Fuel injection cleaner, also known as injector cleaner, is a simple trick that can give you a lot of bang for your buck. You pour it in your gas tank when filling up at the gas station, and away it goes. Especially in California, where emissions tests happen often, having a peak performance vehicle is very important. Clean fuel injectors help ensure:
- Fuel Economy
- Peak Engine Performance
If that’s something you want as a car owner, consider using a fuel injection cleaner every couple of months.
Dirty Fuel Injectors
When fuel injectors are dirty, they can’t deliver the correct spray required for combustion, and as a result, fuel economy and engine performance suffers. This, in the long run, can be costly or can even begin to cause symptoms:
- Rough Idle
- Poor Fuel Economy
That’s why fuel injection cleaner is a must. The reason I recommend fuel injector cleaner is because it’s one of those simple things a person can do without having to replace any parts or any under the hood work. Normally in a tuneup, lots of things get replaced, things like spark plugs, distributor caps, belts, and fluids. But with fuel injectors, running an additive through a tank of gas every once in a while will keep them clean and running properly. It’s something you can do cheaply and without automotive knowhow. Just follow the instructions on the bottle.
How Fuel Injector Cleaner Works
Over time, all fuel injectors become clogged. This happens because the deposits come from the gasoline itself. Gasoline is a compound mixture of hydrocarbons, and includes waxy, heavy chemicals known as oilfins, which yield a lot of energy when burned. As long as a car is running, the fuel injectors and engine runs efficiently. The clogging occurs when the engine is shut off, and a process known as heat soak occurs. Residue of fuel in the injector nozzles begins to evaporate, and it leaves the oilfins behind, which don’t evaporate and some of which don’t get washed away, but instead get baked into hard varnish deposits, which ultimately will clog the injectors.
Newer injectors are more resistant than the old ones to this kind of clogging, and additives are added to gasoline to try to dissolve some of these buildups. But cars that make mostly short trips are still especially susceptible to fuel injection clogging, and every injector will ultimately become clogged over time. If the fuel injectors are never cleaned, as the car ages you’ll start to notice that your car shakes a bit while idling and eventually it will either stall or misfire, and all the while your fuel economy and engine performance will suffer. I was just in a car the other day that suffered from a very rough idle, and the driver had to keep a little pressure on the gas petal while stopped to keep the car from stalling. Fuel injector cleaner works by stripping away the clogging the builds up over time.
The Best Fuel Injector Cleaner
There are many different kinds of fuel injection cleaners, and the best fuel injection cleaner is one that might surprise you. It’s gasoline itself! Cheap gasoline is often lacking in the additives that breakdown clogging and, over the long haul, can cost you more money than it saves. That being said, there are also some very good brands of fuel injection cleaner out there. I like Red Line’s fuel system treatment the best. Red Line’s Fuel injection cleaner is a total fuel system cleaner and works really well.
Another great way to go is seafoam, which I’ve written a lot about as well. Seafoam can be added to your gas tank as well as your oil. Check out the link for more info. Some other great injector cleaner is STP injection cleaner. It’s reported to have the highest concentration of cleaning agents out of any fuel system cleaner. It’s good for really tough clogs, but I still prefer Redline fuel system cleaner for boosting overall fuel economy. The best tip for keeping your injectors clean is to not buy cheap gas, but this is only a preventative measure. My guess is that for people reading this article, it’s because your fuel injectors are already partially clogged and are causing problems to your engine performance. If that’s the case, then you still have quite a few options. There are many cheap fuel injection cleaners that you can add to your gasoline which will act like drano on a sink pipe and will dissolve many of the clogs in your injectors. One such product is listed to the right. When used semi-regularly (once every few months) it will keep your injectors nice and clean.
But this may not be enough for some engines. Older engines already experiencing heavy problems may need a bigger hand. For this, you may actually need a fuel injection cleaner kit that will allow you to dismantle the fuel injection system and give it a nice clean. However, this is not always possible and some fuel injectors are delicate. Before trying this, I would definitely recommend running a bottle of fuel injection cleaner additive or two through a tank of gas and see if that helps at all. It’s cheap and effective.