ZDP, also known as Zinc dithiophosphate or Zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate, is a chemical additive used to enhance the performance of a vehicle’s motor oil. While ZDP is the most effective extreme pressure agent in the industry, the idea that one can simply dump the chemical into the oil reservoir and see performance benefits is not true.
In this article, we’ll explain what ZDP is and why so many motorists use it. We’ll also discuss some of the mistakes car owners make when adding ZDP to their oil and how you can properly use the product to boost performance in your vehicle.
Also referred to as ZDDP or Zinc, ZDP is a highly-developed chemical mixture that protects engine oil against metal-to-metal contact, maximizing valvetrain longevity. The substance takes a metal (zinc) and combines it with a hydrocarbon to create a metallic material that is soluble in oil, which in effect creates a sacrificial film that coats the engine components, preventing damaging wear caused by metal-to-metal contact.
When used properly, ZDP acts as a lubricant and protects your engine components from damage and corrosion. This leads to a longer life for your engine as a whole and many internal components like the camshafts and lifters. Although there are noticeable benefits to using ZDP in your oil, researchers have found that improper blending of the chemical into the oil will render it practically useless.
To get the most out of the ZDP in your engine oil, there are a few things to consider. First, if you use oil with detergents or other protective additives, you might not want to use any ZDP, as these serve the same function and can actually end up competing with one another. This can leave the engine components with insufficient coverage, leading to damage and corrosion.
You’ll then want to make sure the ZDP is dissolved completely in your oil, which means you should add it to the oil during an oil change and not simply pour it into the system alone.
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