There are many reasons to use an additive in your diesel fuel. These include lubricity, anti-gel, cetane improver, water demulsifier, fuel stabilizer, and detergents to help clean the fuel system. There are other special properties for issues including algae and asphaltene but the most common characteristics are of those listed above. The time of year and your geographical location will determine if you need cold weather protection. Other benefits such as lubricity help extend the life of your fuel system from poor quality fuels.
With today's modern diesel engines there are two areas that have an increasing importance. These are a cetane improver and the way in which an additive handles water.
Cetane refers to the ignition delay of diesel fuel. A higher number has less delay than a lower number. Most diesel engine manufacturers in North America require a minimum cetane value in the mid 40's for proper engine operation. A low cetane value will cause incomplete combustion of the diesel fuel and result in reduced power, fuel economy, harder starting and increased particulate emissions. Many areas of North America are known to have cetane ratings well below the 40 level. Using an additive in you fuel will help ensure proper operation of your diesel engine
If power, starting and fuel economy are not enough reason to use an additive, there is another even more important area to consider. Particulate emissions. Diesel particulate matter is the soot produced when diesel fuel is not completely burned during the combustion process. This soot is often seen as black smoke exiting from the tail pipe.
In vehicles with emissions equipment such as exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel oxidizing catalyst (DOC) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) excessive particulate matter becomes an issue. EGR valves can stick open from excessive amounts of soot in the exhaust system. Having this valve open at all times will cause even more soot formation, low power, and poor fuel economy. The DOC which is commonly referred to as the "cat" or catalytic converter, is designed to burn any left over hydrocarbons from the combustion process in the engine. Over time the DOC can become overwhelmed with soot causing a restricted exhaust and low power. The DPF will suffer the most from increased particulate as more frequent regenerations will be required. This will ultimately shorten the service life of the DPF.
To concluded, adding a centane improver to your diesel fuel will save on fuel consumption and expensive emission equipment repair.
Water in Fuel (WIF)
Most diesel owners are aware of the serious damage that water can inflicted on their fuel injection system. The lack of lubricating properties and rust formation will stop a diesel engine dead in its tracks. All modern diesel engines are equipped with water separating fuel filters to stop the water from entering the injection system. Also they are usually equipped with a water in fuel (WIF) probe to alert operator when water is present. For the most part these systems work very well but even the best water separator can be overwhelmed with water so it is important to stop and drain the water off when alerted by the WIF light.
Lately, we have repeatedly heard the same story from customers walking through the door. They have had major injection system failure with their new diesel but the dealership is saying it is water contamination and is not covered under warranty. The customer states that they have never seen the water in fuel light on. Still there is rust visible in the fuel system (6.0L injector rust right). When questioned about the use of an additive, we find that the customer has been using a water dispersant that emulsifies the water and passes it through the water separator into the injection system. With veriation in temperature and pressure the water will precipitate causing rust to form on injection components.
All of this depends on the amount of water that enters the fuel system to begin with. A small amount of water dispersed into a large volume of diesel will likely cause very little damage but over a long period of time will shorten the service life of the fuel system.
To protect your fuel system and prolong the life of you diesel engine we recommend...