Do Fuel Injector Cleaners Expire?

Did you find an old bottle of fuel injector cleaner sitting on a shelf in the garage? Thinking about buying a bulk lot of fuel injector cleaners? We've researched all about these fuel additives and will answer shelf life along with other common questions about fuel injector cleaner.

Fuel injector cleaners have an average shelf life of five years. Opened bottles of injector cleaner should be used within 12 to 18 months. 

What is a fuel injector? Wondering if fuel injectors are worth it? What happens if you put too much injector in? Continue reading for answers to the most common fuel injector cleaner questions.

Do Fuel Injector Cleaners Expire?, Do Fuel Injector Cleaners Expire?

Do Fuel Injector Cleaners Expire?

Fuel injectors are a vital engine part. They spray fuel to the combustion chamber, mixed with air, and then combusted to create power for your engine to run. 

All gasoline causes corrosion from ethanol and water, even the more expensive fuel brands. It's never as clean as we expect it to be. This leaves carbon deposits in your fuel system, which leads to deposits being left on your fuel injectors. A faulty fuel injector can cause the check engine light to come on, engine vibration, misfiring, stalling, and even fuel leaks. They can eventually become so clogged they can prevent your car from starting or continuously running.

fuel injector in action closeup

Suppose your car isn't running as smoothly as it used to, or you've noticed your gas mileage isn't as good as it was when your vehicle was newer, or your vehicle isn't accelerating as fast as it once did. In that case, you might want to consider a fuel injector cleaner additive. A clean engine is a more efficient engine, and a fuel injector cleaner with help clear the deposits in those moving parts in the engine, helping to ensure it runs more efficiently.

Unfortunately, there are no surefire ways to inspect the injector cleaner to confirm it has expired, so it is best to use any unopened bottles during those five years. Once opened, bottles sit longer than the 12 to 18 months they start to oxidate and are not recommended for use.

Check out this fuel injector cleaner on Amazon.

Check out this fuel injector cleaner on Amazon.

There are several types of fuel injector cleaners on the market. There are ones designed to simply clean the fuel system, and then the other option is cleaners that claim to stabilize the fuel and boost the octane value in your gas on top of the cleaning capabilities.

Check out this fuel injector cleaner on Amazon.

How to Use Fuel Injector Cleaner

Fuel injector cleaners are simple and straightforward additives. You don't need any tools or mechanical experience to use them. You will want to wait until your fuel tank is almost empty and add the injector cleaner into the tank. Most mechanics recommend doing this right at the pump. Simply add the cleaner, then fill up your tank. This ensures the additive is thoroughly diluted and mixed in your fuel tank.

Once you've added the injector cleaner to your tank, you will want to drive your car at high speeds (don't be afraid to push the gas and give it higher RPMs) or engage in highway driving. This makes the pressure in the fuel system higher, which helps the cleaner remove the build-up. It also helps clean carbon deposits inside the combustion chamber more efficiently.

After using the fuel injector cleaner, you probably won't notice an improvement until you have driven a few hundred miles and given the cleaner ample time to work in the system. However, some consumers report a noticeable difference in just 30 minutes of run time at high RPMs. You know it's working if you have regained power during acceleration, experience better fuel economy, and quieter, smoother idling.

close up photo of a spark plugs and a tool

For optimum results, mechanics typically recommend that you check and or replace your spark plugs and air filter simultaneously, as well as doing the fuel injector cleaner as they can also help your engine run better and more efficiently.

Check out this fuel injector cleaner on Amazon.

Is Fuel Injector Cleaner Worth It?

It depends; if you've had a fuel injector go bad, you have several options, you can replace the fuel injector, or you can purchase a fuel injection cleaner. Most people choose to give the least expensive option a go first before replacing the injector.

Many automotive shops recommend using a fuel injector cleaner every 12,000 to 15,000 miles for optimal engine performance. There is some debate on whether injector cleaners are really necessary on a newer car engine.

Some many consumers and mechanics swear by fuel injector cleaner. However, since 1996 the EPA has required all gasoline sold in the United States to have a minimum level of detergents in the gasoline. This does give you the benefit of a fuel system cleaning with every drop of gas you purchase. Top-tier gas has more than the minimum level of detergents, hence the higher cost.

What Happens If You Put Too Much Fuel Injector Cleaner?

If you use too much fuel injector cleaner in your tank, there is the risk that it could corrode the lining of your tank and corrode away at rubber components and weaken plastics in your system. It's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions on your fuel injector cleaner. However, some consumers report only a drop in gas mileage after using too much fuel injector cleaner and no other ill effects to their systems.

Can I Put Fuel Injector Cleaner In A Full Tank?

Man driver hand refilling and pumping gasoline oil the car with fuel at he refuel station, How To Open The Gas Tank On Hyundai Palisade

You can put fuel injector cleaner in a full tank of gas, though it is not recommended. Experts recommend adding the injector cleaner to an almost empty tank to ensure the injector cleaner is thoroughly mixed into the fuel tank. If you put it into a full tank, it will still work but will not be thoroughly mixed and will take longer to have an effect.

Will Fuel Injector Cleaner Clean The Fuel Filter?

A fuel filter in a car. Gasoline can be seen in the filter

The fuel injector cleaner works by releasing the deposits in the injectors, and the deposits are then burned up in engine combustion. So cleaning the fuel filter is not likely. While some accumulation may be dissolved in the filter, it will not dissolve any actual dirt or debris in the fuel filter. It is best to change the fuel filter after a fuel injector cleaner is used, or at least at the recommended mileage. 

In Closing

You'll have about 5 years to use your unopened fuel injector cleaner or 12 to 18 months if it has been opened. These types of cleaners help keep your vehicle's engine running smoothly, so long as you use it appropriately. If you have found this article helpful, consider these for further reading:

6 Of The Best Oil Additives For High Mileage Engines

7 Of The Best Oil Additives For Older Engines

Does Car Engine Oil Expire?

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