Best Diesel Fuel Additive For Cummins (Top 6 Brands)

Best Diesel Fuel Additive For Cummins

If you own a Cummins engine, you know it’s like a strong and reliable workhorse that helps you get tough jobs done. But just like a real horse needs the right food to stay healthy and strong, your Cummins engine needs the right kind of fuel to run smoothly and efficiently. This is where diesel fuel additives come in. Think of them as vitamins for your engine.

They help keep it clean, make it run better, and even help it last longer. In this guide, we’ll talk about how to pick the perfect diesel fuel additive for your Cummins engine, making sure it stays in top shape for all the work you need it to do.

Product Description Pros Cons Cost & Availability
Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubricant and Injector Cleaner Enhances fuel efficiency, reduces fuel system wear Increases engine life, improves fuel economy, easy to use Less effective in very old engines Affordable, widely available
Stanadyne Performance Formula Boosts cetane, cleans injectors, protects against wear All-around protection, suitable for all seasons Slightly more expensive Available at many retailers, higher price
Power Service Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost Improves horsepower and fuel economy Cleans injectors, boosts power, reduces emissions Regular use for best results Reasonably priced, easily found
Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme Powerful cleaner and cetane improver for deep cleaning Restores performance in neglected engines More of a treatment than regular-use additive Mid-range price, available online and select stores
Opti-Lube XPD Diesel Fuel Improver Improves lubricity, reduces wear and tear Good for engine longevity, works in all diesel fuels Not focused on injector cleaning Competitive pricing, available online
Archoil AR6200 Fuel Treatment Enhances fuel efficiency, reduces carbon buildup Promotes cleaner engine operation, suitable for all engines Higher cost per treatment Available online, higher price range

The selection of these specific diesel fuel additives for Cummins engines is based on a variety of factors that align with the common needs and challenges faced by owners of Cummins engines. Here’s a summary of the reasons for choosing each:

  1. Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubricant and Injector Cleaner
    • Reason for Choice: It’s a popular choice due to its effectiveness in enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing wear in the fuel system. Its ability to increase engine life and improve fuel economy, coupled with its ease of use and affordability, makes it a versatile choice for many Cummins engine owners.
  2. Stanadyne Performance Formula
    • Reason for Choice: Chosen for its comprehensive approach to engine care. It not only cleans injectors but also boosts cetane and provides protection against wear. This makes it an excellent all-season solution, despite being slightly more expensive.
  3. Power Service Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost
    • Reason for Choice: Known for its dual role in improving horsepower and fuel economy. The product stands out for its injector cleaning capabilities, power boost, and emission reduction. Its reasonable price and easy availability make it a practical choice for regular use.
  4. Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme
    • Reason for Choice: Selected for its strength in deep cleaning and cetane improvement. It’s particularly effective for restoring performance in engines that may have been neglected, functioning more as a treatment than a daily additive.
  5. Opti-Lube XPD Diesel Fuel Improver
    • Reason for Choice: Focuses on improving lubricity and reducing wear and tear, crucial for the longevity of Cummins engines. While it may not be as focused on injector cleaning, its effectiveness in other areas and competitive pricing make it a solid choice.
  6. Archoil AR6200 Fuel Treatment
    • Reason for Choice: Its ability to enhance fuel efficiency and reduce carbon buildup makes it a strong contender. It promotes cleaner engine operation and is suitable for all diesel engines, though it is on the higher end in terms of cost per treatment.

Each of these additives was chosen based on their specific benefits, balancing factors like cost, availability, and the particular needs of Cummins engines, such as performance enhancement, engine cleanliness, fuel efficiency, and overall engine health.

Read related article: How to Know if Diesel Additive Is Compatible With Fuel?

Why Your Cummins Engine Needs a Diesel Fuel Additive

Your Cummins engine is a powerhouse, known for its strength and reliability, especially in trucks and heavy-duty vehicles. But even the toughest engines need a little extra care to keep them running at their best. That’s where diesel fuel additives come into play.

Cummins-Specific Needs:

  • High-Performance Demand: Cummins engines are often used in situations where they have to work hard – like towing heavy loads or enduring long drives. This can put a lot of strain on the engine.
  • Fuel Quality Variations: Depending on where you fill up, the quality of diesel fuel can vary. Impurities or lower-quality fuel can affect your engine’s performance.
  • Sensitive Fuel Systems: Modern Cummins engines, especially those with high-precision components, are quite sensitive to dirt and grime. Keeping these parts clean is crucial for smooth operation.

How Diesel Fuel Additives Help:

  • Cleaning the Engine: Additives with detergents clean out the buildup that occurs over time in fuel injectors and other parts. This helps your engine maintain its efficiency and power.
  • Enhancing Fuel Quality: Additives can improve the quality of the fuel you use. They can boost cetane levels (which helps with easier starting and smoother running), reduce emissions, and even improve fuel economy.
  • Preventing Wear and Tear: Lubricants in additives keep the fuel pump and injectors working smoothly, reducing the wear that can lead to expensive repairs.
  • Protecting in Extreme Weather: Whether it’s very cold or hot, additives can help your engine cope better with extreme temperatures. Anti-gel additives are particularly useful in cold weather to prevent fuel from thickening.

In summary, using a diesel fuel additive in your Cummins engine is like giving it a regular health supplement. It helps the engine run more efficiently, tackles problems before they start, and can even make your engine last longer. This small step can make a big difference in keeping your Cummins engine in top condition.

How to Choose the Right Additive for Your Engine

When it’s time to pick a diesel fuel additive for your Cummins engine, it’s a bit like choosing the right medicine for a specific health need. Not all additives work the same, so it’s important to know what your engine needs.

First, think about what your Cummins engine does for you. Is it hauling heavy loads, or maybe it’s used more for everyday driving? Different tasks mean different kinds of stress on your engine. If you’re pulling heavy loads often, you’ll want an additive that’s really good at keeping your engine clean and running smoothly.

Next, consider the age and model of your Cummins engine. Newer and older engines might have different needs. A newer engine might just need a basic additive to keep it clean, but an older one might need something stronger to help it run better.

Also, think about the weather where you drive. In cold places, you’ll need an additive that stops the diesel from gelling (that’s when it gets too thick to flow properly). In warmer areas, this might not be as big of a concern.

Lastly, some additives are made specifically for Cummins engines, taking into account their unique design and performance needs. Look for those if you want something tailored just for your engine.

Remember, the goal is to keep your Cummins engine running like a champ, whether it’s for heavy-duty work or daily commutes. Choosing the right additive can help you do just that!

Types of Diesel Fuel Additives

1. Detergents:

  • What They Do: Think of detergents like soap for your engine. They clean up the insides, especially the injectors, which are crucial for getting fuel into the engine efficiently.
  • How They Help: By keeping things clean, detergents help your engine run smoothly and maintain its power. They also help prevent buildups that can cause problems down the road.

2. Cetane Boosters:

  • What They Do: Cetane is like a grade for how easily diesel fuel ignites. Boosters increase this grade, making the fuel burn more efficiently.
  • How They Help: When your fuel burns better, your engine starts easier, runs smoother, and even sounds better. It’s particularly helpful in cold weather or for engines that struggle to start.

3. Lubricants:

  • What They Do: Just like oil keeps your engine’s moving parts slick, lubricants in fuel additives do the same for parts like the fuel pump and injectors.
  • How They Help: They reduce wear and tear, keeping these parts moving freely and extending their life.

4. Anti-Gel Additives:

  • What They Do: In cold weather, diesel can turn thick and jelly-like (this is called ‘gelling’). Anti-gel additives stop this from happening.
  • How They Help: These additives are a must for cold climates. They ensure your diesel stays fluid and your engine doesn’t struggle or refuse to start in freezing temperatures.

5. Fuel Stabilizers:

  • What They Do: If you’re not using your engine regularly, fuel stabilizers keep the diesel from degrading over time.
  • How They Help: They’re great for engines that sit idle for long periods (like generators or seasonal equipment), making sure the fuel is ready to go when you are.

6. Water Dispersants:

  • What They Do: These additives help remove water from the fuel. Water in diesel can be a big problem, leading to rust and other issues.
  • How They Help: By keeping the fuel dry, dispersants protect your engine from corrosion and prevent the growth of bacteria that can clog up the system.

What Injector Cleaner Does Cummins Recommend?

Cummins specifically recommends using their own brand of fuel additive, known as Cummins Power Service fuel additives. Among these, they often suggest two specific products for cleaning injectors:

  1. Cummins Power Service Diesel Kleen +Cetane Boost: This product is recommended for regular use to clean injectors, boost power, improve fuel economy, and reduce the need for downshifting during high-load conditions. It is effective in all diesel fuels, including ultra-low sulfur diesel and biodiesel blends.
  2. Cummins Power Service Diesel Injector Cleaner: This is a more concentrated formula recommended for use when diagnostics indicate injector performance issues. It’s particularly useful for addressing problems caused by fuel system deposits and for restoring lost performance.

Cummins endorses these additives because they are specifically formulated to work with the unique requirements of Cummins engines. They help in maintaining the fuel system, ensuring optimal performance, and prolonging the engine’s life. Using additives that are recommended by the engine manufacturer can also be beneficial in terms of warranty and support.

It’s always a good practice to refer to the specific guidance provided in your Cummins engine owner’s manual or consult a Cummins dealer for the most current and applicable recommendations.


Picking the right diesel fuel additive for your Cummins engine is like choosing the best food for your pet – it’s all about keeping them healthy and happy. Whether you go for something that cleans the insides, boosts performance, or helps in cold weather, the right additive can make a big difference.

Remember, your Cummins engine is a powerful machine that needs a little extra care to stay at its best. By choosing a suitable additive – maybe even one that Cummins recommends – you’re not just fueling your engine, you’re giving it the care it deserves to keep it running strong for years to come. So, take a moment to think about what your engine needs, and give it that extra boost for a smoother, more efficient ride.”

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