Does Sea Foam work?

How many products can you think of that have been around since 1942 and are still on the market, unchanged? Unlike rotary phones, wind-up record players, and vacuum-tube radios, Sea Foam fuel additive has been going strong since that era.

You've probably heard that you should drain a lawn mower's fuel tank at the end of the season. There's a good reason for that. If left in the fuel system for too long, gasoline “goes bad" and starts to deteriorate. While it may not go bad the way that a gallon of milk goes bad, it does break down and will start to form gummy, varnish-like deposits on the fuel pump, fuel lines, carburetor, or fuel injection parts and everywhere else. It's the reason that the first thing people usually have to do when purchasing a vintage car for restoration is to drop the fuel tank, clean it out, and start either cleaning or replacing fuel system components.

More than 70 years ago, the man behind Sea Foam, Fred Fandrei, saw this problem firsthand when he struggled with an infrequently used outboard motor. Fandrei was a district manager for the Sinclair Refining Company and began to experiment with various formulations that could prevent breakdown of fuel, packaging the product in beer bottles and selling it to other fishermen. In the early '40s, Sea Foam was trademarked and got the endorsements of Evinrude Outboard Motor and Martin Motors. Sea Foam Fuel Stabilizer not only prevents fuel from breaking down, but it lubricates and conditions seals and O-rings in the fuel system and even prevents diesel fuel from gelling at low temperatures.

For DIYers and professionals, there's Sea Foam Spray Top Engine Cleaner & Lube, which uses some of the same compounds as Sea Foam Fuel Stabilizer, only in aerosol form. Sea Foam Spray Top Engine Cleaner & Lube is designed for air intake systems, throttle bodies, carburetor throats, and other fuel system components, removing gunk and deposits in areas that fuel additives can't reach.

For inside the engine, there's Sea Foam Motor Treatment, which works on the varnish, sludge, tar, and carbon that builds up on pistons, valves, valve components, and rotating assemblies. We recommend using half a can of Sea Foam Motor Treatment 500 to 1,000 miles before your next oil change, then the remainder of it after the oil change is done. The idea is to break up any deposits of gunk with the first application, then help keep everything clean with the second application.

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Last updated June 14, 2018