A seized engine doesn’t always have to mean that your engine is irreparable, would you believe that there’s a chance you could revive your engine with an off the shelf product?
While your engine may be beyond saving if you’ve run it starved of oil, if it’s just been sitting for a long time, then the right penetrating oil might get your engine ticking over again.
Table of Contents
- What is Penetrating Oil and How Does it Work?
- Best Penetrating Oils for Seized Engines
- How to Apply Penetrating Oil to an Engine
What is Penetrating Oil and How Does it Work?
First off, penetrating oil is a type of lubricant that's specifically designed to help loosen up rusted or corroded nuts, bolts, and other metal parts that might be stuck together. It's a pretty handy tool to have in your garage or workshop, especially if you work on older vehicles or machinery that might have been sitting around for a while.
The most effective penetrating oils contain a mixture of solvents and lubricants that are specifically formulated to dissolve rust and corrosion, as well as to provide long-lasting lubrication to the metal parts. Many of these products also contain additives that help to protect against future rust and corrosion.
When it comes to seized engines, penetrating oil can be a real lifesaver. If you're not familiar with the term, a seized engine is basically when the moving parts inside the engine have become stuck and won't turn over. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but one common cause is rust or corrosion on the engine's metal components.
That's where penetrating oil comes in. By applying the oil to the affected parts and letting it soak in, the oil can help to break down the rust and corrosion and free up the stuck parts. It works by penetrating deep into the metal and creating a thin layer of lubrication that helps to reduce friction and make it easier for the parts to move.
Of course, there are some cases where penetrating oil might not be enough to fix a seized engine, especially if the damage is too severe. But in many cases, it can be a great first step to take before moving on to more drastic measures, like disassembling the engine or replacing parts.
After being tasked with reviving my friend's 1992 Toyota Corolla that had been sitting in his shed for nearly a decade, I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to test out which penetrating oils would work best. Read on to find out the top 6 penetrating oils on the market.
Best Penetrating Oils for Seized Engines
1. Kano Kroil Penetrating Oil
Kano Kroil Penetrating Oil is a super effective product that's been trusted by pros and car enthusiasts for over 75 years. It's made to penetrate really deep into rusty and corroded metal parts, getting them moving smoothly again.
Kroil makes their oil from a ‘proprietary molecular architecture’, meaning they’ve spent a lot of money researching which formula works best.
The best part is once Kano Kroil has worked its magic and freed up your seized engine parts, it leaves behind a protective coating that helps prevent rust and corrosion from coming back. So you're not just fixing the problem now, you're also preventing future issues.
It comes in a variety of sizes but 8 ounces would be more than enough to get your seized engine running again. There is a fantastic nozzle attached to the top of the bottle which makes application in tight spaces a breeze.
Using this on my friend's Corolla, we only ended up using a third of the bottle to get the engine turning over again.
2. Seafoam Extreme Marine & RV Lubricant
Seafoam Extreme Marine & RV Lubricant is a high-quality penetrating oil that's perfect for tackling stubborn engine issues in boats and RVs.
With a powerful blend of cleaning and lubricating agents, this product is specifically designed to break down rust, corrosion, and other contaminants, making it a great choice for freeing up seized engine parts.
I know many firearm owners that swear by this product and there is no reason why it can’t be highly effective to help revive your engine. Seafoam Lubricant is made from potent petroleum that sinks deep into metal components whilst resisting extreme temperatures.
Coming in a 15 ounce variety as standard, there will be more than enough to help get your seized engine going again. Seafoam is highly rated in reviews and given the company has been around since 1942, they must be getting something right!
3. Permatex Anti-Seize Lubricant
Permatex has been around since 1909 and is known for offering premium products at a heavily reduced price thanks to their offshore production.
Differing from traditional formulas, With a unique blend of copper, graphite, and other lubricating agents, this anti-seize lubricant helps ensure that your engine components move smoothly and freely, even under high pressure or extreme temperatures.
Well what’s the difference between this formula and a traditional formula that's based on petroleum?
A cooper/graphite formula typically has better resistance to high temperatures. Petroleum-based lubricants, on the other hand, are typically made from mineral oils, synthetic oils, or a combination of both. While they do offer some protection against friction and wear, they are not as effective as anti-seize lubricants at preventing seizing and galling in metal-to-metal applications.
At sub $10 for 8 oz, it would certainly be worth giving a try if a traditional petroleum based lubricant isn’t doing the job for you. They also sell Permatex in smaller 1 oz packs that you can buy in a pack of 12. Perfect for smaller jobs.
4. Loctite Copper Anti-Seize Lubricant
Loctite Copper Anti-Seize Lubricant is a premium product that is designed to offer superior protection against seizing, galling, and corrosion. The unique copper formula provides exceptional heat resistance, making it ideal for use in high-temperature environments.
This lubricant is designed to reduce friction and wear between metal parts, helping to extend the life of your engine components.
One of the standout features of this product is its exceptional water resistance. It repels water and other contaminants, which can be especially useful if your engine has been exposed to water. Many mechanics I know swear by using this product when the engine has had water ingress.
This product comes in a convenient brush-top bottle that allows for easy and precise application to the specific parts of the engine.
Loctite has a strong reputation in the industry, and their copper anti-seize lubricant is no exception. If you’re looking for a high-quality lubricant that can help revive your seized engine and keep it running smoothly, this is definitely one to consider.
5. CRC Freeze-Off Super Penetrant
CRC Freeze-Off Super Penetrant is a top-performing penetrating oil that effectively works to free up rusted, corroded, and seized engine parts.
This product uses a unique formula that combines the power of a penetrating oil with a freezing agent. The freezing agent helps to crack open the rust and corrosion that has built up around the seized parts, allowing the penetrating oil to get deep into the metal and loosen it up.
One of the key benefits of CRC Freeze-Off Super Penetrant is that it works fast. The freezing agent helps to quickly lower the temperature of the metal, causing it to contract and break away from the rust and corrosion. This, in turn, allows the penetrating oil to work more effectively and quickly free up the seized parts.
In addition to its fast-acting formula, CRC Freeze-Off Super Penetrant is also safe to use on a variety of surfaces, including metal, plastic, and rubber. It's also safe to use around electrical components, making it a versatile and practical solution for many engine-related problems.
Overall, CRC Freeze-Off Super Penetrant is a reliable and effective product that can help you get your engine running smoothly again. The freezing agent is unique to this product and may come in useful if other options are not working to get your engine running again.
6. ACDelco Rust Penetrating Lubricant
ACDelco Rust Penetrating Lubricant is a high-quality penetrating oil that's perfect for tackling stubborn engine issues caused by rust and corrosion.
This product contains a powerful blend of cleaning and lubricating agents, making it highly effective at breaking down rust and freeing up seized engine parts. ACDelco is a trusted brand in the automotive industry, and their 10-4020 Rust Penetrating Lubricant is no exception.
This product is designed to penetrate deep into metal components, displacing moisture and lubricating the parts for smooth movement. It is also highly resistant to water and heat, making it an ideal choice for use in harsh environments.
The 16-ounce can comes equipped with a unique spray nozzle that allows for precise application, making it easy to reach even the most hard-to-reach areas.
When testing this product, I noticed that the product comes out as a thick shaving cream like foam which is much easier than having to spray down the entire engine. I applied a small dollop and left it for 10 minutes before the product began to work its magic.
How to Apply Penetrating Oil to an Engine
To use a penetrating oil, you'll want to apply it to the areas around the engine that are most likely to be causing the issue. This could include the pistons, the crankshaft, and any other moving parts that are stuck in place. Make sure to let the oil sit for a while, as it needs time to seep in and do its job.
If the penetrating oil doesn't work, you can also try using a heat gun or even a blowtorch to heat up the engine. This can help to expand the metal and break up any rust or debris that might be causing the engine to stick. Just be careful not to overheat the engine or cause any damage to the surrounding components.
Another option is to use a breaker bar or a wrench to try and manually turn the engine over. This can be a bit tricky, as you'll need to apply a lot of force and make sure you're turning it in the right direction. But if you can get the engine to start moving even a little bit, it might be enough to break up whatever's causing it to seize.
Finally, if all else fails, you might need to consider taking the engine apart and inspecting it for any damage or debris that might be causing the issue. This can be a pretty involved process, so it's definitely not something you want to jump into lightly. But if you're determined to get your engine back up and running, it might be your only option.
Overall, dealing with a seized engine can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. But with a bit of patience, one of the products mentioned and some elbow grease, you might be able to get it back to its former glory. Good luck!