What Are The Best Fuel Injector Cleaner Options of 2020?

Best Fuel Injector Cleaners

Have you noticed that your car does not run like it used to? Does it feel like you are getting fewer and fewer miles out of every tank? Worrying that your ride might be heading toward a premature grave? Before you retire old reliable for an expensive newer model, make sure your issue cannot be solved with an easy fix. One of the main causes of your cars stunted performance could be dirty fuel injectors.

Fuel injectors are the valves that shoot gasoline into the engine, which in turn gets combusted and becomes the energy that (literally) drives you. If your fuel injectors are all clogged full of gunk, you will not be able to get the most out of your vehicle, and it will be your wallet that will feel it the most. That is why some good fuel injector cleaner can really make a huge difference in the life of your car. Once all that gunk is cleared out and the fuel can flow freely once more, your car will be running better than it has in a long time.

This useful guide will help you determine which fuel injector cleaner of 2020 is best fuel injector cleaner for you, so that you can be out cruising the open road again in no time.

Our #1 Choice
Sea Foam 1 Pack (16 Ounce) Extreme Marine & Rv SF-16 Seafoam Liquid 16 Fl Oz
Runner-up
Lucas 10003 Upper Cylinder Lubrication & Injector Cleaner 32 oz.
Honorable Mention
Red Line (60103) Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner Gas and Injector Additive Treatment-15 oz Bottle
Sea Foam 1 Pack (16 Ounce) Extreme Marine & Rv SF-16 Seafoam Liquid 16 Fl Oz
Lucas 10003 Upper Cylinder Lubrication & Injector Cleaner 32 oz.
Red Line (60103) Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner Gas and Injector Additive Treatment-15 oz Bottle
$6.97
$11.47
$12.05
Our #1 Choice
Sea Foam 1 Pack (16 Ounce) Extreme Marine & Rv SF-16 Seafoam Liquid 16 Fl Oz
Sea Foam 1 Pack (16 Ounce) Extreme Marine & Rv SF-16 Seafoam Liquid 16 Fl Oz
$6.97
Runner-up
Lucas 10003 Upper Cylinder Lubrication & Injector Cleaner 32 oz.
Lucas 10003 Upper Cylinder Lubrication & Injector Cleaner 32 oz.
$11.47
Honorable Mention
Red Line (60103) Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner Gas and Injector Additive Treatment-15 oz Bottle
Red Line (60103) Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner Gas and Injector Additive Treatment-15 oz Bottle
$12.05

1. Sea Foam sf-16 Fuel Treatment

The Sea Foam sf-16 Fuel Treatment fuel injector cleaner is one of the best fuel injector cleaner options available. This fuel treatment cleaner reduces emissions, improves power, and bumps up gas mileage. If you start using Sea Foam to clean your fuel injectors, you will quickly notice a serious uptick in your car’s performance and a major decline in money spent at the gas pump.

Sea Foam is a versatile solution that works well for cleaning sludge and debris clogging your fuel injectors, and also helps destroy the gunk and sludge mucking up your oil lines. This cleaner is easy for anyone to use, and, best of all, Sea Foam is cheap. It costs less than other fuel injector cleaners that not only do not work as well but also only give you bottles one third as big. Add it all up, and it is clear that you cannot go wrong with using Sea Foam fuel injector cleaner.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Works for oil and gas
  • Reduces emissions
  • Improves power
  • Improves gas mileage
  • Low price

Cons

  • None

2. Lucas 10003 Upper Cylinder Lubrication & Injector Cleaner

The Lucas 10003 Upper Cylinder Lubrication and Injector Cleaner is another great all around option. This big bottle is extremely cheap, giving you multiple uses for very little cost. On top of that, this cleaner also improves your efficiency, which will save you even more money. This adds up to the ultimate choice of fuel injector cleaners for those who are just trying to save a couple bucks.

Lucas 10003 can be used for a variety of things, as well. It works on oil and gas lines, and it works for both gas and diesel engines. Plus, it can be used to pass smog emission tests. No matter what kind of vehicle you have, Lucas can have a big impact on your vehicle’s performance and a small one on your bank account.

Pros

  • Very low price for 32 fl oz. bottle
  • Works on oil and gas
  • Improves fuel efficiency
  • Works for gas and diesel
  • Helps pass smog tests

Cons

  • None

3. Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner

The (60103) Complete Sl-1 Fuel System Cleaner is a great choice for people looking to make an immediate impact by cleaning their fuel injectors. This solution boasts a nearly perfect clean after just one use, and it is also safe to be used regularly again and again. So, if you are looking for something that you can use time and time again to clear your fuel injectors up, this cleaner is a great choice for you.

This cleaner helps restore your engine’s power back to where it used to be before getting bogged down with all this gunk. However, even with all the cleaning there is still no discernable difference in gas mileage after use. But if you are mostly interested in returning some much needed power to your ride, Red Line is a great choice.

Pros

  • Cleans nearly 100% in one use
  • Restores engine power
  • Safe for continual use

Cons

  • No real noticeable difference in gas mileage

4. 104 + OCTANE BOOSTFuel Injector Cleaner

104+ OCTANE BOOST Fuel Injector Cleaner is a great option if you are looking to take your clean to the next level. Why stop at fuel injectors? This solution gets in and cleans the entire fuel system, so that gas can flow freely and your vehicle can operate almost at brand new.

If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, 104+ does an excellent job of reducing emissions so you can feel less guilty every time you hop in your car and go for a ride. It also helps smooth out those rough rides, making your overall driving experience much more pleasant. However, you may want to stock up on 104+ because even though it may claim you only need one bottle to see a big difference, it usually takes two or more to create a truly noticeable effect.

Pros

  • Advanced formula cleans whole fuel system, not just fuel injectors
  • Reduces emissions
  • Smooths out rough ride

Cons

  • Need two bottles to achieve the advertised effect of just one

5. ACDelco X66P Fuel Injector and Upper Engine Cleaner

The ACDelco X66P Fuel Injector and Upper Engine Cleaner is a versatile choice that could help eliminate a number of issues in your vehicle. This cleaner works for both diesel and gasoline engines, doing a great job of smoothing out the ride for both types. And that obnoxious rattling noise will be silenced once you put some ACDelco in there.

ACDelco has a very low volatile organic compound count, making it a safer option that will not seriously contaminate the air around you. However, if you are not at least a little knowledgeable about car mechanics, you might want to stay away from this option. You have to pop the hood to pour it in, so unless you know what is going on in there you should probably steer clear and pick a different fuel injector cleaner.

Pros

  • Can be used to clean residue of variety of parts
  • Smooths out rough ride
  • Eliminates annoying rattling, pinging noises
  • Works for diesel and gas
  • Low VOC (volatile organic compound) count, safer

Cons

  • Different, more confusing application

6. Throttle Muscle Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner

Throttle Muscle TM8272 Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner can do a lot of very useful things for your vehicle. This cleaner has a super concentrated formula that boosts its effectiveness, improving both gas mileage and engine performance. It also helps smooth out starting, idling, and accelerating. On top of that, this formula will also decrease your vehicle’s emissions, which in turn helps save the planet.

Throttle is only sold in small 6 fl oz. bottles, so you get very limited use out of one container. This is an even bigger issue since it usually requires a few uses before you will start to notice any changes. Even though you might have to buy in bulk to make this fuel injector cleaner effective, Throttle does do a great job of cleaning and restoring your engine when used regularly.

Pros

  • Super concentrated formula makes it extra effective
  • Improves gas mileage and engine performance
  • Smooths out starting, idling, and acceleration
  • Decreases emissions

Cons

  • Only sold in small, 6 fl oz. bottles
  • Hard to see a difference after one use

7. STP Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner

The STP Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner is another great choice to help get the most performance out of an older vehicle. This solution works with any type of gas system, even ones without caps. By destroying dangerous buildup in the fuel injectors, STP improves fuel efficiency, power, and acceleration, making your old ride feel like new again.

Unfortunately, STP is only for sale in small 5.25 fl oz. bottles. Plus, those bottles are not the most secure or reliable, often leaking contents all over the place. The packaging might be enough to discourage you, but the solution inside is the real deal when it comes to fuel injector cleaners.

Pros

  • Works with cap-less gas systems
  • Improves fuel efficiency
  • Eliminates harmful buildup and deposits
  • Improves power and acceleration

Cons

  • Only sold in small, 5.25 fl oz. bottles
  • Leaky packaging

8. Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System Cleaner

The Chevron 65740 Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System Cleaner is a good bang for your buck buy. It comes in a 20 fl oz. bottle that is remarkably cheap compared to some of the other fuel injector cleaners out there. This solution goes the extra mile, deeply cleaning the entire fuel system while also protecting it against further buildup. It also improves gas mileage and helps to keep it more stable, so you will not have to worry about your fuel economy fluctuating wildly.

Chevron takes multiple use before it starts making a noticeable impact, but at least it comes in a bigger bottle so you do not have to worry about restocking as much.

Pros

  • Cheap for 20 fl oz. bottle
  • Cleans and protects entire fuel system, not just fuel injectors
  • Improves gas mileage and helps it remain more stable

Cons

  • Takes repeated uses to start noticing effects

9. Schaeffer Manufacturing Diesel Treat 2000

The Schaeffer Manufacturing Co. 0137ULSW-004S Diesel Treat 2000 fuel injector cleaner is one of the best, if not the best, fuel injector cleaners around. So why is it not higher on the list? Because this magic formula is only to be used with diesel engines. Therefore, it just cannot be considered as useful overall.

But that does not mean it is worthless. No, the Schaeffer Diesel Treat 2000 is chocked full of great stuff. It uses SynShield technology to create a sort of protective layer around the metal to help prevent future sludge buildup. It is very effective in the winter, preventing your fuel lines from freezing. Also, it improves your car’s fuel economy up to 3%, saving you money in the long run. Plus, it comes in a gallon jug so you get plenty of uses from it. If you have a diesel engine, this is the fuel injector cleaner for you.

Pros

  • Comes in gallon jug
  • SynShield technology creates protective layer around metal
  • Effective even in winter, prevents freezing
  • Improves fuel economy up to 3%

Cons

  • Only to be used with diesel engines

10. Royal Purple Max Clean

Max Clean is a fuel injection cleaner that works as a regular cleaner on cars that see a lot of use and also on vehicles that have been idle for an extended period.

This product has several chemical compounds that reduce buildup on all parts of the fuel system. It improves performance in terms of fuel economy and horsepower.

Royal Purple Max Clean also has lower than average chemical and carbon emissions. This trait makes it more eco-friendly.

Pros

  • Royal Purple Max Clean works as both a cleaner and a fuel system stabilizer.
  • This cleaner can clean fuel systems on cars that have been idle for long periods.
  • It can reduce carbon emissions.
  • Max Clean can improve fuel economy by up to 3.2%

Cons

  • Other injection cleaners are available for slightly cheaper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Fuel Injection Cleaner Do?

No gas that you purchase from the gas station is entirely pure. Yes, some premium gases are better than regular fuel, but they will all still leave residue in your car’s system. Injection cleaner removes this residue and any contaminants so that they do not affect your injection systems.

When they are working correctly, fuel injectors spray a fine mist into your engine intake valves. Contaminants can obstruct this process. Usually, it takes time for a full obstruction to take place, but even a partial obstruction can affect the performance and efficiency of your engine.

Injection cleaner dissolves the deposits and contaminants that cause these observations and get everything running smoothly again.

A clean fuel injector can improve fuel economy because it allows the maximum amount of fuel to reach the engine.

What is Fuel Injection Cleaner Made Of?

Fuel injection cleaners have different components, but most contain three chemicals. They are Polyisobutylene, Polyether Amine, and Polyisobutylene Amine.

  • Polyisobutylene, PIB for short, acts as a soap or washing detergent. It scrubs the residue off of fuel lines and out of the fuel injector.
  • Polyether Amine, PEA for short, provides a deeper cleaning. Its job is to dissolve solid deposits that can build up in fuel lines and cause uneven spray in the fuel injection system.
  • Polyisobutylene Amine, also known as PIBA, is another detergent. It focuses on moisture rather than solids.

Fuel injection cleaners may have different ingredients, but if you want results, then these three ingredients are essential. Fuel injector cleaners use them in various ratios and with other additives that have additional functions.

How Often Should You Use Fuel Injection Cleaner?

You will hear lots of different answers to this question. Manufacturers have different formulas and different ratios of the main ingredients. However, most provide guidelines about how often to use their product and how much to use.

In general, you should go about 10,000 miles before performing any preventive maintenance. The exact amount of time or number of miles varies from car to car, but it should be longer for newer cars. Also, the type of gas that you use and the condition of the engine can affect the timeframe. Most gases have some level of detergent for cleaning the fuel system, but amounts vary.

How Do You Use Fuel Injection Cleaner?

Each bottle will come with directions that you should follow. Most fuel injection cleaners require the following steps:

  • It is best to wait until your car’s gas tank is nearly empty. Doing this will ensure that you have the proper ratio of gas to cleaner.
  • Following the directions, you pour one “dose” of cleaner into the fuel tank. Depending on the cleaner, the measurement could be an entire bottle or a portion of a bottle. The amount will also depend on the capacity of your fuel tank.
  • You then fill the car with fuel like normal. You need to fill it to capacity to obtain the correct ratio of gas to cleaner.
  • Some fuel injector cleaners have additional steps. They may include directions to idle or drive your car for a certain amount of time so that the cleaner gets cycled through the fuel injection system.

Special Fuel Injector Cleaners for Long Term Storage

Another reason to use a fuel injection cleaner is to prevent buildup when you store your car for an extended period. You use special fuel conditioners for this purpose. These usually require that you drive or idle your car to ensure that the cleaner cycles through the system. You can leave your car for a season without having to worry about deposits or residue buildup in your fuel system.

This type of cleaning is for cars that you may store during one season of the year or hobby vehicles that you may only drive on the weekend or for special occasions.

Can Fuel Injection Cleaners Save You Money?

You will get different answers to this question. If you perform regular maintenance on your fuel injection system by using a cleaner every 10,000 or so, you may avoid more expensive repairs.

Mechanics can clean fuel injectors by removing them and running them through a special machine. This process can be quite expensive. You can seek to avoid it with regular fuel injection cleaner usage.

Another way that this could save you money is by improving efficiency. A clean fuel injection system will help your car achieve maximum efficiency, so cleaning at regular intervals can help you save money on gas.

A Note On Choosing A Great Injector Cleaner

Fuel injectors are the part of the car that sends the fuel into the engine, where it is burned up and converted into the energy used to power the car and get you from A to B. These fuel injectors have little nozzles on them that spray the gasoline. This is wherein the problem lies.

No matter how good the fuel you are using is, it is not one 100% pure. There are various particles in there floating around that do not contribute to powering your vehicle. These floating substances start to clog the fuel injector nozzles with sludge and gunk and all sorts of gross stuff. This in turn makes it harder to get fuel to the engine, making the engine less powerful and your gas mileage less efficient. It also makes acceleration more uneven, so that driving your car quickly becomes an unpleasant and even dangerous experience. Overall, this can cost you a lot of money and time.

Fuel injector cleaners get into the fuel lines and clear away this buildup. Using them can improve engine performance, efficiency, and just make your ride feel a whole lot smoother. That is why it is important to get one of the best fuel injector cleaners for your needs. When deciding between cleaners, they can focus on different aspects, like restoring lost engine power, or improving your efficiency, or even reducing your emissions. You need to make sure that your fuel injector cleaner is able to do the job you bought it to do.

You also need to consider a few other things when selecting a fuel injector cleaner. You need to make sure it matches up to the type of engine you have, diesel or gas. Some cleaners are also useful for cleaning other parts of your engine, which might be of use to you as well. Also, make sure you know how to use the fuel injector cleaner you get. Most are easy enough to use and just get poured into your gas tank when you fill up, but others require a detailed knowledge of your car’s inner workings. If you cannot figure out how to apply it, then it is of no use to you.

Conclusion

We put our cars through a lot. They are with us pretty much everywhere we go. That is why it is important to take care of them so they can last for a long time in great working condition. If your vehicle is starting to slip in efficiency and performance, try using fuel injector cleaners to restore some of that lost luster. A little bit can go a long way, and regularly using a fuel injector cleaner can put years and miles back on the table. We expect so much from our cars. Make sure you take care of yours so that you can get every last mile out of it. Use this guide here to choose the best fuel injector cleaner for you, and restore your ride to its former glory.

Brett Gordon
 

The engine behind editing at Dig My Ride and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends his time contributing to the online world of automotive tech & trends.