What fuel additives work?
If you find yourself lost in the fuel additives aisle or just sticking to the same old thing, you are not alone. To make the right choice and get the most for your money, you need to understand how they work and what your vehicle needs.
Q: What's the difference between a fuel injector cleaner and a fuel system cleaner? The guys at my auto parts store always recommend the same fuel additive no matter what problem I have. I'm not convinced it's working but these products are so confusing and they all claim different things. I don't know what I really need or who to trust. How can I select the right product for my vehicle?
A: To understand fuel additives, focus on cleaning power, parts cleaned and treat rates. Then do your homework and know what your vehicle needs. Using the wrong additive can be like using nothing at all.
KNOW YOUR TYPES
There are four types of cleaning related fuel additives: gas treatments, fuel injector cleaners, fuel system cleaners, and multi-system additives. There are a lot of variations on these basic types, but most fuel additives can be classified this way. As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to effectiveness, you get what you pay for.
GOOD: Gas Treatments are typically the lowest priced fuel additive, but they also offer the fewest product benefits.
BETTER: Fuel Injector Cleaners offer a step up in cleaning power and a variety of other benefits.
BEST: Fuel System Cleaners are the top shelf option. They contain more powerful cleaning agents. But beware not all fuel system cleaners contain the same amount of cleaning power.
Multi-system additives are both fuel and oil additives. They claim to work in the crankcase and the fuel system and many claim a long list of benefits. A lot of consumers default to these because they aren't exactly sure what they need. This may make the purchase decision easier but may also be the wrong decision in many cases.
KNOW YOUR FORMULATIONS
Gasoline, even top tier gasoline, leaves deposits on vital fuel system parts resulting in combustion problems. To restore or improve combustion, these parts must first be cleaned. Fuel additives contain detergents that can clean these parts and keep new deposits from forming. Formulations differ on the quality and quantity of cleaning agents.
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