image of a clean fuel injector.
Clean fuel injector.

A lot of people use fuel system cleaners to clean their fuel injectors. These cleaners are usually added to the gas tank. However, you can also perform a fuel system cleaning service on your vehicle if needed. The basic idea behind these cleaners is that they help to remove deposits from the fuel injector.

If you are wondering if your vehicle needs a fuel system cleaning, here are some signs that it might: Rough idle Longer time for the engine to start Poor performance Hissing sound when starting up

When using fuel injector cleaners, it is important to take all precautions. Make sure to use the right amount of cleaner, because you do not want to harm your engine. If you put in too much cleaner, it can actually harm your engine.

In addition to that, make sure there is a high concentration of detergents in the cleaner that you purchase. There are some cleaners that claim they will clean your fuel injectors but do not have a high enough concentration of detergent. Sometimes, this is an easy way for companies to make a quick dollar by selling you a cleaner that does not work.

Always dispose of the used chemicals properly and do your research first before purchasing any product to help you maintain your vehicle’s fuel system.

There are a few things you should know before using fuel injector cleaner on your automobile.

Ever wonder if you should try using fuel injector cleaner?

Fuel injector cleaners are specialty products that can be used to clean the internal components of an engine’s fuel delivery system.

When you’re ready to buy some fuel injector cleaner — whether it’s in liquid form, or an aerosol spray — look for products that are made specifically for gasoline or diesel engines.

Aftermarket fuel injector cleaners vary in price and quality just like other car care products on the market.

Higher-quality fuel injection cleaner is made with stronger cleaning agents to break down combustion deposits, gum, and varnish inside your engine’s fuel delivery system.

The better the cleaner, the more it costs.

For example, fuel injector cleaners that are made by known industry-leading brands can cost up to $20 or more per use.

Of course, there are plenty of fuel injection cleaners available on the market that cost much less than their leading competitors’ products.

Fuel injector cleaners are mostly safe for use in any engine that uses gasoline or diesel fuel.

Before you purchase a fuel injector cleaner, it’s best to check the owner’s manual for guidelines on which specific products are compatible with the vehicle.

If you aren’t sure if your vehicle is compatible with aftermarket fuel injector cleaners, check with a professional technician or call the manufacturer’s customer service line to see if they’re safe for use in your engine.

Fuel injector cleaner does more than just remove deposits from the gas tank.

It cleans deposits that are built up on the fuel injector’s spray tip — which is where gasoline or diesel fuel is injected into the engine.

Cleaner also reduces hard starts, rough idling, poor acceleration, and stalling.

The cleaner works to dissolve these problems by breaking down oil and deposits on the internal components of your engine’s fuel delivery system.

Depending on your engine’s design, it may take several treatments of cleaner before you notice any improvements in performance.

When is the best time to add fuel injector cleaner to your engine? Most cleaner manufacturers recommend using their products at every oil change.

That way, you’ll be using the best cleaner to keep your engine running at peak performance.

Some professionals suggest changing the fuel filter as well so that you can remove any buildup from inside of it before adding cleaner.

The only reason not to use fuel injector cleaner might be if your car or truck has so many deposits built up that it’s creating a severe loss of power.

If you notice your vehicle running very poorly or losing power, it might be a good idea to skip the cleaner and have the fuel system serviced instead.

In some cases, too much cleaner can be dangerous to an engine.

For example, it could be possible that after using multiple treatments of cleaning products — especially in engines with severe carbon buildup — it could cause a loss in power.

Either way, these issues are mostly rare and most users of fuel injection cleaners probably haven’t experienced them.

The bottom line on whether to use fuel injector cleaner is this: If your engine isn’t running smoothly or if you aren’t experiencing peak performance, adding treatment will probably help.

If you don’t notice any change after a few treatments, it’s probably not going to help — and you’re better off spending your money on something else.

Fuel Injector Cleaner Benefits

Fuel injector cleaners are becoming very popular with drivers world-wide. It appears that many engines are being affected by deposits in the combustion chambers, which restricts the air flow, resulting in a loss of power and increased fuel consumption. The injectors are becoming dirty because of their location in the fuel system. As the injector tips become dirty, they begin to leak, resulting in further problems.

Fuel Injectors are designed to spray fine droplets of fuel at high pressure into the combustion chambers during the engine’s power stroke. Ideally, these droplets should form a fine mist, with the fuel atomizing (breaking up into very fine particles) immediately on contact with air. This mist is then ignited by the spark plug to produce power. If these droplets are too large, or if they fail to break up into very fine particles, then a lack of efficiency and a loss of power will be experienced due to a decrease in the engine’s ability to burn the charge completely.

Deposits of a substance called ‘varnish’ are produced by incomplete combustion, which affects the head and body of the injector. As varnish is sticky, it collects dirt from combustion by-products, resulting in further deposits.

In order for this varnish to be broken down, it must first be softened.

 Cleaning fuel injectors is mostly simply a matter of using the correct chemical. The chemical is sprayed into the engine’s fuel system where it enters each injector nozzle and softens the varnish deposits. Once the varnish has been softened, the chemical is either drained out or burnt with the next power stroke.

Before using any fuel injector cleaner, it is essential to read the instructions carefully and follow them precisely. Some chemicals need to be sprayed into the engine for specific periods of time, while others may require that they are left in for a specific amount of mileage before draining away.

Many people choose to clean their fuel injectors at least once a year, or after 20,000 miles of the car’s life. However, this is very much up to the driver and some experts might tell you that if your engine is running smoothly and efficiently, it doesn’t need cleaning.

For details and advice about cleaning your fuel system or fuel injectors, ask your mechanic, or simply read through the instructions supplied with the product that you want to use.

Fuel injector cleaner types

There are a variety of methods for cleaning fuel injectors. The most popular way to clean injectors is to use an injector/injection cleaner additive. Rail-induced injector cleaner is another option. Injector cleaning using ultrasonic technology has become more popular in recent years.

Injector/Injection Cleaner (Pour in gas tank)

The most common and economical way to clean fuel injectors is by pouring a fuel injector cleaner directly into the fuel tank. This process can be done at home with no special equipment, but most professionals prefer the “Rail Induced” method, which we will discuss next.

Polyetheramine (PEA) Detergents

These detergents are also especially effective because they’re able to clean multiple types of deposits at one time, making this an extremely efficient solution to stop power loss due to dirty injectors. Using a fuel cleaner additive with PEA detergents is a great choice to add to your regular fuel system maintenance routine.

The Advantages of Additives With PEA Detergents for Fuel Cleaners

Easily breaks down carbon, fuel and varnish deposits to get rid of clogged injectors and restore lost power

Cleans multiple types of deposits at once — unclogs, injectors and restores power

Has a high concentration of polyetheramine (PEA) detergents — dissolves and cleans nearly all types of fuel system contaminates

Reduces harmful emissions — helps maintain compliance with all emission testing

Improves fuel economy by up to 10% — reduces fuel costs

Reduces engine noise, smooths rough idles and elongates the life of your vehicle’s injectors

Fuel injector cleaner concentrated formula 

Fuel injector cleaners are made with different concentrations of chemicals, so you want to know which one is right for your car. 

Visualize the inside of an injector as small, but complicated plumbing system. Fuel is shot into the combustion chamber — and that’s where the potential problems begin. 

There are two things to consider when choosing a formula: the average number of miles you drive each year, and the frequency with which you clean your injectors. If you haven’t changed out your fuel filters or cleaned your injectors in a long time, then a highly concentrated formula is what you want. These tend to have more active chemical ingredients — those are the chemicals that can dissolve and remove gunk, contaminants, and dirt in general.

You can use a less-concentrated formula if you’ve recently changed out your fuel filters and cleaned your injectors — but don’t expect to get the same level of cleaning action. However, these formulas typically contain protective agents that coat the injector valves with lubricants, restoring some of the injectors’ performance.

Rail Induced Injector Cleaner

The next way to clean fuel injectors is by using a “rail induced” method. 

The rail refers to the metal tubes that allow the high-pressure fuel from the pump to be fed into each individual injector. By turning off the engine and allowing the pressure within these rails to drop, the fuel inside becomes a low-viscosity liquid. Fuel injector cleaners can then be sprayed into the rails through a thin tube and a chemical reaction will take place. 

This process is usually performed by a professional mechanic or repair shop, but with precaution it can also be done at home with a similar kit.

DIY Injector Cleaning

DIY injector cleaning is usually used as a last resort or as an experiment. Injectors can be disassembled and cleaned with a variety of solvents, but the entire process isn’t easy and like the other ones, there’s no guarantee that it will work unless you have experience or know what you are doing.

Ultrasonic Fuel Injector Cleaning

Ultrasonic fuel injector cleaning is a new method for cleaning fuel injectors. The process uses high-powered ultrasonic sound waves to break up the deposits in the injectors and to remove the accumulated grime that forms in and around them.

The injectors are attached to a power source which is wired to an ultrasonic generator. The generator produces high-speed mechanical vibrations, which are then transmitted through a piezoceramic material, creating sound waves at frequencies in kilohertz (kHz). As the sound waves pass through a liquid, they become amplified and focused by the injector tips. The frequency at which any particular injector operates determines its rate of vibration as it receives this ultrasonic force.

The first step in ultrasonic cleaning is to remove any dirt or mud that may be present on the outside of the injector body. A solution containing a chemical catalyst is then pumped into each injector. This allows the sound waves to break down any deposits or clogs. The chemical breaks down or softens excess carbon and other deposits, allowing them to be swept away by the ultrasonic action.

After the unit has been allowed to run for a period of time, the solution is drained and replaced with clean fuel and any additives required after cleaning (such as detergents). The injectors are then purged to remove any remaining traces of the chemical. Finally, all units are tested for proper operation before being reinstalled on the vehicle.

After ultrasonic cleaning, most injectors require very little fuel pressure to open and close, and the spray pattern is much more distinct than before cleaning. This lowers emissions during operation and improves drivability as well as fuel economy. In addition, since carbon deposits are not present around the needle seat of the injector, they will remain cleaner and more stable during operation.


Fuel injectors are a vital part of any engine, but they can also be difficult to clean. I have shown you several methods for cleaning fuel injectors and how each method is best used in different circumstances. Whether your car needs a good dose of highly concentrated formula or just some extra protection from less concentrated formulas — it’s important that you understand the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.