Clogged fuel injectors can have a bunch of unpleasant repercussions for your car. From reduced mileage to poor running, it’s not a problem you want to ignore.
If you’re trying to watch your pennies, you should know that you can fix it without visiting a garage.
In this guide to cleaning your car’s fuel injectors, we cover all the tools and products you’ll need to DIY, and the steps to follow to carefully get the job done.
Can you clean fuel injectors yourself?
Cleaning your fuel injectors isn’t a task everyone will want to take on, but it is doable should you want to skip the garage.
If your fuel injectors get clogged, your car could run poorly, your mileage will be affected and you might even begin to notice your car idling roughly.
To get started, you’ll need the following tools and equipment:
- Wrench set
- Air compressor
- Fuel injector cleaning kit
How do you clean your fuel injectors?
If you’re unfamiliar with what’s under your bonnet, you may want to skip to our section on fuel injector cleaning for beginners.
As this method requires no removal, you can definitely carry it out as a novice. However it could take longer, and may require some help from your manual on locating the parts involved.
1. Get prepared
Before you even get started on the cleaning, you need to be dressed appropriately. You should only be working on a cool engine, however a fitted long sleeved top and full-length trousers will protect your skin should any accidents occur.
You then need to decide where to clean your fuel injectors. As you’ll be using cleaning solvents, you want to choose a well ventilated area, such as a driveway or open garage.
Having an area for your tools to be laid out and within reach can also quicken the process.
2. Locate your fuel injectors
If it’s your first time cleaning your fuel injectors (whether for a new car or at all), you might not be sure where they’re located. They can be found in different layouts under the hood depending on the car make and model, so double check your vehicle manual if you’re uncertain.
3. Disconnect the fuel pump from fuel injectors
Locate the fuel pump at the side of the engine, and gently pull the fuel injectors to disconnect them from the pump. Then connect the fuel return line with the fuel pump in order for the gas to return to the tank when you’re cleaning.
4. Disconnect the pressure regulator
Your car manual should indicate whether you need to do this step. If necessary, just look for the pressure regulator and the vacuum line, gently pulling to disconnect.
5. Connect your cleaning kit to the fuel port
Find your fuel port, then follow your cleaning kit’s directions for attaching the hose and port.
6. Remove the fuel tank cap
This will prevent an excessive build up of pressure.
7. Turn on your car engine
Start your car and wait for the cleaning solution to be used up (typically 5-10 minutes).
8. Remove your cleaning kit
Disconnect your cleaning kit from the car and re-attach the pressure regulator and the fuel pump.
9. Turn your car on
Your car should be good to go, but listen out for any unusual noises. If you think you’ve carried out the cleaning successfully but still notice your car running abnormally, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic.
Fuel injector cleaning with removal
If the first method didn’t quite do the trick, you also have the option to remove your fuel injectors entirely and clean them yourself.
- Like before, you’ll need to drain the fuel pressure by running your engine with the fuel pump disconnected. The process of removing the injectors will vary depending on the make and model of the car, so it’s best to follow the method indicated for your car.
- With your fuel injectors safely removed, you can now clean them individually. Using a soft-bristled brush, you can apply your carburetor cleaner to the outside.
- Use a fuel injector jumper in order to open up the fuel injector, then spray your cleaner through each side of the fuel injector.
- Once you’re finished cleaning, you can reconnect your fuel injectors, reconnect the fuel pump, and re-start your engine.
Cleaning fuel injectors for beginners
For car enthusiasts, cleaning your car engine and fuel injectors is likely just another day’s work.
For the less mechanically minded, the hassle and fear of doing something wrong may have you searching for the beginner’s option.
Fortunately, there’s a fairly simple method you can try before resorting to online videos or mechanics.
Fuel injector cleaners are available from most garages or online maintenance stores, and are designed for quick and simple use:
- Pour the specified amount of cleaner into your near empty fuel tank.
- Fill the tank with the correct fuel.
- Repeat when you next need to refill your tank.
If you’re still facing issues like reduced fuel economy, poor acceleration or rough idling, it’s best to consult a professional. A mechanic will be able to do it quickly and safely, particularly if you’re not confident carrying out the cleaning yourself.
Though fuel injector cleaning won’t be included in your car service, you can get a fuel injector service add-on.
Having a car maintenance checklist and taking your car for regular servicing will help pick up on these issues, which will in turn keep you from an MOT fail, racking up more damage and repair charges, and it’ll improve the resale value of your car.