Are Fuel Additives Safe for my Engine?

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 managing Director of Power Enhancer, a company with a no-nonense attitude that has gained our respect. As such, we have quoted what they had to say on the matter.

From all our experience and testing we have yet to find a commercial fuel-based engine cleaning product that has resulted in any form of short, medium or long term damage to a fuel system or engine. 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 totally benign to an engine, including those with superchargers or turbo chargers.

Please note that this is not a licence for you to put any old rubbish in your fuel tank! With BG being the largest and most respected producer of vehicle based chemicals in the United States for many years, and after selling hundreds of thousands of cleaners throughout the trade whilst working directly with manufactures such as VW and Audi, we have yet to hear of any damage of any kind.

This core ingredient of BG cleaners, PEA (Polyether-amine) is proven and documented by the Worldwide Fuel Charter to be the only chemistry proven to safely remove carbon from within a combustion engine. Providing the recommend dosages are not seriously abused our cleaners are no more dangerous than putting gasoline (or diesel for diesel engines) in the fuel tank.

We reviewed the best Octane Booster fuel additives recently, to help you find the best performance and MPG increases for the lowest cost.  Be sure to checkout our guide.

So why does my main dealer and car manual 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 95% 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, UK based 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?

BG 44K Fuel System CleanerUnlike in the UK, 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 the UK it is quite the opposite although we are starting to witness some change with manufacturers (such as VW/Audi) using BG direct to provide additive based solutions for their vehicles. It’s just that the cans are labelled VW even though they are BG products.

Many main dealers in the US use BG 44K, BG 244 and other BG products as part of routine servicing and have been doing so for some time with great success as have our UK-based customers who have tried and continue to use BG products.

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