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.
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