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Mechanics Corner: Different fuel additives to consider

Carly Kelly Published on 16 October 2015

Winter will be here soon, so it’s time to consider using fuel additives to protect the diesel engines in your tractors and farm equipment during storage.

By using fuel additives now, you’ll keep your engines in good shape so they’ll be ready to operate efficiently when called upon in the spring.



Here are three different types of fuel additives to consider:

Year-round diesel fuel treatment

Applying a year-round diesel fuel additive to No. 1 and No. 2 diesel fuels provides superior protection and treatment throughout the year. Apart from improving lubricity, a premium fuel additive cleans and removes gum, tar and shellac deposits on injectors, and allows more complete combustion for increased power and less fuel consumption.

It’s designed to clean the entire injector system to improve fuel economy, lubricate cylinder walls and prevent harmful acids from forming. The additive also dissolves free and emulsified water in the fuel.

Look for a diesel fuel cleaner that’s soluble in both fuel and water, breaks up sludge and slime mats in the fuel, and is EPA-approved.

Fuel oil cleaner

A quality diesel fuel oil cleaner will reduce engine maintenance costs and protect your engines in storage by killing algae and odor-causing bacteria.


The using of a fuel oil cleaner reduces fuel oil filter deposits and plugging, prevents tank corrosion and breaks up sludge and slime mats. In addition to use in diesel-fueled engines, it’s also used in fuel oil storage tanks.

The ideal fuel oil cleaner is a water-soluble, EPA FIFRA-registered (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act) antimicrobial that mixes solely in the water phase of the fuel storage tank.

Premium fuel oil cleaners use a special balanced blend of non-ionic wetting agents and surfactants to allow penetration of bacteria cell walls. This provides a fast, more complete kill, for easier mixing and ultimate contact.

The dispersants and wetting agents then disperse the dead bacteria to reduce filter plugging. Because all bacteria is 90 to 95 percent water, the bacteria releases the water when killed, and the small residue is further dispersed by the surfactants.

Anti-gel and water-dispersant diesel fuel treatment

If you’ll be operating your equipment over the winter, consider an anti-gel and water-dispersant additive. Fuel that’s been treated with this type of additive is truly a premium “winterized” fuel.

It’s specifically designed to prevent cold-filter plugging that occurs at lower temperatures with all diesel fuels (including No. 1 and No. 2 diesel, ultra-low sulphur and biodiesel fuel blends).


This cold-weather diesel fuel treatment provides protection against waxing and gelling, and water and related problems including icing. It also lubricates and cleans the entire fuel injection system and enables superior production whenever diesel engines are used during the cold-weather months.

Because anti-gel cold-weather diesel fuel treatment contains lubricity additives to lubricate cylinder walls, it prevents both corrosion of metals and contact with diesel fuel. It’s designed to decarbonize combustion chambers, reduce exhaust smoke and eliminate the formation of algae and harmful acids. It contains no alcohol.

The flow improver contained in the anti-gel cold-weather fuel treatment also dramatically lowers the pour point and cold-filter-plus point. Some products, for example, decrease pour point and cold-filter-plus point to minus 37ºF.

Independent laboratory tests verify some products are able to lower the pour point of a given fuel lower than that of kerosene. (Fuels vary with their response to any chemical, and this response will vary from one batch of diesel fuel to another.)

In short, an anti-gel cold-weather diesel fuel treatment combines all the benefits of a year-round diesel fuel additive with an advanced cold-flow improver.

It provides superior protection in the cold-weather months and slows the aging and oxidation of diesel fuel by dispersing water and preventing thickening and gelling of the diesel fuel.

An old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

When tractors and diesel-powered equipment come out of cold weather in the spring, you depend upon them to respond and go into action immediately with the same reliability and efficiency they exhibited before winter began. Fuel additives go a long way to ensure a response in the spring that you can count on.  PD

Carly Kelly is a product marketing manager of specialty fluids with New Holland Parts & Service.