Reviews

Best Oil Additives: Revive Your Vehicle’s Engine Performance 

Make your old car engine run like it’s brand new with oil additives.

With decades of combined experience covering the latest news, reviewing the greatest gear, and advising you on your next car purchase, The Drive is the leading authority on all things automotive.

The Drive on YouTube The Drive on Facebook The Drive on Instagram

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON April 28, 2021

You already know how critically important regular oil changes are for your car. Without them, your car’s innermost components and systems can face serious problems — and you could wind up with costly repairs you really don’t want to pay for. However, what you might not think about as regularly as your oil changes is what, exactly, your oil is doing under the hood. If you’re counting on your oil to keep your engine and all of its parts running smoothly, you might want to check in with it and see if an oil additive could help.

 

Oil additives, which are also called engine oil additives, can improve engine performance and even help it last for longer. Meant to protect everything from seals and gaskets while also flushing out sludge and cleaning different engine components, an oil additive can be a serious workhorse for your vehicle. And they’re incredibly easy to add right into the oil you’re already using. If you’re thinking about enhancing your engine oil’s performance with an additive, we’ve compiled a list of the best oil additives right here.

Best Overall
Archoil AR9100
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This product can be used on either gasoline or diesel engines. The main ingredient is zinc, which is ideal for preventing corrosion.

Pros
Pros
  • Can fix most powerstroke cold start issues
  • Prevents engine noise, friction, and cluttering
Cons
Cons
  • Isn’t very effective in hot temperatures or when stored in the cold for long; it can harden
Best Overall
Archoil AR9100
Best Value
Liqui Moly Anti-Friction Oil Treatment
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

A motor oil additive made to reduce engine friction and overall noise. Helps the vehicle accelerate better and run smoother. Ideal for automotive purposes as well as machinery and tools. 

Pros
Pros
  • Proves to be beneficial for long-term use
  • Prolongs the engine lifespan Comes in a bottle of 300 milliliters and lasts a long time
  •  A little of the liquid goes a  long way
Cons
Cons
  • Doesn't show significant results on all vehicles
  • Might thicken the oil and paint it in black
Best Value
Liqui Moly Anti-Friction Oil Treatment
Honorable Mention
 Liqui Moly Cera Tec Friction Modifier
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

A special oil additive for all types of commercial oil. It can work quite well in hot or cold environments.

Pros
Pros
  • Can reduce friction and remove accumulated deposits in the filter system
Cons
Cons
  • The texture is extremely thick
  • Smell is rather unpleasant
Honorable Mention
 Liqui Moly Cera Tec Friction Modifier

Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Why Buy Oil Additives?

  • Prevent Rust. When you mix oil additive with motor oil, it refines the lubrication and reduces friction. Keep in mind that rust is one of the leading causes of deterioration in older engines.
  • Improve engine performance. Usually, when an engine is burning too much oil, it will slow down. Additionally, when the oil in your car’s engine is too runny, like water, it will distort the performance of your engine. However, oil additives contain oil stabilizer elements that help thicken the oil and enhance engine performance.
  • Clean the engine. There are some engine oil additives that have detergent characteristics. This would be helpful to unclog impurities that are stuck between the engine parts, reducing the extreme friction. Alternatively, oil additives can also be used to regulate temperature.
  • Stop excessive smoke. If you’re driving a car that coughs too much thick, black smoke like it’s being strangled, oil additives may solve the problem. The oil additive acts by reducing the engine oil loss that causes excess smoke to blow out of your exhaust pipe. It also reduces engine noise.
  • Prevent oil leakage. A top-quality engine oil additive should be able to seal small scratches and micro cracks to stop oil leakage. In the long run, this could save you a lot of money that would have been used to constantly replace the leaking oil.

Types of Oil Additives

Antioxidants

Oxidation causes engine parts to deteriorate when exposed to oxygen. Hence, antioxidant oil additives do the exact opposite by acting like a protective layer to slow down the oxidation process and prevent corrosion of the engine parts. Also, such types of oil additives are capable of prolonging the lifespan of the engine oil.

Detergents

The objective of detergent oil additives is to get rid of impurities accumulating in the engine components. Moreover, detergents are alkaline in nature, and they’re used to neutralize the acidity level of the engine oil and avoid unwanted deposits that would otherwise form when exposed to high temperatures.

Viscosity Modifiers

When blended with regular oil, viscosity modifiers play a role to prevent the oil from becoming thinner or watery after exposure to high temperatures. Alternatively, viscosity modifiers improve oil fluidity at low temperatures, which helps to boost fuel economy and reduce wear. Most top-rated oil additives that are sold contain viscosity modifying elements.

Friction Modifiers

A friction modifier serves the purpose of decreasing the friction between metal surfaces in the engine. In retrospect, friction-reducing engine treatment indirectly enhances fuel economy and could also be used as an anti-wear agent. Most synthetic oil additives that you can find on the market will typically include anti-friction formulas. 

Anti-Foaming Agents

Anti-foaming oil additive contains chemicals that inhibit foam and air bubbles in the engine oil. Otherwise, if the foam bubbles don’t burst, they would speed up the oxidation process, which would ultimately lead to corrosion. In most cases, you will need a very low concentration of anti-foaming agents to get the job done.

Top Brands of Oil Additive

Lucas

Founded in 1989, Lucas is one of the most popular oil additives, lubricants, and automotive oil manufacturers in North America. The company is also a consistent sponsor and promoter of the American racing industry. Its headquarters is in Corona, Calif. One of its top products is the Lucas Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer

Liqui Moly

Headquartered in Germany, Liqui Moly is one of the oldest oil, additives, and lubricant manufacturing companies. In fact, the first patented oil additive used by Liqui Moly was used by soldiers during the World Wars to ensure their automobiles didn’t stop in case they ran out of oil. Its most popular engine treatment product is Liqui Moly Cera Tec Friction Modifier.

Sea Foam

Sea Foam Motor Treatment is one of the highest selling oil additives in America. Most of the company's products are specialized to clean and lubricate the engine parts. Its top-rated oil additive is the Sea Foam SF-16

Pricing

  • Under $10: You can easily find an array of different oil additives priced within a budget-friendly $10 or less range. Most basic additives cost around $7 in total, meaning you don’t have to spend a lot in order to get a decent, effective product that’ll really deliver.
  • $10 to $50: This is the widest, most far-ranging price range when it comes to additives. You’ll find all kinds of options, from general additives to more specialized formulas, at both budget and more expensive prices.
  • $50 and up: While it might seem silly to spend $50 or more on a bottle of oil additive, some of the most premium product choices can cost quite a bit. While there aren’t a ton of options within this high price range, you’ll find more unique options. Some oil additives can even reach $100 and up, though these are typically bulk products or highly specialized formulations.

Pricing

  • Under $10: You can find different types of oil treatment in this price range; anti-leak, anti-wear, and oil stabilizer. However, most products in this category are very small in volume. 
  • $10 to $50: Most oil additives in this range still offer the same features as less expensive options, but they come in bigger containers.
  • $50 to $100: Some of the best engine oil treatment products are in this category. Typically, they have formulas that allow them to multitask when introduced to the engine.

Key Features

Climate Adaptability

Even though most oil additives are designed to be used during the summer or winter months, not all additives can withstand the below-zero temperatures. On the other hand, there are a few additives that would lose composure when exposed to high temperatures. The best car oil additive should be able to cope with extreme cold or hot environments.

Compatibility

Not every oil additive sold on the market is compatible with your vehicle. For instance, there are some oil treatments that would work well with synthetic oil engines. It’s very important that you check your vehicle’s manual to know what type of oil treatment you should buy. Additionally, most user manuals will tell you what type of chemicals you should avoid. The best oil additives should be compatible with almost all types of vehicles.

EPA Certification

The more eco-friendly a product is, the better it is. Usually, oil additives for older engines that are capable of reducing emissions are EPA-certified. Actually, an improved fuel economy will have lower levels of emission. The EPA certification is a green light that the oil treatment doesn’t include harmful chemicals.

Other Considerations  

  • Chemicals. Most top-notch oil additive products contain zinc or phosphorous. The zinc chemical found in oil additives serves to improve performance, and it is usually ideal for older engines. Meanwhile, a phosphorus chemical may prolong your engine’s lifespan by reducing friction. If you find a product with both zinc or phosphorus, it should be very effective.
  • Range of Use. There are many uses of oil additives: reducing friction, removing deposits, lubricating engine parts, neutralizing oil, boosting engine performance, stopping oil leakage, preventing corrosion, and slowing oil burning. Of course, not all oil additives can perform all those functions at once, but you should opt for the most diverse product available.
  • Friction Reduction. An additive has the potential to reduce any friction present as it moves through your engine. Persistent friction can grind down important areas within the engine block, making it tougher for the engine to properly handle its job over time. If you choose an additive that’s able to smooth out that friction and create less wear, you can increase the lifespan you’ll get out of your engine.
  • Rust Inhibiting Capability. In addition to all of the other hard work an oil additive can perform, it may even be able to prevent corrosion or rust. Look for an additive that touts an ability to prevent corrosion from happening thanks to rust-inhibiting ingredients, and you’ll be investing in your engine’s longevity once again. 
  • Effect on Fuel Efficiency. When you pour an oil additive into your vehicle, you’ll be optimizing your engine and helping it run more smoothly with less difficulty. As a result, your fuel efficiency can increase. Make sure you choose an additive that can help your engine’s performance; it could give you an increase of 1-2 miles per gallon, putting less stress on the engine and saving you a bit of money over time.

Best Oil Additives Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Archoil AR9100

The Archoil AR9100 is an oil additive that is suitable for both gasoline and diesel engines. What really makes it stand out is that it can fix Powerstroke cold start problems, which could save you a lot of money in the long run. What else? It can reduce engine noise, friction, and vibration intensity. 


The oil treatment is made out of zinc; hence, it is capable of reducing the wear and tear of your engine parts. Also, it improves the oil consumption and performance of the hydraulics, steering wheel, and gearbox. The bottle capacity is 16 fluid ounces, which is enough to keep you going for a long time without needing a replacement.


The biggest downside of the Archoil AR9100 is that it doesn’t work well when exposed to a hot environment. Nonetheless, you can still use it comfortably if you live in places with cold or cool weather. Just don’t store it in a cold garage during the winter, or else you will find it crusted. 

Best Value
Liqui Moly Anti-Friction Oil Treatment

When you choose Liqui Moly Anti-Friction Oil Treatment, you’re getting great value for the money you spend. This product is a motor oil additive that proves to be rather efficient in reducing engine friction and overall noise. When used regularly, the product helps the engine accelerate better and run smoother, expanding its lifespan. Besides being useful for automotive purposes, this oil additive is also suitable for machinery and tools. 


The product is available in a bottle of 300 milliliters, which means it's long-lasting and beneficial for the budget. A drop or two of this liquid goes a long way. Even if you don't notice the improvement right away, the product will significantly prolong the lifespan of your car's engine and protect it in the long term. 


Although some users noticed a huge improvement in the car engine performance and noise, others didn't find this product that beneficial. It seems that the liquid doesn't show the ultimate results on all vehicles. Also, some users don't like that the product paints the oil into black and thickens the oil.

Honorable Mention
 Liqui Moly Cera Tec Friction Modifier

Here’s another additive made by Liqui Moly that’s well worth considering: Liqui Moly Cera Tec Friction Modifier. This product is a bit different than the last; it’s actually made to balance with any type of commercial motor oil. That means you can travel for a long distance without getting worried about switching your oil additive to work with a specific type of commercial motor oil. Once activated, the oil additive will eliminate any deposit blocking the filter system.


It is rare to come across an oil additive that won’t compromise its quality in either extremely cold or hot environments, but this product doesn’t fall short of that expectation. It even gets rid of the annoying white smoke emissions when starting the vehicle. The 300 milliliter bottle can be blended with up to 5 liters of engine oil.


The texture of this Liqui Moly product is thick, making it hard to put it into an oil filler. The smell is also unpleasant and could be a turn-off. However, it is still a solid option, especially for drivers with older cars.

Honorable Mention
Lucas Oil Heavy-Duty Oil Stabilizer

Older cars with high-mileage engines tend to need something a bit different from brand-new vehicles. And if you drive an older model year vehicle, you’ll want to take a close look at Lucas Oil Heavy-Duty Oil Stabilizer. It’s a reliable product that proves to be quite beneficial for old engines. It increases the oil life and reduces the overall oil consumption, maintaining the engine for a longer time. The 100 percent petroleum product is designed to eliminate dry starts and reduce friction, which eliminates noise and prolongs the engine’s lifespan. 


With this product, your vehicle will become quieter and run smoother. The formula is quite powerful, so you only need a drop or two of this liquid to regularly maintain your car, truck, and other vehicles. Also, the liquid doesn't change the viscosity of the oil, and it protects the cylinders and piston rings. 


One of the downfalls with this product comes from the fact it's not the best option for new engines. While it proves to be rather efficient with old engines, it could be too sticky for new ones, and glue the filth. Also, some users think it's a little expensive, even if it comes in a 1-gallon bottle that lasts. 

Honorable Mention
Motorkote Hyper Lubricant

Sometimes, spending more to get a high-quality and highly effective product is best — and that’s the case with Motorkote Hyper Lubricant. This Motorkote lubricant is suitable for almost all synthetic and petroleum-based oils. Its main benefit is versatility, as the product works on both gas and diesel engines. The manufacturer and professional mechanics recommend it for all automotive and machinery purposes, so you can use it on cars, trucks, lawnmowers, and other equipment. And though it’s pricier than many other options on our list, it can be a worthwhile investment if it suits your needs. 


The Motorkote lubricant is quite effective in reducing friction and heat for better engine performance. It helps the engine run smoothly and quietly and prevents dry starts, which ensures more enjoyable rides and a longer engine lifespan. Also, the liquid isn't too sticky and won't clog.


The main setback with this product might be its price. The one-gallon bottle turns out to be rather expensive, although it does last for a long time. Also, some users didn't notice any real improvement in gas mileage, so the oil additive might not be suitable for all engine types. 

Honorable Mention
Prolong Super Lubricants Engine Treatment

The Prolong Super Lubricants engine treatment features an anti-friction formula that works for both diesel and gas engines. It's a powerful yet safe product that works well on cars, motorcycles, trucks, and machinery. 


The product is simple to use, and the results show almost immediately. The liquid interacts with the metal surfaces and bonds to make a protective layer that reduces friction and heat. Furthermore, the engine accelerates better and runs smoother, without noticeable noise. The product is also easy to use and safe for the vehicle. 


One of the concerns regarding this product comes from the formula itself. It seems the company changed it, and it’s not as thick as it was in the past. It might even pour out of the bottle if you're not careful enough when adding it to the vehicle. The other concern is the price because the runny liquid doesn't last for long.

Honorable Mention
Hot Shot’s Secret Oil Additive

What makes the Hot Shot's Secret Oil Additive stand out is the powerful formula that cleans and maintains the engine. The product increases the overall engine power, removes deposits, and reduces friction and noise. On top of that, it doesn't contain any harmful acids that could damage the engine, so your vehicle will be perfectly safe. 


This oil additive is very efficient in protecting the engine components and stabilizing the oil. You can use it on both diesel and gas engines. The product quickly gets rid of deposits, improves mileage, and lubricates the oil pump, rings, pistons, injectors, and more. The results show almost immediately, resulting in more enjoyable rides. 


Although very efficient and reliable, this oil additive is not flawless. It seems that it works better on diesel engines rather than gas engines. While it significantly improves the overall performance of diesel engines, the noise reduction in gas engines is not that noticeable. Also, considering the product comes in a 32-ounce bottle, it's quite pricey.

Honorable Mention
BG MOA Engine Oil Supplement

Another high-quality product worthy of your attention is the BG MOA Oil Supplement. It's a powerful liquid that protects and maintains the engine, enhancing its overall performance. By keeping the engine components clean, it prolongs the engine life and ensures smoother rides. 


The product is fairly easy to use. All you need to do is add it to every oil change, and you'll see the improvement in your vehicle performance in no time. You can even use it on equipment such as lawnmowers for regular maintenance. 


What can be a drawback with this product is the fact it works better with conventional oils than synthetic ones, although it's quite beneficial in both cases. Also, it's not recommended for engine assembly lubrication or suitable for brake oils.

Honorable Mention
REV X High Performance Oil Additive

The aim of REV-X's high-performance oil additive is to increase horsepower, torque, and efficiency. You can use this product in a variety of lubricating fluids, including engine oils and gear lubricants, as well as in hydraulic, transfer case, and manual transmission fluids. It comes in a 4-ounce bottle and does not contain harmful additives such as Teflon or acids.


REV-X increases performance and lubricant service life. Treated components don't wear down as quickly and operate more smoothly. Users have a lot of success using this product with 6.0-liter Powerstroke. It fixes bad injectors, helps significantly with cold starts, and can really bring your truck back to life.


However, it might take up to two oil changes to really see the difference. Also, there may be less expensive oil additives that do the same job. Some users complain that the product is overpriced.

Honorable Mention
Hyperlube Rislone Hy-per Lube Oil Supplement

Has your engine been through quite a lot of wear and tear? Consider adding Hyperlube Rislone Hy-per Lube Oil Supplement into the mix along with engine oil. This additive is more than just something that’ll smooth out performance — it’s actually formulated as an extreme pressure lubricant, meaning it can significantly improve your engine oil’s cushioning and mechanical shock-absorbing potential. 


Mixing this additive in can lead to improvements like less lifter and drivetrain noise. It offers more protection between oil changes, extending the lifespan of your oil by as much as 50 percent or up to 7,500 miles. Compatible with all petroleum and synthetic oils, you’ll be able to use it in just about any vehicle. 


But the benefits of this additive don’t end there. Use Hyperlube’s product, and you’ll also get better film strength, improved viscosity, and less thermal breakdown. It can lower the temperature of the gearbox and transmission, and it can restore some performance to older engines. And it’ll even help seal piston rings and valve guides. That’s all-around protection and improvement that’s tough to top.

Tips & Advice

  • If you just bought a brand new car, your vehicle probably doesn’t need an oil additive. However, if you bought a used older car, there is a chance it could do better with an oil additive injection.
  • Even though manufacturers might tell you it is okay to use their oil additives on certain vehicles, it’s important to check your vehicle’s manual. Sometimes, the user’s manual and the product description can be different. Regardless, always go by your vehicle’s manual.
  • If the engine of your car comes with hydraulic valve filters, avoid adding thick oil additives. In some cases, extremely thick oil additives could cause engine cluttering. Instead, it is better to opt for a thinner liquid oil additive.
  • Oil additives shouldn't be used as a replacement for oil engines. In fact, if you take good care of your vehicle, you probably won't need oil additives. Nevertheless, if your engine starts to make noise or emit a lot of smoke, it could be a signal to buy an oil additive.

FAQs

Q: How often should I change my oil additive?

It depends on your vehicle’s user manual. Since oil additives need to be mixed with engine oil, you should blend it every time you change the oil.

Q: Can oil additives improve oil pressure?

Yes. Most additives can improve oil pressure, but only temporarily. If your vehicle is showing signs of low oil pressure, it could be a sign there are serious engine issues that should be addressed by visiting a mechanic.

Q: Could oil additives also work as fuel additives?

No. Oil additives are specially designed to blend with engine oil, but fuel additives are used to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. Although some oil additives could boost your engine performance and indirectly improve your car’s gasoline consumption level, they’re different from fuel additives.

Q: Do engine oil additives really work?

Additives really work when they’re mixed in with your regular engine oil. You may not notice the effects right away — some additives can start having an effect after your second oil change after using them — but changes will take place under the hood. Your engine can last longer, a benefit you’ll only notice later on, and it’ll be cleaner and better equipped to perform on the road thanks to a quality additive.

Q: Can oil additives hurt my engine?

Oil additives shouldn’t cause any engine issues, as long as you choose a product that’s designed to work with the kind of oil your vehicle requires. Some additives are universal, but others can be more specialized, so make sure to double-check the recommended use cases before picking out which one you’ll use.

Q: Can you mix different oil additives?

It isn’t a good idea to blend together different oil additives. Stick to just one — and use only that one in your engine’s oil. Using multiple additives together in the same oil can actually cause oil degradation, which in turn can have harmful effects on your engine and other vehicle systems. 

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best oil additive is the Archoil AR9100. It is versatile, and it can solve Powerstroke cold start issues. Another top-quality selection that is cheaper than most other options is the Liqui Moly Anti-Friction Oil Treatment.