The 10 Best Oil Additives

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This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in June of 2016. If you want your vehicle to last for as long as possible with minimal maintenance issues, you have to take care of it. When it comes to your fuel system and motor, the easiest way to do that is with one of these oil additives. They can increase horsepower, keep engines smooth at high RPMs, improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, eliminate dry starts, help piston rings set properly, and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Lucas Pure Synthetic Stabilizer

2. Marvel Mystery MM13R

3. Archoil AR9100 Friction Modifier

Editor's Notes

November 03, 2020:

Everybody wants their car to operate smoothly and run well for as long as possible. Despite that, most don't take any preventative steps to ensure that happens. Something as simple and affordable as using one of the oil additives on this list may help prevent expensive fixes down the line, and even extend the service life of the internal components of your engine.

Marvel Mystery MM13R is one of the most versatile options here simply because it works as both an oil additive and a fuel treatment in gasoline engines. Conversely, Rislone ZDDP Supplement is probably the least versatile as it should only be used in older vehicles. In cars and trucks with gasoline systems manufactured before 1997, it can be used at full strength, but it is also suitable for use at half strength in those manufactured before 2005. In diesels, it is suitable for use in vehicles manufactured before 2007. At the opposite end of the spectrum we have Red Line 81403 Break-in, which is intended to be used during the break-in period on new motors.

High-performance engines would do well with Lucas Pure Synthetic Stabilizer, Rev-X Stiction Fix, and BestLine Engine Treatment, all of which are effective at mitigating excess engine heat by reducing friction and increasing the film strength of your engine oil. Both Rev-X Stiction Fix and BestLine Engine Treatment are free of solids and Teflon, too.

While zMax 51-212 may not be well suited to very warm climates or engines that run very hot because of its low flash point, it does a good job of reducing carbon build up, and thereby helping to reduce emissions, making it a good choice for old vehicles that may be having trouble meeting emissions standards testing.

April 09, 2019:

Extending the life of your engine can be as simple as pouring one of these additives into it. Yet for some reason, many vehicle owners don't bother to do so. If you are one of the few people who know better, you'll find exactly what you are looking for here. Anyone who owns a classic vehicle will be well-served by Rislone Supplement Concentrate, since it contains high levels of zinc. Red Line 81403 Break-in also contains zinc, but not as much as Rislone, so it is just as well-suited to newer and older cars. Lucas 10131 Stabilizer is safe to use in gas, diesel, and high-performance engines, so no matter what type of ride you have, you can't go wrong with it. Rev-X Stiction Fix is another option that works well in diesel and gasoline engines. Marvel Mystery MM13R is both a fuel and oil additive, making it extremely versatile, plus it is also very affordable. If you live in a cold climate, Archoil AR9100 Friction Modifier and BG MOA Supplement are smart choices, since they can help cut down on thickening, proving good cold start protection. Whichever formula you choose from this list, your vehicle and wallet will thank you.

4. Rev-X Stiction Fix

5. Red Line 81403 Break-in

6. BG MOA Supplement

7. BestLine Engine Treatment

8. Liqui Moly MoS2 Anti-Friction

9. zMax 51-212

10. Rislone ZDDP Supplement

The Benefits of Oil Additives

Rust inhibitors improve the oil's natural ability to keep rust at bay.

The job of oil is to lubricate and protect the engine. Additives are often mixed with the oil to supplement this job, not replace it. There are a few different types available on the market, so it is important to understand what each of these additives does in order to choose the correct one.

One of the more common oil additives is a viscosity index improver. These increase the viscosity of the base oil. When the viscosity of an oil is too high, it will not flow as well, and may leave some areas less protected than others. When oil viscosity is too low, it will move like water through the engine, and won't stick to the engine's components long enough to do its job. Add to this the fact that the viscosity of oil fluctuates with temperature, and it is easy to see the importance of improving the viscosity index.

Another common oil additive combination is that of the detergent/dispersant. These two work in tandem to break up engine sludge, dirt, soot, and other foreign contaminants that build up in the engine over time. If left unchecked, these contaminants can clog moving components or get stuck between two moving parts, causing destructive friction. Adding a detergent/dispersant mix to an engine which experiences a variety of weather changes is especially beneficial, but should only be done in conjunction with changing the oil itself. Clean oil with added detergent/dispersant will make much more of a difference to engine parts than dirty oil, even with the best additives.

Rust inhibitors are also very beneficial, and their function is rather straightforward. Rust inhibitors improve the oil's natural ability to keep rust at bay. This is usually achieved by increasing the level of various antioxidants to control the corrosive effect of oxygen.

How Do Oil Additives Work?

The benefits of additives come from the ways in which they interact with the engine. Oil additives are used to reduce friction and engine wear, which is a function of oil itself. Engine oil lubricates engine parts to prevent excess friction, and keeping these parts coated in oil prevents things like the oxidation process from corroding an engine.

Most oil will include the given base oil as well as various additives like anti-acids, dispersants, detergents, and viscosity and friction modifiers. The particular blend of a given oil will be equipped to meet the lowest recommended needs of the engine it is paired with. This does leave room for improvement, however.

Viscosity modifiers are also added to most oils to help the oil maintain its viscocity across a broad range of temperatures and conditions that an engine may encounter.

In order to be beneficial, oil additives must mix well with these oils to enhance their natural abilities to coat and protect engine parts. For instance, most engine oil includes detergents to keep the metal surfaces clean and wick away contaminants. Adding a dispersant to the oil can aid in this job by pulling particles of dirt or soot away from the metal.

Viscosity modifiers are also added to most oils to help the oil maintain its viscocity across a broad range of temperatures and conditions that an engine may encounter. Complementing this with a friction modifying additive can also help keep the oil flexible enough to handle the high pressure environment within the engine.

Adding additional oil stabilizers and viscosity modifiers to new oil will also usually provide good results. This is because the additives help to raise the level of antioxidants in the oil, which in turn makes the oil last longer and perform better. The benefits of adding antioxidants to oil have been known for quite some time, but only recently has the popularity of aftermarket antioxidant additives risen.

It is important to understand that an oil additive is not meant to revitalize old or dirty oil. They are simply meant to augment the power and ability of the oil they are used in. Combining a high quality oil with a high quality oil additive is the best way to improve the life of a vehicle's engine.

Are Oil Additives The Same As Fuel Additives?

Oil additives and fuel additives are terms that are mistakenly used interchangeably. While an oil additive is used to improve the texture and protective ability of high quality oil, a fuel additive is something used to improve the vehicle's ability to use its fuel, or gasoline.

Cleaner burning fuel may also reduce the emissions of a vehicle.

Some fuel additives are called octane boosters, because they work to improve the octane rating of the gasoline to which they are added. This causes an increase in certain performance parameters in combustion engines.

Fuel additives may also help the fuel burn cleaner. This simply means they help remove certain particles from the fuel that may not be good for the injectors or other engine parts. Cleaner burning fuel may also reduce the emissions of a vehicle.

Many people see fuel additives as a way to help reduce air pollution and rid the air of some of the chemicals produced during combustion. So, while both fuel additives and oil additives are beneficial for a vehicle's engine, they are definitely not the same thing.

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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