Last Updated on 4 months by Ollie Barker
I was driving to work the other day when I noticed my car sputter and start to break down. Just at that moment, I remembered hearing something about Seafoam ruining your engine. Seafoam engine damage? You can hear different tales about seafoam, but does seafoam hurt the engine or it’s the engine best friend?
What Is Seafoam?
Seafoam is a common name for either the chemical sodium aluminate or the chemical sodium hydroxide. It is a chemical used in automotive and marine antifreeze systems. The word ‘seafoam’ is derived from sodium aluminate, sodium hydroxide, and water.
What Does Seafoam Do?
The use of seafoam in automotive antifreeze systems was first patented by J. Verneuil in 1936. The chemical sodium aluminate and sodium hydroxide dissolve in the water and form the chemical sodium aluminate trihydrate. It is commonly known as ‘seafoam’ because it has a very similar appearance to the foam used in laundry detergents.
Seafoam does not harm your engine. The technology of anti-freeze systems like Seafoam was developed by General Motors – not by any car manufacturer or oil company. So, seafoam is not a proprietary product of anyone automotive company. Neither General Motors nor any other auto manufacturer has ever denied this fact in any of their statements. The only thing they might say is that in certain applications (like marine and off-road usage) seafoam may not be the best product to use.
Positive Impacts of Seafoam on Engines
It Dissolves Wax
Some older engine designs used to use petroleum-based engine oils. These types of engine oils can actually harden in your engine, forming a wax-like substance that will clog the fuel system over time. Seafoam can flush out these waxes and varnish that is clogging your fuel lines and carburetors.
Displace Water in Fuel Lines
If you have a water-based fuel system, the Seafoam will help to flush out the water. The use of a fuel stabilizer can also help to reduce water problems.
Flushes Out Combustion Chamber Deposits and Vapor Lock Problems
Seafoam will evaporate from your engine quickly, but it will still leave behind deposits that clean out your combustion chambers and prevent vapor lock problems.
Negative Impacts of Seafoam on Engines
Despite all the good things about seafoam, here comes some downsides of this product:
#1 Thin Out The Oil
Using too much Seafoam will thin out the oil in your engine, which also causes the air-fuel mixture to become too lean. This can cause damage to your engine over time.
#2 Affects Cold Starts
The use of Seafoam does change the chemistry of your oil, which can make it more difficult for your engine to start when it is cold.
#3 Not Recommended for Some Fuel Systems
Seafoam shouldn’t be applied to engines with direct injectors. Since this product will lose all the build-up, this will clog the inject system.
The negative effects of Seafoam are very rare. The only real issues with seafoam are if you use too much or pour in too soon after you open the gas cap. Once you do this, there may be some engine damage, but it is incredibly rare to see any negative effects of the seafoam.
How to Use Seafoam
In order to use Seafoam, you will need a few items:
A funnel to pour and mix and 3 gallons of common grade gasoline.
Open the gas cap and let the engine sit for 30 minutes. This will allow your engine to evaporate any gasoline that is left in the carburetor or fuel lines.
If your engine uses electric fuel pumps, then you will want to drain as much as possible from these as well. You will then want to remove the breather hose from the air cleaner and let it sit outside your car. A small amount of gas may still be in your fuel lines and you do not want to put the Seafoam in your engine without flushing out as much gas as possible.
It is also a good idea to loosen the gas cap and let any excess pressure out before you pour in the Seafoam.
Drill a ½ inch hole into the end of a funnel and place it over your gas tank opening. Pour the gasoline into the funnel, then slowly pour it into your gas tank. When you get to the bottom of your gas tank, set the funnel aside and pour all 3 gallons of Seafoam-water mixture in through the hole. If you do not have a large enough hole in your gas cap, you can also use a funnel with a rubber tube at the end to pour it directly into your gas tank.
Seafoam Engine Damage?
Using Seafoam is not without risk. There are negative effects that can occur when using this product. However, when used properly, it is one of the best anti-aging products available. Usually, it will depend on several factors. Direct injection is not going to work for you even if your car has other engines with different injection systems. It will work for newer engines much more effectively than older models.
Therefore, using Seafoam as part of your car care regimen should be done with caution if you have an older engine with plenty of buildups
To conclude, seafoam is a great product for all the main reasons as stated above. In most cases, seafoam is a great solution to keep your engine clean and running well. The only time it may not be the best is when your car doesn’t have any fuel issues or an injection issue.
If you have a vehicle that has a problem that Seafoam is supposed to do, then it will most likely work really well for you.