In this Guide
Diesel is a dirty fuel by nature. It’s gunky and produces lots of soot and carbon deposits that can foul an engine in no time. That’s why it’s so important to keep on top of cleaning out your fuel injectors!
However, since diesel is so dirty, it requires especially powerful cleaners to keep it at bay. Plus, many off-the-shelf injector cleaners won’t work with diesel engines.
We’ve gone on a hunt for the best diesel injector cleaners on the market today! We’ve compared dozens of popular options, looking at recommendations from mechanics, user reviews online, and features and specs for each solution.
In this special guide, we’ll walk you through three of our favorite options for cleaning your diesel injectors! Our in-depth reviews will explain why these cleaners are the most effective solutions on the market today, and help you figure out which one is the best choice for your vehicle.
Here are our top three recommendations, at a glance:
|Best on a Budget||Royal Purple|
Diesel Injector Cleaner Reviews
1. Royal Purple
“a good preventive additive for each time you fill up.”
The Royal Purple is an injector cleaner which is designed to be used with each tank of fuel. It’s an effective cleaner for all the surfaces inside your engine, and it’s also a good preventive additive for each time you fill up.
We highly recommend it for people who like to stay on top of their maintenance all year long.
It’s a complete treatment. This solution does a whole host of things inside your fuel lines beside just cleaning your injectors. There are lubricants, detergents, and a number of other ingredients to improve overall engine health and performance.
Most importantly, it cleans deposits and buildup from your injectors, intake valves, combustion chambers, piston crowns and carburetor. Those are all the key places where carbon can build up and cause problems, and the Royal Purple takes care of them all!
It increases lubricity with each tank. That keeps things moving smoothly, and reduces smoke and odor as your motor runs. We noticed marked improvement! This stuff eliminated visible smoke from the tailpipe, and completely smoothed the idle.
It improves fuel economy up to 10% by eliminating carbon and soot buildups, which can really cut into your car’s efficiency.
“improves fuel economy up to 10%”
It prevents gelling in cold conditions. Plus, we found that it cut down on white smoke during cold startups. For something so inexpensive, that’s notable.
It improves startup reliability, and reduces smoke and noise while you’re driving. Some users have said that they noticed their motors weren’t going through any re-gen cycles after the Max-Tane. That reduces motor heat a lot, and also makes a big difference in improving efficiency.
It’s compatible with any type of diesel fuel. That means you don’t have to worry about whether it’s compatible with your vehicle, and you never have to worry about a bad reaction if you switch fuel sources or go on a long road trip!
It’s specifically formulated to help with newer HPCR (high pressure common rail) injection systems in diesel vehicles. That’s essential if you’ve got a newer vehicle, since the narrow heads on these injectors can be seriously damaged by even the smallest clogs and blockages!
“good value for money, especially when you consider that using this will replace other additives you might use.”
One 20-oz bottle treats 100 gallons of fuel. That’s pretty good value for money, especially when you consider that using this will replace other additives you might use. Likewise, if you’re using other additives, you probably won’t need to buy this solution often. If you already use a diesel additive to improve performance and efficiency, you can use this solution less frequently, every oil change or so.
It could get slightly expensive to use with every tank. However, many users found that the solution paid for itself with the improved fuel economy. Plus, you’ll be saving yourself lots of cleaning and maintenance costs over the long term. We also found that people who used it every oil change had reasonably good results.
Some previous buyers said that they didn’t notice any difference in fuel economy. Of course, we’re recommending the Royal Purple as an injector cleaner, not an economy booster. However, if you’re looking for something to improve your mileage, this one’s not a sure bet. You’ll probably see more of a difference with older vehicles, or motors that haven’t been cleaned recently.
2. Sea Foam
“our favorite universal solution for any engine”
This Sea Foam product is our favorite universal solution for any engine, and it works fantastically with diesel. You can run it through the tank every 5,000 miles, or use it as a direct surface cleaner when you’re doing motor maintenance.
It cleans, stabilizes, and smoothes out your fuel and improves nearly every aspect of your motor’s performance. It’s great for people who like to do a big clean every oil change or so, instead of with every tank.
It’s a very effective cleaner. This stuff cleans out any deposits and gumming inside your motor, and keeps deposits from forming if you use it with each tank. Just like the Royal Purple, it’ll clean all the surfaces inside the fuel lines. It removes carbon deposits on your injectors, carb jets, and ring seals, as well as other surfaces inside the fuel line.
It has a great track record. You can find more glowing reviews for Sea Foam than any other injector cleaner on the market! It’s extremely popular among mechanics and technicians. We found that a lot of loyal users tried the solution when faced with a big bill, as a last ditch effort to avoid major mechanical repairs. Since it worked so well in their hour of need, they now use it regularly.
“It’s extremely popular among mechanics and technicians.”
It works in any diesel fuel, just like the Royal Purple. The Sea Foam has the added benefit of working with gasoline fuels as well. It’ll work on any motor from a little two-stroke to a big diesel dump truck. That’s some pretty great compatibility!
Since it works for practically anything, it’s a great one-size-fits-all detergent to have in your garage. You can use it on anything from your weed-whacker to a pickup truck.
You can use it in the fuel tank, or as a direct surface cleaner. We’ve had great results soaking injectors in the solution, for a more thorough, direct cleaning. You can also use it right in the crank case or carburetor, to address carbon and soot debris there.
It’s very inexpensive. Since you only need to use it every 5000 miles, it’s very cost-effective.
You can also use the Sea Foam solution as an additive for low quality fuel, if you can’t fill up somewhere reputable. It’s also a good idea to add this to biodiesels, since those fuels are the dirtiest and most likely to clog in the first place. Sea Foam at low doses is a great additive, and does a few key things. It stabilizes your fuel, removes moisture, and adds lubricity. Just make sure you don’t use too much.
It’s 100% pure petroleum, and EPA listed for safety.
With so many rave reviews, some buyers are inclined to treat Sea Foam like a cure-all. It’s certainly not a miracle cure, but it can be very effective for the right uses. You’ll just want to make sure you’re not expecting it to cure a mechanical issue.
On the other hand, we highly recommend it as a final option for figuring out if your vehicle’s problem is mechanical. If you’ve used Sea Foam and haven’t seen any improvement, your issues are probably mechanical, not due to buildup or clogs.
It can cause problems if you use too much too quickly. You want to be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, just like with any other fuel. That’s another issue of people thinking this is a “miracle cure.” This stuff is a tool, and you need to make sure you know how to use it. Especially on very recent vehicles, over-using Sea Foam can cause more harm than good.
“the absolute best diesel scrubber out there”
If you’re looking for the absolute best diesel scrubber out there, we strongly recommend this BG244 solution. It’s powerful, industrial-strength stuff from a company that’s extremely popular among dealership mechanics and professional servicemen. You’ll find that diesel vehicles run just like new after this treatment.
BG’s gasoline injector cleaner is the #1 recommended brand by auto brand dealers, as well as our top recommendation in that category. We think their diesel-specific product deserves just as much attention!
It’s excellent for dealing with vehicles/engines which haven’t been cleaned before. We also suggest it for bio-diesel systems which see lots of gunk.
It’s a very powerful cleaner. 11oz will treat 15 gallons of fuel, and take off years worth of deposits. This stuff is professional grade, and it’s the cleaner you’ll see used at most dealerships.
Since it’s very concentrated, you don’t have to use it very often. You’re good to use this every 7500 miles or so, or with each oil change (provided you change your oil regularly). That’s why we recommend it to people who like to do as little maintenance as possible.
“the best choice for people who have old vehicles”
It cleans carbon and soot deposits, as well as gunk from fuel impurities off your injectors, combustion chambers, and the rest of your fuel system. This one’s got the most powerful detergents of the three, so it’s the best choice for people who have old vehicles that haven’t had their injectors cleaned before.
Likewise, this stuff is your best bet for dealing with biodiesel systems. They see a degree of buildup that other engines will never experience, so this is ideal for blasting through it.
“your best bet for dealing with biodiesel systems.”
Overall, it helps to improve fuel economy, fuel flow and efficiency, idle smoothness, and long-term engine health. You’ll see faster throttle response, smoother idle, and a happier diesel purr as noticeable changes after the treatment. Lots of users mentioned how much of a difference the BG244 made in their vehicle’s idle function in particular.
It complies with federal low sulfur requirements. You’ll also find that cleaning out the fuel system reduces smoggy emissions from your exhaust pipe.
You can get it in a few sizes, either 11oz or 32oz (quart) bottles, depending on the size of your vehicle’s tank, and whether you have multiple vehicles.
It’s expensive. By volume, this is the most expensive of our three recommendations by quite a bit. It’s worth it if you need to do a strong scrubbing, but you shouldn’t be spending this much on something routine.
Since it’s not an additive, you might not notice much of a difference on a newer or regularly serviced car. However, if you’ve got an old vehicle, or have recently used some poor quality fuel, you’re probably going to be quite impressed with the results.
Which is the Best Diesel Fuel Treatment for You?
If you like to take preventive measures rather than cleaning periodically, the Royal Purple treatment is perfect for you.
It’s a fuel injector cleaner that works to keep injectors clean with every tank, rather than dealing with buildup every oil change. It can be a bit costly, but it’s also likely to give you a boost in terms of fuel economy–especially on an older vehicle.
If you’re looking for the least expensive solution, you’re better off with the Sea Foam treatment.
It’s a full injector cleaner like the Royal Purple, but it only needs to be used every 5,000 miles or so. It’s also one of the most universally compatible cleaners on the market. We recommend it for people who have multiple vehicles, or a few gas-powered tools around the shed to clean as well. You’ll get more than your money’s worth by finding lots of uses for it.
If your goal is to do the best possible job, you should get the BG244.
It’s the most powerful cleaner out of the three, and it’s truly professional grade. It’s dealer-approved by most brands, and is safe for any diesel engine, even the latest injector systems. However, it’s also the most expensive to purchase.
How to Choose the Best Diesel Fuel Injector Cleaner
Decide on your budget:
There are a whole range of diesel injector cleaners are on the market. You’ll find them for anywhere from a couple dollars to the price of a tank.
The more expensive options do tend to be a bit more potent, but price isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality with injector cleaners and other fuel treatments. You’ll also have to think about how much you’re buying at a time, and how often you’ll need to use it.
When you’re thinking about your budget, make sure you think about whether you want to buy a cleaner that’s added with every tank, or a cleaner that’s added once every oil change. The latter is usually cheaper, but using a periodic cleaner every oil change won’t prevent buildup in between cleanings (unless you use a diesel additive).
Think about your personal preferences:
You’ll want to think about whether you’re the sort of person who likes to do a little bit of maintenance every time you fill up, or whether you’re a driver who likes to get the whole cleaning over with at once, then forget about it. That’ll help you narrow down your options to either a single-use cleaner, or an additive-style cleaner.
The convenience factor depends in large part on the size of your tank, too. If you don’t fill up often, it’s not a big deal to throw some additive in there. If you have to fill up every day, you might not want to add that much to your routine.
Think about your fuel type:
No matter which type of cleaner you decide on, make sure you know it’s compatible with the fuel you use, and any other additives you use in your diesel vehicle. We’ve gone out of our way to find cleaners that work with any fuel types, but if you decide on another solution, you’ll want to double-check.
Amazon has a useful tool on their site, which lets you plug in your make and model to see whether the auto part or product is compatible with your vehicle. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to ask your mechanic.
If you’re not completely sold on any of these diesel injector cleaners, check out Amazon’s top selling solutions here! You can compare our picks to the rest of the market, and plug in your vehicle to make sure it’s compatible with the cleaner you choose. Read our page for Best Fuel Injector Cleaner.