Seafoam is said to be one of the most reliable solutions for breaking up sludge, dirt, and keeping your engine clean. But did you know that there are some negative effects? We’ll explain what they are in a moment.
It’s a matter of debate whether or not Seafoam is safe to use on vehicles. Some say that they have had positive results with it while others begged to differ. Indeed, there are some negative effects that have been reported (whether the appropriate amount or too much was applied).
And is it worth using for vehicles that are older? Let’s dive right in and talk about Seafoam and the kind of negative effects that it may have on your vehicle.
What Is Seafoam?
Seafoam was designed to be used for cleaning your engine. Specifically, it’s used to clean parts of your engine like your intake valves, carburetor passageways, and other parts of your engine. In other words, it’s supposed to boil off and get rid of any carbon deposits that might build up inside of your engine.
It claims to be safe for both gasoline and diesel powered engines. Aside from the potentially positive effects it claims to have, we’ve mentioned that there are some negative effects to it. Let’s dig into that here in the next section.
5 Negative Effects Of Seafoam
We’ll be taking a look at some of the specific negative effects of Seafoam. This can occur even if you don’t use too much Seafoam to begin with. Here are some of those negative effects that Seafoam has done based on past user claims:
1. It Can Thin Out Your Oil
The first negative effect that we’ll be looking at is that it can thin out your oil. Obviously, oil is needed to keep the engine and all the moving parts lubricated. Depending on the type of engine your vehicle has, the oil needs to be at a certain viscosity and consistency.
So what happens if your oil seems a little thinner than usual? Chances are your best solution would be to drain the rest of it out and replace it with new oil. And you might want to do that as soon as possible.
Related: Too Much Oil In The Car Engine – Signs & Solutions
2. It May Create More Sludge
Believe it or not, the one thing that is supposed to get rid of sludge will actually do the exact opposite. That’s right, it can create more sludge than it already has. This will definitely spell trouble for your engine.
With more sludge, there’s more buildup, and even a greater chance that your engine may overheat quicker than usual. The last thing you want is your engine overheating to the point where it no longer functions. Once again, an oil change might be the solution to getting rid of the excess sludge.
3. It May Kill The O2 Sensor
Let’s say for instance that your O2 sensor is on the verge of failing. It’s been said that Seafoam might accelerate it. At this point, you’re better off getting the sensor itself replaced.
What happens when an O2 sensor is on the fritz? Your engine may be feeling a little rough. Plus, it may have the worst timing in terms of detecting issues such as overheating, clogging, and so on.
But that doesn’t end there. An O2 sensor failure will also lead to a whole slew of vehicle problems. We’re talking bad fuel mileage, your emission levels will suffer, and so much more. Before you know it, that “Check Engine” light might kick on and you’ll end up sitting in your driveway figuring out what’s going on.
Related: How To Reset Check Engine Light
4. It May Hurt Your Gas Mileage
If you are applying Seafoam to your gas tank, there’s a good chance that your gas mileage could suffer as a result. Even if you add a little bit more than the supposed normal amount, you might be finding yourself on the receiving end of some more clogging within your vehicle’s fuel line.
5. Not Suitable For Engines With Some Injector Systems
If your engine has direct injectors, then you really need to avoid applying Seafoam to the engine. What will happen is that all the sludge, dirt, and debris will loosen up. While it does as it’s advertised, a new problem will arise.
This will come in the form of all of that buildup and everything else clogging the injectors. And guess what that’s going to lead to? The possibility of having to spend thousands of dollars on repairs.
The last thing you want to do is apply Seafoam to clean the engine and see things go from bad to worse. Especially when your vehicle contains a diesel powered direct-injection engine inside.
Why Is Seafoam Not Recommended For Some Engines?
It’s been said that Seafoam should not be used on some engines. Particularly engines that are found in older model vehicles. That’s because some parts under the hood like your O2 sensor or spark plugs may not be able to handle something like Seafoam.
Not to mention, it won’t be able to work with older vehicles that have fuel injection systems in the engines themselves.
Some have also claimed that Seafoam could do the exact opposite of what it’s meant to do in most old or new engines. Instead of removing sludges, it could build them up more over time. And that can actually cause a lot of stress on your engine (especially the engine overheating).
What Can Happen If You Put Too Much Seafoam In Your Engine?
As the old saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. The same can be said about Seafoam. So what happens if you put too much of it inside your engine?
For one, there may be sludge issues that may affect the oil inside your vehicle. Some have reported that the oil will tend to thin out in consistency, making it hard to lubricate the parts under the hood (and keep the engine going). Without this rich flow of oil, the engine’s parts may create a lot of friction and lead to plenty of problems.
Spraying too much Seafoam may also clog your vehicle’s vacuum system. This means that more clogs may occur as a result. Aside from sludge, your vehicle’s engine may also have plenty of dirt, debris, and the like trapped inside.
This can spell a lot of trouble for your vehicle and may lead to the premature death of the engine. The number one cause of death for vehicles is an engine that is overheated. One of the solutions when Seafoam becomes a problem is to drain the current oil you have and then replace it.
Does Seafoam Really Work Or Not?
There are negative effects that can occur when using Seafoam. Usually, it will depend on several factors. It won’t work for you if you have engines that have certain injection systems like direct injection. It might work for newer engines more effectively compared to older models.
Older models are more susceptible to more carbon deposits and buildups compared to their later counterparts. And for this reason, it may lead to plenty of clogging issues. For an older engine, this may lead to its demise sooner rather than later.
Therefore, Seafoam might not be a good idea to use if you have an older engine with plenty of build up. Try as you may, it can cause more harm than good if you apply it. You might be better off using gas that contains various detergents instead.
You also shouldn’t use it in a 4-stroke water cooled engine. Not only is it unnecessary to use, but it could lead to further engine damage down the road. Instead consider other alternatives for additives or use nitrogen based cleaners.
Despite the negative effects it has on most vehicles, most people have said that it has worked like a charm. The carbon buildup in their engines have burned off and therefore makes the engine run like new. Of course, when you start up the vehicle and there’s a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust, you know for sure that it’s working.
When it comes to using Seafoam, you might want to use it at your own risk. Especially when there are some known negative effects to it. It’s important to know about your vehicle, even all the “under the hood” stuff.
This way, you’ll be able to make a decision of whether or not Seafoam is right for your vehicle. When in doubt, you should consider finding other alternatives to clean you engine. As mentioned before, there are plenty of Nitrogen based engine cleaners that you can use. Especially if you have a vehicle that has a 4-stroke, water cooled engine (which means you don’t need to use Seafoam).
Always be sure to use the right kind of fuel if you want a cleaner engine. Some fuel brands use additives and detergents to ensure that your engine is running smoothly even for a long period of time.
10 thoughts on “The Truth About Seafoam: Negative Effects”
You could be a little more specific on what age of vehicles, injection systems, and engine types. Your comments are a little too vague.
Hi there, there are far too many car engines and injection systems to list in detail, but it shouldn’t matter, as the negative effects of seafoam will apply to practically any engine and injection system, especially old ones.
I.put it in my tank and oil and the engine started using oil and it developed a miss. 2012 Chevy Cruze 1.4 liter turbo. I would highly not recommend it
I used it on my lawn mower and it helped overall, but not before it set me back a little. What I mean by that is it definitely loosened the dirt and sludge. It caused hesitation poor air and fuel flow in addition to fouling my spark plug. That’s the challenges. However, after I went through the process of unfouling the spark plug and cleaning the sludge from the carburetor, the mower ran like a top.
My advice, if you have an old mower, like I did, use very little at first. It seemed like I shocked my mowers system by trying to “fix” it quickly. Hope this helps someone.
Sometimes that carbon and sludge is keeping the engine tight and when it’s gone….noise and loss of oil pressure. I never clean a engine with more than 100,000 miles, I use oil catch cans to keep intake and throttle body clean
I have a 1999 F350 Diesel. Do you recommend I use it in my fuel?
Not, recommended, especially on old diesels. But it can work, as other’s have pointed out.
I just blew a chainsaw engine and the mechanic said it was the Seafoam thinning the oil
What about in a 307 that’s dropped into my ’71 Chevelle??
it won’t be able to work with older cars that have fuel injection systems in the engines themselves.