What Are Oil Additives? What Are Their Function? Good or Bad?

One of the many aftermarket products offered is engine oil additives. But do you know what oil additives are? what is their function?

Let’s discuss it.

Oil additives or lubricant additives are materials that are dissolved into the oil to enrich the function of the oil, improve oil performance and make the oil last longer.

All of them will make your car's engine performance better.

Why an oil need additives ?

Initially, the oil used in all engines came from crude oil. After going through the distillation process, a thick solution known as oil is obtained.

Mineral oil has polarity and slippery properties. The oil layer will stick to objects such as metal surfaces. Therefore, mineral oil becomes a material to lubricate engine components.

Over time, the engine produced has better performance. However, the engine needs more role in oil than as a lubricant. Therefore, oil manufacturers conduct research to make oil that not only as a lubricant but has other functions.

One of them is by adding additives with the right level according to the target oil performance to be achieved.

Additives are made from organic or inorganic materials that are not related to crude oil. For example zinc, organic sulfur, chlorine compounds.

So, by adding additives to the oil, the oil can prevent corrosion of engine components, prevent overheating, oil does not freeze, multi viscosity capability, and a lot depending on the type of additives added.

Many peoples said that additives there is no effect

As I said before, oil additives will have a positive effect when added to the appropriate level, it depends on the performance of the oil we want to achieve. So, we can't add additives randomly.

We must know what additives can synergize and which ones repel each other.

Previously, many additives were applied to engine oil. Where the oil manufacturer already has research related to the additives they add to oil. So obviously additives have a good impact on oil performance.

But what about aftermarket oil additives?

We can buy additives of any kind and add to the engine oil of the car. Even though we don't have research on the engine in our car, we just follow the recommendations from the additives maker.

Even though every engine, and every oil you use, is different.

This is why the use of aftermarket additives often does not have a positive impact. So many people say that additives are useless.

But the real reason, not the additives. But on the type of additives and how many additives you put in the oil.

So in conclusion, additives have a positive impact on engine oil performance. With a note what type and how much you pour it is perfect.

Type Of Oil Additives

I will give some general types of oil additives.

1. Anti-oxidants

Oxidation is a common occurrence in metals including engine components. Base oil is also very susceptible to oxidation, especially when there is high temperature oxygen.

To protect the base oil from oxidation, we add anti-oxidants. This substance will be oxidized without producing side effects.

So that the engine components remain safe, and oil performance is also maintained.


To protect engine components from rust, we need additives. Anti-corrosion will neutralize corrosion-causing acids on metal surfaces. So that the engine components are safe against rust and corrosion.

3.Viscosity Index improver

This is a very widely used additive to oil. We often see oils with multi-grade viscosity, such as 5W-20, 10W-40.

VII uses a polymer to modify the viscosity of the oil according to temperature. So at low temperatures, the oil will not thicken, and at high temperatures the oil will not dilute easily.

4.Anti wear agents

Engines manufactured today have very small component gaps. Oil is required to be able to enter and coat components that rub against narrow gaps.

To ensure lubrication, additives in the form of an anti wear agent are added. This additive will make a thin oil film between the rubbing components. This additive is also polar, so it sticks to the lubricated surface.

The result is engine components avoid wear. Because no matter how small the friction gap, oil is able to lubricate.

5.Detergent and dispersant

This additive is able to clean scale and dirt on the surface of engine components. So if we add this additive, oil has the additional ability to rinse the engine components.