Oil additives Miracle - Castle Products

Oil additives Miracle

We’ve had a couple of questions related to additives. I don’t know exactly how long after Ford put America on wheels the first products popped up laying claims to cure what ails your car, extend its life, improve performance, reduce fuel and oil consumption just to name a few but it couldn’t have been to long. Without looking too hard I found this ad from the SC Johnson company advertising its Car Savers, from the wax most know them by, to a carbon remover treatment.

Because there are so many different fluids and so many flavors of additives for those different fluids we’re going to break them down by system. Up first fuel additives.

Fuel additives are usually marketed in four basic flavors, fuel line anti-freeze/water remover, fuel system cleaners, fuel stabilizers, and octane boosters.

Heet is likely the best known anti-freeze/water remover. Does it work? Absolutely, all products sold as fuel line antifreeze, are all or almost all alcohol. The alcohol mixes with the water and allows it to mix with the gasoline. Is it needed or beneficial? It depends on a couple of factors. In much of the US what is sold as “gasoline” at the pump contains some alcohol, up to 10%. So if you use gas containing ethanol you’ve got more than enough alcohol in the tank already.

So what if you use un-adulterated gasoline? That depends some on the car. Until the 70’s direct venting of fuel tanks were the norm. So the normal expansion and contraction with temperature changes meant a lot of air was exchanged, increasing the opportunity for condensation to occur. Then the EPA brought evaporative emission controls into the picture. The early systems at a minimum forced the tank to breathe through a long hose greatly reducing the air exchange. With the advent of OBD-II systems it’s a closely controlled system all but eliminating air entering the tank. So it is likely unnecessary in modern cars, for most drivers, but for your Curbside Classic it may be indicated depending on climate and the fuel in your area.

Fuel system cleaners, these also go way back, though of course at the beginning they were sold as carburetor cleaners. Gumout is one that goes way back and is probably the best known. Do they work? Certainly many formulations do, though this is a crowded segment and undoubtedly the effectiveness will vary from brand to brand. The active ingredient is some type of solvent, naphtha is a common choice and many contain some type of oil along with an often small amount of their proprietary chemicals. Is it needed or beneficial? Fact is that since the mid 90’s there have been minimum fuel detergency standards in place in the US. That ethanol added to some gas is also a good solvent. So again for most drivers in most modern cars there really isn’t a need. But for your carb equipped Curbside Classic who’s fuel bowl is vented to the atmosphere an occasional or regular dose is likely a good idea.

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