Maintaining a fleet of diesel vehicles requires is not straightforward or cheap. In addition to the problems faced by any fleet manager, you must also be concerned about the quality of your diesel fuel, the impact of allowing diesel to remain unused in vehicles that parked for a whole season or more, and the potential mechanical issues created by old or gelled diesel fuel. Since the best way to minimize repair costs is to focus on proper maintenance, fuel additives and treatments offer a relatively cheap liquid solution to keep your fleet running smoothly.
Fuel additives or treatments are chemicals added to your diesel fuel that change its properties in one or more ways. Additives are not a new technology, and a large number of different brands have existed for nearly as long as trucks have burned diesel. The purposes and claims of these additives will vary, but most claim to improve overall engine performance, reduce emissions, or even to clean injectors and other fuel system equipment. Fuel treatments are added directly to diesel fuel, usually in a specific amount per gallon of fuel that requires treatment.
Catalysts are a specific category of additives that are designed to allow your diesel fuel to burn more efficiently. Scientifically speaking, a catalyst causes a reaction to occur more quickly without being consumed in the reaction itself. Liquid fuel catalysts don't quite fit this strict definition since they combine with the fuel to alter its properties, but they do fulfill the requirement of creating a more efficient reaction.
Why Are Additives for Diesel So Common?
While fuel additives exist for gasoline engines, they are drastically more common for diesel engines. There are two primary reasons why this is the case: the tendency for diesel to be stored for long periods by fleets and the specific method by which diesel engines function.
The first point should be evident to any fleet manager. It is common for many fleet vehicles to remain idle for months at a time, especially over the winter. Trucks may also sit idle for weeks at a time in between projects or jobs. Since diesel tends to gel in cold weather, this can rapidly create problems for vehicles that are not run continuously through the cold months.
The second point is slightly more technical. Diesel fuel is injected into the combustion chamber after the compression stroke is completed, burning as a result of the extremely high temperatures already present. This critical difference makes it particularly crucial that diesel fuel is burned completely and efficiently.
Are Catalyst Treatments Right for Your Fleet?
The reality is that almost any fleet that makes use of diesel vehicles is likely to benefit from fuel treatments. Many treatments include anti-gelling agents that will help your vehicles overwinter better and the improved combustion efficiency will potentially reduce fuel costs and help deal with emissions problems. When choosing a fuel catalyst additive to use, be sure to carefully check reviews and consult with your fleet's technicians for advice. The right catalyst can potentially save your fleet money by reducing the need for repairs and improving overall engine efficiency.