What are Fuel Additives and When Should You Use Them?

Minit-Tune & Brake| Friday, February 09, 2018

You have seen the advertisements, and you wonder if fuel additives are worth the hype. Some claim to improve fuel economy, while others promise that they will make your engine last longer. Yes, there are benefits to using fuel additives, but before you can pick which one suits your vehicle, you need to consider the various types.

Fuel Additives

Not all vehicles need fuel additives, while some require a specific type of additive. Therefore, you must first demystify the array of options and pick one that could be beneficial to your vehicle rather than an unnecessary expense.

Types of Fuel Additives and their Uses

If you were to go to the automotive supply store right now, you might be baffled at the various types of fuel additives on the shelves. Additives are not a one-size-fits-all situation. Each category has a specific purpose, including:

  • Fuel Stabilizer: A stabilizer additive helps maintain your vehicle’s fuel supply even when it is not in use. It prevents fuel separation and gel, which causes engine erosion. Typically, these stabilizers are used in vehicles that are stored for the season, such as an RV. Other times they are put in cars that cannot use a full tank of gas in two weeks.
  • Octane Boosters: To increase your fuel’s octane rating and get the most out of the octane you buy, use an octane booster. These include lubricants and are best for older vehicles (including classic cars) that have cast-iron valve seats.
  • Fuel Injector Cleaner: You use this additive to protect and clean your fuel injection system. It removes the gumming that might occur from the ethanol of your fuel because a clogged fuel injector affects performance and efficiency. Typically, a fuel injector is only needed in the winter, when plugging is more likely to occur.
  • Anti-Gel Diesel Additives: If your vehicle runs on diesel, you may want an anti-gel to help unclog diesel fuel filters and reduce clogs in colder temperatures.

Do Fuel Additives Really Improve Fuel Economy?

Several additive brands make claims that their use improves fuel efficiency. Sadly, some of these product claims are not entirely true. After extensive testing, many of these products were found not to match their claims, and do nothing to improve fuel economy.

When your fuel injector is clogged, it does affect fuel economy. Therefore, cleaning can improve it. However, you will not get more mileage out of your car just by using an additive. If your primary goal for these additives is better fuel economy, then it is not worth the cost. If you would like to improve your fuel pump’s performance and remove gunk, then an additive might be worth it.

Maintaining Your Vehicle Helps Too

To maximize your fuel economy, you need to maintain your vehicle. That means regular oil changes, swapping old filters for new, and keeping up with proper air pressure in your tires. The team at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres can help you improve efficiency and reduce repair costs in your vehicle. Our team can also recommend which fuel additives might be right for your car based on the weather and the condition of the fuel pump.

For your next maintenance appointment, find an auto repair shop near you today. You can also contact a centre with your questions about fuel additives.

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