Sulfur Additive for Diesel Fuel: Which Suits Your Vehicle

Sulfur Additive for Diesel Fuel

When it comes to keeping your diesel vehicle running smoothly, choosing the right sulfur additive for its fuel can make a big difference. Sulfur additives play a crucial role in enhancing engine performance, but with so many options out there, it can be tricky to figure out which one is best for your car or truck.

Whether you’re a long-haul trucker, a weekend warrior with a diesel-powered pickup, or just someone who cares about maintaining their diesel engine at its peak, understanding the basics of sulfur additives is key.

In this article, we’ll break down what sulfur additives do, and help you navigate through the choices to find the perfect match for your diesel vehicle.

Popular Brands of Sulfur Diesel Additives

several brands were popular for their sulfur additives or diesel fuel additives that could compensate for the reduced sulfur content in ultra-low sulfur diesel fuels. These additives are designed to enhance lubricity, improve fuel efficiency, and reduce engine wear. Some of the popular brands include:

  1. Lucas Oil: Known for additives that improve fuel lubricity, Lucas Oil products are ideal for vehicles requiring enhanced engine lubrication. They often improve fuel combustion efficiency, measurable in terms of better miles per gallon (MPG).
  2. Stanadyne: Their additives are engineered to enhance fuel quality and engine performance, making them suitable for vehicles that operate under varied temperatures and conditions. The additives can increase cetane numbers, improving cold start performance and reducing engine noise.
  3. Power Service: Power Service products are beneficial for vehicles needing higher cetane levels and improved fuel stability. Their additives can reduce pour point, the temperature at which diesel begins to gel, by several degrees, ensuring better flow in cold weather.
  4. Archoil: Known for reducing friction, Archoil additives are ideal for older diesel engines or those with higher mileage, where engine wear is a concern. Their products can significantly lower engine operating temperatures and improve fuel combustion efficiency.
  5. Opti-Lube: Their additives enhance the lubricity of diesel fuel, measured in terms of wear scar reduction in lubricity tests. This makes them suitable for modern diesel engines that require ultra-low sulfur diesel, which typically has lower lubricity.
  6. Howes Lubricator: Ideal for vehicles operated in colder climates, Howes additives prevent fuel gelling and freeze-ups. Their additives lower the cold filter plugging point (CFPP), the temperature at which fuel filters begin to clog with wax.
  7. BG Products: Best for vehicles requiring fuel system cleaning and maintenance, BG additives help in removing deposits and improving injector spray patterns, leading to better fuel atomization and combustion.
  8. Hot Shot’s Secret: Their additives are formulated to improve the overall stability of diesel fuel, making them suitable for vehicles that store diesel for extended periods. They help in preventing fuel oxidation and improving cetane numbers for better engine performance.
  9. AMSOIL: AMSOIL additives are ideal for enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions in both modern and older diesel engines. They help in maintaining clean fuel systems and efficient combustion, measurable in terms of reduced exhaust emissions.
  10. Red Line: Suitable for vehicles that require clean and efficient fuel systems, Red Line additives are known for enhancing fuel stability and reducing the risk of diesel fuel degradation over time.

When selecting a sulfur additive or a diesel fuel additive, it’s essential to consider your specific engine requirements, the type of diesel fuel you use, and the environmental regulations in your area. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for compatibility and usage guidelines.

Read related article: Anti-Gel Diesel Additive: Which Is The Best Brand

How to Choose Sulfur Additive for Diesel Engine

Choosing the right sulfur additive for diesel fuel involves understanding various technical aspects and measurements. Here’s a guide to help make an informed decision:

  1. Understand Sulfur Content Specifications: Different types of diesel fuels have varying sulfur content, often measured in parts per million (ppm). For instance, regular diesel might have a higher sulfur content compared to ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), which has a sulfur content of 15 ppm or less. Ensure the sulfur additive is compatible with the specific sulfur requirements of the fuel being used.
  2. Know the Engine Requirements: Different engines, especially modern ones with advanced emission control systems, may require diesel with lower sulfur content. Using high-sulfur fuel in such engines can damage the emission control systems. Check the engine manufacturer’s specifications to determine the suitable sulfur content.
  3. Lubricity Considerations: Sulfur additives can enhance the lubricity of diesel fuel, which is critical for reducing engine wear and tear. Look for additives that provide adequate lubrication, especially if you’re using ULSD, which might have reduced lubricity due to lower sulfur content.
  4. Consider the Cetane Number: The cetane number indicates how quickly and efficiently diesel fuel ignites. Higher cetane numbers generally mean better engine performance. Some sulfur additives can impact the cetane number, so choose an additive that maintains or improves the fuel’s cetane number.
  5. Environmental Compliance: Be aware of environmental regulations regarding sulfur emissions. In many regions, there are strict limits on the amount of sulfur emissions allowed from diesel engines. Choose a sulfur additive that helps in complying with these regulations.
  6. Fuel Stability: Sulfur additives can affect the stability of diesel fuel, which is important for storage and handling. Look for additives that maintain or improve the fuel’s stability over time.
  7. Compatibility with Other Additives: Diesel fuel often contains other additives for various purposes like improving ignition, reducing emissions, and cleaning engine components. Ensure that the sulfur additive is compatible with these other additives to avoid any negative chemical interactions.
  8. Check for Quality Certifications: Choose additives that have been tested and certified for quality and performance. Look for certifications or approvals from relevant automotive or environmental authorities.
  9. Measure Precisely: When adding sulfur additives to diesel fuel, use precise measurements to ensure proper concentration. This is often measured in milliliters of additive per liter of fuel or as a percentage.
  10. Consult Experts or Manufacturers: If in doubt, consult with fuel additive experts or the engine manufacturer for recommendations on the best type of sulfur additive for your specific needs.

By considering these factors, you can choose a sulfur additive that enhances engine performance, meets environmental regulations, and is suitable for your diesel fuel and engine type.

What Is Sulfur Diesel Additives

Sulfur additives in diesel fuel used to be quite common. Sulfur, a yellow, non-metallic element, helped a lot in making diesel engines run smoothly by acting as a lubricant and aiding in fuel combustion. It meant engines lasted longer and ran better.

But there’s a downside. When sulfur burns, it creates harmful emissions like sulfur oxides, which are bad for the environment and our health, causing things like air pollution and acid rain. Because of this, there have been strong efforts to reduce the amount of sulfur in diesel fuel.

Now, most diesel fuels have very low sulfur content to help protect the environment. This change has also led to modifications in how diesel engines are made and the development of new additives to replace the role sulfur used to play.

How Does Sulfur Diesel Additives Affect Performance

Sulfur additives in diesel fuel have a complex relationship with engine performance, encompassing aspects like efficiency, longevity, and lubrication. Here’s a detailed look at how sulfur in diesel affects engine performance:

  1. Engine Efficiency:
    • Historical Context: Traditionally, sulfur was a naturally occurring component in diesel fuel, contributing to the fuel’s energy content. A higher sulfur content often meant more energy, which could translate to better engine performance and efficiency.
    • Combustion Quality: Sulfur in diesel can influence the combustion process. It can lead to a more efficient combustion under certain conditions, thereby potentially enhancing engine performance.
  2. Engine Longevity and Maintenance:
    • Lubrication: One of the key roles of sulfur in older diesel engines was its lubricating property. It helped in reducing wear and tear in the engine’s internal components, such as the fuel pump and injectors. This lubrication was crucial in prolonging the engine’s life and maintaining its performance.
    • Corrosion and Wear: However, sulfur, especially in higher concentrations, can lead to increased corrosion and wear over time. This happens due to the formation of sulfuric acid during combustion, which can harm engine components.
  3. Environmental Regulations and Low-Sulfur Fuels:
    • Transition to Low-Sulfur Diesel: Due to environmental concerns, there has been a global shift towards low-sulfur diesel fuels. This change has necessitated modifications in engine design and the formulation of diesel fuel additives to compensate for the reduced sulfur content.
    • Impact on Modern Engines: Modern diesel engines are designed to run efficiently on low-sulfur diesel. However, the reduction of sulfur has led to challenges in maintaining the lubrication properties that were inherently provided by sulfur in older engines. This has been addressed through advanced fuel additives that provide necessary lubrication without the negative environmental impact of sulfur.
  4. Emission Control and Fuel Additives:
    • Sulfur and Emissions: High sulfur content in diesel fuel leads to higher emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx), which are harmful to the environment. Reducing sulfur content is crucial for meeting emission standards.
    • Additive Technologies: To maintain engine performance with low-sulfur diesel, various additive technologies have been developed. These additives aim to enhance fuel properties like lubricity and stability, ensuring that engine performance and longevity are maintained even with reduced sulfur levels.

While sulfur in diesel fuel historically contributed to engine efficiency and longevity through its energy content and lubricating properties, environmental concerns have driven a shift towards low-sulfur diesel. This change has necessitated advancements in diesel engine technology and the development of specialized fuel additives to maintain performance and engine life in the absence of higher sulfur levels.

Where to Buy Sulfur Additives

Sulfur additives for diesel can be purchased from a variety of sources, depending on your specific needs and location. Here are some common places where you can find these additives:

  1. Automotive Parts Stores: Chain stores like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, and O’Reilly Auto Parts usually stock a variety of diesel additives, including those with sulfur content (where permissible).
  2. Fuel Stations: Some fuel stations, especially those catering to trucks and commercial vehicles, may offer diesel additives.
  3. Online Retailers: Websites like Amazon, eBay, and specialty automotive parts websites have a wide range of diesel additives available, often providing more options in terms of brands and specifications.
  4. Commercial Fuel Suppliers: Businesses that specialize in providing fuel for commercial or industrial use often carry diesel additives, including those with sulfur for specific applications.
  5. Truck and Tractor Supply Stores: Stores that cater to the agricultural and trucking industries, like Tractor Supply Co., often stock various diesel additives.
  6. Marine Supply Stores: For marine diesel engines, marine supply stores can be a good source for appropriate diesel additives.
  7. Industrial Supply Companies: Companies like Grainger or McMaster-Carr, which cater to industrial needs, might also have these additives.
  8. Automotive Dealerships and Service Centers: Some dealerships and service centers that specialize in diesel vehicles might offer additives suitable for your vehicle.
  9. Specialty Chemical Suppliers: Companies that focus on industrial and automotive chemicals may carry a range of diesel additives, including sulfur additives.
  10. Local Mechanics and Automotive Workshops: Often, local mechanics and workshops have access to or can recommend where to buy quality diesel additives.

When purchasing sulfur additives for diesel, it’s important to ensure that the product meets the specific requirements of your vehicle and adheres to the local environmental regulations regarding sulfur content in diesel fuel. In regions with strict emissions standards, sulfur content in diesel fuel is highly regulated, and as a result, sulfur additives might be limited or prohibited. Always check current regulations and consult with a professional if you are unsure.


Sulfur additives for diesel fuel help older diesel engines run better and last longer by reducing wear and tear. However, we need to be mindful of environmental rules that limit sulfur because it can create pollution. So, when choosing these additives, we need to find a balance between making our engines work well and taking care of the environment.

These additives are like a special ingredient that makes old diesel engines work smoother and last longer, sort of like adding oil to a creaky door hinge to make it stop squeaking. But because sulfur can make the air dirty, there are rules about how much sulfur can be in diesel fuel. So, when you pick an additive, it’s like choosing the right tool for the job, making sure your engine runs well while also being kind to the environment.

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