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How to Clean Fuel Injectors

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A bad fuel injector can cause engine misfire and internal engine damage.

Fuel injectors, which help vehicles achieve higher fuel efficiency and better emission control, are said to be “non-wearing” items. In fact, they are so sturdy they can last the shelf-life of a car.

However, like any other part, fuel injectors are not exempt from damage. You can still have a bad fuel injector, and usually clogging (due to dirt, carbon build-up or watered-down gasoline) is the culprit. When you start experiencing engine misfires, lack of power, an engaged check engine light, and leaking fuel, you can bet the clogging has gone from bad to worse.

Some drivers rely on mixing additives and detergents with their gasoline to remedy the clogging. These substances can reduce gasoline vapor deposits, sure, but they can’t entirely eliminate the impurities. To avoid fuel injector problems, experts recommend cleaning the injectors using a dedicated fuel injector cleaner every 25,000 to 30,000 miles.

Moreover, it’s best practice to inspect your fuel injectors as early as possible. If you find them clogged, cleaning them may suffice. You can choose to have a professional mechanic do it for you (typical fuel injector cleaning cost is between $50 and $80), or you can do it yourself (disclaimer: doing it yourself is not highly encouraged).

However, if you’re dealing with a cracked or damaged fuel injector, replacement is necessary. If you need high-quality and budget-friendly replacement fuel injectors, you can check Auto Parts Warehouse’s fuel injector selection here:

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How to Clean Fuel Injectors without Removal

DIY-ing the job is not advisable for beginners. That’s because it requires a deeper understanding of the engine. Aside from that, the right equipment and proper procedure are necessary to yield good results.

However, if you want basic knowledge on how to clean injectors using a fuel injector cleaning kit, here’s what you need to know:

Materials you need:

  • Fuel injector cleaning kit (should be compatible with your engine)
  • Cleaning solvent (should be the kind recommended for your cleaning kit)

Step 1: Connect the cleaning kit to your engine’s fuel port. To do this, check your cleaning kit manual for the proper procedure (fuel injector cleaning kits vary in connection designs).

Step 2: Disable your fuel pump and make sure the fuel is returned to the gas tank. Do this by plugging the fuel return line, or you can opt to insert a U-tube. Take note that your CPU might show error codes once your pump is disabled. You may clear the codes later.

Step 3: Disconnect the pressure regulator and connect the injector cleaning kit to the fuel port. Make sure your engine doesn’t turn over by turning on the ignition.

Step 4: Remove the fuel cap from the gas tank to ensure there’s no build-up of pressure in the system.

Step 5: Attach the compressed air hose to the cleaning kit. Consult your service manual and check for the right fuel pressure for your vehicle. Open the valve of your cleaning kit until it matches your car’s required fuel pressure.

Step 6: Start your engine and let it run for about five to 15 minutes to let the cleaning solvent pass through the injectors. The engine should shut off once the cleaning kit has used up the solvent.

Step 7: Lastly, reverse the steps (disconnect the kit and activate the fuel pump and fuel generator). After everything is back to normal, run your engine again and check for unusual noises. If you hear clicking sounds in a rapid succession, it means your fuel injectors are working perfectly.

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