All modern engine oils must meet strict EPA standards that require the addition of certain additives to their finished products; additives can include solvents and detergents that reduce engine sludge and carbon build-up. In addition to the standard motor oil products, there are a host of aftermarket oil treatment products, such as hydraulic valve lifter oils, that claim to quiet valve lifters and prevent valves from sticking. While additive proponents cite scientific studies, field trials and consumer endorsements, critics continue to be sceptical of the true value and effectiveness of many of these engine and oil additive supplements.
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Wynn's Hydraulic Valve Lifter Treatment
Wynn's Hydraulic Valve Lifter Treatment "...is an oil soluble supplement developed to clean away internal engine deposits that create noise and reduce efficiency," states the company's website. This Belgium company was founded in 1939 by Chestien Wynn, who created a formula he called, "Wynn's Friction Proofing" Oil. In 2005 Wynn's became part of the Performance Polymers division of Illinois Tool Works, Inc. and is now headquartered in Azusa, California.
Marvel Mystery Oil
The Turtle Wax company reports that by adding one quart of Marvel Mystery Oil to the crankcase in place of a quart of regular motor oil with each oil change will, "...reduce and prevent valve sticking and clatter by breaking down harmful deposits of carbon and sludge." Marvel Oil company was founded in 1923 by Burt Pierce, who had already become well known for his invention of the widely used Marvel carburettor in 1918. The company was purchased by Turtle Wax, Inc. in 1999 and operates out of the Chicago area.
Rislone Engine Treatment
Rislone product information claims that, "Sludge and other deposits can clog lifter passages and make valves stick. The unique cleaning and penetrating properties of Rislone Engine Treatment remove these deposits and lubricate to free sticky lifters and valves, reducing noise." Rislone was originally formulated by the Shaler Company in 1921 and was one of the first automotive chemical additives. The company was acquired in 2006 by Bar Products Co. of Holly Michigan.
"Pros" and "Cons"
Automotive additive products generally fit into two broad categories, those that contain detergents and solvents that dissolve engine sludge and those that carry suspended chemical compounds to coat cylinder walls and fill in microscopic scoring. Critics argue the chemical additives in modern motor oils negate the need for more additives, and simply following the car maker's oil and oil filter change instructions will protect the engine under normal driving conditions.
On the other hand, there many car owners who believe these products have rejuvenated their vehicles, improved performance or increased mileage. The controversy over the benefits of oil and engine treatments will continue until recognised independent testing labs can publish their results for all to see.
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- Wynn's: "Wynn's Hydraulic Valve Lifter Treatment"
- Toledo Free Press: Buyer beware: snake oil, additives and other elixirs; Nick Shultz; April 2009
- FordScorpio: Oil Additives: "Snake Oil" by Fred Rau originally published in August 1992 issue of "Road Rider Magazine," now known as, "Motorcycle Consumer News"
- Rislone Engine Treatment: Quiets Noisy Lifters & Valves
- Edmunds.com: Choosing(and Using) the Right Engine Oil