Here’s How You Clean Your Fuel Injectors At Home

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Some vehicle maintenance can be “do it yourself.” You could clean the fuel injectors for your vehicle yourself, and we’ll tell you how.

Purchasing a fuel injector cleaning kit is the first step to clearing out potential clogs in your fuel injector. You’ll want to locate your fuel injector and disconnect it, which includes disconnection from the fuel pump and regulators. Run the cleaning kit through the injector using their instructions, then put the fuel injector back in.

We’ll walk you through how to safely clean your fuel injector. Safety is important here because your fuel injector takes actual, explosive fuel and needs to be cleaned correctly to ensure the safety of you and your vehicle.

What do I need to clean my fuel injector?

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You can pick up a fuel injector cleaning kit at most auto parts stores. By fuel injector cleaner, we mean that the kit should contain more than a can. 

Why? To be safe, you’ll want a strong hose that connects to the inlet port on the fuel injector as well as a gauge that measures the pressure of cleaner delivery. These are important for safety’s sake. 

Some fuel injector cleaners are just a can of “cleaner” that one sprays into the fuel injector. Using a hose is safer than just using a spray can because the liquids are contained. 

Having a pressure gauge is also very helpful because delivery of too much fuel injector cleaner can cause a gasoline based fire.

How do I start cleaning my fuel injector?

For the sake of safety, please do the following before you start: read the instructions on the canister of fuel injector cleaner thoroughly, and wear gloves.

Handling fuel injector cleaner requires some care, so make hose connections slowly and deliberately.

The first, most important action to take is to disconnect your fuel injector from your fuel pump. If you have a pressure regulator on your fuel pump and fuel injector, you’ll want to disconnect that, too.

Open the kit and read the instructions carefully. They will describe how and where to connect the hoses for the cleaning kit to your vehicle, and how to properly connect the kit to the can of cleaner itself.

These are important because the cleaner is highly flammable – you don’t want to spill any. This process often involves connecting the hose from the cleaner to the fuel rail – but follow the instructions for your kit!

You’ll also want to remove your fuel cap to prevent the buildup of additional pressure. Finally, when all safety preparations are made and the cleaner kit hose is connected to the fuel rail, you can start your vehicle. 

This might also involve turning your kit “on” by opening the valve on the hose, depending on the kit.

Ensure that the gauge, if supplied, is within the right pounds per square inch range per your vehicle’s manual so that you don’t get accidental ignition from too high of pressure.

If all goes well, the vehicle should have the ability to run using the fluid from the cleaner. Let the engine run for about 5 to 10 minutes – or literally until it stops. 

The vehicle’s “gas” is currently the cleaner with the fuel pump disconnected.

Now you can reconnect everything you’ve disconnected and try to start the vehicle. If you hear any new noises, you’ll want to get the vehicle to the shop right away.

Do I have to take my fuel injector out?

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You don’t have to take the fuel injector out when cleaning at home. 

One of the primary reasons for this is that when using a kit and canister based cleaning method, your fuel injector will need to remain connected to the vehicle to let the fuel into the engine. Another option here is to let the cleaner flow through the fuel injector into a fuel safe bucket, but it’s easier to just let the running engine burn the mixture instead of cleaning it up.

When should I take my vehicle in for professional cleaning?

One of the more important aspects of cleaning a fuel injector is the ability to do it at home or in your garage.

While a kit makes this possible, it doesn’t always result in the outcome you want – a vehicle that better burns the fuel provided. 

Sometimes home cleaning isn’t strong enough.

If your symptoms continue, you might want to take the vehicle into a service center.

There is a big difference between their equipment and expertise and yours – no offense! 

A service department or mechanic’s shop will completely remove the fuel injector from the vehicle and likely put it in an ultrasonic bath. 

The purpose of an ultrasonic, pressureized bath is to shake the fuel injector rapidly in a safe manner and flush out the deposits that are preventing the vehicle from running well.

We won’t say you can’t do this at home, but it is rather specialized equipment that you are unlikely to use again – or want to pay for.

When should I clean my fuel injectors?

You probably don’t need to clean fuel injectors unless your maintenance schedule recommends it or your vehicle is feeling sluggish. 

Among symptoms of actual problems within the fuel injectors are slow performance and poor fuel mileage – both of which are the result of the engine not getting fuel when it asks for it, and are probably caused by deposits and build up within the fuel injector.

Do fuel system cleaners work?

Fuel system cleaners work in their own way, but they probably won’t completely, or even adequately solve any issues with your fuel injector. 

The reason is simple: If your fuel injector is exhibiting symptoms of a serious clog and has slowed down your whole engine, you are going to need something powerful to clear our out those deposits. 

Now for fuel system cleaners: the ingredients in a fuel system cleaner (basically, just a bottle you pour into your gas tank) aren’t intended to scour the inside of your fuel injector – they are meant to clean out smaller deposits. 

The main reason for this is that the ingredients needed to actually knock out at seriously jammed up fuel injector aren’t sold in stores because they don’t meat emissions standards.

With that said, if you use a basic fuel system cleaner on a semi-regular basis, you can readily prevent the build up that would require a more extensive cleaning in the first place.

When should I have fuel injectors replaced?

Fuel injectors can get pretty badly clogged up. If you have a high performance vehicle or otherwise find that the process of getting your fuel injectors ungummed is more expensive than just installing new ones, you might opt to install new equipment instead. 

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Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning your fuel injectors at home is possible with a fuel injector cleaning kit. 
  • Read the instructions on the kit – but you’ll want to disconnect your fuel pump and anything used to regulate pressure in your fuel
  • Connect the hoses for the kit and watch the gauge – start the vehicle and let the fuel injector kit fluid run your engine until it is out.
  • Try to start the vehicle again – if you hear any new sounds or anything weird, get the vehicle to a mechanic
  • Exercise caution and read the safety instructions!