A stop leak oil additives is a chemical formula which contains a mixture of friction modifiers along with some other refined petroleum products.
This non-solvent formula has a special purpose for the cooling system. Often due to mileage, heat, pressure and age, engine gaskets, seals and O-rings can shrink or become hard.
Now, this may lead to holes and openings in the engine from which oil can leak. The stop leak additives are such a formula that is designed to reduce the amount of oil getting leaked from worn out seals.
With time seals and gaskets in an engine will obviously start drying up. They eventually start pulling away from the surface and this can’t be controlled. This leads to leaking of the oil from the engine. The stop leak additives are made in such a composition to revitalize the seals so that these seals return to their actual size, shape & flexibility. When they come back to their actual shape the leaks formed gets stopped.
How does stop oil leak additives work?
A stop leak additive is generally made up of ceramic particles, ceramic fibres, metallic particles, ground up the almond shell and Sodium Silicate.
Now you might be wondering how does stop oil leak additive actually work.
Read below to know how it works!
The filler products such as ceramic and metallic particles work by circulating inside the cooling system while the engine is under pressure.
There is no rocket science. When these particles circulate in high speed near the leak, the pressure from the cooling system forces the particles to fit inside the gap. It’s a very easy concept. But the fact is these fillers sealer is not a permanent solution.
People often think that the leak has stopped but soon as you flush the coolant & and a new one, the leak returns. To stop the leak again, you need to add sealers.
On the other hand, Ceramic fibres work in a different format. These fine and tine fibres equally circulate near the gap and soon fix inside the gap. But when more fibres are attached with the first fibres, it hardens up and forms a mesh. This mesh reduces the engine heat and works as a permanent seal for the leak. This kind of ceramic fibres works as a permanent solution as even after you flush the cooling system, the seal won’t break down.
Next comes the Sodium Silicate ones. Sodium Silicate also known as Liquid gas equally rotates inside the cooling system. As it circulates, sodium silicate reaches the gap present in the hot portion of the engine. Due to the heat, the particles tend to melt and form a plug or the gap. The particles melt at 212-221 degree Fahrenheit. These work as a permanent seal when the particles re-melt and reach up to 1,490 degrees Fahrenheit. Sodium Silicate works great as a stop leak additive as it forms a permanent seal. In a head gasket sealer product, Sodium Silicate is often mixed with metallic fillers particles. The sodium silicate may be used in conjunction with an inert bulking agent, such as a cellulosic material.
When can you use a stop oil leak product?
People often complain about the leak caused in the radiator, steel tubing or heater core. But it should be noted most of these leaks are caused due to the negligence of the owner itself. Why? When you buy a product it’s important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t change the coolant as instructed by the seller obviously the system will get corroded. Now when you see a leak in the system, the next step you do is add a stop leak product to fix the leak. But this is not the end of the problem. A small leak is just a mere symptom for a larger issue in the future. Though you try to fix it with a stop leak product, it will just be a temporary solution. Within a few days, a leak might appear from another position and this goes on…
So it’s highly recommended to follow what the manufacturer has instructed you for maintenance of the engine.
The main mechanism of the cooling system additive is simple. The particles of the additive keep on circulating and fill up the gap inside the radiator, steel heater tubbing and heater core.
What are the cautions you need to follow for stop oil leak additives?
Stop leak additives cannot be used everywhere. There are some limitations to the product. Radiator stop leak product should be used only as a temporary repair and not as a permanent solution. Often it happens, when a cooling system is overheated or reaches boiling temperature, it can block the core of the radiator that was working previously. In such a case don’t use stop leak products, rather get the radiator professionally cleaned and removed.
Some other cautions are:
A stop leak product can never stop a leak around the rotating parts. So do not use an additive to stop a water pump leak. A stop leak product cannot fix a leak from a coolant reservoir. It’s better not to try that.
Can stop leak oil additive fix an engine oil leak?
Every moving equipment needs some kind of lubricant or oil to function smoothly. The engine in your vehicle is no different. The oil in your car is the key to keep your engine cool and slippery. The problem arises when there is an oil leak occurring in the engine. Now the very question arises whether a stop leak product can fix an engine oil leak or not?
A stop leak product cannot work everywhere in an engine to fix the leak. For examples, an engine oil additive can never be able to stop a leak near the front seal, any sort of cork gasket or rear main seal. Whereas an engine oil product works great to stop a leak in rubber oil pan gasket. These additives can even stop a leak in a rubber valve cover gasket.
What matters most is the quality of the product that you are using. There are certain products available in the market, which rather than keeping your engine cool and slippery, results in excessive clogging and damages the engine.
Can a stop leak oil additive fix a head gasket leak?
Speaking about head gasket leaks, they are completely different from other kinds of the engine.
They work in a different manner. Head gasket leaks are always on pressure and so they don’t end up like a plugging type of fix. A head gasket sealer is mostly made of Sodium Silicate and soon it hardens when it contacts with high-pressure heat. It should be noted that a head gasket can also lead from low-pressure areas like the coolant.
However, there are some head gasket sealers which work in a different manner. These kinds of sealers require you to empty the coolant & fill it with water before adding the additive. It recommended that you first dump the content and then refill and start the engine. Just empty the coolant & expose the sealer for at least 24 hours. Also, there is another kind of head gasket sealers which needs to be directly added to the coolant. Such kind of products needs to be poured in the radiator and not in the coolant reservoir.
Most sealers that are sold in the market can seal small leaks in the gasket. No big leak can be filled with these sealers. Companies that promise that their sealers will fix big leaks are actually selling fraud products. These companies ensure that the sealer will fix larger areas and charge you double the actual amount. Stay away from such fraud products!
Can a stop leak oil additives fix an AC refrigerant leak?
Apart from the regular stop leak additive, there are certain stop leak products that are meant to be used for refrigerant.
The formula for such additive is different. You can check the internet to find out which all companies sell stop leak additive for refrigerant. The working of the stop leak additive for AC refrigerant is different from normal stop leak additive. The products need moisture to work efficiently. The product leak out of the system and after being contacted with air, they tend to form a scab for the gap. Though this is the general procedure, of its’ working, this kind of stop leak products creates some other problems.
The compressor shaft seal is a rotating part of the system. A stop leak additive cannot form a scan to seal the hole since the area is continuously rotating. Also, stop leak additives are not able to stop leak near the metal rubber transition or on or around the O-Rings.
Here’s another important thing that needs to be considered in terms of AC stop leak products. As long as the gap formed is of a pinhole size, the stop leak product will be able to fix the gap. If the hole is larger than pinhole size, no stop leak additive is going to work. In that case, you need to get it professionally checked and repaired.
Few things to remember regarding an AC refrigerant leak:
Adding stop leak product to your AC system makes it contaminated. For future repair, if you need professional assistance, the shop will charge you more extra bucks to clean and remove that contaminated refrigerant. The overall cost then will be pretty expensive. This happens mainly because; a contaminated refrigerant can damage the refrigerant recovery machinery. Then the professional needs to use other means to get it removed.An AC stop leak product should be kept as the last choice. Suppose you have an old vehicle which you want to sell in a few years but you still need it manages to work for a few days, and then only use a stop leak refrigerant.
So always remember using a stop leak product is always the last option here. If you use a stop leak product and then take it to the repair shop, you will have to pay 3 times more to clean up the system, which is obviously insane!
Can a stop leak additive fix a power steering leak?
While stop leak products work effectively good for coolant leaks, they have a very little effect on hydraulic fluid leaks. For an initial stage, s small leak can get fixed but in the long run, it is for no good.
This is mainly because a power steering generates upwards of 2000 psi which is extremely high for any stop leak product. Also generally it has been seen that leaks occur only in a rubber hose and around the rotating pump seal area.
There are a lot of companies who promise that their stop leak additive can fix a power steering leak. Do not ever trust such products!
What can go wrong with oil leak stop additive?
Stop leak for engine oil is designed so that it can soften and expand the rubber. These are formulated in such a way so that they can keep the rubber seal working. Stop leak additives are meant to fix small pinhole size gaps and this will work only if the directions to use are followed properly. Many people complain that their additive is not working as expected. It happens because people often forget to follow the instructions given in the bottles.
In every bottle, it’s strictly mentioned that a little amount is a good enough quality to circulate the material inside the system. But people often think that adding more will give you better results. But this is absolute nonsense! Adding too much of product inside the system will settle down in a lump & clog the passages inside the engine oil gallery, radiator or the heater core. Always remember oil leak products are not a permanent solution! It’s added to fix the hole for a temporary basis. Adding an excessive amount of oil leak product will damage the entire system from within and when you will take it to a shop for repairing they will charge you a huge amount.
As for now, you know how different kind of stop leak products works for different parts of the engine. But the question still lays the same. Why are stop leak products marked as a bad word for an automobile? You might be thinking will these products harm my engine? Well, stop leak products work well if they are of good quality and used in a proper manner. First of all most stop leak additives are made up of inferior products. These will obviously damage your engine.
There are some stop leak products that are a mixture of castor oil or ground nutshell. The ground shell mixes with the oil and then flow to the leak point and form a clog near the hole. But the problem with such products is they can cause clogging in other parts of the engine and make the matter worse. There are some seal leak products that do not form clogging but yet they can swell the seal or gasket and stop the leak area. But these kinds of products too are good for a short run and not for the long run.
You might be wondering whether stop oil leak products are safe for your engine or not? Well, there is no Yes or No answer to this. This is mainly because not all stop oil leak products come in the same composition. The cheaper ones can clog your entire cooling system and radiator area. Whereas there are some companies that sell high-quality stop leak products that tend to create lubrication in the system and stop the leaked point.
Few tips to help you out find a reliable oil stop leak product:
Choose a brand that is selling stop leak additives for several years. A certified brand having goodwill in the market for years will never sell cheap quality products that might harm an engine. Check the internet and do a little bit of research on the various types of stop leak additives available in the market. Check out the rating and reviews too.
Any product that is promising to fix big holes in your engine can be a fraud. As told earlier, stop oil leak products are a temporary solution. They are used to fill up small gaps in the engine and let it run smoothly for a few more days. Try to consult a local automobile expert regarding which product is best in the market. As they are experts in this field, they know the composition and working of several products in the market, which a normal person might be unaware of. Before buying any stop leak product, read the instructions carefully and add only that much which is mentioned in the instruction section. The consequence of overdoing it is well known to everyone!
So go and do a bit of market research and then finally buy a stop leak product to fix your engine. Best of Luck!