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Why is Fuel Quality Important for Tier 4 Machinery?

Learn about the importance of fuel filtration when working with Tier 4 Machinery.


The final phase-in of Tier 4 engine technology for non-highway diesel engines happened last year, as mandated by the EPA. This technology drastically reduces diesel engine emissions—great news for the environment—but requires a much higher level of fuel quality for reliable engine operation. Ensuring that your new Tier 4 EPA engines perform effectively, reliably, and without damage requires only two things: that you use only Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel fuel, and that you properly filtrate fuel.


Using Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel fuel is a requirement of the new Tier 4 engines. ULSD fuels contain 15 ppm or less of sulfur content. Failure to use ULSD fuel can result in severe damage or failure to the engine, fuel system, diesel particulate filtration systems, and exhaust aftertreatment systems of your worksite equipment.


Older engines may have been able to perform effectively using fuels that did not meet engine specifications, or that were contaminated with water or other particles, without negative long-term consequence.

In the new engines, using this same fuel can result in reduced efficiency, increased maintenance costs, and, potentially, permanent damage to the engine—which will ultimately cost time and money to repair or replace. Because high pressure fuel rails and other internal engine components can be damaged by particles as small as 5 microns, high quality fuel filtration should be a key priority on any worksite.

Excessive water in fuel will cause permanent engine damage. Tier 4 engine systems include fuel/water separation filters to ensure quality fuel without the presence of water; these filters must be properly maintained to be effective.


  • Obtain your fuel only from reputable providers of quality fuel.
  • Use only ULSD fuel for your Tier 4 engine operations.
  • Regularly check bulk fuel storage to ensure you are using quality fuels. It is recommended that you inspect bulk fuel tanks once a month for contamination by water or other particulates, and that you clean the tanks regularly.
  • If possible, periodic testing of fuel by independent labs is recommended.
  • Follow all guidelines in the vehicle maintenance manual and the engine manufacturer’s service information for regular servicing instructions of fuel and filtration systems.
  • Never ignore warning information or fault codes given by the engine control module (ECM).

For more information on filtration systems and accessories, please contact us or view our accessories catalog online.


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