Some claim fuel injector cleaners are a scam. Others say it truly helps their engine run smoother and more efficiently. But can pouring a bottle of store-bought formula into your gas tank actually help your vehicle run smoother?
It turns out it can! Studies have shown that injector cleaner does remove carbon build-up, which is mostly a problem in older cars with high mileage or engines that aren’t used frequently. Although mainly used in cars, you can also use many of these solutions in everything from boat to lawnmower engines. Whatever you drive, once you get some miles on the engine, it’s worthwhile to pick up a fuel injector cleaner.
Best Fuel Injector Cleaners For Your Engine
But of course, not all fuel cleaners are equal. By reading reviews and comparing popular rankings, we compiled a list of the best fuel injector cleaners on the market. We’ve also included a few fuel system cleaners. Fuel system cleaners will clean the whole fuel system, including the fuel injectors.
This is a concentrated formula. You only need 32 ounces of the product to treat up to 512 gallons of gas, so it will last a long time. It is meant to remove carbon deposits on fuel injectors so that they work more efficiently.
Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment is designed for gasoline engines only and should improve the performance of the gas in the tank it’s mixed with. Plus, you can use it to store gas on the shelf — just mix it in, and the gas should stay stable for up to two years.
Gumout’s fuel injector cleaner is designed for engines with over 75,000 miles on them. The manufacturer recommends using one bottle with 21 gallons of gas.
This formula is supposed to be safe for oxygen sensors and can be used in both turbocharged and supercharged vehicles. If you have a high-milage car or motorcycle that’s beginning to feel sluggish, it’s worth giving this inexpensive option a try.
With a surprisingly peaceful-sounding name for a motor cleaner, Sea Foam works through your engine to clear injectors and carburetor jets of grime allowing your engine to run smoother. Sea foam also claims it helps clean and lubricate intake valves, pistons and cylinders.
It can clean the engines of anything from lawnmowers to trucks and tractors and works with both gas and diesel fuel, which not all fuel system cleaners do. If you need one product to clean many types of engines, check out this cleaner from Sea Foam.
This fuel injection cleaner is designed to lower exhaust emissions and fuel consumption by cleaning the injector system without removing all the parts.
The 10 fluid ounces are suitable for treating 7 to 20 gallons of gasoline. The manufacturer recommends repeating this treatment every 1,200 miles to prevent buildup, so it may be worth stocking up on this product.
STP’s concentrated formula can clean your fuel injectors with just one 5.25 ounce bottle, which can treat up to 21 gallons. It should clear carbon deposits and more so your injectors will work more efficiently.
This formula is just for fuel injectors — if you’re looking to clean your whole system or stabilize your gas, check elsewhere. But if your fuel injectors are the only thing causing you problems, this is designed to get them running more effectively again.
Lucas Fuel Treatment works through your fuel system to clean and lubricate both carburetors and injectors. In addition, it supposedly neutralizes poor quality fuel to keep buildup from happening again — or at least, for as long as the formula lasts in the tank.
Unlike most injector cleaner solution, Lucas’s formula comes in gallon jugs that can treat up to 400 gallons of diesel or gasoline. If you want fuel injector cleaner in bulk, this is an easy way to purchase it so you can clean your engine multiple times.
7. Royal Purple Max-Clean Fuel System Cleaner and Stabilizer
This fuel system cleaner is formulated to cut through build-up on fuel injectors, intake valves, carburetors, and more. It should also reduce tailpipe emissions and restore your fuel economy.
Many places recommend cleaning the fuel system about every 3,000 miles, but this product only needs to be used every 10,000 miles, according to the packaging. If you want to clean out your fuel system every once and a while, Royal Purple’s Max Clean may be the product for you.
8. Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System Cleaner
This concentrate cleans carbon deposits from your fuel system, allowing the engine to work more efficiently. This should give you better gas mileage, especially if you have an older car.
Though Techron does offer a cheaper specific injector cleaner, this fuel system cleaner is more concentrated and should give you more bang for your buck. Plus, it does more than just clean your fuel injectors — it also can remove grime from valves, combustion chambers, carburetors, and more.
One bottle of Red Line every 3,000 miles should clean your fuel system, including your fuel injectors, carburetors, and combustion chambers. If used regularly, it can help prevent deposits from building up.
It also works as gas treatment, promoting stability so gasoline is used more effectively, and it leaves fewer deposits behind. If you want to clean your fuel system of carbon and other grime, it’s worth checking out Red Line.
This solution can flush the fuel system of carbon deposits and other common grime that builds up when using cheaper gasoline. Your fuel injectors, intake ports, combustion chambers, and more should benefit.
This product should work with alcohol-blended fuels as well as with common fuel additives. One container should be good for 20 gallons of gasoline — pour it in, and your engine should run smoother.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between fuel injector cleaners and fuel system cleaners?
Fuel injector cleaners provide a focused cleaning for just the fuel injectors. Fuel system cleaners will clean the entire fuel system, including the fuel injectors. Some brands carry both system cleaners and injector cleaners. The two may have slightly different ingredients, but either will work to clean your fuel injectors.
How often should you put fuel injector cleaner in your car?
The general rule of thumb is to use a fuel injector cleaner every 1,000 to 3,000 miles. However, newer cars may need it much less often. A good guideline to use is to clean your system every time you get an oil change.
Can you put fuel injector cleaner in a full gas tank?
You can mix some cleaners in after you fill the gas tank, although some recommend adding the cleaner before. Read the label for the recommended method. By adding the formula first, you will ensure it mixes with the gasoline quicker. It’s not the end of the world if you add fuel before cleaner, but it might take a bit longer to work.
One thing to keep in mind is that, depending on the amount and concentration of your fuel injector cleaner and its intended purpose, you may only mix it with half a tank of gas. Make sure you read the label to get the right ratio of cleaner to gasoline.
How do I know if my fuel injectors are dirty or clogged?
Signs that you may need to clean your fuel injectors include a rough idle, a hard start, pre-ignition, decreased gas mileage, and, generally, poor engine performance.
Justice is an avid outdoors-lover who has dabbled in mountain biking, camping, hiking, cross country skiing, hammocking, and more. She is currently pursuing her B.A. in English at the University of Minnesota, and she’s always up for talking about either bikes or books.