What are fuel additives?

There are two main types of fuel additives: fuel efficiency boosters and fuel stabilizers. Fuel additives are designed to improve the performance of your car engine while it is running or in use. Fuel stabilizers are designed to keep the fuel in working order when it is stored for a long time without use. Most people think about increasing fuel efficiency when considering fuel or gasoline additives.

Do Fuel Additives Cost Money?

Fuel or gasoline additives often make impressive claims about how you can improve your engine, such as “20% fuel economy.” That’s a pretty tempting claim,: you can read on the bottle of fuel additives, says the Federal Trade Commission. It is easy to see the attractiveness. Spend a few dollars, put the product in your gas tank, and return that amount with the gas you saved. But is there a valid claim that fuel additives are worth investing in your car?

Adding to the complexity of the issue is the fact that “fuel savings” are just one type of supplement that we have all seen on the shelves of gas stations and car shops. Others are there to do things like clean fuel systems իչները syringes. “They make supplements for everything,” said Jill Trotta, CEO of RepairPal Automotive Group.

But our fuel today comes with many additives that have been used in gasoline since the 1920s. Do our cars need extra help? Short answer. It depends. Here’s Trotta’s advice on some of the supplements.

Types of fuel additives

Fuel system cleaners

The most common additives, fuel systems cleaners claim to clean up carbon and other accumulations from your fuel system, which Trotta says they do quite well, which can help your car run smoothly. They are sometimes advertised as anti-corrosion for fuel systems, a problem that some believe may occur in some cars that use high levels of ethanol. But Trotta denies this claim, saying that the accumulation of such rust is quite rare. “It has to be an extraordinary circumstance for that to happen,” he said.

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Fuel injection cleaners

Special type of fuel system cleaning: Fuel injection cleaners clean the carbon that has accumulated on the fuel injectors, which can adversely affect the gas flow. This is especially true for some high-powered cars, which can be fitted with more carbon. “Some car models accumulate carbon,” says Trota. “If you do not drive much on the highway, if you do very short trips, the engine does not heat up enough to clean itself, you can ask for fuel injection cleaning.”

Gas Mileage Supplements

In addition to simply cleaning your fuel system, additives can promise all sorts of benefits to your engine. Additives that promise to increase gas mileage are a popular product, especially when the price of gas is rising. However, the FTC’s website advises buyers to be wary of the approach. “It’s a wise idea to be skeptical of any gas-saving claims about automobiles or oil and gas additives,” the website said. Trota agrees. “If there’s any difference,” he says, “it will be minimal.”

Refrigeration system additives

Although most fuel additives are harmless at worst, Trotta warns against the use of engine cooling additives that claim to cause clogged leaks. These, he says, will only work temporarily in the event of small leaks, will not affect larger leaks, and may damage your car’s mechanical equipment. When you see coolant collecting on the floor of your garage, he says it’s better to call your mechanic than get a bottle of cooling system additives.

Bottom line about fuel additives

If you’re interested in add-ons, Trotta recommends finding a mechanic you can trust to follow the maintenance calendar in your owner’s manual. “People who make a car basically know what’s best for it,” he says.


A good mechanic can protect your engine, but protecting your entire car requires a lot of car insurance. Get free quotes from GEICO today.

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