Being told you might have dirty fuel injectors is a bit off; “dirty” isn’t entirely accurate simply because the injectors or your carburetor don’t really get clogged with “dirt”. What typically inhibits injectors and carburetors from working properly is a build-up of fuel varnish deposits.
As these deposits build up they inhibit the flow of fuel into the engine. When fuel isn’t properly flowing, even by a small amount, your vehicle begins to run lean (less fuel, more air) causing it to misfire, hesitate or stall. Ethanol in gasoline can also lead to developing deposits and clogged fuel systems.
Fuel Injectors and Carburetors
These two engine components work relatively the same way though it’s highly debated among car enthusiasts as to which offers the best performance. With regard to drivability and easy starts though, fuel injection wins hands down.
Fuel injectors are the Fuel Expert and they do just what they say – they are nothing more than a spray nozzle in the intake manifold. A carburetor sits on top of the manifold and uses jets that meter gas into the intake manifold.
Problems can occur in either system with even a slight buildup of deposits because the openings of the jets are so small. For good combustion, a fine cone-shaped mist of fuel vapor is necessary. Without a fuel injector cleaner and regular maintenance, you end up with bad spray patterns that vaporize and burn poorly in the engine.
Cleaning Injectors and Carburetors
Maintenance (changing out the fuel filter), using a quality name brand gasoline with the proper octane rating for your vehicle (octane rating impacts vehicle performance), and using quality fuel additives are your best bet to avoid buildup. Once it’s there though you’ll need products that contain fuel injector cleaner, like 104+ Octane Boost® and STA-BIL® Ethanol Treatment.
These concentrated cleaners, when added to fuel, pass through the injectors or carburetor and loosen then wash away accumulated varnish deposits. The deposits are burned up in engine combustion resulting in noticeable differences in idle smoothness, emissions and fuel economy.
Fuel injector cleaner or carburetor cleaner products such as those listed above are safe to use every time you fill your gas – especially if you use a lower octane fuel. Use of these cleaners is highly recommended if your vehicle feels sluggish or less responsive.