What’s the Difference Between Additives and Motor Oil?
Your car needs oil to run. Essentially, motor oil lubricates all of the metal components of a vehicle so they don’t rub together and create friction. Friction creates heat, which can cause wear and tear on your vehicle’s components, as well as cause your car to overheat.
But because the oil protects your car from friction, it also means that the oil needs to be changed frequently – or your car could be majorly damaged as a result.
When it’s time to change the oil in your car or truck, you might notice terms like “conventional oil” or “synthetic motor oil” or “oil additives.” If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, there are a few things you should know about the difference between additives and motor oil.
What’s in motor oil?
Motor oil is mostly petroleum-based and is somewhat viscous (thick) so that it can create space between the mechanisms in a car. It generally wears down with extreme heat, whether from the exterior weather or use of the engine. Because there isn’t much added to conventional motor oil, it tends to wear off a little faster.
That’s why motor oil manufacturers starting using additives to create synthetic motor oil blends.
What are oil additives?
Whether sold as stand-alone bottles or within a motor oil blend, oil additives are a technological advancement in the car industry. Thanks to science, car manufacturers and oil companies have figured out what causes conventional motor oil to break down. They’ve also figured out which components can slow oil deterioration, speed up lubrication, and limit sediment buildup in a car’s engine.
However, these components don’t come naturally through petroleum, so oil additives are a popular option for motor oil companies who want to create a premium line of products. The cheapest oil change options are usually conventional motor oil, with the most expensive options containing premium oil additives.
A few oil additives you might come across include:
- Oil stabilizers
- Viscosity modifiers
- Extreme wear supplements
- Anti-friction treatments
- Manual transmission support
Oil additives are often confused for fuel additives, but do not make this mistake! Oil additives are applied to the oil in a car (under the hood), while fuel additives are added to the fuel tank when you pump gas.
Why do you need oil additives in your motor oil?
Some oil additives may seem too expensive for frequent use, but the benefits they provide could:
- Save your engine from sludge or friction
- Prevent expensive repairs
- Extend the life of your vehicle
It’s important to shop for synthetic oil blends and oil additives that extend the time between oil changes, make your engine work better than before, and actually do what they say. Checking with your favorite mechanic is a good way to decide which motor oil and additives are best for your vehicle.