Do Fuel Stabilizers Actually Work?

Do fuel stabilizers actually work? There’s a lot of misconceptions about fuel stabilizers and how they work. Fuel stabilizer is typically recommended for users of diesel engines that idle frequently or operate in extremely cold weather. It can also be used on older gasoline engines to help prevent the formation of sludge on the cylinder walls, which can lead to engine failure.

Fuel stabilizer is not always necessary but is often used to help reduce the chance of fuel degradation. Fuel stabilizers can be added to a tank of gasoline, diesel, or biodiesel that is not being used at the moment. It will keep these fuels fresh and usable for a longer period of time.

In this article, you will learn more about fuel stabilizer and how it works. This will also answer the question, do fuel stabilizers actually work?

What is Fuel Stabilizer?

Fuel stabilizer is an additive used to help keep fuels from degrading over time. Specifically, it helps reduce or eliminate the effects of condensation on stored fuels. It does this by creating a protective barrier on the fuel’s surface. This barrier helps prevent the formation of water drops that often result in oxidation and other adverse effects on quality and performance.

For most people, this is a relatively simple concept to understand because it works similar to how antifreeze works for your car. In fact, many fuel stabilizers contain glycols (like ethylene or propylene glycol) which are also found in automotive antifreeze used to help reduce engine wear.

Most diesel engines should use a Diesel Fuel Stabilizer to help resist water condensation that can cause damage internally to an engine when being stored over time or even in winter months. However, not all engines need a stabilizer additive so it’s important to read the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Some drivers think that adding a fuel stabilizer is an effective method for thinning cold-weather diesel and biodiesel blends so they can be burned more easily in winter months when temperatures are low. 

However, we don’t recommend this at all. If you’re trucking or driving your diesel vehicle long distances it’s important to focus on using the correct diesel blend ratio for colder climates and make sure your engine is well maintained.

Do Fuel Stabilizers Actually Work? When Should You Use a Fuel Stabilizer?

The question of when to add a fuel stabilizer is really the question of when not to. If your engine has an active fuel system that uses a pump, then you should use some kind of fuel stabilizer.

You’re at risk of damaging your vehicle’s critical components if you don’t use this additive product. Here are some instances where using a fuel stabilizer may be necessary:

If you’re storing your car or truck over the winter, there are storage solutions and other additives available but it’s best to consult your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.  

If your diesel engine is idling frequently in extreme cold weather conditions, then adding a Diesel Fuel Stabilizer can help reduce cold starts and overall wear on vital engine components. 

In the off-season (including winter months), idling and just leaving your engine running is a great way to save on fuel costs. However, it will also increase wear on your vehicle’s components because it is constantly in use. 

If you’re idling your diesel short distances, then adding Fuel Stabilizer will help reduce wear due to condensation buildup.

We don’t recommend that drivers add a fuel stabilizer to their tanks unless they have an active system that requires it because some brands can negatively affect engine performance if added unnecessarily. 

Even using a stabilizer at recommended levels may cause issues for engines with poorly maintained pumps or injectors so be careful when considering this action.

Which Fuel Stabilizer Should you Use?

There are several brands of diesel fuel stabilizers on the market today. Many of them use different ingredients and provide slightly diverse benefits for your engine so it pays to do some research before making a choice.  

We recommend staying away from additives that contain alcohol or methanol because these can actually cause damage to your system if used incorrectly. Here is a list of our favorite brands of fuel stabilizers:

STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer – This high-quality, non-alcohol product has been a leader in this field for over 20 years now and offers great value for money with its 5200CL model. It’s also extremely versatile and can be used in both diesel and gasoline engines (4oz treats up to 10 gallons).

We recommend that our customers use this brand as it has always been shown to be a leader in the industry.

STA-BIL is non-toxic and does not contain any harsh ingredients that could damage your engine if used improperly. The shelf life is excellent here so you can feel confident about storing it once you have added it to your tank. 

If you want maximum storage time, then adding 8oz for every 10 gallons of fuel should help protect against even the most destructive fuel species over time. 

Before using Fuel Stabilizer or other additives, we recommend speaking with your vehicle manufacturer first because they may have specific recommendations that go above and beyond what’s found here. 

We also suggest checking your local fleet supply stores like FleetPride for brands that may be more optimized for the needs of commercial vehicles. While these additives generally work well, we advise against using them if they were not supplied by your manufacturer because things like storage time and absorption rates can change with each fuel type.

Do Fuel Stabilizers Actually Work – Conclusion

To know whether do fuel stabilizers actually work, you should ask yourself this important question: “Do I need to add a fuel stabilizer to my vehicle?”

It’s always recommended that we consult the manufacturer for specific recommendations on how often and when it needs to be used.

Last Updated on September 7, 2021