Are you having trouble accelerating quickly? Is your engine not running as smoothly as it did? Or do you need to fill up your tank more frequently than before? Are you having all three issues but can’t find any other problems with your car? Chances are your engine is due to have a fuel injector cleaning. Here’s everything you need to know about the best fuel injection cleaners on the market.
What is the best fuel system cleaner?
The car’s engine has a lot of moving components. When gunk and grime accumulates inside, it makes the engine work harder to perform its job. A fuel injector cleaning is important to make sure you have a clean engine. Your engine has to be clean for it to work efficiently and to maximize its power.
This service is being offered in service centers and auto repair shops. But if you want to save money, you can do it yourself. Fuel injector cleaners are very easy to use. You can even do it without tools or a garage. There are tons of options to choose from. We’ll make it easier for you to decide which to use. Here’s a list of the best fuel system cleaners in different categories:
The Best Overall Fuel Injector Cleaner Award Goes to…
Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus Complete Fuel System Cleaner
When it comes to fuel injector cleaners, what you should take more into consideration is the type of engine the car has. The type of vehicle does not really matter a lot. Most cars in the US are equipped with gas-powered engines, but there are also those that are powered by diesel ones. Older cars may use carburetors so they don’t even have fuel injectors.
The Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus fuel system cleaner is preferred by many because it works on all types of vehicles. It doesn’t matter if you have a car, a truck, a motorcycle, an SUV, etc., so long that it is run on gasoline. Chevron formulated a different Techron product for engines run on diesel.
Aside from being versatile, this fuel injector cleaner also garnered high customer ratings. Many consumers and analysts recommend this product.
One of the ingredients found in this Techron System Cleaner is polyetheramine, or PEA, which aids in cleaning and also makes the product more effective. PEA helps in eroding the carbon deposits that build up due to normal use. In doing so, it helps the engine and the vehicle itself run more efficiently.
Take note that this product is a complete fuel system cleaner, not just a fuel injector cleaner, meaning it is formulated to clean out the whole fuel system of your car which includes the fuel lines and fuel pump. Chevron also offers a Techron Concentrate Plus which is formulated just for fuel injectors. This has less PEA and is cheaper.
The Best Fuel Injector Cleaner For Diesel Engine Award goes to…
Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubricant and Injector Cleaner
You tend to think of diesel engines being reserved for big trucks, but they're common in passenger cars in Europe and Asia. Diesel engines operate differently than gasoline engines, so it's expected that they'd need a cleaning product specifically made to reduce buildup on their fuel injectors.
Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubricant and Injector Cleaner is the best cleaner for diesel engines. It is formulated to clean the fuel systems of diesel engines as well as gasoline engines. And if that isn’t enough, it also caters to both fuel injected and carbureted engines. That takes it to another whole new level of versatility.
The fuel additive also lubricates the different parts of these fuel systems, making fuel pass more efficiently. Consequently, you get the most of your money when it’s time to fill up and you can expect less sediment will be found later.
Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubricant and Injector Cleaner offers really helpful benefits. In its product description it is said to “neutralize the harmful effects of low-sulfur diesel fuel.” This is how it is able to comply with the environmental sulfur regulations without leading to some of the related problems such as seal shrinkage.
Best Fuel Injector For High Mileage Cars Award Goes To…
Gumout Regane High Mileage Fuel System Cleaner
If your vehicle has many miles on it, chances are fuel injectors have amassed a great deal of sedimentary buildup. This is especially the case if you have never used injection cleaner, or if the product you have been using is not of high quality.
As expected, you will need a stronger fuel system if your engine has high mileage, and the best solution to this is Gumout’s Regane High Formula. You might ask what makes it suitable for high mileage engines.
This product has PEA as an ingredient which helps a lot in getting rid of the deposits that build up on fuel injectors over time. Gumout also claims that the cleaner can reduce friction in the upper cylinder to improve fuel efficiency. It also helps in preventing future carbon buildup after usage.
This product also gets high ratings on Amazon, proving that customers swear by it. Many of the reviews highlighted its cleaning efficacy as well as its temperature versatility.
The Best Fuel Injector Cleaner For Direct Injection Vehicles/Engines Award Goes To…
Royal Purple Max Atomizer Fuel Injector Cleaner
There’s a difference between direct-injected engines and standard, or manifold-injected engines. The former squirts gasoline directly into the engine's combustion chamber, while the latter sprays it in the intake tract. Direct injection engines are known to provide better performance and fuel economy. They have become more and more popular over the past 10 years.
Because direct-injected engines work differently, they also accumulate grime and gunk differently and therefore need to be treated differently as well. Royal Purple Max Atomizer Fuel Injector Cleaner is especially formulated to treat this type of fuel injectors. It also helps the engine make the most of its horsepower and will not cause any harm to emissions systems.
On top of all that, this cleaner is also versatile as it can be used on any gasoline or diesel engines. What makes this cleaner really effective is it has PEA as an ingredient which is essential to give fuel injectors the most thorough cleaning when used as recommended. Royal Purple recommends for you to add a bottle of the Max Atomizer Fuel Injector Cleaner to your fuel tank every time you fill it up. However, it suggests using a bottle every 3,000 miles at the least.
The Best Fuel Injection Cleaner for Hemi Engines Award Goes To…
Amsoil P.i. Performance Improver
Chrysler’s Hemi engine was introduced for cars 70 years ago and until now it remains present in high-performing engines and is usually found in muscle cars and pickup trucks. It is a gasoline-burning engine named after the hemispherical shape of the combustion chambers. Hemi engines are said to be less efficient and not as environmentally friendly as regular engines.
If you have a Hemi vehicle, the Amsoil P.i. is highly recommended by many drivers as a cleaner for your vehicle’s entire fuel system. Despite not being specifically formulated for Hemi engines, this fuel cleaner will work with any gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engine. Many of its benefits are very appropriate for Hemi engines.
According to Amsoil’s website, a test showed P.i. restored GDI fuel injectors to a 100 percent flow rate after one tank of fuel. It is able to clean deposits very effectively. The use of Amsoil P.i. also reduces emissions like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and enhances fuel efficiency which addresses two main concerns when it comes to Hemis.
Are fuel system cleaners worth it?
Yes, it is worth it in certain conditions. Carbon deposits will eventually build up in your fuel system (specifically on the fuel injectors and at the back of the intake valves) even if you use the best brands of gasoline as they can still cause corrosion from water and ethanol. This can result in combustion issues due to improper fuel mixtures that get into the combustion chamber. It is worth the cost to use fuel system cleaners as it can clean up this carbon buildup to keep your vehicle running efficiently. To learn more about fuel system cleaners’ cost, click here.
Does an injector cleaner really work?
There has been a continuous debate whether or not fuel additives really do work. While there is no published peered reviewed scientific research that proves the effectiveness of the fuel injector cleaners or the chemicals that are found in them, it does not mean that they do not really work. By principle, it does. It specifically does when it is being used the proper way.
If you’ve ever tried using Chevron fuel with Techron, technically speaking, you have already used a kind of fuel injector cleaner. Chevron has included a chemical cleaning ingredient in their Techron formula since 1995. Their main ingredient, polyetheramine, is added in small amounts to their fuel. As mentioned previously, it has the capacity to erode carbon and other deposits in fuel lines. However, since only small quantities are added, it can take up to 5 full tanks of fuel before it can get rid of deposits.
Despite the big amount of money and time they invested in fuel research, Chevron has not yet disclosed to the public how effective their additive is in testing conditions. The best reason for this is perhaps that variables for the average customers are simply too vast which means that any released figures would not be applicable to all Techron consumers.
Injector cleaners will work given that the concentrations of cleaning additives are high enough to remove heavier long term deposits in your fuel system. There is no scientific research how these cleaners actually do their job. But we already know that accumulated grime and gunk affects performance of the engine, and getting rid of that buildup is needed to keep the engine running smoothly.
The best way to make sure fuel injectors are free of deposits is to use high quality cleaners such as the fuel injection cleaners mentioned above. You should also run a cleaner through your fuel mix every time you are having an oil change.
Some older cars will need to follow the 3,000-mile rule, while newer ones may only need to change fuel every 10,000 miles. Highly efficient engines are sometimes recommended to have an oil change every 15,000 miles. It is best to check with your car manufacturer to find the recommended interval for your car. You may also find this information in your owner’s manual.
You can also try using an injection cleaner when you have issues with irregular combustion in your cylinders or having issues with idling.
Injector cleaners work in removing deposits and can prevent new formation, but it may not be powerful enough to remove heavy deposits. Fortunately, injector cleaners do not cost a lot so it does not hurt to at least try a bottle in your fuel mix when you are having problems. But if you are still experiencing problems with your fuel injectors despite adding fuel injector cleaners, it is best to take your vehicle to a trusted service center or auto repair shop.
Fuel injection cleaners are affordable and easy to use. Despite the lack of published scientific studies to back up its effectiveness, it is still considered by many to be helpful. It can help address carbon buildup at the intake valves. It also helps solve clogging issues of the fine channels inside the injectors that disrupts its performance. This way it helps the fuel system running the way it should be to make sure the engine runs smoothly, consumes fuel efficiently and accelerates quickly.
There are numerous fuel injection cleaner products available on the market. It is always better to go with a trusted brand that many customers swear by. In general, when it comes to fuel injection cleaners, you will get what you pay for. Thus, it is still best to go for quality.