SOME time ago, a friend of mine told me about a problem he was having with his Toyota Hilux 3.0. The pickup truck already had a few years under its belt. The problem was it would only go as fast 120 kilometers per hour and the check-engine indicator would light up once in a while. He took it to a Toyota dealership but they couldn’t determine what was causing the problem—although they recommended that he re-install the original air filter element. He was using a K&N filter, the one you could re-use just by cleaning and then adding a special oil to help catch dirt particles.

If I remember correctly, he did remove the K&N filter and returned the OEM filter unit. The check-engine warning light didn’t light up that much anymore but it still would not go past 120 kph. Through another recommendation, my friend brought his pickup truck to another shop and found out the throttle body was covered with oil–not engine oil, but oil from the K&N filter. The mechanic’s findings determined the K&N filter has excess oil after it was cleaned and the oil was sucked into the throttle body—thus inhibiting the power of the engine. After a thorough cleaning, the pickup went back to normal and could easily go past the 120-kph mark. Also, the check-engine indicator didn’t light up anymore.

No, I am not telling you not to use K&N filter units. Heavens no! If you want more power or better performance from your car, upgrading your air filter to a high-performance type, like K&N, is the way to go. It’s just that when you use non-OEM parts in your car, more often than not, you may run into some quirks while using them. Don’t worry, K&N has been selling filters for years and it has put a lot of smiles on drivers and race teams who use them.

Recently, the same friend with the pickup truck texted me asking if I could get him a bottle of diesel fuel injector cleaner. He said his pickup was experiencing rough idling. I couldn’t get hold of the usual brand that I use (Bluechem) so I told him to get a similar product at Ace Hardware. I told him to get the Mag1 brand. Why? Well, the STP brand has a smaller bottle and I haven’t tried the Mag1injector cleaner so I let him try it out first and get feedback from him (wink, wink).

With the age of my friend’s pickup, I suggested that he have his fuel tank drained and cleaned. Dirty tanks come with age as sediments can collect in the tank and cause trouble. Take note that even if you use the best fuel available in the market, you will still have sediments present with the fuel. Now, that’s the job of the fuel filter. But whenever you use inferior fuel filters or you do not replace them at the recommended time, miniscule residues can go past the filters and later block the fuel injectors.

Now some would say, use kerosene to make the engine run smoother. Yes, it would make the fuel burn better, and some manufacturers do recommend to add a little amount. Beware though because if you leave an oil seal or an O-ring in a small dish with kerosene, it swells. So take care when you use kerosene.

Petron Power booster? It’s a no brainer. It works, its cheap and readily available.

Most popular brands will work fine with your car but sometimes, really good brands can be hard to source. Liquimoly is a good brand but the dealer is located all the way up in Fairview, Quezon City.

For fuel injector cleaners, the degree of cleaning needed will depend on how dirty or clogged your vehicle’s injectors are. The amount of dirt present in your fuel filter can say a lot. Some brands may be very potent, while some, may not. This is because different manufacturers work with different specs, so they tend to tone down on the good stuff in their products.

And it’s the rainy season again… the best way to avoid flood damage to your car is avoid going through one…


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