Car engines have changed dramatically over the years, and so has the oil we use to keep them lubricated and protected. One significant difference in the composition of engine oil today, compared to a few decades ago, is that it contains much lower levels of zinc and phosphorus.
Modern motor oil is suitable for servicing and maintaining most automobiles built since the 1980s. But it does not provide the necessary level of protection for most classic cars, hot rods and other engines put under extreme stress of heavy-duty applications.
Do you need zinc in your car’s oil? It depends on how old your engine is and how you use it. A zinc oil additive will provide improved wear protection for just about any engine and is an absolute necessity when it comes to older models, especially those with flat-tappet camshafts.
Why put Zinc in Oil for Old Engines?
Zinc or Zinc Dialkyl Dithiophosphate (ZDDP) in motor oil creates a protective coating on metal surfaces in the engine so it can stand up to the stress put on the camshaft and other components. Your average oil produced today provides enough protection for most cars used in normal operating conditions. Older classic cars, high performance engines and almost all non-roller cam-designed models need a more robust line of defence. That’s where zinc comes in.
High zinc oil or zinc oil additives deliver the extreme pressure wear protection to get the best performance and longevity out of your engine. It protects and eliminates wear problems with the cams, lifters and rocker arms. Zinc in oil also helps older engines start smoother in cold temperatures and maintain peak horsepower and fuel efficiency.