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All Fueled Up! Diagnosing And Cleaning Dirty Fuel Injectors

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Owning and operating a car is imperative for many people's daily lives, but it can also be stressful. From the initial purchase and gas costs to cleaning and maintenance, it is easy to see how a car can be overwhelming. While you may be placing enough importance on oil changes and tire rotations, other maintenance is necessary for your engine's performance. Considering fuel injectors are imperative for optimal engine performance, emissions, and fuel efficiency, ensuring they are clean and in good condition is key. Using this guide, you can diagnose and clean problematic fuel injectors.


If your fuel injectors are clogged and dirty, you may experience an engine misfire. While driving, you may feel a jerking motion from the engine. This misfire refers to a faulty combustion process inside the cylinders.

Although annoying while driving your car, the misfiring sensation is a key sign that there is a problem. Consult your auto repair technician immediately after noticing this engine problem.

In addition to an engine misfire, inconsistency in the car's performance is a sure sign of an injector issue. When injectors are clogged, the fuel flow will be inconsistent, as well. This causes the engine's RPM to fluctuate, leading to abrupt power instead of a slow and smooth acceleration.

Idling Issues

Vehicles with rough idles are most likely to have an issue under the hood. In many cases, this issue stems from dirty or damaged fuel injectors. Pay attention to the following to determine if there is an idle issue:

  • Rough – No matter what the temperature is, your engine's idle is rough.
  • Stall – If your engine stalls during an idle, there is an issue to address.
  • Irregular Idle – If the idle changes from normal to inconsistent periodically, an injector cleaning may be necessary.

Reduced Gas Mileage

Currently, the average cost of gas is $2.43 per gallon. While these prices are lower compared to a year ago, wasting gas is not financially feasible for most Americans. Many factors contribute to a reduction in your average gas mileage, but clogged injectors play a large part due to the abnormal engine performance and rough idling. Considering abrupt acceleration reduces gas mileage 33 percent, maintaining your injectors can be beneficial.

Gas Leaks

The rough engine performance and idling issues will increase the amount of gas necessary for everyday travel, but this increased abuse may cause cracks to develop in your injectors, as well. The cracks eventually expand, causing gas to actually leak from the engine.

If you notice spots on your driveway or smell gasoline periodically, you may have cracks in your fuel injection system. Your auto repair technician will recommend replacing your injectors as soon as possible.

Cleaning your Injectors

Gasoline deposits, minerals, dirt, and debris quickly build up inside your engine and clog your injectors, leading to the above problems. Thankfully, cleaning your injectors is an effective way to ensure your vehicle runs at its peak performance. Use the following steps to clean your injectors:

  1. Disable your fuel pump and connect a U-tube in its place. This ensures the fuel flows back into the tank.
  2. Disconnect the pressure regulator. In most vehicles, releasing a simple spring allows you to disconnect this part.
  3. Connect your fuel cleaning kit directly to the fuel port.
  4. Remove the fuel cap from gas tank and start the ignition.
  5. Open up the cleaning kit's valve. Be sure the pressure reading matches the reading to your specific car.
  6. Start the engine.
  7. Allow the cleaning solution to run through the injectors for 5 minutes. When complete, the engine will shut down.
  8. Reset the fuel pump.
  9. Place the gas cap back on the tank. Reconnect the pressure regulator.
  10. Restart your engine and allow the car to idle for a few minutes.

Your vehicle requires regular maintenance to protect its value, appeal, and performance. Using this guide, you can diagnose and clean problematic fuel injectors. 

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