Is your car not running as smoothly as it once did? Are you noticing decreases in performance or fuel efficiency? You may want to add a can of fuel injector cleaner, but can adding an old bottle from your garage damage your vehicle?
Fuel injector cleaner doesn’t have an official expiration date, but it’s best to use unopened cans within five years. Opened bottles should be used within 12-18 months, as they may oxidize over time and can cause issues. Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions when adding cleaner.
Using an old, unopened can of fuel injection cleaner may not be cause for concern, but there are a lot of factors to keep in mind.
Does Fuel Injector Cleaner Expire?
If your vehicle isn’t getting excellent gas mileage, running smoothly, or accelerating as fast as it did in the past, it may be time to add a can of fuel injector cleaner (example on Amazon).
Clean engines are more efficient, and fuel injection cleaners can free up deposits and debris in the engine. But does the old can inside your garage have an expiration date, or can you add it straight away?
There isn’t a surefire way to determine if a can of injector cleaner has expired, so it’s best to use unopened bottles within five years of purchasing. Open bottles can start to oxidize over time and aren’t recommended for use.
How Long is the Shelf Life for Fuel Injector Cleaner?
Fuel injector cleaner doesn’t have an official expiration date, but it’s best to use unopened cans within five years of purchase.
Opened bottles of fuel cleaner should be used within 12 to 18 months, as they can start to oxidize over time and aren’t recommended for use.
The type of fuel injection cleaner you have lying around might also impact the lifespan. Some solutions are meant to clean the fuel system, while others claim to clean and boost the octane value in your gas.
Either way, following the five-year and 12-18 month timeline will ensure you’re not using faulty products on your vehicle.
Can Expired Fuel Injector Cleaner Cause Problems?
Several mechanics advise car owners to use fuel injection cleaner every 10,000 to 15,000 miles to keep their engines in peak condition.
But if you haven’t kept up with your maintenance schedule and have an old bottle of cleaner, will it cause issues?
Opened fuel injection cleaner past 12 to 18 months can start to oxidize and isn’t typically recommended for use.
That said, sealed bottles typically include aluminum foil seals that prevent oxidation and can be safe for use up to five years after purchase.
Is It Possible to Add Too Much Fuel Injector Cleaner?
Expired fuel injector cleaner may or may not damage your engine, but too much cleaner poses definite risks.
Adding too much cleaner into a car increases the chance of corrosion on the lining of the gas tank.
The rubber and plastic components can also become weakened or damaged. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when adding fuel injection cleaner to your vehicle to avoid any issues.
Click here to read our guide to using fuel injector cleaner correctly.
Is It Safe to Add a Fuel Injector Cleaner to a Full Tank?
It’s possible to add fuel cleaner to a full gas tank, but it isn’t generally recommended. Most mechanics agree that adding injection cleaner to a near-empty tank ensures the mixture is evenly dispersed throughout the tank.
Adding injection cleaner to a full gas tank will still work, but it will take longer to mix and may be less effective.
Instead, wait until your gas tank is nearly empty and add the fuel injector cleaner at the pump. After adding the specified amount, fill up your tank as usual.
It’s best to drive around somewhat fast or on the highway to mix the solution evenly.