A common question as more and more fueling stations begin marketing Top Tier gasoline at the pump remains to be:
- Is the added cost worth it?
- What actually is top tier gasoline?
Top Tier gasoline is the same basic composition as your standard non-top tier gasoline, but with one advantage – the secondary additive required to call the product top tier. This secondary additive is blended with gasoline before the gas is pumped into you fuel tank, when you fill up at the pump. This top tier recognition started in the early 2000’s but hasn’t become mainstream until recently. The main goal of this additive is to provide a way to cleanse the engine of carbon buildup that can be accumulated from everyday driving habits.
Carbon buildup is a contributing factor in a multitude of mechanical failures as well as decrease in fuel economy. Carbon usually translates to the consumer noticing a hesitation of sluggishness of the motor in comparison to when the vehicle was new. This is most commonly due to the carbon build up on the intake valve of your engine. When this occurs, it affects the seal of the intake valve, which bleeds off efficiency during combustion. Also added weight, or in this case carbon, to the valve increases wearing of the springs that help the valves open and close. A fatigued spring is liable for failure, which can lead to full engine replacements because of the failure.
Not only do vehicle owners need to be concerned with mechanical failure, but also the efficiency of the air and fuel blending inside the engine to encourage efficient combustion. With added carbon on the piston, injectors and valves, the incoming air that will be blending with the atomized fuel within the combustion chamber is not as effective at evenly distributing the fuel throughout the air space inside the engine prior to combustion. If the fuel is not evenly atomized within the engine prior to combustion, it will cause concentrated hot spots which are often repeated in the same area. This leads to excessive wear on other components like rings, rods, and pistons. All of which are crucial to the engine’s life and performance.
So, is top tier beneficial and legitimately designed to help your engine run more efficiently and longer while you have it? The answer is, yes. But you must ask yourself, are you willing to pay a few pennies per gallon more at the pump, or would you rather pocket the pennies and risk paying the dealership thousands of dollars in mechanical repairs if your engines fuel quality is neglected? I would suggest the upfront pennies at the pump to be paid. After all, I am sure most of us found those few pennies in our couches or cars after our spring cleaning was completed!