Lexus fuel additives

What Are Fuel Additives, and Do They Really Improve Your Car’s Performance and Fuel Economy?

Fuel additives are the not-so-secret ingredients that claim to revive your car’s weary engine and increase fuel economy, as well as ensure improved performance, reduced emissions and extended engine life1. How accurate those claims are, however, is a matter of dispute.

Fuel additives are available for both petrol and diesel engines. Once poured into a filled-up fuel tank, they supposedly yield an array of benefits for your vehicle2.

There are several types of fuel additives, each addressing a specific car part or need. For example, fuel performance enhancers are meant to elevate the capabilities of a car’s engine while in use3. On the other hand, fuel stabilizers are added to cars going into storage or that won’t be used for a long period to keep fuel in the gas tank fresh and functional (for at least two years4) and avoid engine corrosion5.

Alternately, commonly-used fuel system cleaners6 get rid of carbon buildup in the gas tank, fuel line, carburetor and intake system, thereby boosting the car’s overall performance and delaying car maintenance issues. Meanwhile, fuel injector cleaners tackle an essential part of the engine system that controls fuel consumption by scrubbing away carbon accumulations that clog up the fuel injectors and prevent as much fuel from entering the combustion chamber, which negatively affects mileage7.

While the promise of improved fuel economy to help reduce monthly costs sounds tempting, it is important to note that fuel additives do not elevate this area of car performance - despite what’s said on the label8.

Lastly, keep in mind that fuel additives are best suited for older, unmaintained cars with high mileage9 as they remove the carbon deposits that have piled up over time in the fuel system, which means that you probably won’t notice a difference in newer, well-maintained cars. On another note, immediate results are unlikely; any noticeable improvement in engine performance will take some time and require multiple tanks of treated fuel10.

So, before reaching out for a fuel additive, take a moment to consider whether your car actually needs it and which area of improvement you are seeking. If you choose to proceed with these products as part of your regular car maintenance, make sure first to review the instructions for use very carefully.