Car Maintenance Tip: Do Fuel Additives Really Work?

December 21st, 2020 by

Fuel nozzle in vehicle at gas station

You’ve probably seen the shelves in your local auto parts store. There are entire sections devoted to fuel additives, which can be part of your regular car maintenance routine. Today’s blog from Thompson Sales answers the frequently asked question, “Do fuel additives really work?”

What Types of Fuel Additives Are There?

When you’re trying to find the best fuel additives to purchase for your vehicle, you have a ton of options from many brands. And they’re all labeled differently.

You may see items on the shelf such as fuel injector cleaners, fuel stabilizers, gas treatments, octane boosters, carburetor cleaners, intake system cleaners, and fuel additives.

It’s important to read the label and follow instructions on these products if you choose to use them in your vehicle as part of a regular car maintenance routine.

Do Fuel Additives Work?

Maybe, but it depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your fuel additive. They may prevent future car maintenance problems regarding your fuel injectors and buildup. However, fuel additives may not improve your vehicle’s fuel economy right away after just one tank.

You have to look at fuel additives over the life of your vehicle’s engine. On older cars, fuel additives will likely improve your engine’s performance because older vehicles tend to have more gunk that builds up in the fuel injectors. Additives can help clean out those deposits and prevent expensive car maintenance down the road.

What Do Studies on Fuel Additives Say?

The EPA released a comprehensive study in 2011 whereby the agency tested more than 100 products that claimed to improve fuel efficiency. None of the products actually delivered on those claims.

It’s important to note that fuel additives prevent gunk from building up in your gas tank, fuel line, and (most importantly) your fuel injectors. Your vehicle’s fuel injectors may build up carbon deposits over time, which can block or clog the injectors. This causes less fuel to enter the combustion chamber, which reduces the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. 

Fuel injectors have tight tolerances, meaning even small amounts of carbon buildup can affect your engine’s performance. Fuel additives are a nice addition for preventative car maintenance on your injectors to help delay or prevent an expensive repair later on. 

Don’t Overdo Fuel Additives

You must follow the instructions on the fuel additive for best results. Don’t overdo fuel additives, because too much of them can actually harm your vehicle’s sensors and gauges. Talk to a local mechanic, like our service department at Thompson Sales, for the best car maintenance recommendations for fuel additives.

Car Maintenance by Thompson Sales

Bring your car to our service department for a quick checkup every six months! Our factory-trained technicians can give you tips on how to keep your vehicle running in top condition. Contact Thompson Sales or call (417) 763-6811 for more details.

Posted in Car Maintenance