Best Fuel Injector Cleaner Reviews & Beginner’s Guide

Cleaning the fuel injector results in a more reliable engine. Check out our reviews of the top fuel injector cleaners online.

Your vehicle’s fuel injection system is the component where fuel is injected, and it ensures fuel gets to your motor. As you drive your car, the system accumulates carbon deposits and other stuff that impede its performance. With the best fuel injector cleaner at your disposal, you’ll get maximum performance from your car every time.

There are a lot of fuel injector cleaners so it might be overwhelming to try and figure out which to buy. However the following information may be able to help you.

Best Fuel Injector Cleaner - Our Top Picks

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Best Fuel Injector Cleaner Reviews

Sta-Bil 22207-12PK Fuel Stabilizer

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Available in different sizes (from the 4 fl. oz. Blister Card to the 128 Fl. oz. 4 pack), the Sta-Bil 22207 does away with the need for fuel draining before storing, and it keeps fuel fresh up to 2 years in storage. With regular use you’re going to get easy starts, and you can use it on all kinds of gasoline.

The Fuel Stabilizer gets rid of water to stop corrosion, and it doesn’t just clean fuel injectors but carburetors too. With regular use the Fuel Stabilizer also safeguards your engine from corrosion, rust, varnish and gum. Whether it’s a 2 or 4 cycle engine, the Fuel Stabilizer gets it done.

Red Line (60103) Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner

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The Red Line fuel injector cleaner was formulated for one treatment efficiency, and its formula cuts down the need for octane. In addition the Red Line also has lubricants for cylinders, and it contains one of the highest levels of polyether amines (PEA), one of the most important fuel injector cleaning compounds.

The Red Line SI-1 is effective on both new and old cars. If you have an old vehicle that has mileage of 100,000 miles or so and wearing down, one or two treatments of this will clear the engine. Not only do you need to use very little, but as it cleans your fuel system, it provides cylinder lubrication as well.

Chevron 67740 Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System Cleaner

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The Techron Fuel System Cleaner contains an additive which enables your car to get the most out of its fuel system. The Techron protects, safeguards and cleans fuel injectors, combustion chambers, intake valves, carburetors and other parts of the fuel system.

The Techron formula affects each molecule to stop deposits from forming, and it also eliminates those that have been formed. In addition to cleaning the fuel system, the Techron also restores fuel gauge functionality, improves fuel economy and power. With regular use the cleaner also prevents engine surges.

Royal Purple 11754 Max Clean Fuel Cleaner

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The Royal Purple Max Clean cuts down CO, NOx and hydrocarbon emissions from the fuel system, and it also improves your vehicle’s use of horsepower and fuel economy. The Max-Clean also eliminates unwanted deposits in the engine, and it also works as a stabilizer for storage.

Formulated as an oxidation and corrosion inhibitor, the Max-Clean goes further than other fuel injector cleaners it cleans the entire system. Other fuel injector cleaners only clean fuel injectors, but the Max-Clean also cleanse combustion chambers, intake valves and other components.

Mr. Gasket (120007-2PK) Cataclean Fuel and Exhaust System Cleaner

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Mr. Gasket Cataclean not cleans the fuel injector as it also reduces your hydrocarbon emission by half. As your catalytic converter carbon buildup dissipates, it leads to superior performance for the fuel system. Cleaning also benefits the cylinder heads and oxygen sensors, and this gives a boost to the fuel injector.

The Cataclean can be used with flex fuel, hybrid, diesel and gas, and it doesn’t change the chemical makeup of fuel. The Cataclean also doubles up as an exhaust system cleaner. With regular use it’s going to go far in terms of keeping your vehicle’s fuel system in good condition.

STP 78575 Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner

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STP is known for their quality products and this is no exception. The 78575 contains concentrated elements which eliminates fuel injector varnish, gum and carbon deposits. Its formula also restores vehicle acceleration that had been affected by fuel system degradation.

The STP concentrated formula restores fuel efficiency, and it is compatible with all types of gas engines. All it takes is one treatment to unclog fuel injectors and bring about optimum performance. Unless there is treatment, all that gum, varnish and carbon can lead to deterioration.

STA-BIL 22275 360 Performance with Vapor Technology

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The STA-BIL 360 Performance uses Vapor Technology to safeguard fuel injector systems and engines, and it also functions as a fuel stabilizer so fuel remains fresh even during storage. The 360 Performance also acts as a deterrent to corrosion and prevents water buildup in the system.

The 360 Performance works well with small ethanol powered vehicles, and by using it with each fill, it will serve as a fuel injector protector. You only need an ounce for every 5 gallons so it’s economical too.

Do You Need a Fuel Injector Cleaner?

The short answer is yes, you need one for your car, truck, lawnmower or any fuel powered utility you have. There are more fuel types than ever before, and that’s good and bad. It’s good because you have more options. The drawback is they are more chemically unstable than before because of the ingredients used.

Even if you have a state of the art fuel injector system, carbon and other elements build up in the system. If the fuel is ethanol based, the alcohol eventually oxidizes and produces byproducts that spread throughout the combustion chamber, intake valves and fuel injectors.

The most harmful of all this buildup is carbon, and what makes it even more troublesome is its unavoidability. Carbon is a byproduct of fuel, so no matter how careful you drive the deposits build up eventually. A useful analogy would be an oven. Not cleaning an oven after use leads to a messy situation, and the same with a fuel system.

Deposits also arise due to the constant thermo cycling of engines. Aside from that positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) and exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) systems also cause carbon to build up. Another culprit is the gasoline owing to the variation in quality, as lower grade fuel is more susceptible to deposit buildup than high grade variants.

The net effect of all this is deterioration in engine performance, hard starts, larger emissions and lower fuel efficiency. By using fuel system cleaners or fuel additives, you can avoid these problems. Everyone who drives a car with ethanol fuel should use a fuel system cleaner, but all drivers should ideally have one.

How to Use a Fuel Injector Cleaner

Buy the fuel injector cleaner you prefer. Next, empty your vehicle’s fuel tank and pour the cleaner into the gas tank (follow the product instructions for the exact amount). Fill up your tank and you’re done.

How Often Should a Fuel Injector be Cleaned?

There are no hard and fast rules regarding use. The first thing you should do is read the instructions that came with the product and follow its suggestions. On average, motorists travel 12,000 to 14,000 miles a year, but others travel shorter distances. If you ride short distances, live in a cold climate and do lots of stop and go driving, fuel injector cleaning is necessary.

If you fall in that category, clean the fuel injector every 15,000 miles. If you drive your vehicle on rugged terrain and has plenty of mileage already, every 10,000 miles is better. On the other hand if you drive long distances, cleaning the fuel injector annually or every 36 months / 45,000 miles will be fine.

Of course you should also consider the state of your vehicle. If there is significant slowdown in engine performance or idling is rough, don’t wait for the mileage to reach x number of miles and just clean the fuel system.

Unlike other components in your car, fuel injectors don’t usually need a lot of maintenance, and it is more of a tune up than anything else. There are those who will argue that today’s cars don’t need a fuel injector cleaning. It’s true that today’s vehicles are more fuel efficient and that they can go thousands of miles just fine.

However, the difference between a car that has had fuel injector cleaning after 45,000 or 60,000 miles and one that hasn’t is clear. Even if you drive just a few miles you will notice the difference in performance.

Vehicles made after 2004 need less fuel injector cleaning than older models, and they will also benefit from using high grade fuel. This reduces, but does not eliminate, the need for fuel system cleaning. And of course if you use low grade oil, the fuel system will experience faster deterioration.

How a Fuel Injector Cleaner Works

Fuel system cleaners work in different ways because they contain different solvents and proprietary ingredients. One of the most important ingredients in fuel system cleaners is PEA (polyetheramine), a chemical that is very effective when it comes to removing carbonaceous deposits.

PEA is not the only chemical used by these cleaning agents, but they usually work the same way by reducing the carbon deposits into tiny particles that go through your vehicle’s exhaust system. When you use a full system cleaner, it solubilizes carbon so they burn and wash away via the engine’s combustion process.

Superior quality fuel system cleaners have unique ingredients that prevent further buildup of carbon and other deposits. So aside from removing carbon buildup, these fuel injector cleaners also serve as deterrent for further buildup.

Tips for Buying the Best Fuel Injector Cleaner

  • Go with Quality: look for premium cleaners with PEA and other quality ingredients. Avoid older, low quality cleaners because they do not remove deposits effectively. What usually happens with older fuel system cleaners is they block the injectors and get stuck in the exhaust valve seats or catalysts.
  • Known Brands: buy only products from known brands in the industry, as you’re more likely to get good results.
  • Versatile: does the fuel injector cleaner work with different types of fuel? Is there any guarantee it won’t affect the fuel composition?
  • Treatment and Prevention: a good fuel injector cleaner removes carbon buildup and also functions as a deterrent so fuel remains fresh.

Look also for fuel system cleaners that you can use on different vehicles and tools. These products are advertised for cars but the good ones can be used on boats, lawnmowers, saws, pressure washer and so on. A versatile fuel system isn’t the exception to the rule anymore, as it has become the standard.

Don’t wait for the symptoms to show up before you get one of these fuel injector cleaners. It is better to have one now and be prepared in case you need it.

How Fuel Injectors Work

Fuel injectors work by pressuring fuel and pumping it through an electronically managed or fixed aperture, and it releases the fuel into the engine. The fuel comes out as a mist as that is more efficient compared to a solid stream. When carbon deposits bold up, the injector’s performance is affected as is the fuel output, causing the mist to dribble.

If the fuel injector isn’t cleaned it’s going to clog the fuel injector and cause all kinds of problems such as a pinging sound during pre-ignition, reduced gas mileage, rough idle and general poor engine performance. With a fuel injector system cleaner, it will only take a treatment or two to remove the varnish, gum and other buildup.

There are many types of fuel injector system cleaners, but the most effective are those that circulate detergents and other cleaning chemicals in the fuel system and regulator. This eliminates the buildup in the injector ports and inlet screens. During the process the entire fuel system is cleaned.

Conclusion

Cleaning your car’s fuel injector is one of the best ways to ensure optimum performance. With the best fuel injector cleaner you’ll notice your car will run more smoothly, have lower emissions and won’t suffer from clogging. This will only be possible if you have the right cleaning product so being informed is necessary.

  • Updated April 2, 2017
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