Fuel injection systems were a dramatic technological leap over carburetors, but they’re not magic. Maintenance and upkeep are important, as fuel injectors will clog over time, and once that happens, performance drops, and fuel economy suffers. That said, you can keep this from happening.
Using Fuel Injector Cleaners
A fuel injector cleaner is an excellent, low-cost step you can take toward making your engine run properly. If you have a serious motor ailment, fuel injector cleaner is not going to be the cure. Still, as a way to reduce carbon buildup and improve a rough idle, many swear by these cleaners.
A Note About Fuel System Cleaner
You might find a product called a “fuel system cleaner” as opposed to a “fuel injector cleaner.” The former works on carbureted engines and uses detergents to scrub buildup in the fuel system, while the latter is designed to work on fuel-injected engines and uses solvent-based additives.
While the products mentioned below may work on carbureted engines, the focus will be on products intended for fuel injection systems. Also, none of these products are intended for use in diesel engines.
The Top Fuel Injector Cleaners
Without further ado, let’s look at the best fuel injector cleaners on the market:
Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System Cleaner
This is a versatile cleaner for many different engine types. It works with fuel injection systems, carburetors, and two-stroke engines, and it’s widely available and reasonably priced. Chevron recommends adding Techron Concentrate Plus every 3,000 miles, though it can be added before oil changes.
Red Line SI-1 Complete Fuel System Cleaner
Though more expensive than Techron, Red Line’s advanced formula, with high and low-temperature detergents, is designed for maximum cleaning. Red Line SI-1 also lubricates the upper part of the engine’s cylinder walls, reducing the need for higher octane fuels.
Liqui Moly Jectron
Liqui Moly’s Jectron cleaner is actually a German product, tested by the Technisher Überwachungsverein (Technical Inspection Association) to ensure its safety and effectiveness. It is said to remove deposits from fuel system components, ensuring cleaner combustion and a smooth idle.
STP Ultra 5-in-1 Fuel System Cleaner and Stabilizer
An excellent choice for stabilizing fuel and preventing rust, STP claims their Ultra 5-in-1 cleaner has triple the detergent of competing products and that it can remove up to 61% of an engine’s intake valve deposits, bringing newer fuel injectors back to 95% of their performance.
Gumout Fuel Injector Cleaner
If you just want to give fuel injector cleaners a try, Gumout Fuel Injector Cleaner will leave the smallest dent in your wallet. While it’s not as effective as the products above, it’s still potent, given its price point. Use it to keep carbon from building up in your fuel injection system and combustion chambers.
Proper Fuel Injector Cleaner Use
Buy the right cleaner for your engine type and read the instructions thoroughly. Let your tank get close to empty, and pour the correct amount in through the filler cap; then, you can gas it up! If you haven’t gotten the results you were hoping for, repeat the process. Sometimes it just takes a couple of cleanings to clear away the gunk.