In this Guide
While you might not come face to face with them often, your fuel injectors are some of the most important parts on your car. They’re responsible for pressurizing your fuel, getting it ignited, and keeping your motor happily supplied with gas as you drive.
And while you might not think of them too often, they can have a big effect on your car’s performance. Especially in today’s world, with nearly all gas that is unleaded and supplemented with ethanol, fuel injectors can get cruddy and clogged in no time. That’s why it’s important to be on top of keeping them clean.
Thankfully, there are dozens of different cleaners and treatments available to keep your injectors working well. However, for those of us who aren’t mechanics, it can be difficult to figure out which of the many options are automotive snake oil, and which are really going to make a noticeable difference in your car’s performance.
That’s why we’ve put this guide together! We’ve taken our own expertise, and compared it with advice and recommendations from professional mechanics and commercial drivers.
On this page, you’ll find in-depth reviews of three of our favorite injector cleaners. We’ve chosen a few different options, to suit different vehicles, gasoline types, and personal maintenance preferences. We’ll talk you through everything you should know, and help you establish which product will help your vehicle most.
Here are our three favorites:
Fuel Injector Cleaner Reviews
This Lucas treatment isn’t the cheapest to buy up front, but it’s the most affordable solution for the long haul by a long shot! Previous buyers say it makes a tangible difference from the first tank.
It comes in a gallon jug, with enough liquid to treat over 400 gallons of gas. It’s easy to use, since it goes right in the tank. Plus, it does lots of jobs in the fuel line, in addition to cleaning your injectors.
Overall, this one helps your vehicle run smoother, more reliably, and with better efficiency. We particularly recommend it to drivers of older cars or foreign makes, since it’s compatible with just about any engine or gas type.
While it’s a bit more expensive up front, it’s a long-term bargain. While our other recommendations are a bit cheaper to buy, they also come in much smaller quantities. This one gives you a full gallon, which means you won’t have to buy as many bottles over the long haul.
The Lucas treatment is also efficient, since you only have to use 2 oz for every 10 gallons. It’s also proven to improve your fuel economy, so you’ll probably end up paying for the treatment in gas savings anyway!
It’s a complete treatment! Many injector cleaners only work on your injectors, but the Lucas fluid takes care of a few different things. First, it includes lubricants to help unleaded gas burn as smoothly as leaded gas, without the lead. Second, it includes a few different detergents which help break up any impurities in it. That’s super important with ethanol, which is used in pretty much any gasoline blend these days. The Lucas solution breaks down all that corn-based crud, so you can burn through it.
The detergents also keep the injectors and carburetor clean. They clean off buildup, and keep future buildup from sticking to your engine. That makes this one one of the best preventive products out there. Third, this stuff does wonders with smog. If you’re running low-sulfur fuel, especially diesel, the Lucas treatment cuts down the smog factor to help you meet emissions standards.
It works on absolutely any engine. Diesel, ethanol, hybrid, you name it! That’s a big plus if you’ve got an older car with mismatched parts. No need to worry about compatibility, which can be hard to establish with old cars that have been repaired many times.
It’s super simple to use. You just add some each time you fill up, and you’re good to go.
Lucas users swear by this treatment, and reported a few noticeable improvements. Overall, they found that their engines were running more smoothly, and with lower temperatures. They said the difference was especially apparent in idle. Plus, they said they were getting an average of 5% better fuel economy. You’ll notice more of a difference with older cars whose fuel economy has dropped over the years. The Lucas treatment will take them back to the factory ratings, or even better it slightly.
A few previous buyers wrote reviews to say they didn’t notice any difference in their fuel economy. Of course, that’s not the primary reason you’d be using the Lucas treatment. However, we would point out that if you’re using it regularly on a newer car, you might not notice a boost. Instead, you have to keep in mind that without the treatment, you’d probably see a drop in performance.
It’s not as strong a cleaner as our other options. This product is meant to be used more regularly, and as a preventive measure. It’s not the best choice for giving an older car its first cleaning.
It’s expensive to buy, simply because it comes by the gallon.
If you have a really fouled engine, or simply prefer to just clean out the fuel system less frequently, the Techron is a more concentrated, technical alternative to the Lucas treatment.
It’s simple and easy to use — you just run it through your system every 3,000 miles, or when you change your oil. We like it for getting a fresh start with older cars that haven’t been cleaned before, or for people who don’t like to think about maintaining their injectors every time they fill up.
This supplement uses a specially-formulated polyetheramine compound to dissolve deposits and other crud from your injectors. This product is more concentrated than Chevron’s general fuel line cleaner, so it’s much more effective on injectors.
Overall, it’s also a more concentrated treatment than the Lucas, so it’s a little better at drastic cleaning tasks. The Lucas is better suited to preventive treatments and ongoing maintenance, while the Chevron can cut through lots of built-up gunk.
Unlike the Lucas, you don’t have to use this one every time you fill up. It’s recommended for use every 3,000 miles, or at each oil change. According to the manufacturer, some of the product will stay in the system to keep things working better between doses. We like it for a quick, thorough cleaning solution. It’s also an easy way to get your system back to normal if you’ve recently traveled somewhere where you couldn’t get reputable gas at every fillup.
It works on all ethanol-supplemented fuels, including E85. This one is also formulated to help specifically with newer direct-injection systems which are extremely sensitive to carbon buildups.
In addition to cleaning off your injectors, the Techron is also designed to clean your carburetor, intake valves and combustion chambers. The overall effect is fairly similar to the Lucas.
The Techron improves the smoothness of your engine, and restores compromised efficiency and performance due to buildup of deposits on key engine parts. Ardent users say they’ve noticed a few other improvements on parts like catalytic converters, gas gauges, and gear shifts after running it through the fuel lines.
One advantage over the Lucas: this one is designed to keep you spark plugs from fouling. Loyal users also said they had very good results at cleaning parts with this one outside of the engine. If you just leave your spark plugs or injectors in a bucket with this stuff, you’ll find them pretty spotless after a few hours.
Many previous buyers said they’d taken a chance on this when faced with large estimates for replacing injectors, or whole transmissions, and found that a treatment of Techron did the trick. It just goes to show you how much your vehicle’s performance can be impeded by fuel line deposits! As we found with the Lucas, there are dozens of testimonials from drivers who had ominous “check engine” warnings that went away after the Techron treatment.
It’s more expensive than the Lucas, and it’s only sold in small 20 oz bottles. If you were to buy an equivalent amount of the Techron, you’d spend 2-3X as much per gallon.
It won’t work on diesel fuels. This product will work on most fuel systems, but it’s not as universal as the Lucas.
If you’re already a Chevron gas customer, you might not notice any difference. That’s because their fuel already includes these additives at lower concentrations when you fill up your tank.
Because this is bit more specialized cleaner than the Lucas, it won’t make much of a difference in cars that are already running perfectly.
It can mess things up if you use too much. This is concentrated stuff, and the manufacturer recommends using it just before driving through most of a tank.
It probably won’t help your mileage a lot, since it’s not going to be purifying every tank of fuel. The Lucas is a better bet for constant improvement on the economy front. Techron is really designed to be used with Chevron gas, which has more detergents already in it. It’s also primarily a cleaner, as opposed to an all-around fuel improver.
For the most professional grade solution on the market, we recommend the BG-44K. It’s a favorite among professional drivers, and comes highly recommended by many mechanics.
While it’s a bit harder to find in stores, it’s available online for a reasonable price, and we’re confident that it’s the best injector cleaner you can run through the fuel line. It combines the versatility of the Lucas fluid with the concentrated cleaning power of the Techron in one substance.
It’s professional-grade. You’ll find this used by many authorized dealers over other brands. In fact, it’s the only aftermarket treatment recommended by Honda dealers, and it’s used with every oil change at Porsche dealers. According to an industry survey, BG 44K is used 5 times more often than any other aftermarket cleaner by official dealerships.
It’s powerful. This compound is even more specialized than the Techron, and it’s more concentrated in a can. One can will treat 20 gallons of gasoline in your tank, and keep things running smoothly for even longer than the Techron.
It uses polyetheramine, just like the Techron solution. We’re assured by mechanics and experts that it’s the fastest, strongest fuel-line cleaner out there. Previous buyers said that concentrated performance made it well worth the extra cost.
It’s thorough. In addition to your injectors, this stuff will blast out deposits in your combustion chambers, intake valves, couplings, ports, and filters. According to mechanics, it’s the best all-around cleaning job you can do without taking apart your engine. It’ll also take care of your spark plugs, just like the Techron. We like the BG because it cleans around the whole fuel sending unit. It takes care of coke deposits, as well as corrosive crud that can wear away at the inner workings.
You don’t need to use it often. This one’s very powerful, and the manufacturer recommend using it every 15,000 miles or so — 5 times less often than the Techron!
It’s compatible with just about everything. This one works with all alcohol fuels, including E85 and others. We also found that it works very well on smaller engines, like on motorbikes and lawnmowers. Since it’s so powerful, it’s actually a better choice for anything with exposed parts and plugs.
Users of the BG 44K solution praise its ability to blast through even the toughest deposits. They said that even on older cars, they never needed to have their injectors cleaned again once the BG 44K had worked its way through the system.
It’s even more expensive than the Techron. This one comes in a 20oz bottle, but to buy the same amount as the Lucas would cost about 5X as much. Granted, the BG 44K isn’t something you’ll have to buy regularly, and you don’t have to use nearly as much. Still, it’s professional grade, and carries an appropriate price tag.
Like the Techron, it’s not a constant preventive measure. This one’s better suited to people who like to scrub the whole system at once, rather than methodically topping things up. Since it’s not going into every tank, you might not notice a steady different in fuel economy. Of course, with every treatment, you should notice that nearly all aspects of your car’s performance improve.
It won’t work for diesels. If you’re looking to treat a diesel system as well, BG do make a diesel-specific version of this product.
What is the Best Fuel System Cleaner for You?
The Lucas is the best choice for people who are looking for the most cost-effective solution. It comes in big bottles, at a lower unit price than the other supplements. Many reviewers also found that it paid for itself in fuel savings. This one’s also the best option for preventative maintenance. It’s the only one of our recommendations that goes in your tank at every fill up, which means it’s the only cleaner that will also keep deposits from building up in the first place.
However, it’s not the most effective choice for engines that are super fouled to begin with. Plus, if you use Chevron fuel or other fuels with detergents already integrated, it might not make a difference in preventing buildup.
The Techron treatment is a good solution for people who want to clean all the corrosion at once. It’s more concentrated than the Lucas additive, so you don’t need to use as much. You can also get away with adding it at every oil change, rather than each time you fill up your tank. However, it’s not quite as powerful as the BG 44K, and it’s a bit more expensive than the Lucas. It’s also not going to help you much in terms of preventive maintenance.
For the dirtiest engines, or for the most intense cleaning solution, we recommend the BG 44K. It’s also the lowest-maintenance option. You only have to use this one every 15,000 miles or so, as opposed to 3,000 miles for the Techron and every fill-up with the Lucas.
It’s the most popular of our recommendations among professional mechanics and shops, and it’s approved by the vast majority of dealerships. On the downside, it’s the most expensive of the three, and it’s pretty powerful stuff, so you’ll want to be careful to only use the recommended amount. And, like the Techron, it’s not a sure bet for improving your fuel economy.
How to Choose the Best Fuel Injection Cleaner
Know your car:
Before you buy any fuel injector cleaner or other additive, you want to make sure it’s compatible with your car. Ask your mechanic, or you can use Amazon’s handy Garage tool to plug in the make and model of your vehicle. With that info plugged in, you’ll be able to see quickly which products are safe for you to use.
You’ll also want to think about the age and condition of your car. If you’re using a direct-injection motor, you’ll want something that cleans powerfully but still protects the delicate apparatus inside the fuel system.
Older cars generally need more powerful cleaners, especially if you’re cleaning your injectors for the first time. Newer cars will be better off with gentler solutions, or cleaners which also lubricate the system as they work.
Know your gas:
The other big factor to consider is the gas you’re running through your car. After all, that is what’s leaving deposits inside your engine and fuel lines. Figure out what detergents are in the gas you use, as well as any other lubricating compounds. That’ll help you establish whether you need to use an injector cleaner with every tank, or just after every few thousand miles.
If you use fuel with plenty of detergents, you’ll be safe with the latter. If the one you use isn’t quite as refined, it’s best to stay on top of preventive maintenance by adding some treatment to every tank.
You’ll also need to know about the makeup of the fuel itself. Nearly every fuel on the market these days has some amount of alcohol mixed in, usually from ethanol. As a general rule, the more ethanol in your tank, the more buildup you’ll have inside the motor. So, if you use a more diluted fuel, you’ll want to get a stronger cleaner. If you use an ethanol-heavy fuel that doesn’t have detergents already, you’ll probably want to use a more preventive supplement like the Lucas with each fillup.
It’s easier to figure all this out if you buy a particular brand of fuel. If you mix and match, it’s best to err on the safe side and get a fuel injector cleaner with stronger detergents. That’ll make up for any poor fuel you may have used, which didn’t have as much detergent mixed in already. One of the big reasons people use a fuel-line injector cleaner like these is if they’ve been traveling somewhere they’ve had to use sketchy gas.
Consider your budget:
Fuel injector cleaners can cost anywhere from $30/gallon for a gradual additive cleaner to $30 per treatment for some of the more powerful/industrial single-use options. Your cost will really depend on the type of driving you do, the type of fuel you use/how dirty your engine gets, and the type of treatment you choose.
As a rule, the gradual additive cleaners like the Lucas we’ve recommended here are the cheapest option. And, since they purify each tank of fuel, they can actually save you money by improving your car’s efficiency.
However, they might not be as effective on cars that already have built-up debris in the fuel system. Commercial-grade single use options are the most expensive in terms of price per ounce, but they don’t have to be used nearly as often, and they do a better job on built-up gunk.
It’s important to realize you don’t necessarily have to choose one type or the other. For instance, you could do your first ever injector cleaning with something industrial like BG 44K, but then use Lucas regularly to keep any buildups from coming back.
And remember, even the most costly fuel injector cleaner is pretty darn cheap compared to having to replace your injectors completely, or suffer serious motor damage due to clogs!
Think about your own preferences:
This is pretty simple to figure out, and mainly depends on the sort of car person you are. There are two basic types of fuel injector cleaner: the kind you pour in once every so often for a big clean, or the kind you add with every tank as a more preventive, gradual cleaning measure.
If you prefer to stay on top of things and keep some cleaner in the car for every fill-up, you might want to go for the second type. If you’re the type of person who prefers not to think about your injectors that often, get a fuel injector cleaner that only needs to be used every oil change or so.
If none of these fuel injector cleaners are quite right for you or your vehicle, check out Amazon’s top selling page or visit read our reviews for Best Diesel Injector Cleaner, Best Diesel Fuel Additive or Best Fuel Injector Cleaning Kits! We also made a short and easy to understand write up on How to Clean Fuel Injectors.