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5 Car Additives for DIY Maintenance and Repairs

There are a lot of snake-oil car additives on the market promising just about anything you want to hear. (Want better mileage? More power?) Most, but not all, additives are a waste of money. Here are five that are actually worth using.

1 / 5

Chevron Techron Fuel Injection Cleaner

If you make a lot of short runs or drive in stop-and-go traffic, you may get better gas mileage and improve engine performance by adding a bottle of fuel system cleaner every 3,000 miles. No need to buy the expensive stuff; $15 or so should do it. Learn more about additives here.

Buy it now on Amazon.

2 / 5

Bars Leaks Radiator Stop Leak

If you notice coolant puddles on your driveway, check for a cracked radiator or heater hose, or loose clamps. Then check the freeze plugs. If it turns out that your leak is coming from your radiator, try adding a cooling system sealer product. If it works, great! If not, youve gambled away a total of five bucks. Learn how to change your own engine coolant here.

Get this product for your vehicle now.

3 / 5

ZDDPlus Engine Oil Additive

Older engines need additional wear protection. Cars from the early-’80s or before have engines built with high-friction flat tappet lifters, which needa boost of anti-wear additivewith ZDDP (zinc dialkyldithiophosphate. It costs less than $15 a bottle. Don’t use ZDDP additives with a post-’80s enginethe extra ZDDP can damage your catalytic converter. Find out more about motor oil here.

Order this engine oil additive on Amazon.

4 / 5

Lucas Transmission Fix

If youre driving a car with an older transmission with no shifting problems, its worth adding a $10 bottle of fluid conditioner. It bolsters the performance of older nonsynthetic transmission fluids. Skip it if you have a late-model car with synthetic fluid. You can change your car’s transmission fluid yourself.

Buy it now on Amazon.

5 / 5

Bars Leaks Head Gasket Fix

If you constantly have to top off your coolant but cant find any sign of an external leak, you likely have a leaking head gasket. Its worth trying a sealant before taking the car into the shop for a very expensive head gasket repair. Spend at least $25 on a quality product. It may not work, but if it does, youll save a boatload of money. But be sure topay attention to the directions on the bottle! Did you know you can replace your car’s thermostat yourself? Here’s how.

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