Normally we are not for additives, but in this case, additional steps are required to ensure that older fuel systems are protected and that newer fuel systems are kept at peak performance. Even modern fuel systems can suffer from poor fuel quality and aging components. Regular use of Top Tie
r(TM) fuels extended component life and cleanliness, but additional steps can be taken to further improve the situation.
In most places, premium fuels are minimum 91 octane (AKI or R+M/2 measurement method) and some locations in the United States and Canada have access to 92, 93, or even 94 octane pump premium fuels. Most race tracks have 100 octane unleaded and even higher octane leaded fuels. AKI ratings are on average 4-6 points lower than RON or MON measurement method used worldwide.
First and foremost, never use leaded fuel in a fuel injected engine with oxygen sensors. Lead will foul oxygen sensors in as little as one tank of fuel and can lead to engine damage. Leaded fuel also contaminates the engine oil, increasing wear, so stay away from leaded fuel unless required by the engine. Older engines without hardened valve seats requiring leaded fuels (pre 1970s) can use lead substitute additives to prevent seat damage. Redline's Lead Substitute(TM) uses sodium as the dissimilar metal to protect unhardened valves seats.
Most modern engines with knock-sensing are designed to take advantage of modern, higher octane fuels, increasing performance and efficiency by allowing for advanced timing to make the most of the higher octane fuel, but what is octane?
The octane rating is basically a number that relates to the fuels resistance to combustion or to fight pre-ignition and detonation. In a perfect world, to maximize performance, you want to use the lowest octane required to prevent pre-ignition and detonation. Likewise, a high-performance engine or one upgraded with higher compression pistons requires premium high-octane fuel to prevent knock. The side effect is the engine makes more power. So, unless you engine requires or has modern engine management to take advantage of higher octane fuel, use of higher octane fuels is a waste of money. It's best to refer to your engine builder's recommendations or if your car is stock, the octane requirements stated by the manufacturer, to ensure you use the right fuel.
If you need higher octane fuel but it is not available to you, beware of octane boosters claiming boosting levels by X points - for example, a 5 point increase would actually increase 91 octane to 91.5 octane unless the manufacturer provides a table to calculate actual octane, as is commonly done with race gas concentrates like that sold by Torco Race Fuels
or additives like
Driven Injector Defender with Octane Booster.
Lastly, when it comes to older vehicles and fuel systems not designed for E10 ethanol fuels, use of additives to prevent damage is a must. For cars driven regularly, as defined by a tank of fuel used in 30 days or less, adding
will protect against damage caused by ethanol enriched fuels, and is based on the additives used in South America where E85 and E100 fuels are the norm. For vehicles that are going to be stored, use of a product such as
Driven Storage Defender(TM)
provides added fuel system corrosion protection and should be added to a full tank of fuel to help minimize the accumulation of moisture in the fuel tank and corrosion. Be sure to run the car after adding these additives to ensure the entire fuel system is protected.