Engine oil additives are safe but can they hurt the motor?

By Shawn Longmore •  Updated: 12/06/21 •  7 min read
Engine Oil Additives

What do engine oil additives do?

Engine oil additives enhance the base properties of oil with antioxidants, emulsifying agents, corrosion inhibitors, anti-foam agents, and detergents. These are needed to ensure all internal moving parts of the motor get enough lubricant to operate effectively. Without proper lubrication, the engine’s metal components would not run properly.

What are the benefits of aftermarket oil additives?

Is there evidence that engine additives work?

Yes, there is a lot of evidence that shows engine additives do work. Many studies on this topic found they improved performance and protected the motor.

They help improve the lubrication system, reduce friction between moving parts, prevent rusting and corrosion, control combustion temperature, and increase the engine’s life span. Engine oil additives also help in reducing emissions.

Can motor oil additives damage the engine?

Engine oil additives help prevent increased wear and tear on internal engine components by lubricating them better than regular motor oils. However, adding too much oil additive will cause the oil to become thick and heavy. It also increases the chances of corrosion, leading to the overloading of internal components. To avoid this problem, make sure you follow the recommended amount on the label.

What are the types of oil additives available?

Multiple types of additives are available to improve fuel economy, help with engine performance, lower the overall operating temperature, and protect parts from wearing out too quickly. The seven most commonly used aftermarket engine oil additives are listed below.

Anti-wear additives:

Anti-wear engine oil additives keep the motor free of metal particles by reducing metal contact. It also stops sludge build-up from forming. In addition, anti-wear additives prevent internal motor parts from wearing out too quickly, which is vital because worn engines cause higher fuel consumption, lower gas mileage, and engine seizure in worse cases.

Anti-freeze agent:

Anti-freeze additives keep the motor’s temperature cool by helping it run at a constant temperature to prevent overheating, which could cause the engine to lose power and eventually stop working altogether.

Lubricity enhancers:

These agents enhance the ability of the oil to flow smoothly through the engine. Lubricity enhancers are usually polymer lubricants with low viscosity, also used in automatic transmission fluids.

Viscosity index improvers:

Also referred to as viscosity modifiers, this helps increase the oil’s viscosity. Viscosity improvers consist of amines, esters, ethers, or alcohols. Amine-based products are preferred because they are less likely to break down under harsh conditions.

Corrosion inhibitors:

These agents prevent oxidation and rust formation. They consist of phosphates, silicates, boron compounds, and others.

Rust inhibitors:

These agents prevent rust formation. Rust inhibitors consist of organic acids, phenolic antioxidants, or alkyl phosphonic acid derivatives.


These agents prevent the degradation of the oil caused by heat and oxygen. Antioxidants consist of hindered phenols, hydroquinones, aromatic amines, or amides. 

Anti-Foaming agents:

This agent helps prevent foaming and air bubbles in the oil.

Who makes oil additives?

Several companies manufacture oil additives, including Mobil Oil Corporation, Shell, Chevron, Texaco, and Phillips 66. However, even though several different manufacturers make additives, they all work similarly.

Other questions people asked

In conclusion, additives in motor oil are helpful because they prolong the engine’s life and keep it running smoothly. Although some people believe that using additives can damage the motor, this is not true. Many manufacturers recommend using them to prevent premature wear on the motor.

Auto Glass Locator provides auto glass services to customers nationwide and produces articles to help internet shoppers with automotive-related questions and concerns. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends!

Shawn Longmore

Shawn is the founder of Auto Glass Locator and enjoys providing articles related to automotive parts and services. His mission is to make it easy for everyone to find all the information they need in one spot. Each year he continues to help more people find great deals on auto glass and other automotive services.

Keep Reading

Shopping for Windshield Repair Kits? Know Which Are Worth Buying

Shopping for Windshield Repair Kits? Know Which Are Worth Buying

Professional windshield repair kits are great for fixing auto glass damage. What are the best options available and steps involved to repair all types...

Best Leather Protection for Cars. What You Should Know!

Best Leather Protection for Cars. What You Should Know!

The best leather protection for cars s is a topic of much debate among car enthusiasts worldwide. These top 3 premium leather cleaners and conditioners will turn...

Which Are The Best Towing Mirrors To Buy for Your Vehicle?

Which Are The Best Towing Mirrors To Buy for Your Vehicle?

Towing mirrors are helpful when pulling large trailers, whether you drive a small car like the Honda Accord or a bigger vehicle like the Ford F150...

How Much Does Hail Damage Repair Cost?

How Much Does Hail Damage Repair Cost?

The average hail damage repair cost will vary from one repair shop to another. In most cases, the paintless dent removal process is between $2,5..

Wind Noise After A Windshield Replacement | 9 Things To Check!

Wind Noise After A Windshield Replacement | 9 Things To Check!

Hearing wind noise after a windshield replacement clearly shows that something didn’t get handled properly during the installation process. These 9 items will..

Windshield Replacement Cost & Getting The Best Quality For Your Money

Windshield Replacement Cost & Getting The Best Quality For Your Money

Windshield replacement cost can vary greatly depending on several factors. We'll show you how to get the best quality for your money and how to...

Don't Miss Out!

We appreciate your readership! Enter your email to get notified when we post a new article. Join thousands of others, and start building your automotive knowledge with us today.

By entering your email address, you agree to receive emails from Auto Glass Locator when we post a new automotive-related article. We'll respect your privacy, plus you can unsubscribe at any time, and we promise never to spam!