Your vehicle’s fuel injectors turn your gasoline into a fine mist and spray that mist into your engine’s intake manifold. The manifold then delivers the fuel to the engine for combustion. In other words, the fuel injectors are pretty darn important, but many of us don’t think about, or don’t know how, to keep them clean and running optimally. Today’s gasoline is much cleaner than it used to be, but sometimes there’s still miniscule debris that can clog fuel injectors. Additionally, fuel and exhaust residue can also clog injectors and make them lose effectiveness. When it comes to DIY cleaning of fuel injectors, you have two choices: a cleaner that you simply pour into the gas tank, or a cleaning kit that’s more involved and allows you to clean the injectors directly. The latter choice is definitely not for the totally mechanically disinclined, but is definitely doable for those not afraid to follow directions and get a little dirty. If you opt to have your fuel injectors professionally cleaned, be prepared to spend up to $50 per injector. While it’s still more common to see a single-point injection system whereby one injector feeds all cylinders or a system that employs one injector per two cylinders, there are multi-point injection systems that have an injector for each cylinder.
If you’d prefer to stick with a “pour and go” type of injector cleaner, you’ll have quite a few choices. Knowing what to look for could help you save money and definitely will help make the most of your purchase.
The first thing to do is make sure you select a cleaner that’s compatible with your vehicle. There are several online tools that will allow you to input your vehicle’s make and model and give you a list of products that are safe for your engine. If you have an older car and are cleaning the fuel injectors for the first time, you’ll probably want the strongest compatible cleaner you can get. If you have a newer car or after you give your older fuel injectors a thorough cleaning and are looking for a maintenance product, you can get away with a less powerful solution.
The type of gas you use can affect your injector-cleaner decision, too, both in terms of type of solution and necessary frequency of use. If you use a gasoline with detergents already in it, it would be redundant to use a cleaner that contains the same detergents. You could opt for a different type of cleaner and a less powerful one. You also can opt to clean your injectors every few thousand miles instead of with every fill up. If you use a gasoline with no detergents and/or are rough on your vehicle (lots of miles and/or dusty conditions), you’ll want to go with a stronger cleaner and may want to add injector cleaner every time you fill up (assuming you don’t fill up until you’re nearly empty).
If you fancy yourself enough of a mechanic to tackle a more thorough cleaning of the actual injectors rather than just use a systemic cleaner, there are a number of kits available. Taking the time to find the best one for you can mean the difference between getting the job done yourself or spending more money having a professional do that job and maybe even have to repair the resulting damage. A good cleaning kit will be easy to use and include absolutely everything you need to do the job (in terms of consumables, anyway). Most even contain some spare supplies you might need. Make sure you know what tools the project will require, as some kits assume your garage is already well outfitted. As long as you’re careful to follow instructions, you should have no problem doing this job yourself.
This site offers reviews, comparisons, and pros and cons of several brands of fuel injector cleaners that you simply add to a full tank of fuel.
Visit best fuel injector cleaning kits for a pros-and-cons list of the top complete kits that will allow you clean your injectors directly without having to take your vehicle to a pricey mechanic.