanical shocks. If you have an older vehicle and desire quieter operations, an oil additive can help greatly.
3. Lowers Engine Heat
High engine heat is associated with foaming engine oil. However, this shouldn’t be the case because the foam in engine oil reduces its ability to regulate operating temperatures. Oil additives help reduce engine frictions helping lower engine heat.
4. Stabilize Engine Oil
Oil additives act as viscosity modifiers, helping stabilize engine oil. They improve the viscosity index, increasing engine efficiency in all types of weather.
5. Extend Service Intervals
According to a McNally Institute study, aftermarket oil additives can extend oil service life by 50%. Moreover, an extended service life comes with more benefits such as cost-saving, optimal engine performance, and additional protection.
6. Restore Engine Compression
Horsepower and torque are necessary for high mileage. However, you want to ensure you have the right supplies of oil additives to achieve high horsepower and torque. The best oil additives for the job shut engine valves and pistons, helping restore engine compression.
7. Reduce Wear and Tear
According to Oil & Energy, over 70% of engine wear occurs at startup. Therefore, the best way to prevent wear and tear is to use an engine oil additive offering sufficient lubrication. This helps greatly with preventing cold starts.
Choosing the right oil additives can be daunting. However, this shouldn’t be a problem when you know what to look for. Below are the qualities of the best oil additives!
- The oil additive should perform its intended function without a hassle.
- It should mix effortlessly with your preferred base oils.
- The oil additive should be compatible with other additives.
- It should be affordable.
In addition, there are plenty of oil additive brands out there you can consider. However, to help save you time, money, and sanity, we recommend trying out Nano Venom. It’s the best oil additive on the market since it uses carbon nanotubes.
Carbon nanotubes have good thermal and mechanical properties. In addition, they have high chemical stability and resistance to corrosion. Overall, these make oil additives made from carbon nanotubes top-notch. So, what are you still waiting for? Get your Nano Venom oil additive from Novum Nano today!