Benefits of additives and which best to use?

Tirefriar

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Just became an owner of 2003 Golf TDI 5 speed with 145 k miles on the clock. I drive 70 mi/day and fill up at Costco. i intend to keep the Golf for a while so giving full attention to maintenance. What fuel additives if any are good?
 

Lightflyer1

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None are recommended but you can read here on them and use which ever one suits your fancy. Always good to search first before asking as most things have already been discussed to death, especially this topic and oil. Much here already. Short answer is as above. None will really show you any noticeable improvement but may or may not help. CA. has some of the best fuel supposedly so you really shouldn't have to add anything at all. Use a good station with a high turnover rate so you are getting fresh fuel. Done!
 

TurboABA

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Strongly disagree. Use something with good lubricity and you should notice a drop in operating temps if nothing else. (assuming you have something more accurate than the OEM temp gauge to monitor with) Given your location, that alone might make it quite desirable (not to mention that it should also extend the life of components)
 

Lightflyer1

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Not that I doubt you, but can you point me to where this is proven anywhere? If the fuel already has good lubricity and mostly they do, adding more isn't going to help. Same with cetane. After a point it is of diminishing returns. It is old but check out the Infineium fuel report from 2018. More than likely better than that now. If it has almost any bio in it then more than likely no extra lubricity needed. 2% or so is enough and isn't even mandated to be included in the fuel analysis in some states. The engine generally outlasts the car in most instances anyway using no additives at all.

 

TurboABA

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My observations are from my personal experience on my own TDIs with fuel up here. I have not looked into what the differences are as far as our diesel vs CA diesel, so that may very well be a factor. I also haven't documented my readings and or improvements if you're about to ask for actual data.... I just see it on my SGII even on the hottest of days.
 

akjdouglass

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Considering the cost per mile for additives is quite low, there's certainly no harm in using one. If nothing else, an additive can help prevent fuel gelling in cold climates (likely not a factor for the OP).

Benefits are endlessly debatable and personal preference is the only way to find which one is "best".
 

Lightflyer1

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If you are dealing with fuel freezing temps I would suggest using an additive for anti gelling. That is at least one thing that is known they are good for. Pick a good one. We just had a freak snow/ice/cold spell a ways back and had almost instant freezing temps that shut everything here down for a week. I did not have any additive in it and it didn't start. Left it sitting and drove the truck until it warmed up and thawed out. I even have additive on hand but it was so fast I didn't get it in in time. This is highly recommended in discussions here for that.

Power Service 32-fl oz Diesel Treatment White bottle.

Lots of people use something but I suspect the majority of normal owners don't. Lots of ones to try if you feel the need.
 

bmwM5power

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the only additive that I found to make a difference is LM2002, I have tried optilube, stanadyne, diesel kleen and none came close to LM
 

Lightflyer1

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Only problem is many people say the same thing about what ever one they liked. Exactly what difference did you find that it made better than the others? How did you determine that? This will turn out just like all the other threads on this topic. Many people will post what they like but no one is able to prove it has helped any over any other one. If you feel you need one just pick one and go with it. You don't need one but it won't hurt to use it and it may help, you just won't know.
 

bmwM5power

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Only problem is many people say the same thing about what ever one they liked. Exactly what difference did you find that it made better than the others? How did you determine that? This will turn out just like all the other threads on this topic. Many people will post what they like but no one is able to prove it has helped any over any other one. If you feel you need one just pick one and go with it. You don't need one but it won't hurt to use it and it may help, you just won't know.
first thing is that I have tried many, not just one, so I have something to compare with. I get the most Mpgs on the tank with the LM , the car feels more responsive/ more power and the engine runs quieter. I have not experienced any of this with the other ones I have tried, or maybe not to such extent that you can feel the difference. That is it.
 

Lightflyer1

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I too have tried many of them myself due to one of these threads long ago. Of all of the ones I tried you wouldn't be able to tell the difference from any of them or none of them. Got tired of dealing with them and the stink that comes with them for no noticeable improvement. Now I just buy fuel at B5 and leave it at that. unless it gets cold then the anti gell additives are definitely called for.
 

bmwM5power

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I too have tried many of them myself due to one of these threads long ago. Of all of the ones I tried you wouldn't be able to tell the difference from any of them or none of them. Got tired of dealing with them and the stink that comes with them for no noticeable improvement. Now I just buy fuel at B5 and leave it at that. unless it gets cold then the anti gell additives are definitely called for.
have you tried LM? I gave up on them too till I tried LM and then bought a box like 40 cans
 

Lightflyer1

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Nope and not going to either. All of my cars have done just fine on pump fuel with no issues other than the freak freeze. I didn't get additised in time. My fault though.
 

akjdouglass

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Nope and not going to either. All of my cars have done just fine on pump fuel with no issues other than the freak freeze. I didn't get additised in time. My fault though.
Do they switch to D1 fuel in your area? We get it here in Missouri. Even so, plenty of locals get stranded when the temps get "cold". Not sure what the gel points of D1 or D2 are, but I think the vehicles gelling up aren't DD's and probably have a full tank of D2 when the weather sneaks up on them.

Regardless, I start using PS (white bottle) when I take down my hummingbird feeders (Oct. 15) and stop when I put the feeders back out in spring (April 15).
 

Lightflyer1

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Usually never gets that cold and last Feb has only happened once since I have been here, about 40 years. Had snow/ice for a week. I lived in Fairbanks, AK for 5 years so I have experienced real cold before. Additives are good for that. Pretty hot down here though, dealing with the 100's for long stretches in the summer.
 

Terrific-In-Tahoma

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Welcome TireFriar to unique world of Diesel propulsion.

The interesting part of this thread, is the major variations in Diesel fuel around the country depending on season, and the origin of the refinery location where your fuel is sourced from.

Most region fuel pump brands adhere to the barest minumum, and only when there is either legislation or demand, do they change the formulas based on the ambient temperature.

Here' Why:

As the temperature gets colder the diesel fuel has a tendency to self-change from a liquid to a solid. This is termed "gelling". Its the process of the fuel changing state similar as "Jello" congeals together as it cools in a bowl in the fridge.

But the good thing is that it is reversable, and by letting everything warm back up again, the fuel returns to its normal flowing state.

VW built the engines for operation over a variety of temperatures, and the Diesel fuel companies compensate for the seasonal variation of ambient temperature by blending in more D1 diesel in the winter months (or Kerosene, it is the same stuff, just a different name).

But the great state of CAlifornia, is unique onto itself, and this is due to the formerly bad air quality that was prominent in major urban areas from the 70's on to today.

So, if you wish a Hotter burn to your ride, you add EHN, but only up to a level of 1200 ppb, and the downside of this additive, is it increases NOx levels.

The other part is to prevent gelling, in colder elevations when you transition for an evening up to the higher elevations, where the fuel was not treated, and you let the car sit then get cold after being shut off. It does not happen if the fuel is kept running in the engine if you are making a transit across the mountain passes in a 4 or 5 hour session.

But, if you are just in the lower elevations, there is no other additive needed, since the fuel available from your local Costco, probably has everything it needs , and then some for CAlifornia emissions, which are the toughest in the world, I am told.
 

Tirefriar

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Thank you for such an informative reply. The reason for original post is that California gasoline contains ethanol. Those running carbs or plastic tanks (I’m mostly referring to motorcycles) have to use additives to absorb evaporated moisture. Otherwise, plugged up jets and/or deformed gas tanks result. Diesel is not gas but being aware of the trickery used by California when it comes to gasoline I was making sure there’s no funny business when it comes to CA diesel.

I’ve put over 300 miles on the Golf in one week and can’t fault it. Even my wife liked it (wish she’d feel the same way about my F150 Bricknose and the Saleen). Loving it so far and want to give it great care.
 

Terrific-In-Tahoma

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Well, partly correct, "diesel" is not "gasoline", but it is a petroleum product (Except Bio-Diesel, that's a plant oil extract, think Peanut oil, or Corn oil).

But there is "funny business" when it comes to California Air Emissions, and the "funny" part is the formula for the "middle-distilates", that California has put into regulation, that the oil companies must follow, to allow "Diesel Fuel" to be sold in their state.

California, is the only state that I am aware of (and this is subject to revision, as time goes on), where the formula for the diesel fuel is unique, and this makes it different than all of the rest of the other 47 states that comprise the lower 48.

Like the rest of the petroleum fuels, in America, it is highly refined, and quality checked before it leaves the refinery.

Recently (2010 i believe) the whole industry switched to ULSD or Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel. This was pushed into law to reduce the Ozone depletion effects of smog in the Lower California region, and reduce the amount of Sulfur-Dioxide in the air. I don't have any data on the levels but they are out there somewhere.

But, the Sulfur was a built-in lubricant. This is why VW dealers were selling cases of supplemental lubricant made by Standyne, since they made fuel injectors, and it was this "less lubricating" Sulfur free fuel, that was causing problems with various bits of the fuel systems, espescially older models, and the fuel injectors were re-designed, and re-designed again. depending on the regulations of that time. (Dieselgate not withstanding).
 

Lightflyer1

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Since ULSD has come into being changes have been made over time and it is a better fuel than when it started. The majority of places tested in the fuel report show good lubricity ratings, but it isn't an exhaustive list but does give some idea. Most people don't use an additive and is really only needed for cold weather operation. If you fear your fuel is bad either change stations or use an additive to improve whatever you deem is lacking. VW dealers were selling fuel additives but VWoA doesn't recommend any. More of a profit maker than an admission that the fuel needed it in my opinion. I also don't think most suppliers only meet the minimum required by law. Too easy to end up under requirements operating on the thin line. But they don't way over additise either. You can see from the fuel report that this isn't really true of what you said.
 
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