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What are motorcycle additives, and do they work?

Similar to passenger car additives, motorcycle additives are small doses of products that can be added to the fuel and/or oil tank to boost the performance of your motorcycle engine. Additives can contain a variety of ingredients that work by enhancing the functions of the fuel used in the motorcycle and "stabilizing" the fuel by slowing down the oxidation process. All fuels are subject to oxidation over time, producing a gum-like residue that can block the entire fuel system. Although this process cannot be stopped, it can be slowed down with the use of fuel-stabilizers. Additives can also contain detergents, dispersants, and other cleaning agents, as well as ingredients that can boost a fuel's octane number.
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There is a wide variety of additives that can solve a range of problems, here we have outlined the most commonly used additives:

  • Gasoline Performance Improvers: these additives clean deposits from the engine including fuel injectors, intake valves, and the combustion chamber. Gasoline performance improvers normally contain a combination of octane booster, a stabilizer, and a mild detergent/dispersant to keep the fuel system clean.
  • Gasoline Injector Cleaners: these contain gentle yet effective detergents and dispersants that remove the build-up of soot and/or oxidation products in the gasoline injectors. Some cleaners target just the fuel injector, whereas other fuel injector cleaners work on the entire fuel intake system. A clean fuel intake system reduces firing issues such as rumbling or knocking sounds and improve the overall performance of the engine.
  • Engine Flushes: Engine flushes are oil-based products that are used to completely clean the inside of the engine. Unlike injector cleaners, these work on the entire interior of the engine. The detergent/dispersant combination in the product is what binds with unwanted oil residue, sludge, gum, rust, and varnish and breaks it down. The benefits of a clean engine are that it can prepare the engine for new oil, reduce emissions, and increase fuel efficiency.
  • Engine Performance Boosters: these additives help reduce the wear-down of engines caused by friction. It can boost the engine oil's properties and delay oil ageing and thickening, which in turn helps the oil work effectively against friction.
  • Engine Protectors: Engine protectors can boost the engine oil's properties to extend the life of the engine. Similar to engine performance booster additives, engine protectors boost the engine oils properties to reduce friction; the difference lies in the chemical nature of the product. Engine performance booster contains an ashless boron product, whereas the engine protector is based on a Molybdenum Disulphide (MoS2).

Gasoline performance improvers and injector cleaners can be used as preventative care by keeping the engine and fuel uptake system clean, whereas an engine flush is used to give new life to neglected engines by dispelling gum-residue, soot, and rust. This contributes to keeping the fuel uptake system and components of the engine clean and preventing the systems from getting clogged, preventing potentially serious damage to the engine. Engine performance boosters and engine protectors are also used as preventative care because they boost the engine oil's properties, delaying oil ageing and thickening, and reducing the friction created against the engine components, thus protecting the engine and slowing down the wear-down of the engine. The use of additives paired with the proper care for motorcycle engines can extend the engine life, improve the overall performance of the engine, and increase fuel economy whilst decreasing emissions.

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