Are fuel system, fuel injector, EGR and engine cleaners safe for my vehicle?
This is a question we get asked regularly and we feel the need to clarify. It’s also a topic we discussed at length with the MD of a reputable additives distributor. As such, we have quoted what they had to say on the matter.
“From our experience and testing you would have to seriously abuse a cleaner before it could cause any damage. Sure, there are many products that are useless and don’t deliver as promised but the main commercial ones we have tested are at least benign to an engine, including those with superchargers or turbo chargers or any of the latest high pressure fuels systems and emission control systems (Diesel particulate filters etc)”
Now this is not a licence for you to put any old rubbish in your fuel tank. However, it is highly unlikely that you will find a reputable fuel additive that would cause any harm.
So why do the Main Dealers and car manuals insist on no fuel additives?
This is down to a combination of draconian thinking and commercial protection. Firstly and unlike in the US, manufactures (fronted through their main dealers) have a vested interest in maintaining a “replace with new policy”. For example, if a main dealer plugs in their diagnostics computer and it registers a faulty diesel fuel pump or faulty injectors then they must advise the customer that they require a new pump or injectors.
We have seen bill for almost £3000 to supply and fit 4 new diesel injectors from one of our customers! The fact that injectors and pumps can be reconditioned or that a good quality cleaner will 80% of the time resolve the problem is irrelevant. Main dealers have little choice and they risk falling out of favour with the manufacture or worse, losing their franchise if they deviate from the “replace with new” policy. If you accidently put a stain on the carpet would just replace the carpet without trying to clean it first.
Secondly, manufacturers and dealers are protecting themselves from customers that may foolishly put a harmful substance in the fuel tank, i.e. bleach (and we’re not joking) or putting fuel additives in with the oil or visa-versa. Hence, a straight forward “no additives” policy.
It also doesn’t help that the taboo surrounding oil additives has had a significant but negative impact on the use of fuel based additives in the UK.
So why is it different in the United States?
Unlike in Europe, the US main dealers have a strong influence over the manufactures. In many cases it is the main dealer that will call the shots. Unfortunately in Europe it is quite the opposite although we are starting to witness some change with manufacturers as they embrace the use of additive based solutions where and when it suits them commercially.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any further advice.
The FuelTechExperts Team