Fuel additives can be useful for people who drive turbocharged or high-compression engine cars, and live in areas that don't offer anything higher than 89 octane fuel. Although octane boosters and higher octane fuel will not in and of themselves increase horsepower or fuel economy, they will enable vehicles with integrated octane sensors to use more aggressive computer tuning, which can yield some impressive results.
Things You'll Need
- Bottle of octane booster
- Full tank of fuel
Run the vehicle as close to empty as possible before fueling.
After stopping to fuel, shut the engine off and add 1/3 of the bottle of octane booster to the fuel tank.
Pump approximately three gallons of the highest available octane gasoline into the tank.
Add another third of the bottle.
Add three to five more gallons of gasoline.
Add the remaining octane booster.
Finish filling your fuel tank with gas.
Start your engine, and allow it to idle for five minutes if possible.
Drive carefully for the first 10 miles or so, allowing the treated fuel to reach your engine before applying too much throttle.
Tips & Warnings
- Octane booster is available from many sources, but you get what you pay for. Those commonly for sale at the local gas station are often of inferior quality, containing only enough additives to qualify as a "booster," and will likely not raise octane more than two points at most.
- Consider more high quality products like those produced by 104+, Lucas and NOS. These products contain octane and cetane additives that will increase the quality of your fuel without producing excess emissions or damaging emissions equipment.
- It may be worth the extra money to purchase a combination fuel system cleaner and octane booster. Fuel systems can become clogged with varnish and debris, which consistent use of a concentrated cleaner will help to reduce. The best cleaners will also reduce carbon buildup inside your engine, which over time will dramatically increase engine performance and longevity.
- Avoid any sort of fuel additive containing lead. Lead will damage emissions components like catalytic converters, and will outright destroy oxygen sensors. In order to separate them from similar-looking products, many companies package lead-containing additives in black plastic bottles.
- Do not use any additive designed for diesel in a gasoline engine, as these almost always contain sulphur. Sulphur will clog and damage your catalytic converter, and increase your car's dangerous sulphur dioxide emissions.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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