How To Clean Fuel Injectors
When it comes to deciding how to clean fuel injectors you have many options available. From Do It Yourself (DIY) methods to professional ultrasonic fuel injector cleaning and testing benches.
In this article, we’ll explore each option and summarize its advantages and disadvantages so you can make an informed decision regarding which method better suit your needs.
1. DIY Injector Cleaning
This is a broad category including techniques ranging from commercial-grade ‘pour in your tank’ fuel injector cleaners to ‘homemade’ procedures using conventional tools and cleaning products. There is plenty of information explaining how to clean fuel injectors at home on YouTube, all you need is to search for ‘how to clean fuel injectors without removal’ or any similar query. You will get a list of videos explaining how to clean injectors (both removing or without removing them). However, the real question is, do fuel injectors cleaners actually work?
The answer is simple, it depends on how clogged are your fuel injectors.
If you perform regular maintenance on your vehicle, pouring a bottle of fuel injector cleaner in your tank following manufacturers’ recommended intervals, then chances are that your injectors are in good condition. Nonetheless, the truth is that over 90% of vehicle owners service fuel injectors when they are already clogged. If that’s your case and your car already has fuel injectors issues, then you have at best a 50% chance of solving the problem with a DIY method. This is because even the strongest fuel injector cleaner on the market will not be enough to clean a heavily clogged fuel injector, carbon deposits in such cases are simply too hard to remove.
|? PROS||? CONS|
You can do it at home
Depending on the method, you can choose if you want to remove fuel injectors from the vehicle or not
|It uses a weaker fuel injector cleaner formula (when compared to professional methods)
You take full responsibility for fuel injectors issues in case of damaging them
2. Thru-rail Fuel Injector Cleaning
Next, you have the ‘professional fuel injector cleaning services’ offered by auto repair shops and dealers. Most of them rely on a variation of the ‘thru-rail fuel injector cleaning’ method which consists of passing a professional-grade fuel injector cleaning decarbonizer directly to injectors through its fuel rail. Think of this method as an upgraded version of the fuel injector cleaners you can pour in your tank. This method is far more aggressive than previous ones, the product composition has higher concentrations of active components, that’s why it should only be performed by experienced technicians to avoid costly damages to your engine.
And that’s the problem with this method.
When you use any kind of fuel injector cleaner you cannot forget that such chemicals will end up in the combustion chamber. The stronger the formula the higher the chance of causing damage to crucial components including piston rings, intake and exhaust valves, and catalytic converter to only mention a few. Last but not least, none of the methods based on fuel injectors cleaners can guarantee results since none of them test fuel injectors flow before/after the cleaning process.
|? PROS||? CONS|
|It uses a stronger fuel injector cleaning formula than DIY solutions
The procedure is performed by trained auto technicians
Does not require to remove fuel injectors from the vehicle
|The stronger decarbonizing formula used by this method put at risk your injectors and other car components
Results can’t be measured since injectors are not removed
It’s more expensive than DIY methods
3. Ultrasonic Fuel Injector Cleaning
Finally, we have ultrasonic fuel injector cleaning and testing benches. Although this method requires removing fuel injectors from the vehicle, at least it is for a good reason. Quality of service. Professional ultrasonic fuel injector cleaning benches have two main functions, cleaning the injectors and testing them.
The cleaning is done by using automotive-grade ultrasonic waves that literally ‘break apart’ dirt and carbon deposits from fuel injectors. These ultrasonic waves are so powerful that nothing can stop them from removing dirt, and the best part is that they do it without risking your injectors. Matter of fact, the ‘ultrasonic agent’, the liquid used in the ultrasonic bath, is in most cases biodegradable, similar to liquid soap. Contrary to solvent-based fuel injector cleaners, the ultrasonic agents only have to ‘transport’ ultrasonic waves, they don’t have to dissolve anything. Since ultrasonic cleaning does not use aggressive additives, acids, or solvents it safeguards injectors’ internal parts.
After 45-60 minutes in the ultrasonic bath, fuel injectors are examined on a special testing bench. This bench mimics engine conditions, which means your injectors are tested under the same pressure that they run on your vehicle's engine. The test bench allows the technician to measure fuel flow, spray pattern, and any possible leak for each injector in the fuel injector itself. Arguably, this is one of the most important benefits of ultrasonic fuel injector cleaning, you can measure the results before/after the cleaning procedure. After the test, the technician can repeat the ultrasonic cleaning if the results are not satisfactory. If any injector is broken or leaking fuel then it can be replaced. In other words, ultrasonic cleaning eliminates the guesswork. Once fuel injectors are within OEM parameters they can be safely reinstalled on the engine with the guarantee of working in optimal conditions.
Another benefit of ultrasonic fuel injector cleaning is the ability to replace injectors’ internal fuel filters, o-rings, and other replaceable parts. The injectors cleaned using this method are so efficient that at Mike’s carburetor parts we call them ‘remanufactured fuel injectors’, and for a good reason. They include:
Rubber seals, internal basket filter, and other parts
Complete set of tests on our professional fuel injector bench
Without a doubt, if you are looking for the maximum cleaning power capable of restoring your fuel injectors to their original state, ultrasonic cleaning is definitely your best option.
|? PROS||? CONS|
|Employs industrial-grade ultrasonic cleaning technology
Does not put at risk your injectors or any other car component
Injectors are thoughtfully tested to ensure they are reconditioned to ‘like-new’ condition
All injector components are replaced
|Requires removing the fuel injectors from the vehicle
It usually costs more than other methods
You have plenty of options regarding how to clean your injectors. Which is the best? Certainly, it will depend on how clogged your fuel injectors are.
If you are an automotive enthusiast you might consider a balanced solution. You could have fun removing the fuel injectors at home and then send then to Mike’s carburetor parts for reconditioning. You can rest assured that each injector will be meticulously cleaned and tested by our experienced technicians. Also, you can buy our remanufactured injectors in case of need and save a lot of money in the process. Once you receive the injectors back you can reinstall them knowing they are at 100% efficiency again!