Most modern engines use fuel injection to provide exactly the right amount of petrol at exactly the right time. This means that there’s no spark and no throttle – instead, petrol is injected directly into the engine cylinder at precisely the moment when it will do the most good.
Even the best injection systems leak a little oil vapour and unburnt hydrocarbons – unburnt fuel and its condensed vapour, known as HC – into the exhaust. These unburned hydrocarbons are highly combustible, which means they can ignite outside the engine if they get too concentrated.
However, if you keep an eye on your engine’s performance telemetry you’ll probably never see this happen in real life. If these contaminants build up inside your engine they have several harmful effects: They increase exhaust emissions by up to 20%, which makes them a major contributor to greenhouse gases; they reduce fuel efficiency; and they accelerate cylinder fouling, which reduces efficiency further still.
What You Need To Know Before Buying A Fuel Injection Cleaner
Although some fuel injection cleaners also claim to reduce carbon deposits or other engine deposits, cleaning the injection system is their primary purpose. In this context, cleaning doesn’t mean getting rid of deposits but reducing their number, consistency, and harmful effect.
This means that most fuel injection cleaners only remove deposits if they’re already present. As a result, they can’t be used as preventative maintenance products. Fuel injection cleaning products don’t work by mechanical means, but by chemical reaction. If a cleaner contains a chemical that reacts with carbon so that it can be broken down into a form that the engine can easily expel, then it’s a fuel injection cleaner.
How Do Fuel Injection Cleaners Work?
The only way to clean the fuel injection system is to introduce a chemical solvent that can break down the deposits and dissolve them. This chemical will have to break down carbon, which is an intermediate product that forms when the fuel is burnt. This chemical cleaning reaction may take a while to develop its full effect, but once it has done so, the cleaner will break down completely so that it can’t harm the engine.
How Good Are Fuel Injection Cleaners?
If you’re lucky enough to have a car with a fully documented maintenance history, then you can see exactly how much it suffered from carbon deposits before you cleaned the fuel injection system.
As a result, you can make a fair comparison between the condition of your car’s engine before and after cleaning. If you’re unlucky enough to have no maintenance history, then you’re going to have to rely on your senses, which isn’t as good as having factual data, but it’s the best we can do.
Which Brands Are Best?
Although we can’t say that one brand of fuel injection cleaner is significantly better than another, we can make some general observations. Many of the cheaper brands are better than you might expect since they’re often made by the same companies that make the major brands at a lower price point.
One brand that’s often recommended is BG 44KLE (Ethanol) Fuel System Cleaner, which is generally considered to be one of the better fuel injection cleaners at any price.
Pros And Cons Of Fuel Injection Cleaners
When it comes to cleaning your fuel injection system, there are several advantages and disadvantages.
One of the biggest advantages is that fuel injection cleaners help to get rid of harmful contaminants that can reduce fuel efficiency. Another advantage is the fact that fuel injection cleaners don’t require any special tools or expensive equipment.
However, there are a few disadvantages as well. First, it can be expensive to buy fuel injection cleaners. Second, they can be difficult to use because they require a lot of attention to keep them running properly. Third, they can damage your fuel injection system if you don’t follow the instructions carefully.
Another disadvantage is that fuel injection cleaners can take some time to work, so it might not be worth it if you need it right away. If you have time to wait for them to work, then they’re probably worth buying.
The bottom line is that fuel injection cleaners can make a noticeable difference to the operation of your car, and the best ones will keep your engine cleaner for longer. If you drive an old car with a carburettor and you want to reduce exhaust emissions, you’ll probably have to spend a lot of money to achieve this.
But if you drive a modern car with fuel injection, you can probably buy a decent fuel injection cleaner for less than 10 dollars. It’s a cheap investment that will make your car run more efficiently and cleaner, and help you to drive more economically.