Engine Additives Buyer’s Guide

Why use an engine additive?

Engine additives can improve the performance and efficiency of your car's engine without the need to get handy with a spanner or fit expensive aftermarket parts. They’re a great way to get the most out of your car and help to maximise your fuel efficiency. (For more tips on how to improve your fuel economy, check out our article on the topic.)

Which engine additive is right for me?

There are loads of exciting products that all promise better performance. But, before choosing an engine additive, you need to figure out which ones are right for your petrol, diesel of hybrid fuel system. Engine additives are formulated for specific engines, so choosing the wrong additive could cause severe damage to your engine. Before using your new additive, check you're using the right amount for you're the fuel tank in your car. Using too much could cause damage, and too little could be pointless.

There are four types of additives: system cleaners, performance boosters, DPF cleaners and lead replacements. Here's what they are and how they work.

System cleaners

If your car feels sluggish, then system cleaners could help. When added to your tank, they can reduce emissions, improve performance, and make your engine feel as good as new. They also provide protection for the components in your engine, which can help it to last longer. You need to make sure that the system cleaner you choose is right for your car, as the wrong additive could damage the components in your petrol or diesel system.

Complete system cleaners

Complete system cleaners intensively clean your car's engine, to safely remove harmful deposits, reduce emissions, and improve engine power. Over time, deposits can build up in your fuel system, affecting the flow of fuel from your tank to the combustion chamber in your engine - and less fuel means less power. When added to the fuel tank, complete system cleaners flush out the entire engine system, improving engine life, efficiency, and performance. They can also reduce emissions, which could help you pass your MOT, as well as generally helping out the planet.

Manufacturers recommend that complete system cleaners are used every 3,000 miles to preserve performance and keep both your engine and its crucial components in tip-top condition. Be sure to choose one that’s right for your car, as diesel cleaners won’t work for petrol cars and vice-versa.

Performance boosters

Performance boosters increase the cetane or octane rating of the fuel (petrol or diesel) in your engine. Added directly to the fuel, they deliver maximum performance from your motor to provide an immediate boost to your power. They’re popular among high-performance car owners or those who want a boost for a track day or quicker commute.

Diesel particulate filter cleaners

Diesel particulate filter cleaners are designed to clear and clean dirty diesel particulate filters, to help prevent any blockages. In diesel engines, the particulate filter picks up the residue caused by combustion, but these filters can become clogged up over time, causing increased fuel consumption, a less efficient regeneration process, and even an MOT failure.

DPF cleaners lower the temperature at which the soot particles burn away, meaning that they’re burnt off quicker to optimise regeneration and improve fuel efficiency. DPF cleaners are particularly useful if you often drive in cities or generally do a lot of miles. Using a DPF cleaner can reduce maintenance costs and improve emissions.

Lead replacement additives

If your classic car's engine was designed to run on leaded fuel, then a lead additive is essential if you use unleaded fuel in your vintage motor. Lead replacements substitute the lead in the fuel, lubricating and protecting the valve seats in your engine while it’s running. Before using any lead replacement, you'll need to measure the amount of additive needed to ensure smooth running and protection.

Online or instore at Halfords, you can find a wide selection of engine additives that will deliver better engine performance, whatever you drive and wherever you're going. If you need help selecting the right products for you and your car, then drop into your local Halfords – our experts are always on hand to offer advice and guidance.

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