Are Diesel Additives Necessary To Keep Your Engine Running

If you are one of the many who check out relevant podcasts on the internet, we have one you should put on your list. We found one of the diesel industry’s most popular podcasts, Diesel Performance Podcasts, and it features some of the most influential drivers, builders, and aftermarket companies to discuss topics and educate listeners. One of their latest episodes was with a good friend of ours, Kyle Fischer, of Hot Shot’s Secret. Kyle was on-air to discuss a topic that really generates a lot of opinions, diesel additives.

Additives in general, whether they be for fuel or oil, garner varied opinions. Some people are totally averse to them and say these products are garbage and it is a money grab. Some say they know of various products and have even used some before. Then you have those that swear by a product because they’ve seen results and won’t have it any other way.

diesel additives

Diesel Additives: What’s The Deal

To begin, the cast of the Diesel Performance Podcast (DPP) questioned Kyle about their diesel additives and different climates. The first question dives right in by asking, “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 additive 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 explains. “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 EDT and FR3 friction reducer, I can confidently say that I got more than I bargained for. Kyle continues, “When we formulate a diesel additive, our owner, Chris, will go to the R&D team and say what is the best on the market for “whatever”? 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 diesel additives, Kyle and the entire Hot Shot’s Secret team are very conscious of this. “We are very aware that we are in a world filled with snake oil. 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 says.

Why You Need Quality Diesel Additives

So, why is it important to use quality diesel additives? “To start with says Kyle, I think we can all agree that diesel fuel is terrible. We do 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 at each fill-up, the fuel you get today will not be the same tomorrow. Why is that? Refineries are in the business of selling fuel not making it as good as possible. They are going to do the bare minimum with regard to additives, just enough to get by.”

diesel additive

FR3 is one of Hot Shot’s Secret’s staples. We tested it ourselves and you can see the results here.

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 diesel additives come in. We’re going to treat the poor fuel that is getting pumped into our trucks, but we’re also going to treat the vehicle’s fuel system that it is going through,” Kyle says.

Important Ingredients

  • Cetane Booster
  • Fuel System Cleaner
  • Lubricity
  • 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 Cetane rating. By using their diesel additive, you’re going to bump that number up by 7 points. The higher the cetane levels 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.

As Kyle mentioned, their additives typically carry multiple additives in one container. For instance, the Diesel Extreme additive is a fuel injector cleaner and cetane booster all in one.

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 it 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 states. “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.”

What Is Lubricity?

If you’re not concerned about lubricity, you should be. If you didn’t already know this, lubrication in our fuel is very important. Without lubrication, these expensive fuel system components can be damaged and you’re looking at a very high-cost repair. “Years ago, Low Sulfur diesel was a great lubricated fuel but it was bad for the environment. Now, we have ultra-low sulfur diesel. To get this, they took 99 percent of our remaining 1 percent of sulfur out. That means the fuel you get today is extremely dry,” Kyle explains.

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.

Keeping Water At Bay

“Diesel fuel is roughly 60 percent wax,” says Kyle. “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 of there. Passing water through your fuel system, for those that don’t know, is a very bad thing.”

Diel fuel systems see extremely high pressures, and when you throw water into the mix, it can be catastrophic. A water single droplet can cause the tip of an injector to come apart, which will result in a major failure. The bottom line is, we want the water to get out of there. This brings us to our next ingredient. Rust and corrosion inhibitors.

diesel additives

LX4 is a lubrication additive that will take that oh-so-dry fuel out of the pump and allow it to travel through your fuel system easier. This results in less internal wear.

“We are conscious of the fact that we’re now separating the water from that fuel and we don’t want to have corrosion build up on the metal parts of the system. That is where our rust and corrosion inhibitors come in,” Kyle says. “We aren’t going to force products on anyone, but we at least hope they try and see the difference for themselves.”

This was a really cool interview and we really learned a lot about their diesel additives. If you want to learn more, head over to the Hot Shot’s Secret website. 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!

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Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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