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Not All Gas Is Created Equal

Everybody is looking for a way to save money, and looking for the best deals when buying gas is a given, however, with cheaper gas there are trade-offs. There is a large range of choice at the pump these days, from discount brands to the more expensive name brands with additives touting gas, emissions and engine saving benefits.

Not All Gas Is Created Equal- A look at your car's fuel.

Regardless of the brand it must have a certain amount of detergents in the fuel that are approved by the EPA and deemed necessary to keep engines free of deposits. There is some debate as to whether these amounts are enough and because this is a performance based requirement fuel companies have found ways to meet these while using less ‘expensive’ additives leading to different levels of engine protection.

Consistent use of cheap gas, choosing a gas station that is not busy allowing gas to sit for long periods, poor adherence to a maintenance schedule and some driving styles can lead to an increase in the accumulation of carbon deposits and other contaminates in the fuel system. For reliable engine performance a clean fuel supply is essential. A clogged fuel filter and/ or dirty fuel injectors caused by contaminates, debris and carbon deposits can lead to poor fuel efficiency, decreased horsepower, rough idle, hesitation, misfire, engine knock, stalling, hard starting or the engine might not start at all.

The fuel filter is your vehicles primary line of defense against dirt and debris in the fuel system and replacement is generally considered a preventative maintenance measure as it could potentially save you thousands by extending the life of your fuel pump and fuel injection systems. Recommendations on when to replace range from once a year, every 50,000 miles, some vehicle manufactures recommend replacing on an “as needed basis” and others make no recommendations at all so be sure to check your owner’s manual.

Deposits that make it past your fuel filter and naturally occurring carbon deposits can also collect on your fuel injectors. To clean the system there are myriad of options available from the simple such as putting an additive in your fuel tank at each fill up, ones you add monthly, to a service done at a repair shop. You may never need to have your fuel injectors serviced at a repair shop, but if you are experiencing a loss in power or issues such as rough idling, hesitation or poor gas mileage a thorough service and check of the fuel system including the fuel injectors may help. The service done properly will clean the fuel injectors, throttle body, air intake, intake valves and ports and remove deposits from the combustion chamber, fuel lines and some products will even clean the fuel tank itself. The fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator should also be checked to make sure they are working as designed.

Next week we will look at Diesel fuel systems as diesel engines. Clean fuel is even more important because of the extremely close tolerances inside the injection pump.

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