Combustion, Contaminants, Fuel Quality

High Impact of Low Quality Fuel on Performance & Fuel Injectors

One of the most common problems seen in trucking fleets is the condition of fuel injectors. Degradation of fuel injectors happens naturally over time, but the degradation process can be expedited by poor quality fuel and lack of maintenance.

How does low quality fuel affect fuel injectors?
The negative impact of low quality fuel on fuel injectors is simple. The function of a fuel injector is self explanatory: It injects the fuel and converts it to a partially atomized spray. This allows the engine to fully burn the fuel. When low quality fuel passes through the fuel injection system, it causes corrosion, wear, and blockages. Not only does this cause damage to the system, it also decreases performance. The 3 biggest contributors to low quality fuel are the following:

Low Cetane
The Engine Manufacturing Associate states that for the highest performance, the Cetane Number in diesel fuel should be greater than 50. Despite this, in North America the minimum Cetane number is 40. The typical value in diesel fuel across North America is between 42 and 45, and even if you invest in premium fuel, it is not guaranteed that the Cetane level meets EMA standard of 50. A cetane level below 50 causes poor combustion efficiency, lower mileage, and detonation wear.

Poor Lubricity
In 2006, the government mandated that all sulfur be removed from diesel. Previously, sulfur had acted as a natural lubricant. When this was removed, the fuel became more “dry”, and it increased the rate of wear and tear. Key corrosion inhibitors are also removed during this process, increasing the corrosive behavior of today’s fuel. This lack of sulfur affects all diesel fuel, and it’s a growing problem.

There is a high level of contaminants in today’s diesel fuel. These contaminants include carboxylate deposits, wax and glycerides. Carboxylate deposits are “sodium soaps” that clog the fuel injector system. This lowers performance and decreases mileage. Wax is formed in diesel fuel at low temperatures, also causing blockages. The inclusion of biodiesel introduces glycerides to diesel fuel. This becomes thick at low temperatures, causing performance issues and ignition problems.

What now?
In reality, most of the diesel fuel sold is affected by the above problems. Even those fuels claiming to be “superior” quality contain issues with low cetane levels, poor lubricity and contaminants. Due to these issues, the use of fuel additives in the fuel market has steadily increased over the years, and it is projected to continue. There is just too much opportunity for improvement in performance. Fuel additives use a multi functional approach to address the problems in today’s low quality fuel. The fuel additive products offered by Fuel Ox®are a great solution to low quality diesel fuel. Fuel Ox® with Combustion Catalyst uses a multifunctional approach to solve these problems.Fuel Ox® with Combustion Catalyst removes water and protects against corrosion, carbon, and sludge build up. The highly engineered combustion catalyst improves performance by increasing fuel efficiency by 7-10% and overall power. This increase in fuel efficiency shows the value of the product. Fuel Ox® Cold Charge with Combustion Catalyst provides defense against cold weather issues. It contains Wax Anti Settling Additives that prevent fuel filters from clogging. Fuel Ox® products address the issues caused by low quality fuel, and with the expectation that poor fuel quality will continue, it is essential to add an industry tested fuel additive to your fuel.

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