Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Paul asks:Thank you for both the sanity check and things mechanical. What are your thoughts on Marvel Mystery Oil?
My reply: With disparaging Marvel or other additives, such as Seafoam, Lucas, the need for them is probably much less today than it was back in the daguerreotype ’80s, say – when off-the-shelf oil was practically unrefined compared with today’s synthetic/blends and the additive packages they contain. Engines are also more refined; some are very finicky about what they’re fed – so be careful about adding additives to them unless it’s a what-the-hell situation and it can’t make the problem worse.
I have heard that Marvel and some of the others are useful as solvents to safely de-crud an engine that wasn’t maintained well, etc.
There is one aspect of this I’ll change my mind on, though – and that is with regard to fuel stabilizers/ethanol countermeasures. Today’s fuel – most of it – has 10 percent ethyl alcohol in it and – especially in older cars and cars not driven much and in power equipment such as lawn mowers and chain saws, etc. – using additives to prevent the ethanol from drawing in excess moisture and separating out, gunking up the fuel system, etc. is very sound policy.
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