Many people do not know that gasoline and diesel fuel have different standards when it comes to the additives that go into them. And many people don’t know that many fuels already come from the refinery with additives already in them.
The gasolines you buy at the pump already come with a base level of detergent for the fuel injectors and intake valves. The Federal Government started requiring gasoline to contain a minimum amount of detergent back in the 1990s, in their burgeoning efforts to try and clean up air quality. These detergents have gained mainstream acceptance through advertising of their trade names – you’ve heard of Shell V-Power and Chevron with Techron. Those are gasolines with specific detergent packages added to them.
Diesel fuel seems to get the short end of the stick in this regard because there’s no equivalent government requirement for diesel fuel to contain detergent. That’s partly why there’s such a robust market for diesel detergent additives.
Detergents provide benefits for diesel engines through the removal of deposits that build up in certain areas. The most important diesel detergent is a good injector cleaner. The fuel injector is engineered to deliver the right amount of fuel into the combustion chamber, and to deliver it in the right manner – atomized in a fine mist that combines quickly with air to produce a burnable mixture for the engine.
So it’s important to keep these diesel fuel injectors clean. Without detergents, deposits will develop in the tips of the injectors. This is especially true when the engine is shut down after a period of use. Whatever small amount of fuel is left in the injector tip will continue to “cook” after the engine is shut down because the injectors are still very hot. Given enough time, a carbon deposit will develop in the injector tip that affects the way the fuel atomizes and sprays.
And today’s common rail diesel injectors are in even more need of good diesel detergency. The common rail diesel engine design relies on high performance injectors to deliver the fuel into the combustion chamber, often, multiple times in a single piston turn. Conventional diesel engines never had the ability to do that, and it makes common rail diesel engines cleaner and better performing than any diesel engines ever were before.
But a common rail diesel engine can’t perform at its best if the injectors aren’t clean. Hence why it’s so important to use a diesel detergent additive to keep them clean.
You may be interested in these posts on Detergents and Diesel Injectors
- Cleaning Diesel Injectors - What you need to know
- Detergents in gasoline can make a big difference to your car
This post was published on April 25, 2017 and was updated on July 9, 2019.