With the arrival of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel a number of questions surfaced concerning the need for additional lubrication. WHO CAN I TRUST?
Because of the concern for additional lubrication in diesel fuel there has been the usual preying upon the consumer. Most people do not have access to good information concerning such things and this makes them vulnerable to those trying to take advantage of a situation.
One thing to look for when purchasing a lubricant is to make sure the product has been tested, and I don't mean in somebody's basement. Many products claim an increase in lubrication. Some may even volunteer to show you how well their product works using one of the so called friction testing machines or some home-built contraption. Unfortunately this is not possible. The methods and equipment used to evaluate diesel fuel lubrication are extremely complicated and expensive. Only qualified labs with the proper equipment can test a fuel's lubrication or the lubricating benefits of an additive. A person trying to show that a product lubricates with the use of a friction machine that applies weight or torque apply much higher pressures on the samples. This is not only hocus-pocus but dangerous. The agent used make a product look good on friction machine is an EP (Extreme Pressure) agent or chlorine. EP agents are not only not needed in diesel fuel but they are very corrosive. EP agents or chlorine can cause problems when improperly used in your engine oil but they can be deadly when used in your fuel system.
Lubricants can be corrosive. Quality diesel fuel lubricants, can cause problems if over used. Too much of a good thing is not good. This is only part of the friction machine myth. There is so much more to the accurate testing of a lubricant that hasn't been discussed and proper analysis just cannot be done on a friction machine. Anybody who would refute these points obviously hasn't talked with anyone who knows what they're doing.
Some additive companies have had their products tested for lubricity. This may have been done for the right reasons but some
were unfortunately done with the wrong tests. It is not impossible to create a product with a quality lubricant, but the proper testing must be conducted to prove its quality. Be careful not to believe everything in a company’s literature. Figures can be twisted to make things look differently than they really are. Ask to see the actual test results so that you can determine an additives effectiveness. In many cases products that claim lubricity may show little or none when properly tested. PFS Diesel Conditioners showed over a 25% increase in lubricity using the HFRR (High Frequency Reciprocating Rig) testing method. When you inquire about an additive be sure to ask the question what dose ratio of the additive was used for the tests? Some products claim that you need to use more of their product only during cold weather. However when they have their products tested they use the maximum dose ratio, to show the best results possible. They can then claim the results without explaining that they tested their product using more of the product than they say you need. If a product is supposed to work for you at a given rate then it should be tested as such.
Any quality additive supplier should be delighted to show you the actual test results of their product using the proper methods. If not, beware. Some products claim to meet the lubricity requirements of rotary fuel injection systems. I can't say it enough, just because something is in print does not mean it's true. There are quality lubrication additives, and when used properly they can be extremely hepful in increasing the life of you fuel system and be cost effective too.
Anytime you're working with fuels there are going to be variables. Some fuels naturally have more lubricity than others depending on the crude used to make the fuel and the refining techniques. If you blend your fuel you also have reduced the lubrication. This is why making the claim that you can meet lubrication requirement by using a simple product is not necessarily true. Most people think that winter is the only time a blended fuel is used; unfortunately this is not always true. In the summer, No. 1 fuel that doesn't have a home may be added to No. 2 fuel in order to get rid of it. You don't always know what you’re getting. Buy from a reliable fuel dealer, be as consistent as possible, and be informed when purchasing your additives. Saving a penny now may cost you a dime later.