Best Diesel Injector Cleaners: Boost the Health and Performance of Your Vehicle’s Engine
Clean and lubricate your vehicle's fuel system with our top picks for the best diesel injector cleaners
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PUBLISHED ON June 26, 2019
A car comes loaded with multiple fuel injectors that supply the engine with fuel. Sometimes, the fuel injection systems get dirty, perhaps with carbon build-up, dust, or other forms of debris. When that happens, the fuel injectors end up blocked and incapable of supplying the right amount of fuel to the engine. Because of that, your car may stall or struggle with acceleration. Our review looks into some of the best diesel injector cleaners that will help keep your fuel free of contamination.
- Best OverallLucas LUC10013 10013 Fuel TreatmentSummarySummaryA convenient fuel treatment product that breaks down deposits in the diesel injector to promote fuel system health. It can be used on both fuel injected systems and a carburetor.ProsProsCan be used on both diesel and gas engines. Eliminates low sulfur problems. Prevents build-up in the engine valves and pistons. Reduces carbon deposits. Improves combustion.ConsConsPermanently stains car coatings. Poor performance on GDI systems.
- Best ValueGumout Multi-System Tune-UpSummarySummaryAn inexpensive diesel system cleaner that maximizes performance and reduces your vehicle’s carbon footprint. One can treats up to 21 gallons of fuel.ProsProsReduces emissions. Improves engine performance. Gives results with just one treatment. Reduces fuel consumption. Works on dirt bikes, ATVs, and lawn mower engines as well.ConsConsPoor packaging. The mouth of the bottle seems too big for the fuel tank.
- Honorable MentionSea Foam Motor TreatmentSummarySummaryA multipurpose cleaner that can be added to fuel, oil, or a combustion chamber. The product cleans 2- and 4-cycle, and diesel engine systems.ProsProsWorks with both cars and lawnmowers. Smoothens rough idling. Reduces emissions. Increases power and torque. Contains no harsh chemicals. Contains a de-icer anti-gel.ConsConsPoorly designed bottle. Only good for 2,000 to 5,000 miles
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy A Diesel Injector Cleaner?
- Prevent an engine malfunction. A clogged and dirty fuel injector may transfer harmful solid deposits that may damage internal engine components. It could also limit the fuel supply to the engine, and that would lead to an engine failure. Clean the fuel injector to keep the tubes, valves, and pistons free of solid deposits.
- Improve fuel economy. The digital meter in your car displays the current MPG (Miles Per Gallon). If that figure is lower than normal, then you may have fuel injector issues that can be resolved with an injector cleaner. The lower gas mileage may be due to dirty fuel injectors that lead to bad air filters, spark plugs misfiring, or incorrect tire pressure among other issues.
- Safer for the environment. Diesel fuel often causes a lot of carbon deposits in the fuel system. The dirty diesel passes through the fuel filter and gets to the fuel injector nozzles. It’s then transmitted to the cylinders and causes black smoke to come out of the exhaust pipe. Most injector cleaners dissolve carbon deposits, varnish, and other debris that may lead to harmful emissions. That contributes to a cleaner living space for plants and animals.
- Boost your engine's performance. A clean diesel injector enhances the performance of the engine which in turn improves the vehicles throttle response, smoothens rough idle, and horsepower. Also, the cleaner reduces friction in the metal components of your engine and preserves the life of the motor.
- Save money. Cleaning your fuel injector will save you a lot of money in costly repairs and buying aftermarket replacements for critical engine components. Plus, you won't have to stress over planning for a budget to cater for the engine repair costs.
Lucas Oil is a US-based manufacturer and distributor of automotive lubricants, oils, and additives. The company was founded in 1989 by Forrest Lucas and his wife and has its headquarters in Corona, California. Lucas products are known for their problem-solving abilities in the car care industry, and one of its best diesel fuel system cleaners is the Lucas LUC10013 10013 Fuel Treatment.
Sea Foam has more than 70 years in the car care industry and its products are refined to the highest standards. Sea Foam products are made from a pure petroleum bend and are proven to be safe for almost all car engines and motor equipment. Sea Foam is a popular brand amongst many mechanics and car enthusiasts, and one of its top-rated diesel engine cleaners is the Sea Foam Motor Treatment.
Chevron is one of America’s largest energy corporations that deals in multiple industries including natural gas, oil, and geothermal energy industries. The company was formed after a merger of Gulf Oil and Standard Oil Company of California. The company is headquartered in San Ramon, California, and its products are sold worldwide. One of Chevron’s best-selling fuel systems cleaners is the Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus.
Best Diesel Injector Pricing
- Under $10: Most diesel cleaners within this price range come in 12-ounce bottles. They protect and lubricate your fuel pump and improve the performance of your engine. However, one bottle may not be enough to clean up an entire fuel system, especially in medium to large cars.
- $10 to $30: This price range includes 12- to 32-ounce bottles. The diesel treatment fluids here clean carbon deposits and prevent sludge from building up in the fuel injectors. Also, most quiet down noisy lifters and valves to give you a peaceful ride.
- Above $30: Expect to find 16-ounce bottles to 1-gallon jugs within this price range. Most diesel cleaners are reasonably priced and even the high-end cleaners may not go above $50, unless it comes with special additives aimed at limiting corrosion and preventing future build-up of solid deposits in the fuel system.
The chemical composition of the fuel injector cleaner tells you what type of engine it’s designed for and the performance level you can expect. Some products are geared towards diesel engines as their formulation is designed to dissolve carbon deposits that are common with diesel engines. Other cleaners are geared towards gas engines, and may not work with diesel injectors.
The diesel cleaner should come in a container that makes it easy to pour the fluid cleaner into the fuel tank without contaminating or spilling over to the surrounding area. Some convenient container designs that make for the best application are long neck and small mouth bottles. Also, go for a cleaner bottle that comes with a handle for extra convenience.
Injector cleaning liquids come in 12-ounce bottles to 1-gallon jugs. The quantity you go for depends on the brand quality and the size of your engine. Most 1-gallon jugs can clean up to 400 gallons of fuel, but with other products you would need about four, 12-ounce bottles to clean 21 gallons of fuel. Most manufacturers advertise the cleaning power of their bottles.
- Shelf Life: Look into how long the product can last after it’s opened. For products with a short shelf life, consider going for smaller quantities so that you don’t end up wasting the fluid. You could buy a gallon of a longer-lasting product if it could wait out the six months before the next cleaning process.
- Versatility: This means that the diesel injector cleaner should allow you to use it in whatever kind of vehicle or equipment you have. It should be suitable for most fuel systems in small cars, trucks, SUVs, RVs, and even boats.
Best Diesel Injector Cleaner Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Lucas LUC10013 10013 Fuel Treatment
The Lucas fuel treatment liquid is a multi-purpose and high-quality fuel cleaner that’s suitable for both diesel and gas injectors. It cleans and lubricates fuel systems, stops corrosion, and has the power to neutralize low-sulfur diesel fuel problems. The fluid works well with almost all types of engines and even on older vehicles.
After a single use of the product, you will notice a significant difference in the engine’s performance in regards to power, increased fuel mileage, and an improved octane rate. The injector cleaner also reduces carbon deposits and prevents the build-up of deposits in the internal engine components. One bottle is enough for a 400-gallon diesel tank.
However, you need to take extra caution when using the fluid as it stains gel coats and car waxes. It may leave a permanent black stain on your car when spilled. And although the fluid is advertised as a multi-use product also suitable for GDI injectors, the product’s performance is mostly limited to diesel injectors.
Best Value: Gumout Multi-System Tune-Up
The Gumout Multi-System Tune-Up cleaner is an affordable product that works on your diesel injectors and the entire fuel system. It’s also suitable for gas, ethanol, and biodiesel engines. The product works with just one treatment on a 21-gallon diesel tank (one ounce per gallon of fuel in both 2- and 4-cycle engines). It cleans the fuel injectors, cylinder heads, the combustion chamber, piston tops, and intake valves.
The product’s composition is made up of antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors, and cleaning agents that prevent future carbon build-up in your engine. It also features polyetheramine (PEA) that effectively eliminates carbon deposits from the fuel system. The fluid stabilizes the fuel for two years, improves your vehicle's fuel economy, and fights ethanol and water corrosion.
The main problem with this product is that the mouth of the bottle may not fit on a fuel tank, which makes application difficult. You would have to use a funnel to avoid spilling the content on the surrounding area. Moreover, the manufacturer could improve on the design and packaging of the bottle as it often comes with external damages to the can.
Honorable Mention: Sea Foam Motor Treatment
The Sea Foam Motor Treatment graces our list as a professional-grade cleaner that cleans injectors, carb jets, motors, passageways, intake pistons, and valves in both diesel and gas engines. This fuel system cleaner enhances the engine’s overall performance, promotes better fuel economy, and better fuel system operation. It also improves your vehicle’s performance with faster throttle response and smoother idle.
The cleaning fluid features anti-corrosive agents and stabilizes fuel for up to two years. It contains no harsh chemicals as it’s made of 100 percent petroleum. Its high-petroleum composition makes it a great lubricant and an efficient engine moisture controller. The product can be used on most vehicle engine types and even leaf blowers.
The downside of Sea Foam Motor Treatment is that it comes in a poorly designed can that makes it difficult to pour the fluid in the fuel tank without a funnel. Also, one treatment is only good for 5,000 miles for an average driver, and 2,000 miles under rough driving conditions. That’s low in comparison to high-end cleaners that push to 10,000 miles.
- The injector can help you locate leaks in your fuel injector but it can’t fix them. During the cleaning process, the pressure builds in the injector, and you will be able to identify where the leaks are coming from. Have a professional patch up the injector if you have a main line leak.
- Use a stronger or a higher dose of the diesel injector cleaner every time you start a new clean-up process. You should schedule the next clean-up session after every six months if your vehicle is exposed to rough road conditions, and you suspect that your system may be clogged up.
- Diesel injector cleaners cannot repair mechanical problems, so it may be too late if you are using the cleaner to repair an engine misfire. Use the cleaner as a preventive tool and notice the signs when your fuel system is clogged.
Q: What are the signs of a clogged fuel injector?
A: A few of the signs include an engine that won’t start or gives you trouble before starting, a decreased MPG which points to lowered fuel economy, increased hydrocarbon emissions, and non-firing cylinders. Also, if you open the vehicle’s hood and notice some traces of diesel on the spark plugs, then you know that you have a clogged fuel injector.
Q: How does a diesel injector cleaner work?
A: Most cleaner fluids work by mixing with the diesel in the fuel tank, and then it’s transmitted by the fuel pump to the fuel rail, into the injectors, and finally into the combustion chambers. Throughout the entire process, the cleaner breaks down solid particles into soluble bits and cleans any signs of corrosion in the tank. The remaining cleaner liquid is blown out through the vehicle’s exhaust system.
Q: How often should I clean my diesel injector?
A: First off, you should clean your fuel injector before you start to encounter any issues with the engine or injectors. You should do a deep cleaning of the diesel injector at least once a year or after every 30,000 miles. However, it depends on the age of your vehicle, your driving conditions, and the type of fuel you use. Your vehicle owner’s manual may give you the recommended clean-up period for your fuel injector.
Q: Should I use fuel additives to boost the cleaner?
A: Fuel injector additives can be used to boost the fuel injector’s performance after you use the injector cleaner. The additives are poured into the fuel tank and increase the life expectancy of the fuel, prevent build-up or corrosion, and keep the injectors lubricated. You should, therefore, use a fuel cleaner to clear up the deposits, and follow it up with fuel additives to help keep the fuel system cleaner for longer.
Our top pick for the best diesel carbon remover is the Lucas LUC10013 10013 Fuel Treatment. It’s great at cleaning the fuel tank, dissolving carbon deposits, reducing emissions, and preventing corrosion in the injector system.
Consider buying the Gumout Multi-System Tune-Up if you are looking for a quality and affordable product.