Your car is a large investment and a necessary tool for getting where you need to go. Even with regular maintenance, there are issues that can build up in your engine and cause problems in the future. Adding a route of fuel injector cleaner when filling up with gas can save you a lot of expensive repairs and dangerous breakdowns.
Fuel Injector Technology
Your injectors deliver gasoline to your engine in carefully timed bursts. Each burst of gasoline comes from a small nipple, or injector. Over time, these bursts of gasoline can leave droplets of fuel on the injector nipple, leading to gunky carbon build-up. This build-up will ultimately alter the shape of the nipple and change the distribution of the gasoline, so cleaning up this gunk with a fuel injector additive is a simple and cost-effective preventative measure.
Who Needs Fuel Injector Cleaner?
Gasoline is functionally liquid energy, and burning it releases that energy as heat. Ethanol has the same characteristics, but because it's alcohol and not a petroleum product, the burn rate is different and can leave deposits on your injectors and in the combustion chamber.
For those of us old enough to have driven cars powered by carburetors, carbon is a known issue. The best way to burn the carbon out of a carburetor was to get the engine good and warm, driving the car rather hard to burn away carbon deposits, sometimes called varnish.
Because many drivers don't need to travel that far, we use our cars for short hops and don't give the engine a chance to warm up under load and function efficiently. Starting your car and letting it idle in the driveway will not suffice; the engine needs to be under power.
Getting and keeping your engine warm on long trips is still an efficient way to reduce carbon build-up, but as fuel injectors are much more efficient than carburetors were, a fuel injector additive is still a good investment. In fact, adding injector cleaner to your tank and getting your car on the road for a long trip is a great idea to keep injectors working efficiently.
How Do I Add Fuel Injector Cleaner?
Each injector cleaner has specific instructions as to when they should be added and how much driving you should do before and after. Fuel injector additives are always added to your gas tank with fuel; sometimes before and sometimes after. The most effective fuel injector cleaners offer drivers a chance to clean not only the injectors and ports, but also to clean away carbon in combustion chambers and remove deposits that damage or impede sensors.
Your dealership should have recommendations for the best products to add to your engine for an effective cleaning. If you prefer to work with a particular mechanic, follow their recommendations to make sure you're using the product best suited for your vehicle, your driving style and your fuel choice.
Whenever a car won't start or is running rough, there are only a few things to consider. If your car won't turn over, the problem is likely electrical. If it starts but runs rough or spews black smoke in the starting process, you've probably got a fuel distribution problem. Investing in a quality injector cleaner, applied with careful attention to the manufacturer's instructions, can improve your engine efficiency and save you a great deal of cash for gasoline and future repairs.