Best Oil Additives: Revive Your Vehicle’s Engine Performance
Make your old car engine run like it’s brand new with oil additives
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON April 25, 2019
Sometimes, engine oil isn't enough to keep your engine running smoothly, especially if your vehicle is old. What are the options? You could use an oil additive to restore the high performance of your engine. The best oil additive doesn’t replace the engine oil. Rather, it’s mixed with the engine oil to complement it. Check out our best oil additives reviews and recommendations for 2019.
- Best OverallArchoil AR9100SummarySummary
This product can be used on either gasoline or diesel engines. The main ingredient is zinc, which is ideal for preventing corrosion.ProsPros
It can fix most powerstroke cold start issues. It also prevents engine noise, friction, and clutter.ConsCons
It isn’t very effective in hot temperatures or when stored in the cold for long; it can harden.
- Best ValueSea Foam SF-16SummarySummary
This oil additive is 100 percent petroleum, EPA-approved, and eco-friendly. It can be blended with all types of engine oil.ProsPros
It removes unnecessary deposits that slow down engine performance. Also, it can get an engine to run quietly and smoothly.ConsCons
It usually takes five to 10 minutes before it becomes effective.
- Honorable MentionLiqui Moly Cera Tec Friction ModifierSummarySummary
A special oil additive for all types of commercial oil. It can work quite well in hot or cold environments.ProsPros
It can reduce friction and remove accumulated deposits in the filter system.ConsCons
The texture is extremely thick, and the smell is rather unpleasant.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 formula.
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 agent to get the job done.
Top Brands of Oil Additive
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, California. One of its top products is the Lucas Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer.
Headquartered in Germany, Liqui Moly is one of the oldest oil, additives, and lubricants 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 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.
- 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 - $50: Most oil additives in this range still offer the same features as less expensive options, but they come in bigger containers.
- $50 - $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.
Even though most oil additives are designed to be used during 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 under extreme cold or hot environments.
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.
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.
- 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 the friction. If you find a product with both zinc or phosphorous, 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.
Best Oil Additive Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Archoil AR9100 Oil Additive
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: Sea Foam SF-16
The Sea Foam SF-16 is one of the best engine oil treatments available on the market for those on a low budget. The oil additive is a 100 percent petroleum product that is designed to be safe for sensitive engine parts. Moreover, it is compatible with all types of engine oil: mineral, semi-synthetic, synthetic, and all-season oil. It is also EPA-approved, making it eco-friendly.
If you’re having trouble removing engine deposits and contamination, the Sea Foam SF-16 will act as an antidote to get the job done. Beyond that, the product can make your engine run smoothly and quietly. Even during the winter, Sea Foam SF-16 can help you start your engine at low temperatures due to its frost-resistant formula.
Despite it being one of the most top-rated oil additives, you will have to wait a few minutes before this product works. For instance, after introducing the oil stabilizer into the engine, you should wait for five to 10 minutes before the excessive exhaust smoke reduces. The product is also flammable.
Honorable Mention: Liqui Moly Cera Tec Friction Modifier
This product is 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.
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.
Q: How often should I change my oil additive?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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.
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 Sea Foam SF-16.