The world of engine maintenance can quickly get complex. There's so many different terms, products and techniques that can leave your head spinning.
If you're trying to work out the difference between a fuel stabilizer and a fuel additive, you're far from being alone.
While they both contribute to enhancing performance in some way, they're not quite the same thing.
What are we even talking about?
Let's give the basics by what we mean by these terms.
What's a fuel additive?
A fuel additive is a broad description that refers to a liquid (other than fuel itself) that you can add to your fuel tank to improve some aspect of the fuel's performance or the overall condition of the engine. This can bring about a range of benefits like boost fuel economy, engine cleaning or even reducing emissions.
There are different kinds of fuel additives that serve a variety of purposes. Some fuel additives can even serve multiple roles at once, providing a comprehensive fuel treatment. Unlike fuel stabilizers, which are more about long-term maintenance, many fuel additives are intended for more immediate or short-term benefits.
What's a fuel stabilizer?
A fuel stabilizer is a type of fuel additive, but it has a specific role. The primary job of a fuel stabilizer is to prevent fuel from degrading over time, which is especially important if you're planning to store a vehicle or seasonal equipment for an extended period.
Left unchecked, petrol can degrade and oxidise, leaving you with a gum like residue in your fuel system. This can lead to poor engine performance and, in worst case scenarios, irreversible damage to your engine.
The key differences
Here are some key differences between fuel stabilizers and fuel additives:
Fuel stabilisers are designed for long-term storage and protection, while fuel additives are usually for short-term performance enhancement or maintenance.
You would use a fuel stabiliser when you're planning to store your vehicle or equipment for an extended period. In contrast, you might use a fuel additive regularly to keep things running smoothly.
Type of fuel
Specific stabilisers like fuel stabiliser for E10 are designed to protect against the corrosive effects of ethanol in the fuel, while fuel additives can be formulated for a variety of fuel types including petrol, diesel, and even biofuels.
Fuel stabilisers usually serve one specific purpose—protecting stored fuel. Fuel additives, however, can offer a range of benefits, sometimes all wrapped up in one product.
While all fuel stabilizers are fuel additives, not all fuel additives are fuel stabilizers. A fuel stabiliser serves the specific role of protecting your stored fuel from degradation, while fuel additives have a broader scope and can provide a range of performance benefits. Stabilisers are for the long term, and additives are for a quick boost.