How Fuel Additives and Carburetor Cleaners Work
Lately, when driving your vehicle have you noticed that it does not accelerate as fast as it used to? Perhaps you noticed your pistons might miss fire more frequently? Does your car struggle to go up hills that weeks ago would not have slowed you down? You may have a dirty carburetor or fuel injection system. Carburetors and fuel injectors work by pushing gas into the engine manifold. A good clean spray or stream of gas keeps the engine running smoothly. Over time fuel varnish deposits, also known as carbon build-up clogging the system so, not enough fuel is being pushed through. When this happens its time to use a fuel additive carb cleaner.
At the end of the 1970s a plant-based chemical ethyl alcohol or more commonly known as “Ethanol” was directed by the Envermantal Protection Agency, or EPA to be added to fule. The ethanol reduced carbon emissions and boosted octane performance. It was a win, win for cars and the environment. The downside in ethanol is the alcohol part. It is a corrosive chemical that oxidizes and emulsifies into a by-product that clog injectors, valves, and intakes. For newer cars, this is not a big deal because they are engineered to run on an ethanol fuel mixture. However, for older engines, it hits a little hard.
Basically, a fuel additive carb cleaner works by adding it to your gas tank. When the gas is pushed through the carburetor or injector system the cleaner removes the carbon deposits. Keep in mind how well they work depends on the amount of build-up type of engine and type of cleaner used. Here are a few common types.
Gas Treatments are used to remove carbon deposits and water in the gas to increase fuel efficiency. They use a chemical called polyisobutene. Gas treatments are generally known to be the lowest coast additive and are used before filling up the tank.
Fuel Injector Cleaners are added to the gas tank during an oil change. It’s a slightly more powerful cleaner that lasts longer and removes deposits and clogs in the fuel injector system.
Fuel System Cleaners are used in more tough cases. It uses polyetheramine, which is the strongest cleaning agent. It protects and cleans more components than the Gas treatment and Fuel injector cleaner. It clears away clogs and carbon deposit buildup like the others do, but it also restores parts to the original condition. This fuel additive carb cleaner is also put in during an oil change.
Anti-gel Diesel Additives are for diesel engines. It lets the fule flow better at low temps.
Octane boosters are used in high-performance vehicles to raise the octane rating. They are generally used before filling up the gas tank.
Fuel Stabilizers stop corrosion from happening during long periods of storage. Gas will breakdown as soon as it enters the tank. When fule degrades carbon deposits, gums, and varnishes set in clogging fule lines intake, valves, and carburetor jets. Fuel stabilizers are generally used in RVs, sports cars and boats, or any other vehicle that is used only occasionally.
Fuel carb cleaners can help in many situations, but Its never a good idea to overdo it. Too much cleaner can mess with sensors and other engine parts. You should get to know your engine and its needs that way you can determine the right additive for you. Unless you are a mechanic if there is no change in performance after using the cleaner, seak professional help.