Commercial Warranties and Fuel Additives

For many years, engine manufacturers have advised buyers to avoid using fuel additives of any kind on their equipment. This is to be expected, with the fact that the engine manufacturers provide commercial warranties for new equipment and hardware for extended periods of their life cycle after purchase.

But… many of the same manufacturers provide their own proprietary fuel additives under their own brands. It is also true that many different fuel additive products such as Cetane / Octane boosters, conductivity improvers, CFPP reducers are routinely added to finished fuel products by petroleum refiners and distribution points before sale to consumers.

In 1975 the US Government recognized the “restraint of trade” situation being created by the engine manufacturers against fuel additive suppliers and passed the Magnuson-Moss Act. A piece of trade legislation making it illegal for any manufacturer to void a warranty based on the use of a fuel additive.

Although it is still possible to void warranties due to the use of fuel additive that was the route cause of a malfunction of degradation of its life cycle, the engine manufacturer must first prove the additive caused the problem.

Therefore, engine manufacturers do not specifically say they will void the warranty if a buyer simply uses an additive. But the engine manufacturer’s inference to equipment buyers regarding not using additives is clear.

The Magnuson-Moss Act also made it illegal for an engine manufacturer to advise buyers that they can “only” use a fuel additive that is sold by the engine manufacturer. This is defined in the Act as a “tie-in sales provision” and is by definition “restraint of trade” and “illegal” under US law.

In the UK and Europe, we have a similar set of regulations. The European Commission Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation. Since the European Commission passed its new ‘Block Exemption Regulations’ in June 2010, it has become illegal for any dealership in the EU to invalidate a warranty as a result of a third party product being used in a car. This legislation was brought about to help provide competition in the marketplace for repair and maintenance in the automotive industry and will remain in place until at least May 2023. Therefore, no dealer is permitted to threaten to invalidate OR actually invalidate a warranty on a car when the buyer uses third party certified fuel treatments, additives or parts. If they do so, they are breaking this law.

It is unfortunate that manufacturers and dealers do not accept that all distillate (diesel) fuels are different, and no diesel fuel sold today is the perfect fuel for all diesel engines. Most diesel fuels produced do meet the required ASTM D-975 Specification* minimums for sale, but that does not mean these fuels will necessarily provide the best possible operational results when used.

There is a definite need to incorporate certain “specific” chemistries into finished diesel fuels in order to resolve any deficiencies and permit the fuels to operate optimally in engines.

Fully certified fuel additives with the correct chemistries will provide cost savings for fuel consumers when applied correctly, in all applications and in all types of hydrocarbon-based fuels.

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