There’s no question that maintaining a car can be a pain in the ass. It’s even more painful if you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably looking for a cost-effective way of ensuring your fuel injectors are functioning properly. You aren’t going to pay $80 for an injector flush when there’s a cheaper DIY solution, right? Unfortunately, there are a lot of fuel injector cleaners available in the market.
Sifting through the choices to find the right one is going to be frustrating. If you don’t have the time (or the inclination) to learn all about this type of cleaner and what it should be able to do, then we’ve got just the list for you. We gathered a lot of the most popular fuel injector cleaners available and flushed out (pun very much intended) the ones that didn’t perform well. Below is our list of the 10 Best Fuel Injector Cleaners.
Top 10 Fuel Injector Cleaners Of 2018 Reviewed
1. Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System CleanerBest Fuel Injector Cleaner For Honda crv
It’s not surprising that we’ve got the Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System Cleaner at the top of our list. For one, Chevron is a trusted leading brand in this industry. For another, it’s an all-in-one product that works on your entire fuel system, not just your fuel injectors. One big advantage of this product is that it can be used on all gasoline engines such as cars, trucks, bikes, boats, ATVs, RVs, watercraft, etc.
Even better, Techron is actually gasoline mixed with 400 ppm of polyetheramine (PEA) which is a powerful detergent that will clear away any harmful deposits in your fuel system. This is one of the most effective fuel system cleaners in the market today, able to restore a car’s original functionality after a couple of uses. If you have an old car with serious problems or a relatively new one that hasn’t been properly cleaned, this is the fuel injector cleaner for you. However, it is a bit on the pricey side compared to similar products. Also, this is very strong stuff which can damage your fuel lines if you use too much.
- Trusted brand
- Cleans your entire fuel system
- Can be used on all gasoline engines
- Can damage fuel lines if used too much
- Only for gasoline engines
2. BG 44K Fuel System CleanerBest Fuel Injector Cleaner For BMW
The BG 44K Fuel System Cleaner is another all-in-one product that packs a good punch to your fuel system. It’s powerful enough to get any deposits flushed away after just one use. And you’re going to see the difference when you check your fuel consumption after using this cleaner. What we love about this is that it’s compatible with a lot of fuel products and additives and a little of it can already go a long way.
However, this is not easy to pour due to the shape of the bottle. You’ll need a funnel unless you want to damage the paint on your car or your driveway. The BG 44K is also expensive compared to other offerings. And it is only for gasoline engines.
- Compatible with a lot of fuel products and additives
- Noticeable difference in gas mileage
- All-in-one fuel system cleaner
- Very expensive
- Only for gasoline engines
- Not pour-friendly; requires a funnel
3. Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System CleanerBest Fuel Injector Cleaner To Use
Compared to all the other fuel injector cleaners in the market, Red Line actually has the highest concentration of PEA for the price. And it includes upper cylinder lubrication which can improve the mechanical condition of your engine, ensuring it runs smoothly. This is especially beneficial to older vehicles.
In fact, the formula promises to reduce the need for octane by 1 to 2 points which means that you won’t need higher octane fuel so much which is a money-saver. And your car is going to be more efficient in its fuel consumption. However, there are still some who didn’t see any results after using the product. It’s much more expensive than Chevron’s cleaner. And it isn’t designed to work in diesel vehicles.
- Highest PEA concentration
- Reduces the need for octane by 1-2 points
- Includes upper cycle lubrication
- More expensive
- Not all users saw noticeable results
- Not for diesel vehicles
4. Lucas Fuel Treatment
If you want a budget-friendly option, Lucas Fuel Treatment may just be your ideal fuel injector cleaner. While it does cost more, you also do get more product – a full gallon compared to the 15 to 20 ounces offered by other brands. But that’s not all it does. Like its rival brands, this fuel injection cleaner is also quite effective. It has a decent amount of PEA which is enough to dissolve the deposits and flush them away.
This fuel injector cleaner also lubricates your system as it is cleaning it which improves your engine’s overall performance AND fuel efficiency. It may not be as strong as some of our other picks but two runs using Lucas Fuel Treatment is still easier on your pocket than one run of our other picks. Even better, this product is effective in ensuring you pass smog tests.
And unlike our other picks, this one can be used in both gasoline and diesel engines. However, the bottle is big and will require storage somewhere. And it’s hard to pour out due to the size of the container so you might want to get a funnel or transfer the contents into smaller, more manageable containers.
- Works on both gas and diesel engines
- Very budget-friendly
- Improves the overall performance of cars
- Big container
- Hard to pour; no measurement cap included
5. Royal Purple Max-CleanBest Fuel Injector Cleaner For Diesel
The Royal Purple Max-Clean is a 3-in-1 fuel additive that eliminates any hesitation and stalling issues you’re experiencing AND improves your vehicles fuel consumption by an average 3.2 percent. In addition, this little thing can reduce your vehicle’s harmful emissions by up to 18%. Max-Clean is EPA / CARB compliant and can be used in both gasoline and diesel engines.
While it’s not as aggressive as our first few picks, it will help ensure your car runs well especially if you live in an area where the fuel quality is low. This may not be ideal for removing years of deposit buildup, it works great as preventive maintenance. However, the can isn’t really the best container for pouring this stuff into your tank. You’re going to need a funnel so you don’t make a mess that’s hard to clean. And it’s also on the pricey side though not as expensive as some we’ve listed.
- Works on both diesel and gasoline engines
- Perfect for preventive maintenance
- Reduces harmful emissions
- Not as aggressive as other cleaners
- Not easy to pour
- Can be pricey
6. Liqui Moly 2007 Jectron Fuel Injection CleanerBest Fuel Injector Cleaner For Audi
If you have an engine with a catalytic converter, the Liqui Moly Jectron Gasoline Fuel Injection Cleaner is your best bet. Not only does it ensure low pollution and environmentally compatible combustion, this cleaner also eliminates any starting problems, rough idles, and poor throttle response. While it won’t be a miracle one-and-done cure, you’ll notice a marked improvement in the performance of your vehicle. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper compared to our other picks.
However, this is not ideal for use with cars that have “sludge” in their oil or those that do not have regular oil change as it may clog the fuel injectors. And it does not contain any PEA which means it probably won’t work as well in removing years of carbon buildup in older, neglected vehicles.
- More affordable
- Low pollution
- Decreases or removes starting problems, poor throttle response, and rough idles
- Not for older, neglected vehicles
- No PEA in formula
- Not for cars with “sludge” in their oil
7. Sea Foam SS14 Cleaner and LubeBest Fuel Injector Cleaner For Direct Injection
When it comes to effectively cleaning your fuel system, Seafoam is a brand you’ll hear in the mouths of many. This is because it really does a great job of getting rid of any carbon buildup indirect injection engines. You may find your heart stopping with the amount of white smoke it’ll emit after application, especially when your “check engine” light suddenly turns on. However, after several minutes of driving, you’ll definitely notice the difference – more power under the hood, a smoother running engine.
Older cars will run like new after applying this baby. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy to apply as our other picks. You spray it into the intake instead of pouring it into the tank. Also, the “straw” that you put into the nozzle tends to pop out. Some users reported that their cans lacked enough air pressure to get all the seafoam out.
- Noticeable difference straight after
- Reputable brand
- Perfect for direct injection systems
- Produces a lot of smoke
- Poorly designed “straw”
- Not enough air pressure to empty out the can
8. STP Super Concentrated Fuel Injector CleanerBest Fuel Injector Cleaner For High Mileage
The STP Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner is one of the most affordable options in the market. But that doesn’t make it ineffective. It can remove carbon, gum, and varnish deposits in your clogged fuel injectors. It makes your engine run more smoothly and enables you to start easier during winter.
Some even report better gas mileage. And it’s made with a jet fuel base which is a great carrier for active ingredients used in cleaning your fuel system. It definitely makes a difference when used in old, neglected cars though you might need to use 2 or more bottles to get immediate results. For the price though, it definitely gives you a lot of bags.
- Very affordable
- Removes deposit buildup
- Promotes easy starts and smoother engine performance
- Requires two or more bottles to get immediate and noticeable results
- Not as aggressive as our other picks
9. Royal Purple 18000 Max Atomizer Fuel Injector Cleaner
If you have a direct injection gasoline engine that needs its fuel injectors cleaned, the Royal Purple Max Atomizer is just what you need. This fuel injector cleaner contains a high concentration of PEA that will effectively clear away any harmful deposits in your fuel injector nozzles. Not only that, this particular cleaner is built to stabilize ethanol-blended fuel which can help prevent fuel line gumming and corrosion.
While this cleaner is formulated especially for direct injection systems, you can safely use it in all types of gasoline and diesel engines. However, this is not an all-in-1 product like some of our other picks. It does not clean your entire fuel system. And the bottle design isn’t ideal for pouring the cleaner into sealing gas tanks. You’re going to need a funnel if you don’t want to waste any of the solutions.
- High concentration of PEA
- Stabilizes ethanol-blended fuel
- Can be used in gasoline and diesel engines
- Poor bottle design
- Not an all-in-1 product
10. Gumout Regane High Mileage Fuel System Cleaner
The Gumout Regane High Mileage Fuel System Cleaner has a high concentration of PEA at 10% to 24%, a little lower than Red Line but a decent amount that will clear the gunk out of your entire fuel delivery system and at a much lower price. While you probably won’t see much of a difference if you use it on a clean system, it is a great measure against buildups in the future. However, some report that their car did not get better fuel economy after using the Regane, just smoother idling. And a lot more people swear by Red Line over this one.
- Decent amount of PEA
- Affordable price
- Cleans out your entire fuel delivery system
- Not as reputable as Red Line
- Some report that they did not experience better fuel economy
Fuel Injector Cleaner Buying Guide
Your dealer or mechanic has been telling you that you need an injector flush which costs $80 to over $100 unless you want to end up with a $1000-bill for a fuel injector replacement. Fortunately, there’s a DIY solution which is just a fraction of the cost of a flush – a fuel injector cleaner. Now, most of us likely have no idea what that really is and how it works, just an inkling of what it does (cleans the part that injects fuel, right?).
But how do you know which one would work best in your car? There are quite a lot of different brands on the market, all of them offering a wide variety of benefits should you use them. Naturally, you want the one that will make your car run smoothly and prevent the need to buy a replacement fuel injector. The problem is finding which one does exactly that. Well, to help you figure out fact from fiction (in other words, marketing mumbo-jumbo), our shopping guide should give you all the information you need to make the right choice.
What exactly is a fuel injector and why do I need to clean it?
Most cars feature a fuel injection system which is a method of delivering fuel. Using high fuel pressure, a fuel injector will open its valve and pump small amounts of gasoline or other types of fuel through a nozzle which atomizes the fuel into a fine spray, ensuring it mixes well with the air before it goes to the combustion chamber.
Now, fuel isn’t exactly clean; it’s full of contaminants. It also isn’t chemically stable. And then there’s the carbon residue that is deposited by gas and diesel. Combined with the microscopic particles (contaminants) in fuel, you’re going to have a lot of buildup in your fuel injector which can affect its high-pressure spray by inhibiting its flow. This can lead to poor engine performance, increased emissions, increased fuel consumption, hard starts, etc. Obviously, you’re going to want to get rid of these deposits and that’s where the fuel injection cleaner comes in.
How does a fuel injector cleaner work?
A fuel injector cleaner gets rid of any deposits that have formed in your fuel injector. In fact, some fuel injector cleaners are effective enough to clean the entire fuel system. It loosens, breaks down, and/or dissolves the deposits so that they can either be washed away or burned during the combustion process.
What’s in a fuel injector cleaner?
While formulas may vary depending on brands, these cleaners are basically composed of detergents and oils for cleaning and lubrication, respectively. The most common ingredient in all cleaners is PEA or polyetheramine which is the most effective in getting rid of carbon deposits. This chemical dissolves the deposits so that it can be safely washed away through the engine’s exhaust system. An added benefit of PEA is that it can help prevent additional deposits from building up because of it is a surfactant.
Because of PEA’s effectivity, you need to make sure that the cleaner that you choose contains this ingredient at a level that is not too diluted to be effective. The Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner, for example, has the highest concentration of PEA in all of our picks. Take note that some cleaners will have polyisobutylene amine (PIBA) as its main ingredient which can also effectively remove deposits within your fuel injector. However, it is not as powerful as PEA which can clean an entire fuel system though it costs a lot less.
Factors to consider when choosing
Suitability: not all fuel injector cleaners will be compatible with your specific engine. Some will work with both diesel and gasoline but it’s still important to check suitability before making your purchase. If you have doubts, ask your mechanic or the people at your local auto shop. The Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System Cleaner, for example, is suitable for all types of gasoline engines such as those found in motorcycles, boats, RVs, lawnmowers, etc.
The frequency of application: this refers to how often you will use the cleaner. Some manufacturers recommend use with every fill-up while others like the BG 44K Fuel System Cleaner will have longer intervals between application.
Cost: fuel injector cleaners with an effective amount of PEA typically cost more though they require a less frequent application. Cleaners that need to be applied frequently like the Lucas Fuel Treatment, on the other hand, tend to cost less.
Brand: it’s important to take into account a brand’s reputation when choosing a fuel injector cleaner. No-name brands may not produce the results they promise. Reputable brands, on the other hand, will spend more on R&D to ensure that their product is effective. This also assures you that the amount of PEA in the formula is significant enough to make a difference in your car’s performance.
Tip: some fuel system cleaners are also compatible with carburetors. This may be an ideal choice for you if you have more than one car.
Some people claim that they don’t see a difference in performance. Why’s that?
It’s quite possible that you bought the wrong product for your car. But even if you don’t see a noticeable difference, it doesn’t actually mean that the cleaner isn’t working at all. Unless your car is already showing symptoms of a clogged fuel injector – poor performance, hard starts, failed emissions, poor idle, etc., you probably won’t see much of a difference. However, prevention is better than cure. If you want to prolong the lifespan of your vehicle, you’re going to want to apply this cleaner from time to time. Take note that you should always read the instructions thoroughly and follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage. Not all fuel injector cleaners work the same way.