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Mario Andretti Discusses Fuel System CleanersBy Expert Author: Shiv Sadhawani
Fuel system cleaners are designed to help engines run smoothly by removing harmful deposits. Given the dizzying abundance of fuel system cleaners available at auto parts and gas station stores, it can be hard to know which product to buy. Racing legend Mario Andretti, whose career has demanded exceptional performance from all parts of his cars, including the fuel system, answers some common questions about fuel system cleaners.
Q: What are bottled fuel system cleaners?
Mario: Most bottled fuel system cleaners are fuel-soluble chemicals that can be added to gasoline to enhance a vehicle's performance. These products help eliminate harmful engine deposits by burning them away as your car consumes fuel.
Q: Who should use a fuel system cleaner?
Mario: Everyone. Especially if you just purchased a used car and don't know the condition of the engine. Individuals using lower quality fuel should also consider this type of product. For those wanting to ensure the investment they've made in their car, quarterly use of a quality fuel system cleaner is a must. Basically, the right fuel system cleaner can help maximize fuel efficiency and engine perfor-mance while reducing maintenance costs on both new and old vehicles.
Q: How do deposits affect my engine?
Mario: Deposit buildup on engine parts (e.g., fuel injectors, intake valves, ports, carburetors and combustion chambers) can lead to poor engine performance, higher emissions and lower fuel efficiency. Deposits may also increase your car's octane appetite, which could cause you to buy more expensive, higher-octane gasoline.
Q: What causes engine deposits?
Mario: All engines slowly accumulate engine deposits as a result of the normal gasoline combustion process. Gasoline quality also can influence the rate of deposit buildup. Some components of today's highly technical, complex engines are very sensitive to these deposits. Left unchecked, they can build to a level that impairs performance.
Q: How can I detect engine deposit buildup?
Mario: You might feel a loss of power, hesitation or stumble during acceleration, or hear a knocking or pinging sound coming from your engine.
Q: My fuel gauge sometimes gets stuck in one position. Can a fuel system cleaner solve this problem?
Mario: Absolutely. Sulfurs in today's gasolines can accumulate and cause the fuel gauge to malfunction. This situation can produce anything from a major inconvenience to a significant safety risk by causing the driver to abruptly run out of fuel in the middle of a busy street or highway. Currently, Chevron's TECHRON Concentrate Plus is the only fuel system cleaner to address the sulfur issue. And since TECHRON Concentrate Plus already provides protection from engine deposits, it seems like the ideal product.
Q: Many gasolines already contain additives, so why should I buy a bottled fuel additive?
Mario: Some gasoline additives are not effective enough to help maintain optimal engine perfor-mance, especially during stop-and-go driving. most gasoline marketers have actually reduced the concentration of fuel additives in their gasolines by up to 50 percent. This means engines are increasingly susceptible to the buildup of these harmful deposits.
Q: How often should I use a fuel system cleaner?
Mario: The common recommendation is to use a fuel system cleaner once every 3,000 miles. For most drivers that's about four times per year, or at each oil change. It's a very affordable way to protect the investment you've made in your vehicle and to help maximize its performance.
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