The Best Fuel Injector Cleaners For 2020

Does your fuel injection system look like the inside of a shower drain? Is your acceleration sluggish, or is your car not giving you the fuel mileage it used to? If so, it might be time to get yourself one of the best fuel injector cleaner products for 2020. 

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll look at the price and suitability of a range of the best fuel injector cleaners.

When writing this buyer’s guide, we will be judging each product on a range of criteria, including whether it’s a dissolvable or detergent product, it’s price, size, suitability and whether it’s best for diesel cars, petrol cars, or both. 

Injector Cleaner TypeBrandSizes AvailableDissolvable or DetergentCheck Price
Gasoline & DieselChevron12oz and 20ozDissolvableCheck Price
Lucas32ozDetergentCheck Price
Royal Purple60ozDissolvableCheck Price
Marvel Mystery Oil12ozDissolvableCheck Price
Red Line15ozDissolvableCheck Price
Sea Foam16ozDissolvable Check Price
Gasoline onlyLiqui Moly10ozDissolvable Check Price
Gumout6ozDissolvable Check Price
Berryman15ozDissolvable Check Price
Diesel onlyPower Service32oz & 80ozDissolvable Check Price
Archoil8ozDissolvable Check Price
Hot Shot's Secret32ozDissolvable Check Price
Ethanol onlyLucas Oil16ozDissolvable Check Price

General Fuel Injector Cleaners

In this section, we’ll review the best fuel injector cleaners that are suitable for all vehicles.

Winner of ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner For 2020’

Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus

Brand: Chevron

Size: 12 oz and 20oz

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Petrol & Diesel

Dissolvable or Detergent: Dissolvable

Description: Chevron’s Techron Fuel System Cleaner is our pick for ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner 2020’ in the ‘General’ category. This product is immensely popular, and with good reason. It’s suitable for all vehicles, affordable and easy to use. The shape of the bottle makes it extremely easy to apply, and the bottle is resealable – so you can keep it for next time. Chevron recommends this product as a maintenance product but also recommends it to resolve engine knock, cold start, and run-on problems. If you are looking for an affordable, general option suitable for every vehicle, Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus is a great choice for you. 

Frequency: Use a 20oz bottle every 3,000 miles.


Runner Up for ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner For 2020’

Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubrication & Injector Cleaner 

Brand: Lucas 

Size: 32oz

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Both diesel and petrol

Dissolvable or Detergent: Detergent

Description: Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubrication and Injector Cleaner is our pick for runner up for ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner 2020’ in the ‘General’ category. This product is extremely affordable and suitable for a range of vehicles, from cars to trucks, to lawnmowers. This product is extremely efficient, and even neutralizes the harmful effects of low sulfur diesel fuel. This is a great maintenance product, as it works best when added to the engine every month. If you are looking for one solution for all your vehicles, this product is for you.

Frequency: Apply a squirt monthly, or as needed.


Royal Purple Max Atomizer Fuel Injector Cleaner

Brand: Royal Purple

Size: 60z

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Petrol and Diesel

Dissolvable or Detergent: Dissolvable

Description: Royal Purple Max Atomizer Fuel Injector Cleaner is a small, but mighty product. This product can be applied sparingly, as it is quite strong. It is especially suited to car maintenance, as it restores fuel economy and will stabilize the ethanol in your fuel. Long term, this product is very cheap and effective for the price – as it is fully synthetic and cheap to manufacture. If you are looking to increase your fuel economy, chuck a bottle of this product in the boot of your car, and apply with every refuel. 

Frequency: Apply a small amount with every refuel.


Marvel Mystery Oil Ultimate Fuel and Motor Treatment

Brand: Marvel Mystery Oil

Size: 12oz

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Diesel and Petrol Vehicles

Dissolvable or detergent: Dissolvable 

Description: Marvel Mystery Oil Ultimate Fuel and Motor Treatment are suitable for vehicles with very high mileage or vehicles that are used very frequently. It is suitable for direct injection (GDI) and hybrid vehicles and works in 4 cycles and 2 cycle engines. The twist top on the bottle gives you a contact-free application – so you won’t find yourself covered in marvel’s mystery oil. This product can be applied rarely, and sparingly, but is not higher on this list because it is not suitable for non-car engines. In other words, apply this product to your work vehicle, but keep it away from your lawnmower. That said, if you have a custom, heavy or fuel-guzzling car and need a product with serious results, this is a good choice for you. 

Frequency: Every refuel for work vehicles, or every 1,000 miles for recreational use.  


Red Line Complete Fuel Injector System Cleaner 

Brand Name: Red Line

Size: 15oz

Price: $$

Vehicle Type: Diesel and Petrol engines

Dissolvable or detergent: Dissolvable

Description: Red Line Complete Fuel Injector System Cleaner can be used in just about any type of engine, from cars to personal watercraft. This product will give you better fuel efficiency, for an extremely small amount of product. This all-American brand has been around since 1979, and their recipe has remained largely the same since then. Manufactured in America, this product is especially useful if you are looking to prevent corrosion in your fuel injection system. If you live in a very hot or wet climate, this product is perfect for you. Otherwise, Red Line products come with a slice of nostalgia and are perfect for classic or custom vehicles.  

Frequency: Apply a small among every 3,000 miles otherwise, or as often as desired.


Sea Foam Motor Treatment 

Brand Name: Sea Foam 

Size: 16oz

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Diesel and Petrol engines

Dissolvable or Detergent: Dissolvable 

Description: To say Sea Foam Motor Treatment is multi-purpose is an understatement. This product stabilizes fuels, cleans carb jets, and dissolves fuel residue out of your engine. It also resolves fuel buildups causing issues, can be added to crankcase oil, and is used to make the storage of fuel safer in garages. It’s apparently very effective in leaf blowers (although we cannot verify that). This product is 100% petroleum, and EPA registered. Sea Foam is popular, if not bizarrely named choice because of its wide range of uses and affordability. If you want to remove fuel on your vehicle, this product will soak it right up. It can even be used on clothes concrete and garage surfaces. Sea Foam is very effective in increasing your fuel mileage and is dirt cheap at less than $10 a bottle. We can also verify that it smells good. 

Frequency: For vehicle maintenance, add every re-fuel. For other purposes, please check the packaging for specific instructions.


Types of Fuel Injector Cleaner

In 2020, there are two main types of fuel injector cleaner available. These include dissolvents and detergents. In this article, we went through the best dissolvents and detergents together, as they can be used in many of the same vehicles. However, if you are unsure about the suitability of a product for your vehicle, it’s always best to consult your owners manual. 

Dissolvents

Dissolvents are the most common type of fuel injector cleaner. These products soak through residue, dissolving it and allowing it to leave your vehicle through your exhaust pipe. The active ingredient in dissolvents is Polyether Amine (PEA). 

Detergents 

Unlike dissolvents, detergents do not break down the residue in your fuel injector system. Instead, they simply force the carbon deposits to detach from your fuel system. 


Best Fuel Injector Cleaner Ingredients

The best fuel injector cleaner products use a combination of the right ingredients to give your car a thorough clean. Although you don’t have to read the label on every bottle of cleaner, it’s important to keep in mind that a cleaner without these three ingredients may not deliver you the results you paid for. 

Polyether Amine

Polyether Amine, or ‘PEA’, is the main cleaning ingredient in the best fuel injector cleaners. PEA removes the thick, solid deposits throughout your fueling system by breaking down the sediment deposits on a molecular level. As fuel moves throughout your car, these deposits travel with the fuel and are ejected through the vehicle’s exhaust pipe. Although PEA’s effects may seem dramatic, it cannot cause harm to your vehicle. PEA is an ingredient that removes hard residue. 

Polyisobutylene

Polyisobutylene, or ‘PIB’, is a chemical present in both diesel injector cleaners and fuel injector cleaners. Like detergent, PIB removes soft residue from injector and fuel lines, which will ensure fuel travels through your fueling system smoothly. PIB is the ingredient that removes soft residue. 

Polyisobutylene Amine

Polyisobutylene Amine, or PIBA, works with moisture to soak soften residue, allowing PEA and PIB to remove residue. If cleaning your fuel system was like doing dishes,  Polyisobutylene Amine would be the water that allows you to clean. Without PEA and PIB being present, Polyisobutylene Amine cannot clean your vehicle. Cleaners without Polyisobutylene Amine have been found to be less effective long-term. 


Gasoline Fuel Injector Cleaners

In this section, we are going to review the best fuel injector cleaners for gasoline vehicles. Although many cleaners are multi-use, many vehicle owners prefer specific products. 


Winner of ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner 2020’

Liqui Moly Jectron Gasoline Fuel Injection Cleaner

Brand: Liqui Moly

Size: 10 oz

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Gasoline only

Dissolvable or detergent: Dissolvable

Description: Liquid Moly Jectron Gasoline Fuel Injection cleaner is our pick for winner of ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner 2020’ in the ‘Gasoline’ section. We chose this product because it is not only very affordable and widely available but it removes carbon deposits from all aspects of your injection system, from your fuel pipes to your injectors. If you are looking to increase your mileage, this is a great option, as it stabilizes fuel and decreases the amount of pollution your vehicle produces. It also gets an honourable mention for being suitable for vehicles with catalytic converters. This product is also no-mess and is simply squirted into your fuel tank. 

Frequency: Every month, or 4th refuel.


Runner up of ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner 2020’

Gumout Fuel Injector & Carburetor Cleaner

Brand: Gumout

Size: 6 oz

Price: $$

Vehicle Type: Gasoline only

Dissolvable or detergent: Dissolvable

Description: Gumout Fuel Injector & Carburetor Cleaner is our pick for runner up for ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner 2020’. This product works by preventing carbon deposits from building up and works best as a maintenance product. Specifically, this product targets the fuel injection pipes and carburetor. Tests show this product is great at regulating the amount of fuel that enters the combustion chamber, so if you are looking to maintain your fuel efficiency, this product is a great choice. However, it isn’t rated higher, as it is more expensive than other products. Gumout get points for using glass packaging, and for not requiring the user to measure out quantities. 

Frequency: Use one entire bottle every 3,000 miles. 


Berryman High Mileage Fuel System Rejuvenator

Brand: Berryman Products 

Size: 15oz

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Gasoline only 

Dissolvable or detergent: Dissolvable 

Description: Berryman High Mileage Fuel System Rejuvenator is one powerful product. It’s suitable for smaller gasoline engines, and 2 stroke and 4 stroke marine engines. If your vehicle fits into those categories and has high mileage, this product is suited to your vehicle. While some fuel injector cleaners do not work on vehicles with excessive carbon build-up, Berryman’s products are very, very strong. While this product is effective, it is also highly concentrated, making it toxic if ingested, touched or inhaled. For that reason, vehicle owners with young children or pets should be careful to store this product carefully. However, if your vehicle has a mileage above 60,000 miles and you need something strong, this is your most affordable option. This product also gets bonus points for being entirely manufactured in the US. 

Frequency: Use every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, and use 1 oz per use. 


Diesel Fuel Injector Cleaners

In this section, we are going to review products specific to diesel vehicles. Keep in mind that each of these products has additional requirements. Before applying a new product to your vehicle, you should always consult your owner’s manual to check the product is right for you. 

Diesel Fuel Injector VS Petrol Fuel Injector Systems

As you can imagine, diesel cars work a little differently than petrol cars. Diesel and petrol may seem similar, but they are fundamentally different at a molecular level. The combustion of diesel and petrol is different. When the injector nozzles spray petrol into the combustion chamber, the fuel is mixed with air, but the chamber is a vacuum. This means that fuel injection systems have tighter nozzles – to build the pressure and control the amount of fuel. 

However, diesel is not mixed with air the same way, so the system uses a ‘VDO injector’. This means that the combustion chamber already has a small amount of air, and the fuel is sprayed at a higher pressure. As the injection systems are different, many products are only suitable for either a diesel engine or a petrol engine. Make sure you always read the label of the product you have chosen – to ensure it is suitable for your car. 


Winner of ‘Best Injector Fuel Cleaner 2020’

Power Service Clear Diesel Fuel and Tank Cleaner 

Brand: Power Service 

Size: 32oz & 80oz

Vehicle Type: Diesel only 

Dissolvable or Detergent: Dissolvable 

Description: Power Service Clear Diesel Fuel and Tank Cleaner is our choice for ‘Best Injector Fuel Cleaner 2020’ in the ‘Diesel’ category. This product is suited for all diesel fuels, including biodiesel, biodiesel blends, and Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD). This product is very affordable and can be stored for up to 24 months. It also protects your fuel injection system by removing additional water, carbon, and slime – which many other products are unable to do. It is also able to be used in wet and cold climates, as well as in high-mileage vehicles. If you are on the road all day or have a diesel vehicle that needs a really deep clean, this is a great option for you. 

Frequency: For the best results, apply every refuel. 


Runner up for ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner 2020’

Archoil Fuel Treatment Diesel Additive

Brand: Archoil 

Size: 8oz

Price: $$

Vehicle Type: Diesel vehicles only 

Dissolvable or detergent: Dissolvable 

Description: Archoil Fuel Treatment Diesel Additive is quite a new product on the market. However, it is already becoming popular, and for good reason. This product is incredibly good at preventing corrosion inside your fuel injection system and is quick to break down carbon deposits. It’s quite a multi-purpose product, as it lubricates the fuel injector pumps, stabilizes fuel, stops corrosion, and demulsifies, preventing moisture in your engine. If you live in an area with poor quality diesel or a populated city with pollution, this product is a great way to protect your car. However, it has a short shelf-life of fewer than 12 months and is slightly higher priced than many competing products. 

Frequency: Use every refuel.


Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme

Brand: Hot Shot’s Secret

Size: 32oz

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Diesel vehicles only 

Dissolvable or detergent: Dissolvable 

Description: Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme is an excellent choice for high-performance diesel vehicles. It improves cold starting and will ensure you don’t have a sluggish engine – which makes it great for work vehicles or 4WD’s. Specifically, it’s suited for semi-trucks. Pick-up trucks, farm equipment, and large cars. Unlike many other diesel cleaners, it also reduces the amount of black smoke that comes out of your engine. Hot Shot’s Secret is also based in Ohio, so if you want to support local manufacturing, you can’t go wrong here. 

Frequency: Apply this product every refuel. 


Ethanol Fuel Injector Cleaners

While most ethanol vehicles can tolerate the same fuel injector cleaners as gasoline vehicles, many ethanol vehicle owners take comfort in having a product that is specific to them. Although there aren’t enough ethanol specific cleaners to do a full review on, we thought we’d give an honorable mention to a product that is specifically for ethanol vehicles. 

Honourable Mention

Lucas Oil Safeguard Ethanol Fuel Conditioner

Brand: Lucas Oil

Size: 16 oz

Price: $

Vehicle Type: Ethanol engines

Dissolvable or detergent: Dissolvable

Description: Lucas Oil Safeguard Ethanol Fuel Conditioner is our choice for ‘Best Fuel Injector Cleaner’ in the ‘Ethanol’ category. Ethanol can leave a lot of residue inside the fuel injection system, making a good injector cleaner essential for every driver of an ethanol vehicle. This product is extremely effective and will remove almost all carbon deposits left behind by dissolving them. This product is also very suitable for wet or cold environments and can be used to stabilize fuels for up to six months at a time. At such a large volume for a low price, this is a great choice for regular vehicle maintenance. 

Frequency: Every refuel. 


Fuel Injector Cleaner: Explained

Fuel Injector Cleaner is a type of in-tank fuel additive that you put into your fuel tank to clean your fueling system. The cleaner is designed to clean the heavy carbon deposits that collect on your vehicle’s injector nozzles, valves, pistons, and cylinder heads. Although this may seem confusing, it’s very similar to washing dishes – just inside your car’s fueling system. 

Fuel injector cleaner is put into your fuel tank before the tank is filled with gas, and cleans your fueling system as you drive. 

Essentially, the best fuel injector cleaners provide your engine with a detox – like a spa day for your car. 


How A Fuel Injection System Works

Your vehicle’s fuel injection system is an essential part of your car. Without it, there would be no go after a greenlight. However, in petrol vehicles, this system is also extremely simple. 

Image credit: Janosko, Polenee and Somor, from the Electronic Encyclopedia of Construction Engines and Vehicles. 

Fuel Tank

The first major part of the fuel injection system is the Fuel Tank. The fuel tank is the part of the system that stores your fuel. The fuel tank is connected to the Feed Pump. 

Feed Pump

While you drive, the Feed Pump siphons the gas out of your Fuel Tank and pushes it through the tubes that make up the fuel injection system. It’s like the heart of the system, as without it, fuel couldn’t get from the tank to the injector. The feed pump is the first place that gas residue gets left, and it’s one of the most important to clean. The Feed Pump is directly linked to the Fuel Filter. 

Fuel Filter

The Fuel Filter is a filtration system designed to strain your petrol, to make sure the only thing that goes into your engine is petrol. It might seem ridiculous to think that petrol needs straining, but you’d be surprised. As you can imagine, the Fuel Filter is the second place that carbon residue pools, so it’s important to clean. The fuel filter is connected to the Inline Fuel Pump. 

Inline Fuel Pump

The Inline Fuel Pump is the second heat of the fuel injection system. It siphons gas from the Fuel Filter and pushes it through the fuel injectors. Although fuel has already been strained, this part of the engine must be clean, as, without it, the only thing going into your engine is dirt.

Injectors 

Your vehicle’s fuel injectors take petrol and push it into the injection nozzles, which distribute fuel into the combustion chamber. The pressure of this process is controlled by the pressure regulator. As you can imagine, your vehicle’s injection nozzles are very important, and like the two fuel pumps and the filter, they can easily become clogged by carbon residue.


The Benefits of Fuel Injector Cleaner

Although fuel companies will tell you their fuel is 100% pure, this is simply never true. Instead, the fuel you put in your car contains additives. These additives might be intentionally added, or are the result of your fuel being stored at the fuel farm for long periods of time. 

Either way, when there is a high degree of build-up inside the fueling system, fuel becomes trapped and is only released sporadically. This causes your car to become sluggish, as well as creating long term problems for your engine. However, you don’t need a blocked fuel tank to give your vehicle a clean. In fact, the benefits of using fuel injector cleaner include:

Preventing Residue From Building Up

The best fuel injector cleaners are regularly applied, ensuring that block-ups and residue are cleared before they cause you problems. This ensures that fuel runs through your vehicle smoothly, preventing your vehicle from feeling ‘sluggish’. 

Increasing your fuel mileage 

The mileage of your vehicle naturally decreases over time. However, regularly the best fuel injector cleaner products can help ensure your fuelling system is working as it should be. 

Decreases your maintenance costs

While it may seem more expensive to put additives in your fuel tank, the best fuel injector cleaners will save you money long term by keeping the costly mechanic away. 


How To Apply Fuel Injector Cleaner

While you can get your fuelling system professionally cleaned, professional cleans are expensive, time-consuming, and temporary. Instead, maintaining the health of your fuel system with a cleaner can give you good results for a great price.

When applying fuel injector cleaner, bring your fuel injector cleaner to the gas station with you, and apply it right before you fill your vehicle up with gas. 

When applying fuel injector cleaner, you need to follow three simple steps

  1. Ensure your car’s fuel tank is nearly empty. This will ensure you get the right product ratio, every time. 
  2. Unscrew the nozzle to your fuel tank and four the correct amount of cleaner into the tank. 
  3. After applying the product, fill your fuel tank with your regular fuel.

For the best results, always read the label on your cleaner product, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. 


When To Use Fuel Injector Cleaner

Fuel injector cleaner is best used as a maintenance product, as part of regular car maintenance. If you notice any serious problems with your engine, you should always take your vehicle to a mechanic. If you are worried about any of the following issues with your fuel injection system, it might be time for a cleaner. 

  1. Sluggish acceleration. Sluggish acceleration can be a sign of many car problems – including a battery that needs replacing. However, when your fuel injection system has carbon residue stuck in it, the amount of fuel your engine gets is irregular. This causes sluggish, or erratic acceleration. 
  2. A foul smell from your fuel injection system. When residue sits in your fuel injection for a long time, it can give off quite a sharp, moldy-petrol-like odor. If you notice this, and it isn’t coming from the battery, a fuel injector cleaner could be a good first start. 
  3. Petrol mileage is slowly decreasing. A clogged fuel injection system can also cause poor fuel mileage, as your car is working harder to get the same amount of fuel. 

While fuel injector cleaner is a helpful product, even the best fuel injector cleaner products can’t help with full blockages. If your vehicle’s issues aren’t resolving themselves, it’s time to get a professional clean done. While we like to advocate that every car owner can perform maintenance themselves, there are some things cars simply need professionals for. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you put fuel injector cleaner in before or after gas? 

For the best results, put fuel injector cleaner in your tank before fueling up your tank. This ensures that you get the right ratio of fuel injector cleaner, as you will know exactly how much fuel goes into your vehicle. 

How long does it take for fuel injector cleaner to work? 

Fuel injector cleaner runs through your vehicle as your vehicle uses fuel. Therefore, it can take several hours of driving for the best fuel injector cleaners to work. If your fuel system is blocked or unusable, you may need a professional clean. 

Can I put fuel injector cleaner in a full tank?

You should never put fuel injector cleaner into a full tank of fuel. This is because the cleaner will not evenly distribute throughout the fuel. This will cause the cleaner not to work and may make your car seem sluggish. 

How do you know if you need to use a fuel injector cleaner? 

You may need to use a fuel injector cleaner if your vehicle has sluggish acceleration. Alternatively, your engine might be slow to start or smelly while running. This simply means your engine’s fuel injector nozzles are clogged and need to be cleaned. 

How often should I use a fuel injector product? 

Fuel injector cleaner works best when used every 10,000 miles. However, this depends on the age of your vehicle and the condition of your fuel tank. If you are unsure, consult your owner’s manual for the best advice for your vehicle. 

What is fuel injector cleaner made of? 

Fuel injector cleaner contains three key ingredients. This includes Polyether Amine (PEA) and Polyisobutylene (PIB) to clean your fuel system, and Polyisobutylene Amine (PIBA) to soften the residue. 

Should I idle my vehicle after applying fuel injector cleaner?

Some fuel injector manufacturers recommend that you idle your vehicle after applying a fuel injector cleaner. This is because they want to ensure the product is evenly distributed throughout your fuel tank. For best results, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. When applying fuel injector cleaner at the gas station, you can always pull into a parking space, and idle your vehicle there. 


The Bottom Line

Choosing the right fuel injector cleaner for your vehicle depends on a number of things. Firstly, you must always consider the type of fuel that goes into your vehicle. Secondly, there are plenty of expensive options available for vehicle owners – but don’t feel pressured. Some of the best options on the market are the most affordable. The best fuel injector cleaner you can buy is always going to be the one that is best suited to your vehicle.

If you’d like to read more of our buyers guides, you can find our guide on car wax here, and our guide on car batteries here.

Karie is the happy owner of a funky 2018 Nissan Juke Ti-S AWD. After growing up around her family’s mechanics shop, she is passionate about bringing budget-friendly car care to every driver. Karie has a business degree and is a lifelong wakeboarder from the sticks.

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