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Why are companies putting additives in motor oils? Thursday, May 31, 2018

How much do you know about the products you are putting in your car? No, not your shopping bags – we are talking about automobile lubricants. More specifically, about what is inside them…

Lubricants, such as engine oil, consist of two blended elements: base oils and performance-enhancing additives. In this post Al Naboodah Autocare takes a closer look at what these additives are and why they’re being blended with our oil.

What are additives?

Additives in automobile lubricants are a mixture of various chemical components that are blended into the base oil to improve its stability and to introduce, or amplify, certain characteristics in the oil. Nearly all commercial motor oils contain additives in some form, regardless of whether the oils are synthetic or petroleum-based. These additives include detergents, dispersants, corrosion inhibitors, viscosity modifiers, and more.

Why are additives in lubricants so important?

The additives – which can represent up to a third of the composition of a lubricant – improve the shelf life of the base oil. By extending the longevity of the lubricant the additives contribute to extending the longevity of your vehicle’s engine. There are also several other advantages to including additives in lubricants, from enhancing performance to preventing damage.

Let’s take a look at four of the main additives that Al Naboodah Autocare thinks everyone should be familiar with:

Friction-reducing additives

Friction modifiers reduce the friction between the parts of the engine. This will not only stop your engine from getting damaged from rubbing and grinding components, but will also increase fuel economy. As well as making sure damage to your engine is minimised, friction modifiers are proven to have a positive impact on your fuel economy. This is great news for cutting your long-term costs of running a vehicle and reducing your carbon footprint as we all work towards a sustainable future.

Lubricant viscosity – the ‘thickness’ of the oil – is linked directly to your choice of base oil. Viscosity is also greatly dependent upon temperature; introducing viscosity modifying additives to the lubricant allows for greater control of the thickness. Additives can both prevent the oil from becoming too thin when the oil heats up and too thick when it cools down.

Engine wear-preventing additives

Oxidation inside the engine causes (avoidable) wear and tear, increasing running costs and reducing the efficiency of your vehicle. Introducing additives such as antioxidants, which protect the base oil against oxidation, and metal deactivators, which create a film on the metal surfaces that prevents them from oxidizing, will help prevent this damage.

Engine-cleaning additives

All engines get dirty with use and, without attention, they become increasingly inefficient and sometimes stop working completely. Additives make sure your engine remains in tip-top condition, keeping the engine parts clean and ensuring that the filter doesn’t get blocked by deposits in the oil. Detergent additives neutralise acids and dispersant additives dissolve impurities, whilst anti-foam additives halt the production of air bubbles that regularly result in a loss of lubrication (and ultimately corrosion of the engine).

Which lubricant is right for my vehicle?

Cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles – no matter what you drive, the intelligent blend of base oils and additives in lubricants will play an essential part in the maintenance of your vehicle. However, it is often difficult to choose from the diverse range of solutions on offer. For more information about the selecting the best lubricant, or any other aspect of vehicle maintenance, speak to one of our specialist team members.