Engine Oil Additives and Automatic Transmissions
Protecting your engine is a great deal! It can save you a ton of stress and a good chunk of change by avoiding undue services & repairs for longer periods.
Today we want to share something about what automotive aftermarket additives are
not recommended for an automatic transmission.
First An Explanation
The component which connects your engine to the transmission is the torque converter and flywheel or sometimes called a ‘flexplate’.
The torque converter is a fluid coupling (but also able to multiply torque) that is used to transfer rotating power from an engine to a rotating driven load.
These components are completely separate on most all cars & trucks. However, some applications use a ‘combined’ approach such as motorcycles, some makes and models of ATV’s, side by sides and other utility vehicles.
When we are talking about clutch systems, there are 3 main types of clutches, to which one of them, the wet clutch, you generally would not add any aftermarket additive to this type of system, due to the sharing of certain components. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
The Wet Clutch
This type of clutch is immersed in a cooling lubricating fluid that also keeps surfaces clean and provides smoother performance and longer life.
Typically, the lubricating fluid is in fact the car’s engine oil. The clutch housing is linked to the engine oil bath.
These types of clutches are said to run smoother, less noisier and last longer because of the oil that surrounds it. Basically the oil provides a layer of protection by reducing the amount of friction.
Also it helps keep the clutch cool when it’s engaged for longer periods.
The Dry Clutch
As the name implies, it’s not immersed in a liquid. It only has a housing that covers it and should literally be dry.
These types of clutches are considered to be more efficient (oil that enters the wet clutch is said to create drag and thus reduce the clutch’s efficiency) and easy to change .
The Centrifugal Clutch
This type of clutch is housed in a dry place, away from any type of oil. These clutches are used in scooters (mopeds) and other applications such as chainsaws, snowmobiles.
Modifying the engine oil properties with an additive, affects all the components that come in contact with it.
On an automatic transmission vehicle, the torque converter does NOT come in contact with the engine oil because it’s located in a separated, dry space generally referred to the ‘bell’ or bell housing of the automatic transmission.
Oil additives offer a lot of benefits to the engine by providing an extra layer of protection, however these same properties that protect, also modify the friction surfaces in such a way that it could cause undue transmission slippage and in most cases will.
In other words, an engine oil with a quality engine & metal treatment in it, provides all the components with a protective film that reduces the friction between them, allows them to run smoother and last longer overall.
The issue that occurs when you add an oil additive to a wet clutch system is the following:
The clutch being immersed in the engine oil, is affected by any change of the engine oils properties.
While the protective film provided by the oil additive helps the engine to run with less friction and heat, it also allows the clutch of a wet clutch system to slip, which is not the desired effect.
The protective film does such a great job in eliminating friction that it makes the clutch layers unable to engage one another. When this happens, this type of system cannot handle the torque load upon it without losing its grip on the transmission clutch plates.
Can I Add an Engine Oil Additive to a Vehicle That Has an Automatic Transmission?
Yes. Just don’t add it to the automatic transmission for all the reasons above. Finally, we have tested a particular brand of engine and metal treatment that rises above the rest and which is chlorine free.
Being chlorine free is of a major concern in tighter clearance, modern engines which use so many aluminum components. Chlorine has negative side effects such as pitting of bearings, components and seal damage. So when you’re choosing an oil additive that’s making huge claims, be careful, be very careful as you may void an engine warranty or cause engine component damage down the road.
One of our products designed to better your engine oil is CleanBoost® EMT™ (Engine Metal Treatment). It has taken years to perfect and now protects some of the worlds highest horsepower engine applications in the most demanding conditions. This means that it adds a protective layer that actually bonds to the internal components and metals in order to provide you with all the awesome perks such as more power, more durability, less friction, less heat, smoother operation and longer, more dependable engine life.
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About the Author
Passionate about Jeeps, mechanics and all the new ways to improve engine performance.