The Skinny on Additive Breakdown

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Dec. 19, 2019—It's great to see the larger automotive world stress the importance of the oil change, which is one of the most basic and crucial preventative maintenance items.

We hear a lot about engine oil breaking down over time, necessitating a drain and refill. But what about additives? A recent Road & Track post has some good information about different additives in modern engine oils and how their performance changes over thousands of miles of use. The accompanying video from popular automotive Youtuber Engineering Explained goes into greater detail.

In short, the additives like detergents, dispersants, viscosity modifiers and more simply become less effective with time. There are also antioxidants, anti-wear additives, foam inhibitors and a bunch of other wonders of modern chemistry in engine oil.

In addition, the oil itself becomes thicker after withstanding the harsh conditions inside an engine.

"As that oxidation occurs within that oil, eventually its viscosity starts to increase," said Engineering Explained Host Jason Fenske in the video.

Check it out below.


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