Current Oil Technology Leaves Nothing More to Add

Dear Car Talk:

Could you address the use of oil additives? I am particularly interested in one called System 48, because I inherited a case of it from my father.

Should I dispose of it, or is it OK to use? I have a 2007 Infiniti G35 with 345,000 miles, a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe with 148,000 miles and a 2014 Ram 1500 with 105,000 miles. -- Tim

Gee, Tim. I hope he also left you something of actual value, like a fountain pen.

First of all, if you've got a car with 345,000 miles on it, for crying out loud, don't add anything to it. Whatever you're doing is working. You're probably driving gently, changing the oil regularly and keeping up on regular maintenance. Good for you.

I've actually never heard of System 48. But in my opinion, oil technology is so good now that you'd have a hard time convincing me that any oil additive is necessary in 2022.

Any full-synthetic oil on the market now will do a spectacular job of lubricating your engine parts. And most can be used for 10,000 miles before they need to be changed. Even standard, dead-dinosaur-based oil is better than ever before and will do a fine job if you change it as recommended.

There are various goops and potions that are sold to desperate people whose cars are on their last legs. Those folks are willing to try anything that costs less than $30 and promises to save their engine. But I don't recommend any of those products. And neither do the engineers who designed your car, by the way.

So despite the sentimental value of your inheritance, Tim, I'd put the case of System 48 on eBay. Then, with the proceeds, buy yourself a nice pen to remember Dad by.

Is the best thing about your old car the radio? When the time comes, donate your old car to your favorite NPR station. It’s free, including the towing if necessary. Here's how.

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