The best diesel engine cleaner

Improve power and increase fuel efficiency with a good diesel fuel cleaner.

Exhaust fumes from a diesel car

by Ryan Gilmore |

The unmistakable clatter of a diesel engine is becoming a rarer sound nowadays. Demand for diesel is collapsing as politicians compare diesel pollution levels to that of the Chernobyl disaster. Even the white van man, who for years fiercely defensive of the increased economy of diesel, is switching to hybrids or even to fully-electric offerings.

This is a pity because there is still room on our roads for diesel cars. If you're travelling long distances on motorways, the fuel efficiency from a diesel engine is almost unbeatable. Diesel may not be popular, but it is important.

One of the drawbacks with diesel, however, is carbon deposits that naturally build up over time. These hard, carbon deposits reduce performance and engine efficiency so it's a good idea to get them removed. Thankfully there are a number of fuel additives available that'll flush these deposits out as you drive along.

We've already covered diesel injector cleaners, but there are more additives designed for different purposes. Let us guide you through the best diesel engine cleaners on the market.

What you need to know about diesel engine cleaner:

The exhaust pipe from a diesel car
©Photo: Getty Images

Related: Best car tool kits for those DIYers | Rust converters, rust repair, and avoiding rust

Why do you need it?

Diesel loves to create nasty carbon deposits over time which will make your engine less efficient. The tell-tale signs include black smoke and reluctance during starting. An engine full of deposits will also suffer from less performance and increased fuel usage. That's why these fuel cleaners are so useful, they help dissolve these deposits and restore performance and efficiency.

How do I know what engine cleaner to buy?

It can be quite hard to diagnose where the deposits are building up in your engine so for most applications, a generalised cleaner will probably be better.

If however you can pinpoint the issue, a specialised engine cleaner will have insanely good results. Here are the common warning signs:

If your running a turbo diesel engine and can feel a noticeable loss of power, there's a good chance the turbo could do with a cleanout.

Struggling on start up and black smoke from the exhaust points to an injector problem. Invest in some injector cleaner to prevent these issues.

MOT coming up? If you're worried about emissions then a catalytic converter cleaner could make the difference between a pass and a fail.

What's the best diesel car ever?

A question that's not asked as much as it should, there are some fantastic dino-juice cars in the back pages of automotive history. To answer this very important question we've

I'm championing the Alpina D3 S (in green obviously) and the utterly stupid but interesting Audi Q7 V12 TDI.

Chris Williams has chosen the BMW 530d and the Ford Ranger Raptor, an ideal two-car garage for doing nearly anything

Adam Binnie comes in strong with the VW Amarok V6 and the Audi S6 Avant TDI. The all-German alternative to Chris' choices. It seems a pattern is emerging, one sensible motorway-eating estate, and one tackle-anything SUV (although the Q7 would probably break down or run out of fuel long before off-roading).

For verdicts, scoops, news and analysis from the team, delivered direct to your inbox, subscribe to the CAR newsletter.

You can enjoy CAR in its traditional print format, or one of the swelling number of digital editions, optimised for Apple iPhones, Android devices, iPads, tablets and desktop computers.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us