Cookies and Clean Engines Never Lie

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Have you ever tried to cook a recipe without the right ingredients? Before you know it, instead of chocolate chip cookies, you have oatmeal raisin crunch surprises baking in the oven — and let’s be honest, who really likes raisins or surprises in their cookies? That’s why it’s important to make sure you have the essential ingredients available before you start pre-heating, mixing and plopping cookies onto a baking sheet.

The same goes for servicing your customers’ cars. You know the toll even high quality fuels can take on the longevity, performance and fuel economy of a car. Over time, the fuel responsible for giving a vehicle power can cause damage to important engine parts by leaving behind carbon deposits, gunk and sludge. Hard starts, hot soaks and extreme driving conditions don’t help either. It’s important to keep those things away, so they do as little damage as possible and your customer gets the most from their car over a long period of time. But just like your favorite recipes, not all tune-up fluids are made the same way. Before recommending a treatment for your customer’s vehicle, make sure you accurately assess, diagnose and understand what their engine needs. Next, choose a treatment with the right ingredients.

Since you’ll want to make sure the tune-up fluid you suggest is approved for the type of engine you’re working on, make sure to note whether you’ll need a fluid that’s gas-, ethanol- or diesel-engine approved. Keep in mind, if the engine is a gasoline direct injection, turbo or supercharged engine, you’ll need to make sure what you use is OK for those engines as well. If your customer brings in a car they only use as an occasional driver, consider suggesting a cleaner with antioxidants and corrosion inhibitors. This will keep the fuel and oil stabilized and varnish from developing on metal parts, all of which shortens engine life.

Most gasoline treatments and fuel injector/carb cleaners have an ingredient in them called polyisobutene (PIB). PIB is used to prevent new carbon deposits from forming, but it must be used in concentrated doses and usually isn’t powerful enough to remove pre-existing deposits. If you’re familiar with PIB, you may also be familiar with an ingredient called polyisobutylene amine (PIBA). PIBA is typically used in fuel injector cleaners, but unlike PIB, PIBA can remove some existing deposits and has longer intervals between applications. However, one of the drawbacks of PIBA is it isn’t durable enough to survive in the combustion chamber where temperatures can reach 495 F (257 C).

Dad always said if you wanted a job done right, leave it to him. Congratulations, your customers think you’ll do the job right, that’s why they brought their car to you. Don’t disappoint them. If you have a heavy-duty job on your hands, you’ll need a heavy-duty ingredient. If this sounds like your predicament, look for polyetheramine (PEA). PEA is a nitrogen-based detergent capable of cleaning in harsh conditions and is a good choice for removing baked-on carbon deposits in the combustion chamber, cylinder heads and direct injectors.

Of course, don’t forget to double check that the system cleaner you choose is industry-tested and meets critical safety standards. Grandma would never send a pie she didn’t 100-percent approve of to the bake sale, and you shouldn’t send your customer away knowing you used a product you knew wasn’t rigorously tested and proven to work. After all, it’s your reputation on the line. Cookies and clean engines never lie.

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