Using fuel injector cleaners is easy enough, even finding a suitable product isn’t difficult. But how often should fuel injector cleaner be used? That can be a bit trickier to answer. So let’s dig in.
There are many reasons why one would want to use injector cleaners to begin with. It could be because car is acting up, and using a fairly affordable fuel additive that might fight the issue is a logical first step. Wiser folk, on the other hand, may wish to prevent any issues to begin with. So they’ll want to use injector cleaners as a preventative. Making sure the fuel system is properly cleaned of any dirt buildup, and lubricated to guarantee optimal performance. While others bank purely on the fuel mileage aspect of these additives.
Depending on what the desired goal is, you’ll want to look for different cleaners and consider various different doses and intervals.
Now, because every cleaner is different, there is no way for me to give you one specific number to follow. There’s no one size fits all recommendation. BUT, once you have chosen what injector cleaner you wish to use, you can then check the labels on the product to discover what the recommended dosage and frequency of use is. And once you know that, you can then also consider adjusting those numbers to more accurately suit your needs.
- For the goal of general maintenance and fuel mileage improvement, you can aim for lower doses with every, or every other fill up.
- For the goal of cleaning and solving minor issues, you’ll often want to use a stronger cleaner and a bigger dose but use it more seldom.
- And when the injectors might have gotten totally clogged on a vehicle, you might want the strongest cleaner, the biggest dose, but use it very rarely.
For example, let’s say your engine is in a desperate need for a heavy duty cleaner. So you pick up the Berryman B-12 Chemtool. It recommends:
Add 1 oz. of cleaner per 1 gallon of fuel
Use every 2500-3000 miles or every oil change as part of regular maintenance
As you can see, it recommends a fairly hefty dose but at extreme intervals of thousands of miles. And it makes sense, as it’s a very strong cleaner that doesn’t boast about adding fuel mileage improvements (beyond restoring the mileage you had before injectors got dirty), so there’s little need to use it more often than that.
It also warns against excessive use as it’s a very strong solvent. Personally, I would not use it in a higher concentration that suggested, if maybe only slightly so, and I’d go at least a few fill ups between using it again, but only if the first round of treatment didn’t solve my issue. (If the second round doesn’t help either, then just take the car in for service as the issue is likely elsewhere)
But if for example you wish to improve fuel mileage while still helping those injectors stay clean? Then we should be taking a look at our most highly rated product, the Lucas 10013 Fuel Treatment, which specifies how often should fuel injector cleaner be used, as follows:
Recommended dosage is 2-3 ounces of Fuel Treatment per 10 gallons of fuel.
Compared to the Berryman, the Lucas product recommends a much lower dose and sets no limit on use. In fact, it’s very common and recommended to use it with every fill up as it’s been known to improve fuel mileage by so much that even as you spend more money on the additive, your total costs will not go up, or may even go down because of the fuel mileage improvements.
So it’s a very easy to follow guideline if you’re simply looking for the most optimal all around benefit.
STA-BIL 360 Performance recommends a similar dose, if slightly lower at 2 ounces per 10 gallons of fuel, and similarly, at every fill up is recommended.
BG 44k fuel system cleaner on the other hand suggests a full 11 ounce can for 20 gallons of fuel, effectively double than that of Lucas or Sta-Bil.
As you can see, how often should fuel injector cleaner be used, is completely dependent on what cleaner you’re planning on using, and for what situation. Some you’ll want to use sparingly, only when the needed arises, or as part of an annual maintenance cycle. While some others you can comfortably use non-stop through-out the year.
It’s also important to note that not all products fit all engines. Some are for gasoline engines only, so if you’re a Diesel user, you may want to check out our list of the best diesel injector cleaners.
So pick your product, read those labels and you’ll be good to go!