Products like Lucas Oil Stabilizer (SKU# 10001) can be useful for those who put a lot of miles on their vehicles because it helps ensure you will get the time you need between oil changes even if you’re running a high mileage driving schedule.
HOW DOES OIL STABILIZER WORK?
There are a few different companies that make stabilizers, and each one has a unique formula with a slightly different method of action, so it’s difficult to explain a step-by-step mechanism that applies to all of them, but the idea behind all of them is the same. By adding a stabilizer, you help to more thoroughly coat and lubricate the engine components, extending the life of the oil. While your vehicle and oil both have recommendations about how often to change them, there is no actual way to tell exactly how much use you will get out of oil. It needs to be changed because the high temperatures and other stresses placed on the fluid in its use as a lubricant causes it to change chemically over time, and impurities also enter the oil as it ages and cycles through the engine more and more. The guidelines are meant to indicate when, on average, you can expect the viscosity to fall enough that the oil no longer protects as well as it should.
By helping to protect engine parts and stabilizing the oil with an additive to keep it from losing viscosity, you can get more out of each oil change before it’s time to go through your maintenance cycle again. For drivers who rack up the miles, this can be an important part of keeping your vehicle maintained economically. When paired with engine system cleaners that minimize build-up so impurities do not have as much opportunity to work their way into the oil, the result is better support for your engine oil’s core function.
IS OIL STABILIZER NECESSARY?
If your vehicle needed it, the manual would say so. Like many other aftermarket vehicle treatments and parts, oil stabilizers are designed to give you an edge in performance above and beyond the original manufacturer’s specifications. Oil stabilizer works best when it is used consistently, so you may not see the same level of improvement with inconsistent use as you would if it were being added every oil change. The directions also tell you to use it in every oil change once you start.
WHEN TO START ADDING OIL STABILIZER
Many car owners wonder if they have to wait until their vehicle is old enough to be considered a high mileage automobile before it’s safe to use additives like this. The fact is, you can use oil stabilizers once your engine is through its initial breaking-in phase. In fact, the earlier you start using stabilizers and other performance products, the more they can do to reduce wear and tear on your vehicle, extending its useful life.
HOW TO USE OIL STABILIZER
The formulation in Lucas’s stabilizer is designed so it doesn’t void new vehicle warnings when it is used in every oil change, so consistency is important if your vehicle is still under warranty. The stabilizer can be used as follows:
- In newer vehicles and those with basic engine wear, use one-quart stabilizer in each oil change, or 20% of the total volume
- Use in every oil change
- Use the synthetic blend for lightweights like 5w30
- You may choose to top off the engine with stabilizer instead of oil between changes as well, to lengthen engine life in older vehicles
Lucas’s official instructions also note that you can use the stabilizer in greater quantities than directed for new vehicles if necessary. Specifically, it is safe to use up to 60% stabilizer in vehicles with significant engine wear. This will vary for different brands. If you are not sure about increasing oil stabilizer use, it’s worth talking to an experienced technician about the state of your vehicle’s engine, to get recommendations about appropriate use for its level of wear.
ADDITIONAL USES FOR OIL STABILIZER
While there are separate treatments for issues like seal leaks in the power steering fluid, Lucas does recommend the use of its regular oil stabilizer in a few additional applications. This is possible because the oils used as fluids in those systems are close enough in composition and viscosity to benefit from the stabilizer. Do not use it with any system fluids other than oil and lubricants.
- Lucas notes the stabilizer works with any petroleum-based or synthetic oil
- Use it in a 25/75 ratio with 25% stabilizer and 75% transmission fluid to improve manual transmission function
- Use in a 50/50 ratio when adding to the differential
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF OIL STABILIZER?
According to Lucas, the oil stabilizer will not only prolong the life of an engine, but it will also provide you with approximately 50% more time between oil changes. Remember to check your oil regularly, because if your engine has issues that make the oil life unexpectedly shorter than advertised, that means you may need maintenance to fix worn parts or malfunctions. There are a few reasons why engine oil would break down early, and while a stabilizer will slow down the issue, it will not fix it on its own.
- Running too hot can change oil viscosity more quickly than recommended or burn off oil
- Lots of engine wear and impurity buildup can lead to contaminants that reduce the lubricant quality in the oil and possibly lead to earlier viscosity changes
- Leaks will not be stopped with a stabilizer, there are other strategies for stopping them, including sealant stop-leak products
- Compromised oil systems can also bring in the foreign matter, leading to engine issues
Using a stabilizer to top off an engine that is experiencing small amounts of loss due to burn-off with age may help the issue, but constantly running hot enough to burn off oil is a long-term problem that should be diagnosed and repaired. If you smell anything that makes you think your vehicle is starting to burn oil on occasion, make sure you keep track of the situation.