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Oily question

Hi, my dad has a Dodge Neon, a 96 with about 115,000 miles on it. It runs okay, but he swears that to help the engine run better, that after each oil change he should add a can of that STP oil treatment which will help the engine. Does this stuff do anything? I know it’s not expensive but wasn’t sure what good that stuff does if anything.

STP is that sticky stuff that allows you to get a few extra miles out of a worn out engine by restoring (temporarily) some of the compression.

If you dad’s car engine is on its last legs, yes, it might make it run a little bettter. If that is not the case, your dad has a rich imagination and confirms the power of advertising, no matter how misleading.

In all the posts about oil over the last several years, I can not remember one that included a recommendation from anyone to use STP oil treatment. From anyone. That says a lot to me.

What exactly is it suppose to do?

It is so thick and viscous that it temporaily provides a better seal between the piston rings and the cylinder wall, so that the engine burns less oil (does not smoke) and has a little more power.

It is used extensively by “curbers”, guys who sell used cars from their homes, to hide oil consumption in worn engines, when they sell cheap cars to people like you or your dad.

What they said above…and for an engine that is otherwise healthy these things can hurt and actually speed up wear and related problems. These kinds of additives thicken the oil and keep it from flowing as well throughout the engine. This is especially the case at cold start up when most engine wear occurs.

So if you drive old, mostly dead, beaters like your Taurus, maybe it can temporarily relieve some symptoms of a very worn engine. But it is a poor way to try to “protect” or increase the longevity of a healthy engine, and probably does more of the reverse.

that’s what I thought, but my dad who at 93 is set in his ways wants to add something after each oil change. So to appease him, would there be something better to add after an oil change that wouldn’t damage teh engine but make it feel like it is helping?

I am not sure with water now getting into my oil if that would even help. I am changing out the oil now every two weeks or when I begin to see gunk on the dipstick. the hope is to have a newer car soon. What is really interesting is you can start my car, drive it and not know there is anything wrong with the engine at all. Outside of the gunk on the stick or the loss of coolant you would not know there is major issues with my engine. You would think it would not sound right, or not operate right or be getting horrible gas milage.

Just find something that doesn’t have the consistency of cold molasses. Or if you can do his shopping for him, take an empty STP can and fill it up each time with regular motor oil of the recommended weight.

Did you ever try the sodium silicate treatment on that Taurus? (

“my dad who is 93”. Well, that explains a lot, and changes a lot. Give him his opinion, agree with it, you’ll get nowhere trying to change it. And nothing to be gained trying.

We do that, but i was just wondering what other product would be ‘better’ for the engine and still be what my dad can live with.

OK, but only if he’s the one wanting to change treatments…

96 Neon? Can’t hurt. Might help. Any problems with the car?

No I didn’t, kinda wished I would have tried that Steele Seal but at $150 to do it, I never seemed to have that lying around.

It’s losing a tad of oil here and there, but nothing huge

You must live in the South.

STP in January here in NH is like sludge…It’ll KILL an oil pump trying to pump it.

The stuff should only be used for a worn out tired engine…If you use it on a new nice running engine…it’ll become a worn out tired engine much sooner then if you didn’t use it.

Nope live in indiana and the engine is in a 95 neon with about 115,000 miles.

There used to be an additive specified by GM and made for them called “engine oil supplement”. It was recommended for noisy valve lifters, and was also called top oil additive. It basically is a detergent to keep valve lifters from sticking and is compatible with the oil.

At 93, your dad probably does not drive fast or long distance; this top oil additive would not harm the engine and would keep the crud around the valves from forming. Any auto store has these additives; they come in a small can, and do not have the molasses consistency of STP.

Sis uses the car alot, so gets a decent amount of useage throughout the week, thus why he is even more determined to “help” the engine.

I wouldn’t recommend it, but hey, your dad is 93 and unless I misunderstand the post he owns the car. If he believes a can of STP will help, bow to his will. It’s his money.

You might gently try to persuade him, but do so in a manner that respects his years of accumulated knowledge and experience. If he doesn;t accept it, acquiesce. There’s often nothing more hurtful for an elderly person than to have a young person tell them that something they’ve spent their lives believing is wrong. It’s only a car. And it’s your dad’s car. It isn’t worth doing this. Your dad’s happiness is more important than the longevity of his car.