Introduction to benefits of premium diesel
So what do you get for the premium price tag? Is premium diesel worth it? Is premium diesel better than normal diesel?
Premium diesel is efficient. It will extend your vehicle’s life. It’s surprisingly cost effective. There are multiple new additives which adds multiple benefits to the vehicle.
- Higher cetane levels. Cetane is a measure of the startability of a diesel engine.
- Effective detergents. An additive for cleaning the fuel system.
- New lubrication components. Made up of multiple agents that exist to reduce friction in the engine. One of these agents is soy.
- Demulsifiers. Water builds up as condensation in the storage tank. Demulsifiers are additives that force the water to the bottom of the tank, isolating it.
- Corrosion inhibitors. Believe it or not, these are exactly what they sound like. They are inhibitors that reduce corrosion and rust.
- Stabilising agents. These are agents that exist to prevent the formation of gum, varnish, and sludge during storage.
Many established brands sell their own premium diesel, such as Esso and Shell. The price is usually a ten percent mark-up from regular diesel. Despite the high cost, the benefits of the fuel arguably make the extra cost worth it.
Here are the benefits, and the significant changes in the manufacturing process that bring them about.
Extending your vehicle life with premium diesel
One of the many ways in which the additives present within premium diesel will bring benefits to a vehicle, is to improve efficiency and cleaning, which significantly extends the life of the engine and it’s components.
- The higher levels of cetane in the fuel help the vehicle to start faster and more efficiently. This promotes longer engine life due to less wear, and lowers the amount of engine maintenance. Ancillary items such as the starter motor, glow plugs and batteries get a slightly easier time.
- The lubricity components extend the life of the fuel pump. They do this by providing 10-15% better protection from friction than regular diesel fuel.
- The detergents extend the life of the injectors. They do this by cleaning them and maintain said cleanliness.
- The stabilizers in the fuel prevent gum and varnish build-up, which prevents the filters being clogged, and extends the overall fuel life.
- The corrosion inhibitors stop rust from forming inside the fuel pump, which prevents corrosion, and extends its life.
Benefits from low cost diesel additives
If you haven’t used premium diesel throughout the life of your vehicle. It is worth pointing out that similar benefits can be gained much quicker (and in most cases cheaper) from adding your own low cost additive to regular diesel such as Hydra which will fast track the cleaning process and performance gains.
Why do fuel additives work?
From around 2008-2009 sulphur was removed as an ingredient of fuel along with other changes to it’s manufacturing process has led to an increased level of ethanol in petrol. Diesel now uses bio from animal and plants in its manufacture process.
These latest fuel enhancements are designed to be environmentally friendly but are leading to more complications with injection systems especially on older vehicles that are not designed to deal with the changes of fuel mix.
Fuel additives are are great way to enhance the life of engines – especially older models. These additives will prevent build, hard wear and blockages. Typically benefiting throttle bodies, diesel pumps, injectors and other ancillary items within the fuel system.
Despite the marked-up price of premium diesel, the make-up of the fuel decreases long term spending for maintaining the vehicle.
- The detergents and stabilizers reduce maintenance costs by keeping the injectors clean, and by preventing gum and varnish build-up.
- Corrosion Inhibitors and lubricity components reduces repair costs by preventing corrosion and wear on the fuel pump. The corrosion inhibitors also save you the cost from rebuilding injection pumps, which can be incredibly expensive depending on the amount of corrosion.
Ease of Use
As well as improving the lifespan of the engine components, the additives in the premium diesel also reduces strain on the vehicle and makes maintaining it much easier. This is one of the key selling points for premium diesel being worth the extra cost.
- As mentioned above, water builds up as condensation in the storage tank. The demulsifiers force the water to the bottom of the storage tank, which isolates it, and makes it much easier to remove.
- The stabilizers prevent the filters from being clogged. This means the vehicle requires fewer diesel filter replacements.
- The additives keep multiple components clean, including the injectors, storage tank, and fuel pump.
Despite being “premium”, premium diesel doesn’t improve the performance of a vehicle. This is a common misconception and brings us back to the original question. Is premium diesel worth it? Read on….
Whilst ultimate performance isn’t necessarily an immediate benefit, the additives in the diesel optimise the performance of the vehicles engine components as much as possible, so it runs at full capacity.
In other words, it won’t make your vehicle faster or more powerful than factory build, however it WILL improve it’s performance over time by keeping the key components in better shape. Older vehicles suffer from reduced power and by using premium diesel you can reduce this power loss.
- The high levels of cetane allow far quicker engine starts, and help the engine to run as smooth as possible, which helps to maximise its performance.
- The aggressive detergents optimise engine performance and horsepower. They do this by cleaning dirty injectors and keeping them clean after the fact.
Downsides from using premium diesel
As seen above, there are so many benefits to using premium diesel which go some way to justifying it’s use, but what, if any, are the downsides and is it still worth it?
The cost is the most obvious issue. Most premium diesel fuels will be a 10% mark-up from regular diesel, making it significantly more expensive over a longer period of time.
However, as seen above, the additives in the fuel reduce repair and maintenance costs significantly. The long-term cost benefits can outweigh the more expensive buying price under certain conditions.
Is premium diesel better for the environment?
I’m afraid premium diesel is not any better for the environment than regular diesel. One of the main downsides of premium diesel is the lack of environmental benefits it possesses.
The only substantial benefit is the higher cetane levels, which do reduce pollution. The reason for the lack of environmental benefits is simply, that the focus of the premium fuel was placed elsewhere.
If they used more environmentally positive additives, other benefits, such as the cleaning of the engine components, would be minimised.
Should tuned engines use premium diesel?
Some high performance vehicles do stipulate that they must be ran on premium fuel. As they are more finely tuned there is a significant reduction in performance when used with regular diesel (and can actually cause running issues).
Although not an outright downside of the premium diesel, if you have don’t have a high-performance vehicle, you don’t have to use it. If you have a tuned engine, it would be more beneficial to fill it up with premium diesel regularly, as it would allow the engine to run at maximum capacity.
If you don’t have a vehicle with a tuned engine, it would be recommended to fill up with premium diesel once every few months, as it would clean the key engine components, and help to optimize the performance.
However, it’s not necessary to permanently change to premium diesel, as its benefits simply aren’t needed for short periods of time.
Do you need Premium Diesel?
There are a large number of substantial benefits in premium diesel that make it a worthwhile choice for your vehicle. The extension of its life, the decreased spending on maintenance, the ease of use, and optimised performance are all huge benefits.
There are clear reasons to use it; the question is, how often do you need to use it? If you don’t have a high-performance vehicle, it simply isn’t necessary to fill it up with premium every time every time.
However, to conclude, I would recommend using it every few refills. This gives you the benefits it provides, without making it an unnecessary expenditure.
So yes, premium diesel is worth it, just not for every fill.