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How to Clean Fuel Injectors

Buzzle Staff
Whether you love your car, or love saving money on fuel expenses, having a clean and well-functioning engine will be your biggest concern. The fuel injectors being one of the prime parts in the fuel efficiency game, keeping them clean will always be a very important thing.
There are two ways of cleaning fuel injectors. One is to use a fuel injector cleaner, available in the market and do it yourself. Another method is to have it professionally serviced and cleaned.
While the latter may be more expensive and time-consuming, it also can be the best process. This process is better, because in addition to cleaning, repair is done on the injector at the same time. It should be undertaken approximately once a year, or according to your dealer's instructions.
The fuel injector is a small engine part, that injects fuel at a rate that is controlled by the ECU (Engine Control Unit).
The fuel pump supplies pressurized fuel to the injector, which is then atomized and sprayed into the intake valve of the engine, according to the air-to-fuel ratio requirements. It allows the filtered fuel to be used by the engine correctly.
Cars run properly and get the best mileage, when the fuel injection system works properly and stays clean. The fuel injector cleaning process works best if you can find the optimum fuel injector cleaner for your particular car.

How to Clean Fuel Injectors

Step 1: Disable Fuel Pump and Block Fuel Line

You will need an injector cleaning kit. After you have bought a kit, first read the instructions. You will need to locate the injector and make sure that fuel will not go through it, while the engine is operational.
This can be ensured by using tubing, to bypass the fuel injector (making the fuel return to the tank) or removing the fuel pump (along with blocking the fuel return line) and preventing fuel to enter the injectors.

Step 2: Disconnect the Fuel Pressure Regulator

Before continuing with connection of the fuel injector cleaner kit, you must disconnect the fuel pressure regulator.

Step 3: Connect Cleaning Kit

Now you can connect the cleaning kit to the fuel input port, which is part of the fuel rail. Before going ahead, remove the fuel cap from the tank, to release the pressure that may be built up by the cleaning kit.

Step 4: Set Cleaning Kit Valve Pressure & Start Engine

Check your car manual for the precise injection pressure value and open the kit valve till the pressure value matches the recommended value. Now you can start the engine, which will send the cleaning solvent through the injectors and clean out any debris that's preventing proper operation. The complete passage of the cleaning fluid will take a few minutes.
Once the fluid has done its job, you can switch off the engine. Restore the fuel pump and fuel line, back to working condition and reconnect the fuel pressure regulator. At this point, you are done with the job.
When you attempt to start the engine, without the cleaners hooked up to the engine, you will notice a significant change in performance. If you do not notice any difference, you will need go to a fuel injector cleaning service at your local mechanic shop.

Cleaning vs. Replacement

Today's fuel standards are much better than what they used to be, and so are the fuel injectors. That said, fuel injectors are still not all that easy to replace, because of their cost.
But you can't keep using a clogged injector either; the fuel sprayed into the engine is irregular in this case, which reduces fuel efficiency.
DIY cleaning kits are good, although they are no real substitute to a good mechanic. Products like BG 44K® do improve the fuel injector's spray a little, but not so much as to eliminate mechanical assistance altogether. It is still suggested to use the cleaner twice a year - once after winter fuel stops and once after summer fuel stops.
Replacement is no minor thing either. Good injectors cost quite a buck, so it's not wise to keep replacing them every time one goes bad. But with the advantage of good technology, you don't have to replace for a long time anyway.
Other options include using seafoam, which creates quite a bit of smoke for a few minutes. If you're going for a DIY method, it will most likely involve cleaning fluids or detergents that clean out the entire system. Also, it does take some qualified effort to completely clean out the dirt caked up inside the injector's nozzle.
Be sure to take your car to a mechanic if you have finished cleaning the injectors and you do not notice any improvement in the way the engine runs. Cleaning fuel injectors is a bit of a chore, but it can end up saving you money and time in the long run.