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Thread: Fuel injector cleaning - necessary or beneficial ??

  1. #1

    Fuel injector cleaning - necessary or beneficial ??

    2020 Subaru Forester with 40 k miles. Runs fine, gas mileage hasn’t dropped. At routine interval service it was suggested I “might consider” a shop performed preventative fuel injector cleaning. From what I read, opinions vary from “this might be a good practice” to “it might be akin to changing the air in the tires every 12 months”. Does anyone have any strong opinions (or any data)?
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Millstone, NJ
    Id say no, Id watch fuel economy and if you see it dip then look into that.

  3. #3
    If you buy good fuel and the car runs fine, as you say, you can probably wait until 60k or so.
    If you put in cheap fuel and your car doesn't run like new, then it might be worth it.
    The better the spray from the injector, the better the fuel burns, this results in more power and efficiency you get from your fuel. Nothing wrong with getting them cleaned earlier than scheduled, it won't hurt anything.
    Just my opinion not knowing anything else about the vehicle.
    Every manufacturer has a recommended schedule, I'd stick with it.
    Subaru is every 30k, I think

  4. #4
    My 2007 Toyota Sienna, 218K miles runs great. Never did injector cleaner. Maybe not the recommended procedure just throwing that out there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    Dr. Google is your friend:

    CARS.COM — Cleaning fuel injectors is a service frequently recommended by dealers and repair shops. But unless there are noticeable signs of clogged fuel injectors (such as a rough idle, stalling, poor acceleration or high emissions levels), it might not be necessary. One tipoff is that fuel injector cleaning is not typically listed on automakers’ routine maintenance schedules.
    Read at

    There are also cleaners available at automotive supply stores. Ask Dr. Google about > fuel injector cleaners < and one of the links will likely be on Forbes evaluation of which are the best. Hint they chose Red Line SI-1 Complete Fuel System Cleaner as the best choice. Available from Amazon.

    Sounds like a way for a shop to run some cleaner through your system to earn a bit more on the on the routine service.

    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 05-31-2023 at 11:42 AM. Reason: added: Sounds like…
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    To clean better then you can do they have to pull every injector and run pure cleaner through them while cycling them open. A gas engine will not run on pure cleaner. I have never cleaned the injectors. Change the fuel and air filter instead. Add some alcohol to the gas to clean out any water.
    In my state they add alcohol to the pump gas already. How about the OP's country?
    Bill D.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    SE Michigan
    I'll cut and paste this from my response in a previous thread on this about two years ago...

    In my 35 plus years working for an automotive OEM (retired in 2008), I neither experienced nor heard of an OEM approving any specific after market product for their vehicles. This included the period from 2000 - 2008 to where my department had responsibility for (among other components) fuel injector systems, air/exhaust control valves, etc.. These particular components are not designed by the OEM's but rather by the major component suppliers (such as Bosch, Siemens, Continental, Delphi, etc.) under the concept of "black box designs". The OEM provides the performance requirements of the parts and specific mating parameters (e.g., injector o-ring to manifold material) but leave the component internals and expertise up to the supplier (e.g., internal injector o-ring design and material) allowing the supplier to develop their advantage over their competition (e.g., pricing and performance). The OEM and chosen supplier then jointly coordinate the verification program to prove out the design.

    The OEM's and suppliers do not have manpower and capital to test every after-market additive. In addition, the after-market additive suppliers do not have the facilities/capability to endurance test every vehicle/application that they are selling to.

    My last discussion with any of the experts on this would have been in 2013. At that time, Bosch, Siemens and Continental recommended adding Chevron Techron to the tank for periodic injector cleaning.

    "Don't worry. They couldn't possibly hit us from that dist...."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    I have never experienced any fuel injector issues. That said, I use injector cleaner about once a year in all my vehicles.
    Please help support the Creek.

    The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. - Steven Wright

  9. #9
    Different fuels use different levels and formulations of detergents. These can cause deposits that clog injectors.
    If a "reputable" garage, like a dealer, offers and injector cleaning, they are typically removed from the car and cleaned by ultrasound and cleaning solution and spray pattern is checked.

    Running off the shelf FI cleaners in the fuel tank can help but are no substitute for an out of engine cleaning.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    We bought an '86 4-Runner with 19,000 miles on it. The engine was a 22RE engine with automatic transmission. Every 20 months or so, it would begin missing whenever you stopped at a stop sign. I 'd have the injectors cleaned and it would quit missing. At the time it was costing me over $200 to have them cleaned. My daughter and her now ex-husband both have degrees in automotive mechanics. He was working as a mechanic at a GM dealer. I called him about buying a professional injector cleaner kit. He said they cost over $300 at the time. Instead, he recommended I go to Chevron station, buy 2 bottles of Techron injector cleaner, pour it in the tank, fill the tank and put the car on the road until the tank was nearly empty before refueling. Then he recommended I use Chevron gas. At the time, Chevron was the only major supplier considered a "top tier" gasoline. I followed his advice and haven't cleaned an injector since then even in my company cars before retiring.

    Now days most of the major suppliers are top tier suppliers. I haven't had my local dealer recommend I clean either of our cars in a couple decades. I use several of the nationally known brands of gas as the need arises. I don't favor any one brand.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 05-31-2023 at 2:16 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Ontario, Canada
    I have a 2005 and a 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan. Neither has had the injectors cleaned or additives used for cleaning. Just checked the 2017's maintenance schedule and there is no mention at all of injector cleaning. Don't know about the 2005 but don't recall anything over its life.
    I did have the GM dealership do an injector cleaning they recommended on a '93 Blazer. No change as far as I could tell.

    Do what your owner's manual says, if it does, and forget about the up-selling.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Austin, TX
    After-market fuel additives are the wild west of snake oil. Kind of like the vitamin and dietary supplement industry. Poor regulatory oversight = buyer beware. Are there legitimate ones? Probably, but you'll spend your own money to find out.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Highland MI
    Blog Entries
    Reminds me of the time I took my car in for a small coolant leak. First thing out of the mouth of the mechanic was "please tell me you didn't put stop leak in it".
    NOW you tell me...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Iowa USA
    Posted from above he recommended I go to Chevron station, buy 2 bottles of Techron injector That is the only fuel system cleaner I have used for years IF I needed Chevron Techron Fuel System cleaner by far the best, IF Needed. You can buy at any good auto parts store.
    Last edited by Bill George; 06-01-2023 at 9:24 AM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Cloudray Galvo Fiber , -Windows 10

  15. #15
    Typically we (extended family) run vehicles to minimum 500K mark. Never once has injector cleaning been included in maintenance program. Do buy our gas at well used stations that pump around 10K gallons or more per week. Local Costco pumps over 10K gallons per day, but I don't buy fuel there as I don't want to wait in line for 30 minutes to save three cents per gallon. My time is more valuable.

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