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The 8 Best Fuel Injector Cleaners

Best Fuel Injector Cleaner - Spraying

Using the best fuel injector cleaner can help your car’s engine achieve peak levels of performance, fuel efficiency, and longevity.

There is a general belief that fuel injector cleaners are a waste of money, but that’s further from the truth. Routine fuel system cleaning can indeed help keep your engine in tip-top shape.

We put together this review catalog and buying guide to help you find the best fuel system cleaner for your car. Here’s a quick rundown of our top 5:

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

The Best Fuel Injector Cleaner

A quality fuel injector cleaner isn’t the only thing you need to keep your engine running smoothly. Check out these other pertinent product guides after finishing this one:

1. Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus

The Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus is the most popular fuel injector cleaner for two primary reasons: 1) It works incredibly well thanks to its patented polyetheramine technology,  and 2) it’s a great value despite its somewhat premium price.

Often recommended by car manufacturers, this additive cleans and restores the entire fuel system, including the carburetors, fuel injectors, combustion chambers, and intake valves. Not only does it work incredibly well on modern vehicles, but it also does wonders for high-mileage vehicles. 

You can use the Techron Concentrate Plus on gasoline vehicles of all types, from cars to trucks and motorcycles to lawnmowers, and there is a version for diesel engines. Just make sure to read the instructions carefully before applying it to any fuel system.

Chevron recommends using a bottle every 3,000 miles (4,828 km) for gasoline-powered cars and trucks, or right before oil changes, indicating that you will need multiple bottles to get the best results.

Things We Like

  • Full system cleaning
  • Strong cleaning power
  • Improves engine performance, efficiency
  • Works on various vehicle types

What We Don’t Like

  • Your mileage may vary

Bottom Line

Expect a noticeable difference in your car’s performance and fuel efficiency when you use the Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus. CHECK LATEST PRICE

2. Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment

The Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment is the only fuel injector cleaner that’s sold in a full gallon, beating the competition in terms of price per ounce (ml). It’s also one of the best treatments for carbon deposits in both gasoline and diesel engines.

Instead of using harsh chemicals to dissolve deposits like many of its competitors, this formula incorporates a blend of super slick oils and additives that act as a detergent, cleaning out the fuel injector, carburetors, and other parts of the fuel system.

This makes it one of the most environmentally-friendly products on the market.

But while the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment is one of the best fuel system cleaners and the cheapest per ounce, the fact that it can only be purchased in large quantities might make it less attractive to someone looking for a cheap and quick fuel cleaner.

Things We Like

  • Effective cleaner
  • Excellent value
  • Works on gas and diesel engines
  • Eco-friendly

What We Don’t Like

  • Only available in large quantities
  • Your mileage may vary

Bottom Line

The Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment is an excellent option for shoppers who like to save money on quality products by buying in bulk. CHECK LATEST PRICE

3. Liqui Moly Jectron Fuel Injector Cleaner

​Liqui Moly’s best fuel injector cleaner is a very powerful additive that works exceptionally well on older vehicles, as well as those that haven’t been used or maintained in a while. It helps address starting problems, stalling issues, poor throttle response, and rough idling.

The 2007 Jectron is one of the fastest-acting solutions on the market, with many users seeing improvements after only a tank of fuel. It’s also among the safest, having been tested by Germany’s strict TUV (Technical Inspection Association).

You don’t have to worry about it damaging your oxygen sensors or catalytic converters.

The ​Liqui Moly Jectron Fuel Injector Cleaner only works on gasoline engines, though there is a separate version for diesel powertrains.

Things We Like

  • Great cleaning power
  • Works well on older vehicles
  • Safe to use
  • Safe on oxygen sensor, catalytic converters

What We Don’t Like

  • Your mileage may vary

Bottom Line

If you have a high-mileage vehicle, the ​Liqui Moly Jectron Fuel Injector Cleaner is a safe and effective bet. CHECK LATEST PRICE

4. Sea Foam SF-16 Motor Fuel Treatment

Sea Foam SF-16 Motor Fuel Treatment is one of the best additives for cleaning heavy carbon deposits. Not only does it clean  your fuel system, but it also lubricates it to help prolong its lifespan.

Developed for both gasoline and diesel vehicles with either 4-stroke or 2-stroke engines, it’s particularly effective on high-mileage engines and fuel systems that have a lot of build-up. You can use it on motorcycles, ATVs, tractors, boats, lawnmowers, and other types of vehicles.

This solution is also affordable and easy-to-use. It won’t deliver miraculous results, but you can expect an improvement in the condition of your engine and fuel system.

Things We Like

  • Great cleaning power
  • Works well on older vehicles
  • Can be used on various vehicles
  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like

  • Cans are prone to damage during shipment
  • Your mileage may vary

Bottom Line

The Sea Foam SF-16 Motor Fuel Treatment is an affordable, two-in-one cleaner and lubricant that helps preserve your fuel system. CHECK LATEST PRICE

5. Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner

The Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner is another great option that does more than just clean the fuel system. It also lubricates it to prevent the build-up of moisture, carbon deposits, and related substances.

Red Line’s patented formula consists of about 50% verified Polyether Amines — the toughest cleaning agent you can have in a cleaner — and uses a mixture of  synthetic substances to minimize the probability of your fuel system sustaining abrasions.

In addition to working well on your everyday vehicle, its ability to remove moisture, gunk, carbon deposits, varnish, and rust makes it a good solution for cars that haven’t been maintained for a while. Unfortunately, it can’t be used on diesel engines.

Given these attributes, it’s very clear why the Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner is so popular in many automotive circles.

Things We Like

  • High PEA concentration
  • Powerful, non-abrasive cleaner
  • Lubricates fuel lines
  • Great value

What We Don’t Like

  • Your mileage may vary

Bottom Line

The Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner optimizes your engine’s performance by cleansing and lubricating its fuel lines. CHECK LATEST PRICE

6. Royal Purple Max Clean Fuel System Cleaner And Stabilizer

Royal Purple is a highly-respected producer of premium lubricants and synthetic oils, and their Max Clean Fuel System Cleaner and Stabilizer is possibly their best fuel injector cleaner yet.

This no-nonsense, 3-in-1 fuel additive deeply cleans your fuel system, revitalizing its carburetors, combustion chambers, intake valves, etc. You can use it on 2 cycle and 4 cycle gasoline and diesel engines.

Not only does it help restore your engine’s power and efficiency and reduce emissions, but it also stabilizes the fuel when your car is not driven for long periods of time.

Royal Purple claims a 3.2 percent increase in fuel economy, a 2.6 percent boost in horsepower, and an 18 percent reduction in emissions; however, your particular results will mostly depend on your car.

Things We Like

  • Works on both gasoline and diesel engines
  • Improves power and efficiency
  • Reduces emissions
  • Fuel stabilizer
  • Very versatile

What We Don’t Like

  • A little expensive
  • Your mileage may vary

Bottom Line

Judging by the positive user reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, the Royal Purple Max Clean Fuel System Cleaner And Stabilizer will deliver noticeable results in terms of power and efficiency. CHECK LATEST PRICE

7. BG 44K Fuel System Cleaner Power Enhancer

Mechanics love the BG 44K Fuel System Cleaner Power Enhancer, not least because it’s one of the most powerful and aggressive fuel system cleaners on the market.

This is a great option if you have stubborn, hard-to-remove buildups and don’t want to worry about repeatedly using a cleaner. With high-flush Naphtha as an  ingredient, its fast-acting formula makes quick work of disposts in your fuel injectors, combustion chambers, and intake valves. 

Needless to say, you can expect immediate results after just one use.

But all that performance comes at a price. The  BG 44K is one of the most expensive fuel injector cleaners on the market. Moreover, it might be too strong for vehicles that have proper upkeep or have their fuel systems cleaned regularly.

Things We Like

  • Excellent cleaning power
  • Cleans entire fuel system
  • Acts as a conditioner

What We Don’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Too strong for some vehicles
  • Your mileage may vary

Bottom Line

The BG 44K Fuel System Cleaner Power Enhancer is a hardcore product for hardcore fuel system buildups. CHECK LATEST PRICE

8. Gumout 510013 High Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner

​As the name suggests, the Gumout 510013 High Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner is specially formulated for high mileage vehicles. 

Not only does its PEA-infused formula work incredibly well to remove sediment and tough carbon deposits from engines with over 75,000 miles (120,700 km), but it also continually lubricates the fuel system to prevent the additional buildup of deposits.

It’s safe on oxygen sensors and suitable for turbocharged and supercharged vehicles. 

With the Gumout 510013, you maximize your vehicle’s fuel economy and reduce its emissions. You also get extra protection for the various components of your fuel system.

Things We Like

  • Good for older vehicles
  • Prevents carbon build-up
  • Safe on oxygen sensors
  • Affordable price

What We Don’t Like

  • Your mileage may vary

Bottom Line

The Gumout 510013 High Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner provides preventative measures that extend the life of your engine. CHECK LATEST PRICE

Fuel Injector Cleaner Buying Guide

Best fuel injector cleaner buying guide

This buying guide provides detailed facts and practical tips for finding the best fuel injector cleaner for your engine.

Other Great Car Products

What Is A Fuel Injector Cleaner?

Every engine has a fuel system consisting of a fuel filter, fuel pump, and fuel injectors that work together to ensure that fuel travels freely from the fuel tank to the fuel injectors, and atomized in the combustion process.

Because these three components are interconnected, the clogging of just one part of the system by harmful deposits can interfere with the entire fuel-delivery process, potentially causing engine damage and deterioration of your car’s performance and fuel-efficiency.

A fuel injector cleaner is a specially-formulated additive that cleans out dirt, debris, and carbon deposits in your vehicle’s fuel system, helping your engine operate at its full potential.

How Do Fuel Injector Cleaners Work?

When gasoline is burned in a combustion engine, it leaves behind solid carbon-based deposits in the engine and fuel system that become difficult to remove. Fuel system cleaners pass through the entire system to loosen and wash away carbon deposits and other obstructions.

The broken-down deposits are then harmlessly burnt-up in the engine’s combustion and released through your car’s exhaust, resulting in the restoration of your engine’s performance, fuel economy, and emissions to original levels.

Key Ingredients Of Fuel Injector Cleaners

The ability of fuel system cleaners to remove deposits depends on the concentration of three key active ingredients.

  • Polyisobutene (PIB). This cleaning agent acts as a detergent that helps prevent harmful agents like carbon deposits from forming.
  • Polyisobutylene amine (PIBA). Unlike PIB, PIBA is capable of removing some existing deposits and doesn’t need to be applied as frequently. However, it’s not  durable enough to survive the extreme heat of a combustion chamber.
  • Polyetheramine (PEA). This top-of-the-line fuel additive is the main active ingredient in the best fuel injector cleaners. As the strongest cleaning agent, it is capable of breaking down and dissolving built-up carbon and other deposits, even in high heat.

Basically, it’s the concentration of PEA that mostly determines a fuel system cleaner’s effectiveness at removing carbon deposits.

Types Of Fuel Injector Cleaner

There are several different types of fuel injector cleaners. Although most of the ones you’ll find on store shelves clean out dirt, debris, and carbon deposits in the fuel system and combustion chamber, some have the added features of stabilizing the fuel, boosting the octane value, and or lubricating key components to help your engine run more smoothly

Dissolvents and detergents are the two main groupings of fuel injector cleaners.

Dissolvents

Dissolvents are what you will most commonly see on store shelves. These solutions generally use polyetheramine (PEA) to break down built-up debris and carbon composites into smaller pieces so that they can more easily be ejected through the exhaust system. 

Detergents

Detergents are far less common and capable than dissolvents, and there is much speculation about their efficacy as fuel injector cleaners. 

Usually characterized by a high concentration of polyisobutene (PIB) and/or polyisobutylene amine (PIBA) ingredients, they remove and prevent deposits by activating chemicals that force them to slip and slide off surfaces and out of the fuel system. 

Benefits Of Fuel Injector Cleaners

The benefits of using fuel injector cleaners are numerous, from restoring your car’s performance to saving money on maintenance. Although not all products will deliver the same result, every single one aims to provide the following benefits:

1. Performance. Like a stuffed nose trying to breathe, a clogged engine has to work harder to run, delivering subpar performance in turn. Keeping it clean with a fuel injector cleaner will help it operate at its peak potential.

2. Gas mileage. The more freely fuel flows through your engine, the less fuel goes to waste. You might experience small gains in fuel-efficiency when you clean out the deposits in your car’s fuel system.

3. Lower emissions. A natural side effect of an optimally-functioning engine and improved gas mileage is lowered emissions. Fuel system cleaners help protect the environment.

4. Save money. Your engine works harder when its fuel delivery system is obstructed, putting undue strain on its various components. This can lead to serious damage and costly repairs. Fortunately, using a quality fuel injector cleaner regularly can help prevent this.

Top Fuel Injector Cleaner Brands

Of the many fuel system cleaner brands on the market, the following four are the most reputable and well-known:

Chevron

Chevron traces its history way back to 1879, when it was called the Pacific Coast Oil Company. It is among the world’s largest oil enterprises, and the Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus is widely regarded by many as the best fuel system cleaner.

Royal Purple

Founded in 1986, Royal Purple is an American manufacturer that produces lubricants for automotive, industrial, and marine uses. Although best known for its motor oils, the company offers a very capable fuel system cleaner called Royal Purple Max-Clean.

Red Line

As a manufacturer of synthetic lubricants founded in 1979, Red Line Synthetic Oil has made a name for itself in the racing world with its high-quality, motorsport-focused products. The Red Line (60103) Complete SI-1 is a top-selling fuel system cleaner.

STP

STP is an American company that produces motor oil, motor oil additives, and other lubricants. Its sponsorship of Nascar Legend Richard Petty in the 1970s helped it rise to prominence, as well as the introduction of such great products as the STP 78577 Fuel Injector Cleaner.

How To Find The Best Fuel Injector Cleaner

The following are the key features and criteria you should consider when looking for a quality fuel injector cleaner:

PEA (Polyether-amine)

Polyetheramine, or PEA for short, is usually the most essential ingredient in a fuel injector cleaner. It’s the cleaning agent that’s mostly responsible for breaking down and dissolving the crud and buildup in your engine and fuel lines.

The best fuel injector cleaners contain polyetheramine in the right amounts, allowing them to cleanse your fuel system quicker and more efficiently than those that don’t.

Strength

You should consider the extent of cleaning your fuel system needs. For instance, a heavy-duty, PEA-based cleaner will work best if your fuel lines haven’t been maintained for long periods of time, while using a gentler PIB or PIBA detergent at more regular intervals will be adequate if the goal is simply to maintain your fuel system.

Packaging 

The container the fuel cleaner comes in seems like a trivial concern, but it can be a deal-breaker for some people. That’s because some cleaners make it easy to measure and pour the proper amounts, sparing you the trouble of dealing with measuring cups.

These conveniently-packaged cleaners sometimes come in containers that are meant to be used all at once and usually feature an easy-pour spout.

Frequency

How often you need to use a fuel injector cleaner will mostly depend on your vehicle, particularly how it performs and reacts to certain fuel cleaners. It also helps to heed the product’s instructions, as well as your mechanic’s advice.

Brand

Brand name doesn’t always entail a better product, but in the world of fuel cleaners, it is a good indicator of a product’s ability to help your fuel system and engine operate at their full potential.

Don’t think twice about splurging on a brand name fuel injector cleaner if it can enhance your vehicle’s performance. Chevron, Royal Purple, Red Line, and STP are some of the most reputable names.

Using Fuel Injector Cleaners Effectively

Man pouring fuel injector cleaner into car

The sole purpose of fuel injectors is to deliver gas to the appropriate cylinders. Any disruption to this fundamental function will make it difficult for your engine to generate the combustion it needs to start and run smoothly.

Getting good results out of even the best fuel injector cleaner requires that you pay close attention to the health of your fuel injectors and know how to properly clean and maintain them.

Signs Of A Dirty Or Clogged Fuel Injector

Here are eight signs that your fuel injectors may be dirty or clogged and need to be cleaned or replaced:

1. Engine misfires. Dirty or clogged fuel injectors can disrupt the delicate balance between fuel and air entering your car’s combustion chamber, potentially causing the engine to misfire and run roughly.

2. Stalling, rough idling. If your vehicle sputters, shakes, and/or stalls when you come to a stop, you may be dealing with dirty fuel injectors. Uneven supply of fuel during idling can cause RPM to fall too low, resulting in stalling.

3. Poor acceleration. Your engine’s output suffers when there isn’t enough fuel for strong and proper combustion. This can result in difficulties accelerating.

4. Bad fuel economy. Dirty or clogged fuel injectors will have a difficult time efficiently delivering fuel to the engine, wasting gasoline, and lowering fuel economy.

5. Poor emissions. Obstructions to the fuel injectors can cause uneven or incomplete fuel burn, resulting in higher emissions. 

6. Check engine light. Too much or too little fuel delivered to the engine may trigger the check engine light to come on.

7. Car won’t start. You will have a harder time starting your car if the engine isn’t getting enough fuel. Complete engine failure is rare but possible.

8. Fuel odor. The buildup of dirt, carbon deposits, and other substances can cause the fuel injectors to be stuck open or partially closed, making them emit an unburnt fuel odor in the engine compartment.

How To Use A Fuel Injector Cleaner

Now that you know what fuel injector cleaners do and how to find the right one for your vehicle, how about you learn how to properly use them? 

The following step-by-step guide shows you how to use a fuel injector cleaner properly:

Step 1. Make sure your vehicle’s gas tank is near empty. This will allow the cleaner to have more contact with the surface of your fuel lines.

Step 2. Turn off your vehicle. 

Step 3. Read the instructions of your chosen fuel cleaner, and pour the correct amount straight into your gas tank in the same way you would fill up on gas. One or two bottles is usually enough for most fuel systems, but larger gas tanks may require more.

Step 4: Now that the cleaner is in the fuel system, fill up the tank with regular fuel. This will allow the solution to spread and circulate throughout the system.

Step 5. Go for a spin. To shift the cleaning action into high gear, so to speak, it is usually recommended that you do some driving after applying the fuel cleaner, though some products may require extra steps such as idling your vehicle for a certain period of time before driving it. 

Note: Just like washing your car, cleaning your fuel system is not something you do just once and then forget. Dirt and carbon deposits will certainly build up again, so make sure to clean it regularly to prevent any obstructions to your vehicle’s fuel delivery.

Important Tips For Using Fuel Injector Cleaner

  • To ensure that you’re using the right amount of a fuel system cleaner, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on usage. Using too little may not give you the best results, while using too much can adversely affect your vehicle’s performance. 
  • How quickly you see results will largely depend on the amount of buildup in your fuel system, so you may need to use the cleaner multiple times to start noticing improvements. Fortunately, the best fuel system cleaners tend to work faster than lesser quality products.
  • If you own a diesel car or truck, make sure your chosen fuel cleaner is compatible with diesel fuel systems. You can find out by simply reading the product description or contacting the manufacturer.
  • Fuel injection cleaners are aggressive, difficult to clean, and potentially toxic chemicals that must be stored properly. Make sure your cleaner is stored in a safe and secure place that’s out of reach of children and pets.

Fuel Injector Cleaner FAQs And Answers

Best fuel injector cleaner FAQs and answers

The answers to these frequently asked questions about fuel injection cleaners and their use encapsulate many of the facts and tips presented in the previous sections.

What Are Signs That My Fuel injectors Are Clogged?

There are several major signs that your fuel system is dirty, clogged, or even faulty. If your vehicle doesn’t properly start, idles roughly, or becomes less fuel-efficient, then cleaning or having your fuel system checked may address the problem.

Does Using Fuel Injector Cleaner Increase Gas Mileage?

Yes, the purpose of fuel injector cleaners is to clear out the build-up of dirt and carbon deposits in your fuel system. Fuel flows more freely when this build-up is cleared, allowing your engine to work more efficiently, thus reducing fuel wastage and consumption.

Can I Use Fuel Cleaner With A Turbocharged Engine?

Yes, the fuel system of a turbo engine works in much the same way as other engines. Therefore, a quality cleaner will keep the engine clean and help it run optimally.

How Often Should I Use A Fuel Injector Cleaner?

This largely depends on your vehicle, particularly the condition of its fuel system. Many manufacturers advise using their cleaner every 3,000 miles (~ 5,000 km), while some mechanics believe every year or every 12,000-15,000 miles (19,312 – 24,140 km) is best.

There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation, so make sure to read each product’s instructions and act in accordance with its recommended usage.

Fuel Injector Cleaner Vs. Octane Booster – What’s The Difference?

Most fuel injector cleaners are primarily designed to clear out deposits that have built-up throughout your fuel-system, with the intended goal of restoring optimal fuel delivery for the combustion process. An octane booster, on the other hand, is designed to raise the fuel’s octane rating.

Basically, the purpose of octane boosters is to directly enhance your vehicle’s power and efficiency. They also contain anti knock and ping additives that help prevent knocking.

Can A Fuel System Cleaner Cause Problems?

Yes, a fuel injector cleaner can cause problems if it’s overused in concentrated amounts, especially if there are no visible signs of fuel system troubles. The additives can eat away at the various seals within the fuel system. 

Also, using a “gasoline-only” fuel injector cleaner in a diesel vehicle can cause serious damage. If you own a diesel vehicle, make sure the product you buy is compatible with diesel fuel systems. 

Can I Use Different Types Of Fuel Cleaners In My Car?

Certainly! It won’t damage your engine to switch from one type or model of fuel cleaner to another. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation regarding amount and frequency.

Final Thoughts

The accumulation of dirt and debris and the formation of carbon deposits throughout your fuel system will negatively affect your car or truck’s performance and fuel-efficiency. A quality fuel injector cleaner can help eliminate these harmful deposits when used regularly.

When it comes to the best fuel injector cleaner, we recommend the Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus System Cleaner. You can also get great results from the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment and Liqui Moly Jectron Fuel Injector Cleaner.

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