One of the diesel industry’s most popular podcasts, Diesel Performance Podcast, features some of the most influential drivers, builders, and aftermarket companies to discuss topics and educate listeners. One of their latest episodes was with one of our friends, Kyle Fischer, with Hot Shot’s Secret on a topic that really generates a lot of opinions, “Why Do Fuel Additives Matter?”
Additives in general, whether that be fuel or oil, have different opinions toward it. Some people are 100-percent against and say these products are garbage and it is a money grab, some say they know about it, have used it before but nothing really stuck, and then you have those that swear by a product because they’ve seen results and won’t have it any other way.
To begin, the cast of the Diesel Performance Podcast (DPP) questioned Kyle about their additives and different climates. “For those listeners out there that aren’t from our area, the Midwest, start off by telling us the difference between a summer blend or winter blend additives that Hot Shot’s Secret offers.”
Kyle explains that the only real difference between their summer blend and winter blend is the addition of the anti-gel in the winter. “When it comes to the formulation of a product, we try to get as much as we can into a bottle,” he explained. “Our competitors may have a cetane booster or a fuel stabilizer, but we try to put everything into one.”
As someone who has personally used Hot Shot’s FR3 friction reducer, I can confidently say that I got more than I bargained for. Kyle continued, “When we formulate a product, our owner, Chris, will go to the R&D team and say what is the best on the market for blank? We’ll test it, put it on the pegboard, and formulate, formulate, formulate, and formulate until we’ve got a product that will beat it.”
Tapping back into that number of people who don’t believe in additives, Kyle and the entire Hot Shot’s Secret team are very conscious of this. “We are very aware that we are in a snake oil world. We are in the middle of the oil industry and unfortunately, there are some really bad products out there. We take pride in what we’re doing and make sure that whatever we’re bottling, is the best available on the market.”
In fact, Kyle went on to explain how they trust the products so much that their open-door policy is real. They want to prove to you that it works, they will show you the science behind it, how it’s made, and they’ll go the distance to hopefully put more trust into the oil industry. “The snake oils are out there but it is not us,” he said.
So, why is it important? “Off the top, I think we can all agree that diesel fuel is terrible. We to local and national fuel testing and you wouldn’t believe how poor the fuel is at the pump. It doesn’t matter if you use the same pump, the fuel you get today will not be the same tomorrow,” Kyle said. “Why? These refineries are in the business of selling the fuel not making it as good as possible. They are going to do the bare minimum of additives just to get by.”
For example, there is federal regulation of a minimum of 40-cetane. There is no incentive to go past that so you’re right by thinking they won’t make it better. Why spend more money when you don’t have to, right? “So, just know up front, fuel is bad. Here is where our additives come in. We’re going to treat the poor fuel that we’re putting in our trucks, but we’re also going to treat the vehicle’s fuel system that it is going into,” Kyle said.
- Cetane Booster
- Fuel System Cleaner
- Water Dispersant
- Rust and Corrosion Inhibitor
Boosting your cetane is mission-critical. Like Kyle mentioned, the best you’re going to see out of the pump is a 40. By using their fuel additive, you’re going to bump that number up by 7-points. The higher the cetane levels are in your fuel, the more efficient that expensive fuel you’ve bought is going to burn. With the cost of fuel on the rise, you should really be taking cetane levels more seriously if you aren’t already.
The next ingredient is a very strong fuel system cleaner. “Everything from the tank to the lines, rails, injectors, we want to keep all of that clean. We use a special cleaner that is the only type of injector cleaner that will clear out what we call IDIDs, which are internal diesel injector deposits,” Kyle said. “These are a build-up of deposits from fuel that will gum up and stay on the ends of your injectors. Although the chemical we use is expensive, it is the only one that will clear this out.”
Lubricity. If you didn’t already know this, lubrication in our fuel is the most important. Without lubrication, these expensive fuel system components can be damaged and you’re looking at a much higher cost than to fill up your tank. “The fuel years ago, Low Sulfur Diesel, was a great lubricated fuel but it was bad for the environment. Now, we have ultra-low sulfur diesel. This is when they took 99-percent of our remaining 1-percent of sulfur out so the fuel you get today is extremely dry,” Kyle explained.
Adding lubricity to your fuel is something that cannot be overlooked. The lubrication that your fuel system gets is strictly what you feed it. If it is coming out of the pump with no extras, that is all it gets. You’ve been warned. With lubricity out of the way, another issue that can come up is water in the system. Hot Shot’s Secret also infuses a water dispersant in their additives.
“Diesel fuel, to start with, is something like 60-percent wax. We see water in fuel all the time and it is mostly condensation. Our water dispersant will actually shock the fuel and it drops the water out of the solution. This moves the water to the bottom of the tank to assist your water separator in getting it out there,” Kyle explained. “Passing water through your fuel system, for those that don’t know, is a very bad thing.”
On these trucks, they see extremely high pressures in the fuel system. When you throw water into the mix, it can be catastrophic. A water droplet inside those pressures could literally shoot the tip of an injector off the body which will result in a major failure. The bottom line, we want the water to get out of there. This brings us to our next ingredient. Rust and corrosion inhibitors.
“We are conscious of the fact that we’re now separating the water from that fuel and we don’t want to have corrosion built up on the metal parts of the system and that is where our rust and corrosion inhibitors come in,” Kyle said. “We aren’t going to force products on anyone, but we at least hope they try and see the difference themselves.”
This was a really cool interview and we really learned a lot about their ingredients. If you want to learn more, head over to the Hot Shot’s Secret website here. Stay tuned here on Diesel Army as we dive deeper into more lubrication industry theory and see what more we can find. To check out the Diesel Performance Podcast, listen in here!