When we hear the term “snake oil”, the very, VERY first thing that comes to mind are aftermarket-engine oil additives. Yes they have dazzling marketing campaigns and perhaps your uncle swears by them, but virtually every last one of them is a total ripoff. They are designed for one thing and one thing only and that is to vacuum money out of your wallet. Falling victim to glitzy claims is one thing, but did you know that many of these additives can actually cause damage to your engine because they have high chlorinated paraffin content?
Chlorine-based additives have been around for decades. At one time chlorinated paraffins were used as an extreme pressure (EP) additive by motor oil manufacturers, but the downside of this type of additive put an end to that practice. The mixture of chlorine with heat, combustion by-products, moisture and wear metals can ultimately result in the formation of hydrochloric acid. As you can well imagine, hydrochloric acid is not something you want inside your engine.
Incredibly, some of today’s aftermarket engine oil treatments still have a significant chlorinated paraffin content. AMSOIL recently had an independent lab test Dura Lube Engine Treatment Booster, Motorkote Hyper Lubricant/Engine Treatment, Motorkote MK Million Mile Formula and Prolong Engine Treatment. They found that each contained significant quantities of chlorinated paraffins. The findings were published in a recent technical service bulletin: TSB: Chlorine Content of Some Engine Oil Treatments.
This bulletin dovetails nicely with the recent video Don’t Be Fooled By The “One-Arm Bandit”. The Falex test machine (better known as the “One-Arm Bandit”) has long been used to display the EP properties of unsavory aftermarket products.
Simply put, avoid aftermarket engine oil additives like the plague. A great many of these aftermarket engine oil treatment companies have had run-ins with the US Federal Trade Commission for their ridiculous claims. Here’s more reading: