Petroleum Product of the Week: Diesel Fuel Additives

Petroleum Product of the Week: Diesel Fuel Additives

By on Oct 07 2016

Winter is coming.

No, not season 7. " Literally, the season. The winter season is coming. Cripes. We're talking about diesel fuel additives.

Even though it comes every year, we spend a lot of time here warning people of the weather to come. In Northeastern PA, we get some pretty horrific winter weather but snow isn't the worst of it, to be sure. It's the bitter cold.

Even though you probably hate the cold weather, no one loathes it more than your diesel engine (if it could speak it would be cussing up a storm). Number two diesel has a higher concentration of paraffin waxes than the more refined Number one diesel the latter and cleaner fuel is rarely circulated through the pumps at public stations unless you live in colder climates.

The higher concentration of paraffin waxes in number two diesel contributes to its ability to thicken when temperatures drop; this ability " as it were, is an undesired one. Furthermore, since modern regulations surrounding ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel the standard fuel to be used in all modern diesel engines prevent drivers from using the sulfur-heavy (and, thus, pollution-heavy) fuel of yesteryear.

Sulfur is found naturally in crude oil and is one of the few extra components that are not refined out when diesel is being manufactured. Through extensive processing, sulfur is removed to form modern ULSD fuel. To put this into perspective, old diesel was limited to 5,000 ppm sulfur; nowadays, ULSD fuel can only contain 15 ppm sulfur.

The reason for removing sulfur was to have a positive effect on emissions " and it has done exceptionally well with this but it has negatively affected the diesel engine in other ways. Still, most responsible diesel-engine owners understand that there are ways to get comparable performance and longevity out of your diesel-run vehicle even if the fuel itself isn't as ideal for the engine components.

This stuff -- great for emissions -- not so good for bacterial growth in your engine. You need a good fuel additive.

Sulfur provides lubricity to the engine.

Lubricity is the measure of the reduction of friction and or wear by a lubricant. "

Diesel fuel additives come in many varieties and not all of them will make much sense, depending on the type of diesel fuel that you use. Since much of number 1 diesel contains higher levels of Cetane, for example, than it may not benefit your engine too much to add a cetane booster. However, there are additives that will keep your diesel engine clean, dry ", bacteria and algae-free, and many more.

Of the many diesel fuel additives, there are a few brands that the crew at PSC use in our fleets, year round. These are Power Service, K-100, and Howes Lubricator. While the respective additives of each of these brands may deal with similar diesel fuel issues, they all particularly do one thing exceptionally well.

These companies are built solely on their fuel additive technology while some additives are off-shoots of popular lubricant brands, these brands have been in the business of fuel additives since day one. Combining this with observable performance increases and exceptional product guarantees from the manufacturer (e.g. Howes Lubricator will offer to tow you should you break down while using their products!), we've found these brands to work best when employed year round; still, if you came across this article looking for a quick solution to your stalled out diesel truck, look no further your answer awaits.

Next time, think ahead.


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