How To Clean Fuel Injectors Properly: Complete Guide

how to clean fuel injectors

It is important for you to put your vehicle through regular tune-up and cleaning maintenance under the hood. While you may not need to replace any of the mechanics, some elements need to be cleaned, tuned up and correctly calibrated. Over time, these elements will slowly fall out of correct sync, become dirty, and cause reductions in the overall performance of your vehicle. That holds true with a number of areas within your vehicle, including the fuel injectors. If you have never had the fuel injectors cleaned, now is an excellent opportunity to learn how to clean fuel injectors.

What Are Fuel Injectors?

The fuel injector name gives some indication to what the parts on a vehicle do, but to fully understand what the part does on your car, truck or SUV, you need to dig a bit deeper. This will also indicate why you need to know how to clean fuel injectors, as well as how it will help your vehicle.

Your vehicle uses gasoline as an accelerant. However, it's not just pumping gas straight into the engine and burning it. That would lead to an explosion because too much fuel would enter the engine. Instead, your vehicle needs to control how much gasoline enters the engine. It also needs to mix it with air, as without air, the gasoline will not light. This is where the fuel injector comes in.

Fuel injectors are at the conclusion of the fuel line. When the acceleration is pushed down inside of your vehicle, the fuel line pushes gasoline to these injectors, which help pressurize the fuel and spray it through the injector nozzles. This process atomizes the fuel, so it becomes small, air-saturated droplets when it enters the engine. The engine can then easily burn the fuel and accelerate your vehicle.

In short, the fuel injector controls the amount of fuel entering your engine. If the injectors become dirty, it is not able to do this.

Benefits of Clean Fuel Injectors

car engine

Cleaning a fuel injector is important, as it helps remove gunk or whatever has built up over the injectors over time. Your injectors are in constant use, and as it pressurizes the fuel, it also comes in contact with air, which can result in some deterioration. While designed of a material that is rust proof and shouldn't have much in the way of breakdown problems, fuel injectors, just like any other part of the vehicle, can use a good cleaning from time to time, which is why you should learn how to clean fuel injectors.

When you perform the fuel injector cleaning, you'll remove debris that has collected. This can happen at the injector point where it is more likely to clog. By cleaning this out, you'll better use your fuel. Doing so helps improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicle, saving you money every single time you push down on the accelerator pedal. It can also help prevent other engine problems that might occur if the injectors are clogged and fuel is over pumping into the engine or not pumping at all.

If you notice that it takes longer for your vehicle to accelerate when you push down on the accelerator, it may be because the fuel injectors are dirty. By learning how to clean fuel injectors, you can correct this problem and restore the functionality to the fuel injectors.

How to Clean Fuel Injectors Properly

car Fuel Injector

When it comes to cleaning your fuel injectors, you have two options. The first is to take the vehicle in to a local shop and have it cleaned there. It isn't a difficult job, and any shop in the area will be able to do it. In fact, it is straightforward, although depending on your make and model, it might take some time accessing all the parts (especially if you have an engine cover).

If you intend on performing the fuel injector cleaning multiple times, it's a better investment to purchase the equipment yourself, as you'll be able to repeat with some material on hand. If you don't, it is better to go with the professionals. Paying a professional to clean the fuel injectors will probably cost between $50 and $100, depending on the model of your vehicle. The larger and newer your vehicle, the more the cost is. If you'd rather perform the fuel injector cleaning yourself, though, and you enjoy working on your vehicle, here is what you need to know when it comes to how to clean fuel injectors.

Before You Begin

mechanic

You want to purchase a fuel injector cleaning kit. This is the easiest way to go, as it has everything you need and you won't need to shop around for random items. Once you have used the kit and have an idea as to what each product does, you can then go out and replace the different items (such as varying cleaners) as needed. You can find all kinds of kits at your local automotive parts store, or online. You may also be able to purchase it at your local Walmart or any other large grocery store that sells auto parts.

You should also have your owner's manual on hand. This will help point out where everything is, in case you have questions. Different makes and models may vary slightly, so knowing this will help the how to clean fuel injectors process.

Disconnecting

mechanic getting dirty

With the car off (and left to cool), disconnect the fuel pump from the fuel injectors. This will be located on the side of the engine. If you have an engine cover, you will need to remove this. The fuel injectors will slide out, so you don't need any special tools for this.

When you have the fuel injectors out, connect your fuel line return to the fuel pump. This way, you're not leaking gas during the cleaning process.

You now need to disconnect the pressure regulator ​car vacuum. Not all vehicles have this, so look over the manual to determine if you do. It is often found behind the fuel injectors, closer to the windshield wipers.

Setting Up Your Gear

car motor gear opened

With the fuel injector cleaning kit, you'll have a cleaning gauge. Take this out, then locate the fuel port, which runs to the fuel rail in the engine. Now, connect the hose and fitting to this fuel port. You should also open up your gas tank and take out the cap. This way, you'll avoid any kind of pressure buildup.

Inject the Cleaning Fluid

Inject the Cleaning Fluid to he car engine

From the connected tubing, follow the specific instructions on your vehicle and inject the cleaning fluid. It will feel like you're giving your car's engine an IV. After you have injected the cleaning solution, you'll want to turn your vehicle on. Do not rev the engine at all. Just let it idle in the "on" position. This will help circulate the cleaning solution through the engine and throughout the injectors.

This process will take around 10 minutes or so to fully clean your injectors.

If you want, while the injector equipment is disconnected from the engine, you can clean off the injectors. Using cleaner designed specifically for the fuel injectors, you can remove any grime and dirt buildup (if you live in a dusty area of the country, you likely have some of this). This way, the injectors can be inserted freshly cleaned and ready to go when the entire process is done.

Finishing Up

mechanic holding the car engine panel

Now that you have allowed the vehicle to run the cleaning solution through the fuel injectors, you'll need to turn the vehicle off. Once the vehicle has been shut down, you can begin the process of connecting everything back together.

Begin by disconnecting the cleaning tube, then connect the fuel injectors back into position and attach the fuel pump and vacuum hose. Make sure to insert the fuel cap back into place. This is an easy one to forget.

Now, with everything reconnected and ready to go, turn on the vehicle and rev the engine. You need to make sure the fuel injectors work and that everything is connected properly. You should also drive the vehicle around the block or park and then pop the hood to see if there are any leaks. If not, everything is good to go.

Conclusion

When it comes to your vehicle, you likely have fuel injectors, unless you have an all electric vehicle, in which case, this does not pertain to you. With fuel injectors, you need to keep the area clean and have maintenance performed on it from time to time. Generally, you only need this done once every three years or so, or around every 45,000 miles. It isn't something that becomes dirty quickly, and you'll probably only need to perform this cleaning a handful of times at most on your vehicle. With that said, by knowing how to clean fuel injectors you'll be able to improve the performance of your vehicle, save on fuel economy, and help restore the vehicle back to how it performed when you first bought it.

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