Engine Additives

bonnie_rickbonnie_rick Member Posts: 115
The now closed Welcome Conference's engine
treatments-worth the money? (Topic #215)

Check out the beginning of the discussion and
come back here to continue it.

Bonnie Rick
Town Hall Community Manager, edmunds.com


  • maydaytoymaydaytoy Member Posts: 22
    I have used in engines, transmissions, transfer cases, front and rear ends along with power steering systems a product called Tufoil for over18 years. I built Faylex machines which do tribology testing(science of metals and wear/friction) and proved to thousands of people this is no snake oil. It just works great!
    Tufoil was created by a Mr. Frank Renick of Upper Saddle River N.J. in 1973 during the gas(sic) shortage/crunch. Being a petro-chemical engineer helped. I use this "additive" because no only did
    it seemed to work, I proved it over and over using hard numbers before and after, via pressure and amp data that it "does" work up to its claims. Popular Mechanics tested it and concluded, Hey it works!
    Try it, most local parts stores have it. it sells
    around 5-8$ a 8oz bottle. used to be 18$.
    one last statement, it made every manual transsmission shift smoother within 1 hour or less of driving. Dont use it for "Motorcycle" engines as the clutch shares the same oil on most
    brands and can cause clutch slippage.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, I'd really like the issue # of that Popular Mechanics article...
  • greencargreencar Member Posts: 11
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE - dont waste your monies on oil and gas wonder products. i have done research and studies on this over blown product that say-yes-you feel the difference-you get 391% better mileage-etc....humans are a strange breed-if they see something that (looks) like it works-they run out and purchase the xyz brand. great example of this is SLICK 50. great product?? for the toilet bowl-not for the car.slick sold its company to Quaker State-$$$$-than the gov. came in and nailed them to the wall.
    same thing with spark plugs-split fire is one big joke-got nailed by the gov. for mis??leading statements. reminds me of the good ole boys in texas that sold a gas additive- 1 tablet per fill-up-instant result. they made thousands of dollars-guess what-they were Moth Balls!!
    by the way-i teach automotive technology-30 years in the field-what fun!!!how many people can have a fun job like this!!!!
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    With you 100% - save your money on the additives and put it in a mutual fund.............
  • dsomersdsomers Member Posts: 20
    Interesting, but my car manufacturer (VW) recommends adding a bottle of Techron every year to clean to injectors. Is this snake oil, too?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    In a sense, yes, it is snake oil...most over-the-counter fuel injection cleaners are not very strong...at the very best, they might PREVENT some build up in the injectors, but they cannot CLEAN dirty ones...so, if your car isn't running right, these non-industrial grade cleaners don't have a chance in helping you. Money down the drain. A really good injector cleaner is potent and expensive. Best thing if you think your injectors are clogged is a) industrial grade cleanr, remove and try to clean them, and lastly and most likely, replace them.
  • MartypaMartypa Member Posts: 50
    Do you recommend a particular brand of industrial grade cleaner?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    For industrial grade injector cleaners, you'll have to check with your repair shop...these are not sold to the public as an over-the-counter product, but rather distributed to shops...I think a company called ZEP (??)makes one...I just buy it from my local Porsche shop...but again, usually malfunctioning injectors need to be removed and cleaned (most come out easily) and most likely replaced. It's maybe only 1 in a 100 chance you'll clean them by solvent.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    Shadetree Mechanic had a good show on this past weekend using 3M's fuel injector cleaner. You disconnect the fuel pump and tap in a bottle of cleaner into the schrader valve on the fuel injector rail. Start the vehicle up and idle for 5 to 15 minutes until the cleaner can is exhausted and the engine dies.
    You might be able to buy the kit OTC or have a professional do the work.
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    You also need a schrader valve on your fuel rail, which not all cars have. Zep does make injector cleaner, and so does Berryman. You can find some industrial-grade stuff at places like Grand Auto, but you also need an injector cleaner (a pump-action claner) to do a thorough job. You can't just let the injector sit in a toxic soup, you actually have to pump the cleaning fluid through them.
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    I agree that most oil & fuel additives are snake oils, but I disagree with Mr_Shiftright that Techron is also one. There are a few OTC cleaners that do a decent job at cleaning carbon deposits. VW doesn't recommend Techron for nothing. When my '89 Golf gets enough carbon deposits on the intake valves, the engine would develop a rpm bounce on cold start(i.e. surge up to 2000rpm, then back down to near dying, then back up) because the carbon deposits would act like a sponge soaking up atomized fuel when the car first starts. The FI CPU then over-compensates for the lean mixture. Half tankful after I add a bottle of Techron the rpm surge would stop occurring.

    A lot of alleged great results car owners get from additives *are* nothing but placebo effects. Techron definitely is not one of them. Lubro-Moly is another FI cleaner popular with the VW crowd. In addition to pour-into-tank cans, Lubro-Moly also makes a super concentrate "pro" version that taps in directly to the fuel distributor of CIS injection system found in '80s and early '90 European cars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I guess it comes down to what degree the injectors are gummed up...I think cleaning some excess carbon off the valves may be an easier job for a solvent that cleaning injectors, given the precision involved...I've personally never had much luck with solvents on injectors but I do know that if you do it right you can sometimes have positive effects. I can recall that even when the injector "comes clean" it often screws up again soon after...I usually just replace them after the first try at rememdial solvents. There's just so much screwing around you want to do with these things...
  • syclone7syclone7 Member Posts: 2
    I own a GMC Syclone,when I went for my emissions check-the truck did not pass the test.My son -in-law was selling B G products at that time and he gave me a 12 oz. container of thier product called 44K.I poured this into the gas tank and drove the truck for a few days,then went back for my test and passed the test. The product is supposed to clean carbon deposits in the combustion chamber,it worked for me.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    greencar. Actually, the "good ole boys from Texas" product has some (just some) merit. Moth balls contain camphor and naphtalene, which are somewhat (just somewhat) amphipathic, and aid in displacing moisture from the gas tank.

    I don't know about one per tankful, though. You'd be better off using a gasline antifreeze once in a while and keeping a full tank of gas during the winter.
  • ernesternest Member Posts: 30
    I'll stimulate some discussion about oil additives, if I can. I have been using Militec I for some time and have had positive results; although I don't do anything so drastic as what you see on the infomercials. But it has extended the period between times I have to add a quart, and the engine has been running flawlessly for 96K miles.
  • clintonjohnclintonjohn Member Posts: 99
    what is militec? never heard of it. is it a teflon base?
  • ernesternest Member Posts: 30
    Duralube too? I heard the FTC charged Prolong with some wrongdoing, also.

    Militec is not teflon based? It's probabably one of the few products that really works by treating the metal molecularly. It has been used by the Government for years and is well documented as to benefits etc. in official Government correspondence that I have seen.
  • arjay1arjay1 Member Posts: 172
    Call me a skeptic but nowadays "official government correspondence" doesn't carry a whole lot of weight.
    Where have you seen this official correspondence? I would love to be able to read up on this product.
    What is Militec? I have never heard of it!
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    "Treating the metal molecularly". Did I miss a smiley or winky in there somewhere? You've got to be kidding.
  • ernesternest Member Posts: 30
    WOW! I've opened a hornets' nest. I checked out the dejanews web site furnished by steverobinson, and you will find no argument from me about the product discussed. I personally know of several instances of engine failures attributed to the use of this product. But I saw nothing in this article about Miletec, and Miletec is the only product that I would personaly endorse, and that I have personally used over an extended period of time. Check out the Miletec website. You will have to play around with the name, but you'll find it. Oh, by the way, I did use Marvel Mystery oil to free up some sticky valve lifters with success on a car that had been sitting with little use for a long time. I have also used Rislone; but, neither of these products produced any noticable positive results other than freeing up the sticky valves. Miletec, on the other hand, did.

    If additives are bad, then why do gasoline producers blend in additives with their products; and why do the additives vary among gasolines. One of the best additives for injectors, for example, is Techron, which is also contained in Chevron gas.

    I admit there is a lot of snake oil out there, probably more of it than of good products; but, one probably should not carte blanche reject all additives, merely because they have discovered a few bad ones. Do the research and decide for yourself what is good and what is bad.
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    ernest, what other benefits did you see from the use of Militec? I read your posts up there, and the only mention was extended period before adding a quart of oil. Sounds like your engine is burning oil, but you could've done the same thing with using straight 30W.
  • ernesternest Member Posts: 30
    volfy: I have news for you. All cars burn oil, eventually. It's just a matter of how rapidly; i.e., how many miles you can travel before you add a quart. And the type of driving affects this. Some new cars burn a quart in 900 miles, a rate that I personally consider unacceptable; but, a big three auto manufacturer claims this is normal usage and will not do anything to correct it. I personally was getting about 1500-2000 before I had to add a quart in my 86 Dodge van if memory serves. After adding Miletec, I started going 3000 miles before the need for a quart, at which time I changed my oil. Miletec is only added every 15000 miles.

    I enjoyed steverobinson's comments and reference article on the additive tests. I wish they had included Miletec. I have never seen any public testing or reports on the product - only Government documents and personal, and admittedly anecdotal, comments such as mine. If you ever hear of any, I would like to know.
  • mjrmjr Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone heard of moly? I have used it for years. It does work. It comes in various brand names. Not great claims, no snake oil, just an additive that does what they say.
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    Car engines burn oil is news? Hardly. It is only a problem when oil consumption is excessive. What's excessive depends on whom you ask and IS somewhat of a personal tolerance thing. I guess you and I are different. I don't use any gas and oil additive unless it is generally accepted by the industry and its claims are independently verifiable.

    I think mechanical problems ought to fixed mechanically and chemical problems fixed chemically. If the radiator is leaking, I'd rather pull the radiator and get it fixed rather than pour a can of mystery additive in it hoping it'll plug the leak while not gunking up the water pump and thermostat. Now I consider carbon buildup a chemical problem which then requires a chemical solution (pun intended). I like Techron for that, so does some car manufacturers.

    I won't draw conclusions for you. It's up to you to decide how to treat your car. I just don't like the argument that if there are thousands of additives out there, some of them must be good. The statement may be true, but the *assumption* bothers me. Apply that logic to other sales scams like pyramid schemes and see how far that goes.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    These were hot stuff back in the 60's and 70's.

    A chrome plated can sat under the hood and used a roll of toilat paper to filter your oil.

    County fairs would have convincing displays where hawkers would extol the virtues of these.

    The claim was you never had to change your oil, just the roll of paper!
  • bluemistbluemist Member Posts: 23
    I put this in my 1996 Hyundai Accent with 86,000 miles on the odometer, and found the engine runs smoother, quieter and cooler (i.e. when I drove to CT and back, at a speed of around 65 MPH, stopped and put my hand on the hood, the hood was warm, not hot).

    I have also changed the oil at 89,000 miles so I know that the benefits stay between oil changes.
  • jhdavisjhdavis Member Posts: 1
    OK, So I've heard all the stories. I've added some of these potions to my own vehicles and had the results they claimed I would.
    My question is how would any of these additives, especially gas and oil ones, alter your normal vehicle maintenance over time.
    For example, does the fact that you have used the additives have any bearing on your oil choice, fuel choice, etc.?
  • ernesternest Member Posts: 30
    Many of these additives contain an ingredient(I can't recall the chemical name, just now) that although producing amazing short term results like you see on TV, etc., have a very detrimental long term effect on engine parts. An exception to this in my view is Militec, which I feel enables me to use a high grade of regular oil, such as Castrol, and avoid the use of expensive synthetics, while getting more than addequate protection. I would say it has no bearing on my gasoline choice. Check out steverobinson comments a while back with an accompanying website for a detailed report on some additive. It is very informative and, in my view, valid.
  • kirbstoykirbstoy Member Posts: 53
    Over the years I've tried many, many different special oils and additives looking for the ability to have a smooth, clean-running and smog test-passing engine. Most seemed to have a short-term positive effect, but I never experienced what I considered a long-term performance improvement until I tried Prolong. I followed the manufacturer's directions and have used it for the last 30K. I have a '97 Ford F-150, 4.6L V-8. Within the first 3-4K of Prolong use a "tick" in the lifters upon cold start went away completely and hasn't returned. The engine is far smoother and quieter at idle than prior to Prolong. My average mileage went up slightly but frankly, not much. Also, and most impressive, the "spinning" of the starter motor is quite a bit faster and the cold start "bounce" on the tach. went from around 1100 rpm to 1700 rpm before it quickly settles back to the computer-controlled idle. I am very satisfied with Prolong even though its expensive. Also, I use Havoline 5W-30 and Motocraft filters, religiously changed every 3K miles. And, NO, I don't work for them !!
  • jbauerjbauer Member Posts: 39
    I bought my wife a new 98 Mitsubishi Galant and started using Prolong immediately, which I have been using in my Diamante since I bought it. Her gas mileage went from 27 mpg to 31. No Joke! Although it is a little expensive to use at each oil change I believe the expense of engine repairs, cost of renting a vehicle while yours is being repaired, etc. is worth it. It's like the old Fram commercial..you can pay now or later. I don't work for Prolong either. I'm a project manager for a construction company in Indy. I know prolong is a sponsor for some race cars but when I see their name on Indy cars and NASCAR (my favorite) their engine builders MUST see some benefits, other than the financial support.
  • arjay1arjay1 Member Posts: 172
    You received a 15% increase in gas mileage by using this stuff? Your sure that nothing else changed at all?
    I am a skeptic of all these snake oils for your car and find it hard to believe that they do any good.
    And regarding them advertising on the Winston Cup cars, believe me, the engine builders do not put that stuff in their engines. All they do is take the advertising dollars. There are no race teams using these products in their high dollar race engines so don't take that as an endorsement of quality, it is just advertising.
    Have you seen the Prolong commercial where they freeze the engines in ice for days and they still start? Does that look amazing? Do you realize that the large layer of ice is a good insulator and keeps the engine insulated at 32 degrees? Now it does not seem so amazing that the car started does it? Any car will start at 32 degrees.
    These things are very questionable products. Let's see them put that engine in liquid nitrogen and Prolong still let it start. Then we would have something.
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    I was in Alberta, Canada a couple years ago and every car I see, from Mercedes to ol' clunkers, started just fine at -50 degree.

    I think the placebo effect is widespread in everything automotive. If it let you sleep better at night...
  • jbauerjbauer Member Posts: 39
    For the skeptics... regarding Prolong..I don't have any reason to promote this product, I don't own stock in the company and I don't work for them. I have used it and I know it works. You seem to be making a judgement call with no personal experience. You might want to pull them up on the internet, www.prolong.com and read some of their endorsements from racers like Kenny Bernstein, who is sponsored by Prolong. If you were to try it and weren't satisfied what did it cost you? Maybe $20. But what if it did work.. how much will you save over an extended period of time? Might be worth your time & $. Enjoy.
  • volfyvolfy Member Posts: 274
    If slight mileage improvement is the only improvement, try going with Synthetic 5w30 next time, it'll probably net you the same gain for less money.

    Every snake oil company counts on the millions of Americans to "just try it once". I'm not gonna suck on a toad just because some people tell me I might like it. The "don't knock it till you try it" argument just doesn't work for me.

    Now if Prolong were to pay me a million dollars, you bet I'll change my tune in a heartbeat. :-)
  • PeterUbersPeterUbers Member Posts: 48
    I have a car with 45k miles on it. When I start it in the morning...or any other (cold start), an unusual amount of exhaust makes it's way from the exhaust pipes. This happens for about 10 seconds or so and then doesn't happen again until another cold start. I have been told I've got engine sludge and that it needs to be cleaned out. Without doing any major engine work I've been told I can use an oil detergent... Does this stuff actually work?? Any insight on this problem would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  • spokanespokane Member Posts: 514
    The cold-start smoking may not be directly related to sludge in the engine. Black smoke (unburned gasoline)indicates a carburetor or fuel injection problem. Blue smoke, seen only at start up, is indicative of oil seeping through the valve guides while the engine is cold. Failed valve stem seals are the likely cause; perhaps aggravated by sludge accumulation on the seals.

    If the engine compression is good and your smoke is due to oil rather than fuel, suggest that you change oil and filter very frequently the next few times and replace the valve seals. A competent shop can do this without removing the cylinder head(s). Also manually clean this area, preventing sludge from falling through he drain holes to the crankcase.

    Others may not agree, but I dislike the idea of any cleaning agent added to the crankcase because that agent will be pumped through the oil passages to critical-wear surfaces throughout the engine. The cleaning agent cannot adequately lubricate these surfaces. The result may be a cleaner engine but, because even a few seconds of runtime without adequate lubrication can damage bearing surfaces, there is likelihood of significant mechanical damage.
  • PeterUbersPeterUbers Member Posts: 48

    Thank you very much for your reply. What you said makes a lot of sense. Just so you know...I am getting blue smoke at startup. So I guess that means I have the seeping oil at start. Do you possibly know how much it would cost to fix this properly like you said above by replacing the valve seals and cleaning etc... Also, what kind of auto shop should I take the car into to have this done? My car is a '95 lexus ES300. I bought it used about 3 months ago. Thank again, you have been a great help.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Ho hum...I've seen lots of these miracle additives come and go.

    Why bother? Even if they do have some miniscule benefit. Use good oil and your car will last a long, long time.

    Sorry, I'm not sold!
  • spokanespokane Member Posts: 514
    A dealer shop can do this work but I would also ask friends to suggest some good independent shops in your area. You need a shop that can do cylinder head work. A tire store with a service department would probably not be a good choice. The same goes for most of the shops that specialize in brakes and mufflers. Get quotes from two or three shops. You are fortunate that you don't need to have the work done right away; you can take several days to get quotes and possibly get a lower price by scheduling at their convenience. Describe the problem to each shop and listen to each of their responses on the following three things: (1) What does he think is wrong? (2) How would he perform the repair? (3) Cost?

    If the the three prospective shops provide wildly different descriptions, get another opinion until you have believable information. Then make your choice. The mechanics who see your car are likely to see something that I don't think of.

    By the way, please first be sure the PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve and it's associated tubing/piping are in good condition. This is a $5-$10 item and there's a slim chance it could be the problem.
  • bigal1bigal1 Member Posts: 7
    I've been using the PROLONG Product for over a year in my 1994 Jeep Cherokee 4.0 L. It does indeed make a difference in the vehicles performance. It has dropped the operating temperature of my Jeep by 10 Degrees. I drove from my home in Virginia to Disneyworld Florida last year. The trip took 14 hours with just two 1 hour stops for meals. My engine temperature never exceed 200 Degrees F where before it ran between 210 to 220 Degrees. I'm a Purchasing Manager for a Fortune 100 Company so I do my homework before I commit. My oil consumption has been zero. The Jeep doesn't burn a bit and she has over 70,000 miles on her. As far as the other benefits of PROLONG, you'll have to test it for yourself. I have been definitely pleased with the product and it has shown me that it does reduce engine temperatures. I see it everytime I'm flying down Interstate 64 to work. The best advice I can give everyone out there is test it for yourself. Its just like buying a new car or truck, don't go by what everyone tells you...see for yourself.

    Good Luck and Buckle UP

    Big Al
  • robertmayrobertmay Member Posts: 1
    New infomercial floating around lauding the benefits of a product line called Zmax. It's supposed to be better than Slick 50, Prolong, etc. Increases gas mileage and removes carbon deposits. Anybody know anything about this stuff ?
  • tiger12tiger12 Member Posts: 1
    I tried Prolong additives and it felt and sounding like it was f------ up my engine. I'm never using any of those additives again!!!
  • quickshiftquickshift Member Posts: 16
    I also agree oil additive are scams. Change your oil every 3,000 miles should keep you going strong. I heard oil additives can do more harm than good on certain engines. Follow the owner's manuel. If the manufacturer doesn't recommend oil additives, then don't use it.
  • rondorirondori Member Posts: 8
    Big Al,

    Is that Fortune 100 company you work for perchance Prolong, Inc? ;)

  • bigal1bigal1 Member Posts: 7

    I bet you thought about that question for a about a week, no I'm sorry four days. So you do have a good thought process. Anyway, like I said before, everyone needs to see what works best for their vehicle and stop wasting everyones time trying to be cute and slamming people who do their research and show positive results. If you don't like it...don't buy it. And please don't waste anymore E-mail space on Edmunds Town Hall trying to be cute...it's lame!
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    #50 did not seem like a slam. A joke, yes. Al, my advice to you is to ignore whatever you find lame. If you don't feel as though something merits a response, then don't respond.
  • nstinenstine Member Posts: 2
    Let's see... options everywhere...

    I could brush my teeth twice a day like my dentist and parents told me... or I could do it once a week with some magic toothpaste...

    I could bath daily or use some of that nice smelling deodorant to skip a couple of days and no one will notice...

    I could go to my doctor on a regular basis for a look see and fix what might be acting up or I could wait until the illness required serious hospitalization.

    Owners manuals, recommended maintenance, dealerships, service stations, auto parts stores are there for a reason and have worked fine for everyone that I know that has utilized them. Stay up late watching "Magic Potion" Television is a fine example of free enterprise. Promise me the world and I'll ignore what my manufacturer/dealer/Doctor/Parents told me. Oh.. and I will complain about the poor quality of my vehicle when something goes wrong.

    bottom line... buy what you want... just read the book, follow the instructions, and enjoy the products of automotive ingenuity.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021

    Although, if I had a race team, and you paid me money to run your snake oil product, I would probably take the money, smile, and promote their product.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Cars are designed to run at certain temperatures. Just because your Jeep ran ten degrees cooler doesn't mean the effect was a good one.
  • avs007avs007 Member Posts: 100
    running cooler could foul your O2 sensor (and other things), especially if your PCM thinks you are still in a warm up cycle....
This discussion has been closed.