The Ingredients Behind Fuel System Maintenance Fluids


More than likely you’ve had a conversation with a customer about fuel system maintenance, fuel additives or the importance of using the right fuel for his car. You’ve probably been asked how you know what a particular car needs and if fuel additives are effective. In short, the answer is, it depends on what’s in them.

Even high-quality fuel creates and leaves behind carbon deposits during combustion. Over time, those deposits can build up on engine parts and lower a vehicle’s overall performance and fuel economy. The only way to restore performance is to remove the deposits.

Not every fuel additive is the same; however, they all use cleaning agents. The most commonly used detergents are, polyisobutene (PIB), polyisobutylene amine (PIBA) and polyetheramine (PEA).

PIB is typically used in gas treatments and fuel injector/carb cleaners. If used in high enough doses, it can prevent new carbon deposits from forming, but it’s not powerful enough to remove existing deposits.

PIBA is usually used in fuel injector cleaners. Unlike PIB, PIBA can remove some existing deposits and has a longer interval between applications. It isn’t durable enough to survive in the combustion chamber.

PEA is stable enough to be able to remove carbon deposits in the high heat, making it a good choice for cleaning cylinder heads or direct injectors.


Want to learn more about the science behind the ingredients of quality fuel system maintenance fluids? Visit:

About National Oil & Lube News

National Oil & Lube News is the fast oil change industry's oldest and largest trade publication. Started in 1986 by Steve Hurt (a former fast lube owner) and David Arrington, NOLN has grown and evolved right alongside the fast lube industry. Here at NOLN, our aim is to help fast lube operators with every facet of their business, from operations to technical issues. Our monthly magazine and this regularly updated website contain everything from technical tips, recall announcements and service guides to articles on handling customer complaints, building your brand and making your business the best it can be. With tips and advice from experts both inside and outside the industry, you're sure to learn something that can help your fast lube business grow and prosper.
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