The fuel injectors in your car are small fuel valves. However, in spite of their small stature, they are of vital importance. The injectors are responsible for atomising fuel and turning it into a fine mist as it passes through the fuel injection valve via a plunger forcing the fuel out of the injectors. If you fail to clean your fuel injectors, your vehicle performance suffers significantly and your fuel efficiency decreases markedly. Effectively cleaning your fuel injectors takes time and a little technical know-how, but allows you to get the best fuel efficiency from your vehicle without the cost of hiring a professional.
Know the Symptoms of Dirty Fuel Injectors
Regardless of whether your vehicle is showing any clear symptoms of dirty fuel injectors, you should perform cleaning at least every 25,000 miles. This ensures your vehicle maintains optimum fuel efficiency and performance. This is particularly important, as unless the decrease in fuel efficiency is very rapid, you may not notice it. However, one of the key indicators is a considerable rise in fuel consumption per mile. This indicates that there is at least partial clogging in the injector nozzles. Repeated chugging in the engine as your travel is another obvious symptom, along with a noticeable increase in engine noise. This occurs as the engine must work harder to burn the fuel, and if the nozzles have even partial blockage, less fuel passes through, often at irregular intervals.
Gather the Supplies You Need to Clean Your Fuel Injectors
You need a range of personal protective equipment, or PPE, to safely clean your fuel injectors, including vinyl gloves, safety goggles, a dust mask, and long-sleeved clothing. This ensures you do not inhale or come into direct contact with any of the dangerous and corrosive cleaning chemicals. Buy a high-quality fuel injector cleaning kit, such as one offered by 3M.
Clean Your Fuel Injectors
Move your vehicle outside so you have plenty of ventilation and ensure there are no heat sources or naked flames anywhere nearby. Once the engine is completely cold, open the bonnet and disconnect the fuel pump from the fuel injectors, and then open up your petrol tank by removing the petrol cap. This provides a pressure vent and prevents combustion. To avoid the flammable cleaning agents from coming into contact with your fuel, which is also highly flammable, run a fuel hose to act as a fuel return line back into the fuel tank, creating a localised fuel circuit which stops fuel running through the engine when you turn the ignition. Fit the fuel injector cleaning kit, according to the manufacturer's directions, start the engine, and allow the kit to finish the cycle, which usually lasts around 10 minutes. Disconnect the kit and discard safely, reconnect the fuel injectors and fuel pump, and return the fuel line back to its normal position.