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znddp is an additive that increases the levels of zinc and phosphorus in your engine oil. This makes it more effective at reducing metal-to-metal contact during high load conditions or when the oil film thins out. It also prevents oxidation, corrosion and sludge build up.
In the 1940’s, a new type of zinc-based anti-wear additive was developed and added to automotive engines. This additive was called ZDDP (zinc dialkyldithiophosphate) and it became a standard component of all mainstream motor oils. By the 1990’s, however, oil companies started reducing the amount of ZDDP in their oils due to the fact that it negatively affected the life of the Catalytic Converter and O2 Sensor.
Today, most oil contains very little, if any, ZDDP. This is because the EPA requires that ZDDP be reduced to near zero in order to protect the life of the catalytic converter and O2 sensors. Oil formulators responded by developing substitute chemistries that provide the same anti-wear protection as ZDDP but have lower environmental impact.
Some performance, classic car and hot rod engine builders include a higher level of ZDDP in their oil in order to reduce camshaft and lifter wear on older pushrod flat tappet engines. But dumping a foreign additive into your existing oil can be risky, as too much ZDDP will start clogging the lubricant-carrying crevices and cause your engine to burn oil. Instead, look for a ZDDP oil additive that is formulated specifically for use in classic cars and high-performance applications.