Maybe your “check engine” light just came on, and therefore the code is P02XX, pointing at a fuel injector issue. Or perhaps you only bought a second-hand car with unknown maintenance history and need to offer it a full tune-up. Before you go and buy replacement fuel injectors, take the time to offer your current ones a radical cleaning.
How Clogged Fuel Injectors Occur
Fuel injectors spray tiny amounts of fuel at a time into the combustion chamber. Since they deal in such small amounts, even the tiniest particulate or impurity within the gas can cause degradation within the fuel injector’s flow or spray pattern leading to clogged fuel injectors. Fuel regulations require minimum levels of detergent additives, but these cannot catch up on a rusty gasoline tank or a degraded filter. In extreme cases, this compromises the fuel injector spray pattern, and therefore the PCM will see this, store code, and display a check engine light. Seriously clogged fuel injectors can cause a misfire or an irregular idle, so clean fuel injectors are essential.
Concentrated Cleaning of Fuel Injectors
By now you would possibly be thinking, “If the fuel treatments work, why not just put a bottle within the tank and go?” the matter there’s that the equipment additives you set within the tank are diluted by a full tank of gas and are less effective than running undiluted cleaner directly through the affected part. Second, the in-tank fuel treatments flow an equivalent way as fuel, while the concentrated cleaning method offers a back-flow to flush out any particles that are too big to flow further downstream to make sure clean fuel injectors.
Is There a Difference in Equipment Cleaners?
For our purposes, any equipment cleaner will work. Corvette people love Techron, Mustang fans like line, and Sea Foam is popular around the world. and there is Lucas, Gumout, Marvel, etc. All have different cleaning solutions of varying strengths, but any gas-tank-style fuel treatment will work fine at 100% strength. Some videos on YouTube suggest using brake cleaner. While brake cleaner is a tremendous cleaner, it’s overkill during this situation and says on the rear of the bottle that it degrades rubber and plastic. If you do not have an equipment cleaner available, you’ll use carburetor or throttle body cleaner instead. Both products are designed to power through fuel deposits and buildup and also are safe for rubber and plastic.