Reviews

The Best Fuel Injector Cleaners: Improve Your Vehicle's Performance

Cleaning out your vehicle with fuel injector cleaner can be a great option for you.

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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON July 12, 2021

It’s no secret that the key to getting your engine to hum like a dream is a smooth combustion system. You can have a ride looking like it’s straight out of Fast and Furious, but without a good fuel injection setup, the sputtering motor will give you away pretty quickly. Now, everyone knows about fuel injector cleaners — you’ve probably passed by these auto fluids in gas stations or hardware stores and wondered how they work. Giving your tired car a boost, it’s a matter of chemically (and physically) adjusting the contents in your fuel tank to provide optimum combustion efficiency. 

 

However, fuel injector maintenance is about more than just a few drops of fluid here and there. If you really want to get a boost, there are fuel injector cleaning kits that can help your older model run like a dream. Whether you’re polishing up an old junker or want your new ride to really sing, this breakdown details the best fuel injector cleaners that will get the job done right.

Best Overall
Gumout High-Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner
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Summary
Summary

Coming in a set of six, this fuel injector cleaner is designed for older vehicles. Compatible with manufacturer warranties, this cleaner is safe to use and works well.

Pros
Pros
  • Works on rides with more than 75,000 miles
  • Helps prevent future build-up
  • Reduces overall exhaust emissions
Cons
Cons
  • Clear bottles make contents vulnerable to light
  • Each bottle only works for a single fuel injector cleaning
Best Overall
Gumout High-Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner
Best Value
Sea Foam IC5 Fuel Injector Cleaner
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Summary
Summary

This product cleans fuel injectors and improves fuel injector spray patterns. A 5.25-ounce bottle treats up to 25 gallons.

Pros
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Simple to use
  • Reduces exhaust emissions
  • Boosts overall performance
Cons
Cons
  • Some users don’t notice a difference in fuel economy as product promises
Best Value
Sea Foam IC5 Fuel Injector Cleaner
Honorable Mention
STP Water Remover All Season Cleaner
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Summary
Summary

Eliminating water from your system, this chemical formula avoids the use of alcohol to provide safe, consistent results. It works to keep fuel injectors clean and optimize engine performance throughout the year.

Pros
Pros
  • Comes in a set of 12 containers
  • Treats up to 21 gallons with a single bottle
  • Works with vehicles that have a capless gas setup
Cons
Cons
  • Each bottle works for just one cleaning
  • Doesn’t have a very long shelf life
  • Comes at a higher price than some other models
Honorable Mention
STP Water Remover All Season Cleaner

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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Fuel Injector Cleaner

  • Restored performance. When your engine isn’t delivering the power it previously exhibited, a fuel injector cleaner is one of your best allies. You can add injector cleaner into the fuel system to get rid of any clogs or caked-on residue, two factors that can hamper your engine’s performance. With these cleaners, your engine can work with better efficiency and less difficulty, helping it show off its power on the road.
  • Quicker, smoother acceleration. In addition to improved engine performance, fuel injector cleaners can also benefit your acceleration. When these products clean up the gunk inside your fuel system you’ll often notice speedier, faster acceleration thanks to the more efficient and powerful engine you’re working with.
  • Improved fuel efficiency. If you’ve noticed your fuel system isn’t as efficiently putting gasoline to use as it did previously, a fuel injector cleaner can help restore your lost efficiency. These cleaning agents can deliver better gas mileage, helping keep gas moving smoothly through the fuel system and eliminating clogs or other problems. As a result, you’ll likely find you can travel farther on a tank of gas — and you’ll save money as you fuel up less frequently.
  • Less maintenance. With the helpful cleaning agents found in fuel injector cleaners, you can cut down on the frequency of your vehicle maintenance. Using these cleaners regularly can eliminate contaminants and problems while also working to prevent future clogs or buildup. Over the long run, this can help you spend less on maintenance and repairs while keeping your vehicle in its best possible shape.
  • Versatility. While fuel injector cleaners are designed for getting your fuel injectors back in tip-top shape, these products can also do more. They’ll tackle your whole fuel system, offering improvements, cleaning, and quick maintenance each time they’re used. This means you’re getting a whole lot of versatility out of a single fuel additive — and that's a worthwhile investment.

Types of Fuel Injector Cleaner

Dissolvents

Most fuel injector cleaners are formulated to be dissolvents — which means they literally dissolve the contaminants, grime, and clogs that are gunking up your injectors. Once they’re added into your fuel tank, dissolvent formulas use chemical detergents (like polyetheramines or PEAs) to break down the carbon and other types of contaminants present. They eat away at and dissolve any impurities, then they leave your vehicle’s fuel system via the exhaust system. Though they dissolve these contaminants by breaking them down chemically, they work quickly.

Detergents

A detergent fuel injector cleaner is a product that’s made with cleaning agents (or ingredients). This kind of fuel additive is meant to “clean up” contaminants and build-up as it moves through your vehicle’s fuel system. However, it’s unclear how exactly these detergents work to clean your fuel injectors and other components. They can vary in amount from product to product, and they’re supposed to force carbon deposits out of your system with activated chemicals. But they can actually leave behind a residue of their own, which means they’re less “clean” than dissolvents.

Top Brands

Gumout

A company with roots dating back to World War II, Gumout came to existence with the United States enlisted a Pennsylvania company to remove varnish from its supplies. The flagship product remains on the market to this day, though this brand’s line of formulas has expanded over the last century. One of its most popular selections is the Gumout High-Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner for its ability to work on older rides. 

Autool

Though it only hit the market in 2014, Autool has quickly grown into a leading OEM product manufacturer. With roots in Shenzhen, China, this company offers both modified and factory-designed products. Started by vehicle enthusiasts with maintenance expertise, it’s focused on crafting products that make vehicle repairs and upkeep easier. Among its leading offerings is the Autool Automotive Fuel Injector Tester and Cleaning Kit

STP

Chances are, you’ve seen this brand before (especially since it’s been around since 1954). Acquired by Energizer Holdings in 2018, this STP has been on the market since 1954. Though a lot of time has passed, the formula of, STP, short for Scientifically Treated Petroleum, remains consistent. It continues to be used to prevent system wear, along with other supplies like the  STP Water Remover All Season Cleaner.

Fuel Injector Cleaner Pricing

  • Under $10: At this price point, you will find very small quantities of fuel cleaner, typically reserved for use with smaller engines like lawnmowers and dirt bikes.
  • $10 to $30: This is the most common price for one bottle of the best engine cleaner additive. They are usually sold in 12- to 20-ounce containers, but the exact number varies by brand.
  • $30 and up: If you see fuel cleaner over $30, it’s most likely not just a single bottle. These can be packs of multiple bottles of the same product or sets of complementary additives that one brand offers. 

Key Features

Polyetheramine (PEA) Detergents

When you’re picking out a powerful fuel injector cleaner, you want to make sure you’re grabbing one that includes polyetheramine (PEA) detergents. These ingredients are the most important inclusion in a fuel cleaner additive — they’re what dissolves carbon deposits. PEA detergents actually bond with contaminants in the fuel system, which allows them to eliminate those harmful additions. As powerful active ingredients, they make a difference in just how clean your fuel injectors and system will actually get. For the best potential and most noticeable improvement, you need PEA detergents.

Easy Pour-In Application

In order for a fuel injector cleaner to work properly, it needs to make it easy for you to get the liquid where it’s needed. That’s why so many of the best products are easy-pour options that allow you to add the cleaner right into your fuel tank. Some are made for capped or capless fuel tanks; some will work seamlessly with both. Consider which will make it easiest for you when you’re buying your injector cleaner.  

Concentrated Formula

In addition to PEA detergents, you’ll also want to consider just how concentrated the cleaning formula is when you’re picking out a fuel injector cleaner. A more highly concentrated formula tends to include more active chemical ingredients — which are the powerhouse ingredients that can dissolve and remove gunk, contaminants, and dirt in general. Look for a concentrated formula if you haven’t cleaned your injectors in a long time, or if you drive a vehicle that’s lost performance and is experiencing rough idles or starts. Lower water content means you’re getting a more potent solution.

Other Considerations

  • Frequency. The frequency of use depends on several factors. While it's important to consider the product's suggestion and mechanic’s advice, it mostly depends on your individual vehicle. How your car performs and reacts to fuel cleaner is very important when deciding when to use it. 
  • Driving Conditions. If you live in colder climates or often find yourself stuck in traffic, your car may be subject to more carbon buildup. These conditions are less friendly to a vehicle’s fuel system and may require you to use cleaners more often. 
  • Fuel Quality. Another disputed claim about fuel systems is whether or not using regular gas or premium gas is better. Ignoring the price factor, using regular gas is a worse option in terms of purity. So if you often use cheaper fuel, then using fuel cleaner could significantly improve your driving experience. 
  • Time Constraints. Filling up your tank and adding in a fuel injector cleaner might take less time, but it won’t deep clean like a hardware system that distributes an electrical pulse. Consider doing a more comprehensive cleaning occasionally to improve your overall fuel system and reduce the frequency of necessary treatments. 
  • Mileage. Overall, the manufacturing year of your car isn't a big determining factor in whether or not your fuel system will have more carbon buildup. The mileage of your vehicle, however, matters a lot. The more miles you drive without cleaning your car’s fuel system, the more time that impurities have to build up.

Best Fuel Injector Cleaners Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Gumout High-Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner

Whether you just bought an older car to fix up in your spare time or want to make your new model sing, Gumout High-Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner is a good place to start. This chemical fuel injector cleaning system comes in a set of six, with each container holding 6 ounces of the formula. Designed to tackle carbon deposits on weathered vehicles, this formula is built to work on engines with more than 75,000 miles on them. 


Don’t let that deter you if you’ve got a newer model, though. It just makes the results that much more powerful. This cleaner effectively corrodes the carbon that’s caked onto the fuel injection system. It’s safe to use with the oxygen sensors in super and turbocharged vehicles; and, due to its quality manufacturing, won’t void OEM contracts. So, if you’re looking to improve your engine without investing in shop time, this fuel injector cleaner is a solid choice overall. 


Keep in mind that each bottle works for a single treatment. It comes with six, but they are in clear containers which exposes the contents to light. Store them in a dark place to avoid shortening the shelf life.

Best Value
Sea Foam IC5 Fuel Injector Cleaner

The Sea Foam IC5 Fuel Injector Cleaner is an excellent choice because it's affordable and simple to use. It's designed to clean fuel injectors and improve injector spray patterns, which increase engine performance. The product can be used in all types of gasoline fuel injection engines. It restores fuel economy, reduces exhaust emissions, and lubricates upper cylinders. 


IC5 is available in a concentrated 5.25-ounce bottle and treats up to 25 gallons. It even works on capless tanks. When used regularly, IC5 can boost performance by preventing hard starts, rough idling, and hesitations. Users report that their vehicles drive noticeably smoother after using this product. Overall, it does a good job of cleaning the fuel injectors and the entire fuel system. 


Some people, however, don't notice a significant difference in fuel economy after using IC5.

Most Efficient
STP Water Remover All Season Cleaner

When you fix a part of your car, the goal is to keep it working for as long as possible. That’s why the high-efficiency rating of the STP Water Remover All-Season Cleaner is so desirable. It is built to preserve the well-being of your fuel injector system as a whole. The main use of this formula is to remove water from your fuel system (an essential part of perfecting the combustion itself). It achieves this goal without the use of alcohol, making it a safe additive for vehicles of all types. The result is fuel lines that are less likely to freeze and a system that, as a whole, is less susceptible to corrosion. It’s a good pick if you live in an area prone to extreme weather since it will work in any climate. This fuel injector cleaner works with capless gas setups, meaning you can use it on just about any vehicle. Powerful and effective year-round, this is a highly efficient solution. 


It’s worth a mention that this works best in conjunction with a full fuel injection system cleaning job. So long as it’s used properly, it can prevent residue buildup as your vehicle ages.

Premium Pick
Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner

The Red Line Complete SI-1 Fuel System Cleaner is designed to clean fuel systems and prevent corrosion from occurring. Using SI-1 ensures long life and improved operation of your gas-powered engine. This product contains synthetic upper cylinder lubricant and cleans injectors, carburetors, valve, and combustion chamber deposits using high-temp and low-temp detergents. 


It can tackle all types of fuel injectors, including GDI, and can be used with oxygenated fuel. You can also use it safely on a regular basis. The SI-1 boosts fuel stability, keeps gum and varnish from forming, and cleans pollution control valves. 


One bottle per tank provides almost 100 percent efficiency and effectively cleans your fuel system. While this product is a little more expensive than some of its competitors, it is one of the best fuel system cleaners available.

Honorable Mention
Liqui Moly 2007 Jectron Gasoline Fuel Injection Cleaner

The Liqui Moly 2007 Jectron Gasoline Fuel Injection Cleaner removes carbon deposits from injection and inlet valves, fuel pipes, and fuel distributors, and it's ideal for engines with catalytic converters. It's an excellent inexpensive product to use on older, sluggish vehicles. Jectron stops starting problems, hesitation, and stalling and promotes smoother idling and better throttle response. It is a low-pollution product that promotes environmentally sound combustion. Jectron also works to reduce fuel consumption and restore an engine's original performance by using accurate injector dosing and fuel atomization. Some users report they can actually hear a difference when the cleaner hits the combustion chambers. Overall, the engine should feel more responsive, stronger, and quieter after using this product. Some users, however, don't notice a difference in mileage after using it.

Honorable Mention
Chevron Techron Fuel Injection Cleaner

The Chevron Techron Fuel Injection Cleaner is compatible with carbureted or fuel-injected spark ignition engines. You can safely use it every 1,000 miles and on vehicles with catalytic converters and oxygen sensors. This product restores lost fuel economy and removes water to prevent gas line freeze. Users report that provides an increase in horsepower, makes the engine run much more smoothly and improves the idle. It tackles carbon deposits and can slightly improve fuel economy. It's also easy to use as the container's neck fits down the fuel filler neck, and it’s a great option for vehicles with high mileage. 


However, not all users notice a change in fuel economy after using this product. Also, it is not recommended for air-cooled, two-stroke engines.

Best for Long-Term Use
OTC Tools Fuel Injection Cleaner Canister

Want something that is going to last and work on all of your vehicles? Consider the OTC Tools Fuel Injector Cleaner Canister. It is meant to project the cleaner directly at the fuel rail, giving you the benefit of precise cleaning of the injection system. It loosens debris inside the system which then combusts and ultimately flows through the car’s exhaust system. Since the canister itself is made out of high-grade stainless steel, it isn’t vulnerable to rust and will keep working over the long term. It can hold 22 ounces of contents and deal with pressures as high as 30,000 pounds per square inch. With a well-structured cap, you can easily mix chemicals without risking spills or leaks. Potent and reliable, this fuel injection cleaning setup is suited to both personal and commercial applications. 


It warrants a mention that this item is the cleaning canister (not the actual cleaner) and requires a separate chemical to spray. Designed to enhance the effects of the injector cleaner, you can use it repeatedly and on all your different rides. 

Honorable Mention
Berryman Products B-12 Chemtool Fuel Injector Cleaner

Over time, your vehicle’s fuel injectors can become altered, which in turn alters performance — but with Berryman Products B-12 Chemtool Fuel Injector Cleaner, you can bring back their former glory. Specially formulated to reduce emissions and lower your maintenance costs, using this fuel injector cleaner on a regular basis will restore your injectors, bringing them back to their original factory spray pattern. 


Made with a solvent-based formula, this product will eliminate moisture and gum (along with other residues left behind by fuel) in no time at all. Once applied, it gets to work cleaning intake valves, port deposits, and more. And while it does so, you’ll wind up with improved engine performance, better fuel economy, and a smooth-running fuel system.


While this fuel injector cleaner is compatible with a number of different makes and models, make sure to check that it’s suitable for use in your particular vehicle. It may not deliver the results you expect if it isn’t a proper match. 

Honorable Mention
STP Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner

If you’re facing a fuel system that’s full of dangerous deposits that just won’t go away, you need a bottle of STP Super Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner. This extra-strong formula is made to be even more effective on your fuel injectors, delivering the performance and acceleration you’ve lost over time.


In fact, this fuel injector cleaner is actually made with concentrated detergents and jet fuel, which is a carrier of active ingredients. Once used, the liquid will dissolve and eliminate dangerous deposits in your fuel injectors and throughout the fuel system. It can get rid of varnish, gum, and carbon, and it’ll solve woes like hard starts and rough idling. If you use this cleaner every oil change, you can see improved acceleration, more power, and the old factory-fresh engine performance you loved when you first bought your vehicle.


This product is safe for any gasoline engine and can treat up to 21 gallons of gas, but it isn’t suitable for use with diesel engines.

Honorable Mention
Sea Foam Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner

If you’re searching for a well-rounded and highly effective fuel injector cleaner, then you need to consider Sea Foam Concentrated Fuel Injector Cleaner. While it might seem like any other cleaning solution at first glance, it’s highly effective and gets to work quickly. With a concentrated formula, you’ll get results and restore performance to your vehicle in no time.


Just add Sea Foam’s concentrated cleaner into your fuel tank, and it’ll clean any gasoline fuel injection engine, system, and injectors. It can reinvigorate your engine and improve its performance as it restores injector spray patterns, removes gunk and contaminants, and lubricates your upper cylinders. In the process, this product can help you recover lost fuel efficiency and even reduce exhaust emissions. With one bottle, you can treat up to 25 gallons of gas.


However, you cannot safely use this formula on any non-gasoline engines. While it’ll work on capless tanks, it should solely be used for traditional gas vehicles.

Honorable Mention
Royal Purple Max Atomizer Fuel Injector Cleaner

Royal Purple Max Atomizer Fuel Injector Cleaner is a highly concentrated formula that’s designed to restore a high level of engine performance under the hood. 


Formulated just for modern direct injection engines, this cleaner can be used with any kind of fuel injection setup. Once it’s added into your gas tank, its highly concentrated polyether amine (PEA) detergents will unclog and unchoke injectors. You’ll see restored fuel injector spray patterns, better fuel atomizing, and overall enhanced performance. 


If you use Royal Purple’s fuel injector cleaner regularly, you’ll easily combat issues like slow, rough starts and a rough idle. It’ll lead to quick starts, smoother idle, and more power from your engine. All you have to do is add it into your fuel at least once every 3,000 miles — or even as frequently as every time you fill up. This cleaner even stabilizes ethanol to prevent harmful effects on your engine.

Tips

  • There are significant signs to look out for to know whether or not you need fuel injector cleaner. If your vehicle has trouble starting, sounds rough when idling, or begins to lose fuel economy, then a good cleaning would definitely help.
  • Make sure to follow the company's guidelines on the usage of fuel cleaners. Not using enough of the product may not achieve the best results and using too much can have a negative effect on your vehicle's overall performance. 
  • If you own a diesel vehicle, make sure the fuel cleaner you buy will work on diesel fuel systems. Reading the product description will tell you if a cleaner is for gasoline and diesel engines or just gasoline engines. 
  • Depending on the amount of buildup your vehicle has, it may take more than one use to start seeing the additives' effects. Our suggested products have the best injector cleaner reviews in terms of seeing results fast.
  • Be sure to store your fuel injection cleaner in a safe and secure place. Since these are aggressive chemicals, they are tough to clean up—especially from your car's interior.

FAQs

Q: How do I know if I need fuel injector cleaner?

There are a few tangible signs that you might need to use a fuel injector cleaner. If you’re experiencing rough idling or rough starts, your injectors could be dirty or clogged. If you’ve noticed your fuel economy has decreased, or your acceleration is less powerful than it was previously, these are also key signs that your vehicle could benefit from the use of a fuel injector cleaner. Adding the cleaner into your tank could help smooth out or resolve these issues.

Q: Will using fuel injector cleaner increase my car’s gas mileage?

Yes, fuel injector cleaners are made to get rid of the excess build up of impurities that are found throughout your fuel system. Clearing this debris will allow the engine to work more efficiently and reduce fuel consumption. 

Q: Can I use an old bottle of fuel cleaner that’s been sitting in my garage?

First, it’s important to check the container to ensure it has not been damaged or compromised in any way. If the fuel cleaner has been sealed and kept in a dry climate, the product shouldn’t expire or separate. 

Q: Can I use a fuel cleaner with a turbocharged engine?

Yes, these fuel cleaners are designed to keep any gasoline engine clean and running at optimal performance. 

Q: If I previously used another fuel cleaner, will it hurt my engine to switch to a different brand?

Not at all. As long as you follow the suggested amount and frequency, using different types of cleaners won’t have any adverse reaction.

Final Thoughts

So, now you know the art and science behind finding the best fuel injector cleaners around. Maybe you’ve got an older ride and want the Gumout High-Mileage Fuel Injector Cleaner or want to save a few bucks in the long term with our value pick, the Sea Foam IC5 Fuel Injector Cleaner. Wherever the road takes you, there’s a fuel injector cleaner to help your engine hum.