How Often Should You Use Fuel Injector Cleaner?

Keeping a properly maintained vehicle can be especially hard if you're not familiar with how a car runs. Fortunately, there are products that make everything easier, one of which is fuel injector cleaner. These cleaners are designed to help keep your engine running properly while also reducing pollution emitted by the car. While these cleaners do the heavy lifting, it's still important to know how to use them. After researching the top brands, we can tell you how often you should be using this type of fuel additive.

Use a fuel injector cleaner after traveling between 1,500 and 5,000 miles. The best way to remember a fuel injector cleaner is to use it the same time you get your oil changed. 

Now that you know how often to use a fuel injector cleaner, let's cover some more specific information. Keep reading to discover why brands have different recommendations, if you can use too much fuel injector, and if fuel injector cleaner goes in before or after the gasoline.

fuel injector in action closeup, How Often Should You Use Fuel Injector Cleaner?

What is a Fuel Injector?

A fuel injector is a very important part of the fuel system. The fuel injector is how your engine receives gasoline. Unresolved problems with your fuel injector will lead to more serious issues later on. 

Here are some signs of a faulty, damaged, or dirty fuel injector:

  • A failed emissions test
  • An increase in fuel consumption
  • Smoke coming from the tailpipe
  • Engine knocking or detonation. A knock is usually a "ping" or "thump" sound occurring in the engine
  • An engine that runs rough

How does a fuel injector get dirty?

Vehicles and their components get dirty through their regular operation. Once you turn an engine off, fumes from the gasoline collect and harden on the fuel injector nozzle's surface. While fuel comes with many additives, some to help clean the fuel injector, it isn't always enough, and extra cleaning is sometimes necessary.

It is also possible for debris from the fuel itself to interfere with the fuel injector nozzle. Always be sure to purchase your gas from a reputable company to avoid bad quality gasoline.

What is a Fuel Injector Cleaner?

A fuel injector cleaner is an additive that goes in your fuel. It works to break down deposits that formed from fumes drying on the fuel injector nozzles. It also tries to prevent future buildups from happening. By cleaning the system, fuel injector cleaners help the entire vehicle run more efficiently, which will cause you to see an increase in performance. 

Numerous brands also claim that their product can clean a fuel injector that is already clogged or blocked. However, some experts believe using fuel injector cleaner in those instances actually makes things worse.

If you use high-quality gasoline, such as Texaco or Chevron, then you may be able to skip out on using a separate fuel injector cleaner. This is because the additive used there, polybutene amine (PBA), is used in higher concentrations so it can actually clean your fuel injector system.

How often do I use fuel injector cleaner?

Depending on the age of your car and the quality of gasoline that you use, you really only need to use a fuel injector cleaner once an oil change, approximately every 5,000 miles. While deposits are going to form through regular use, they won't form quickly enough to warrant more frequent cleaning. 

Can I Use Fuel Injector Cleaner Every Time I Fill Up?

The majority of fuel injector cleaners recommend being used every 3,000 miles or at every oil change. If you have a newer car and use high-quality gas, you can actually go longer between fuel injector cleanings. Some brands even suggest annually or 10,000 miles. Of course, there are some products that you can use every time you fill up with gas. 

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Can You Use Too Much Fuel Injector Cleaner? 

Frequent overuse or failure to follow your cleaner's instructions may cause harm to your car. Some have noted that using too much cleaner too frequently can cause damage to the engine lining and sealants. It is also possible for the fuel injector cleaner to damage the combustion chamber.

While frequent overuse can cause harm, if you happen to overuse fuel injector cleaner once or twice, there shouldn't be any immediate problems. If you accidentally use too much fuel injector cleaner, continue to drive your car as normal. Once you use anywhere from half a tank to three-quarters of gas, refill your tank. The extra gasoline will help dilute any remaining fuel injector cleaner.

There are also certain products that don't cause any harm if overused. Lucas Oil products are one of those that have no apparent repercussions on your engine. So, keep in mind that it is always best to read and be aware of any warnings your brand of cleaner comes with.

Check out Lucas Oil Fuel Injector Cleaner on Amazon.

Do You Put Fuel Injector Cleaner In Before Or After Gas?

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

For the most part, a fuel injector cleaner should be put into a gas tank before it is filled with gas. Ideally, the tank will be empty or nearly empty. When fuel additives are placed in the tank first, it allows everything to get a more complete mixture. If not using a full bottle, it also ensures that an accurate amount of additive and fuel is mixed. 

However, each product is different. Not every cleaner needs to be placed in the tank before gasoline. Checking your directions will make sure that you're using your product properly.

How Long Does Fuel Injector Cleaner Take To Work?

Unfortunately, there are no scientific studies to reference to confirm how long or even whether or not fuel injector cleaners actually work. There are also other factors that affect how quickly or well a fuel injector cleaner can work. A more dirty system means that the additives will take longer to break everything down.

In general, a fuel injector cleaner will begin working once the additives start making their way through the system. This means you should see improved performance within the same day of using the additive provided you do a fair amount of driving.

In Closing

Maintaining a car can be a daunting task. Fuel injector cleaners aim to make your job a little easier by keeping your injectors clean and your engine running smoothly. Depending on the product you want to use, you can use a cleaner as much as every gas fill-up or as little as every year. In order to easily remember when to use a fuel injector, consider using one every time you get an oil change. Don't forget to use higher-quality gasoline, as this can eliminate the need for this fuel additive altogether.

Check out these other how-to articles:

How Do You Check Antifreeze/Coolant Level?

How To Fix Bad Gas In A Car?

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