Because of the ever changing fuels available today, OEMs are noticing an upward spike of injector issues and problems. In the past, deposits were mostly found on the tips of injectors, but now deposits seem to be forming internally. Obviously, this is translating to inefficient engine performance, less power, and injector life has been decreased. The question often asked is: How often should you use diesel injector cleaner? The answer depends on whether the owner/operator is looking for maximum engine performance, long injector life, consistent fuel efficiency, reduced exhaust emissions, etc. To accomplish all this and more, then it may be that utilizing a quality fuel conditioner/cleaner would need to be utilized on a continuous basis. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Over the last decade, a lot has changed in the heavy equipment industry, such as OEMs manufacturing to much tighter tolerances and engines and fuel systems operating under extreme conditions. Fuels have definitely gone through vast changes. Their chemical makeup has been robbed of critical components and because of these physical changes the need for adding an effective fuel conditioner/treatment may bring huge benefits. One area to consider when looking for a diesel fuel conditioner and injector cleaner is to learn how efficient and effective it can be in helping fuel burn more completely and efficiently. If a fuel can burn completely, then this creates the perfect environment. Helping a fuel’s ability to burn completely will lead to maximum power, fuel economy is vastly improved, and ultimately injectors will not have deposits forming internally that can cause a myriad of problems. By minimizing or eliminating deposits, injector life is vastly extended, leading to improved fuel economy. Keeping injectors clean solves a myriad of issues and minimizes downtime.
Preventative maintenance in regards to a fuel system for both diesel and gasoline injected engines has been proven to be the most cost effective strategy if the goal is maximum fuel economy, component longevity, and minimal downtime. What if there was no consideration in using a high performance fuel conditioner/cleaner and injectors were found to have a high amount of deposits? In this case, the first task is to safely deal with the removal of these power robbing, fuel wasting deposits. When choosing a fuel conditioner, look for an oil based product, not an alcohol based one. In addition, the chemistry should be formulated with state-of-the-art additives tested and proven to clean away deposits. It should show superior performance capabilities in low sulfur diesel fuels, biodiesel fuels, ultra low diesel fuels, and of course gasoline fuel. Once the proper fuel conditioner/cleaner has been chosen, then it is time to start the deposit cleaning process. When treating gasoline fuel injected engines, follow manufacturer’s recommendations. One particular specialized lubricant manufacturer recommends one gallon of fuel conditioner/cleaner to 125 gallons of gasoline. This lubricant manufacturer has found in field operation that it should take 3 tanks of treated fuel for the fuel injected system to be cleaned. Once deposits have been burned away, then this high performance additive package can be used in a preventative maintenance fashion. The treat rate would be in this product’s case 1 gallon of fuel conditioner/cleaner to 400 gallons of gasoline. By following this plan, the fuel injection system should be kept clean of deposits and allowed to work at full efficiency.
If you are running diesel engine equipment with similar deposit robbing issues in your injection system, then utilize the treat rate of 1 gallon of fuel conditioner/cleaner to 125 gallons of diesel fuel. After 3 tankfuls of treated fuel, injectors should be free of deposits. Once fuel systems have been cleaned, then a preventative maintenance program should be followed at a treat rate of 1 gallon of fuel conditioner/cleaner to 500 gallons of diesel fuel.
Based on the above paragraphs, so far it seems that the answer to the question of how often should you use diesel injector cleaner is: all the time. Let’s continue and see if a constant long term use of a diesel injector cleaner fuel conditioner can be beneficial in more than one way.
It has been shown that by keeping injectors clean through the use of a superior fuel conditioner/cleaner, fuel economy can be vastly improved up to as much as 6.5% better fuel efficiency. Plus, keeping injectors clean leads to much longer injector life. With the advent of lower sulfur fuels, much of the fuel’s natural lubricity characteristics have been vastly reduced. This lack of fuel lubricity has led to increased upper cylinder and ring zone wear. Also, fuel pumps have been more exposed to scuffing and unnecessary wear. A simple act of adding a upper cylinder lubricant to the fuel will vastly minimize upper cylinder and ring zone wear. Again, by adding an upper cylinder lube to the fuel, the fuel pump and injectors are protected from unnecessary wear and scuffing. Choosing a fuel conditioner/cleaner that is oil based solves this upper cylinder lubricity requirement.
Another issue to deal with that can justify the daily use of a diesel fuel conditioner/cleaner is preventing the formation of fuel and water emulsion. Every day, condensation tends to build up and occur in fuel storage tanks and vehicle fuel tanks. If water is allowed to build up excessively in fuel, then a damaging emulsion formation can happen. Also, fuel tanks will tend to create a certain amount of moisture that can cause problems with fuel burning. By utilizing the proper diesel fuel conditioner/cleaner formulated with specialized additives, it can effectively deal with everyday condensation.Typically, an advanced demulsifier additive is formulated into the fuel conditioner/cleaner that will prevent any possible water with fuel emulsification. By preventing this emulsification, the fuel can freely flow and water can be then drained from the fuel storage tank when regular maintenance comes due. In regards to vehicle fuel tanks, this same fuel conditioner/cleaner’s unique additive chemistry will allow a specific amount of moisture to be safely absorbed and harmlessly burned off along with the fuel, thus maintaining a dry vehicle fuel tank.
Another potential benefit in utilizing a diesel fuel conditioner/cleaner is the reduction in exhaust emissions. Worldwide, governments are forcing OEMs to comply with tougher and tougher environmental regulations. To accomplish this, engine manufacturers are designing high performance into their design in an attempt to reduce and control exhaust emissions. If the proper specialized diesel fuel cleaner/conditioner is utilized over a consistent and daily basis, impressive results have been confirmed during testing. The following are some examples of data that has been accumulated: a reduction in hydrocarbons of up to 15%, a reduction in nitrogen oxides of better than 1.6%, better than 19.6% reduction in carbon monoxide, and greater than 10% reduction in particulates. It goes without saying, simply choosing to use a specialized diesel fuel cleaner/conditioner can bring an excellent reduction in exhaust emissions.
Another important area that can be addressed in utilizing a diesel fuel cleaner/conditioner is its ability to help in maintaining fuel stability and also preventing deposits, sludge, and filter plugging. By protecting against oxidation, utilizing a quality fuel cleaner/conditioner can reduce downtime and improve operational costs. Also, there is the issue of corrosion if a fuel system is not properly protected. A custom blended fuel cleaner/conditioner typically contains specialized corrosion inhibitors that will protect fuel systems from corrosion and rust. Again, by minimizing or eliminating rust and corrosion, engine life is extended, fuel system parts are protected and extended, and engine performance is increased. All this means lower maintenance costs.
So in recapping the question of how often should you use diesel injector cleaner, it could be safely suggested that it become a permanent part of the fuel being used in your equipment and vehicle. Consider the benefit of a clean fuel injection system, enhanced fuel economy, superior upper cylinder lube protection from wear, lower exhaust emissions, the prevention of fuel water emulsion formations, corrosion protection for fuel system parts and the engine, and finally a stabilized fuel storage. In total, these benefits provide the answer to this question.