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How to Clean Diesel Injectors

Cutaway of an engine cylinder head and block

Your car’s diesel injectors ensure the engine gets the right amount of fuel at the right time. These injectors break diesel fuel down into a fine mist and deliver it to the engine’s cylinders. Knowing how to clean diesel injectors is important in order to optimize the car’s engine performance and fuel mileage.

How to Clean Diesel Injectors

You can use a fuel additive to quickly remove grime and buildup from your car’s diesel injectors. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Purchase a fuel additive. Not all additives work with diesel engines, so be sure to check the product’s packaging to make sure it’s compatible. Sea Foam Motor Treatment is an example of an additive that works well with diesel engines.Diesel fuel filler and DEF filler
  2. Start the car, and allow the engine to warm up for three or four minutes. Then turn off the engine.
  3. Remove and drain the fuel filter.
  4. Fill the entire filter and housing cavity with your chosen fuel additive.
  5. Install a new fuel filter for your diesel vehicle. When doing so, ensure there’s no air present in the filter or housing.
  6. Once you’ve completed the installation, start your vehicle’s engine and keep it running for about two minutes. Then shut off the engine.
  7. Leave the engine off for between five and 15 minutes. This interval will give the fuel additive the time it needs to soak into the grime and dirt in the fuel system.
  8. After the additive has had a chance to soak, restart the engine and drive the vehicle for about 30 minutes. The fuel additive will do its magic, cleaning the injectors while you’re behind the wheel. If safety permits, run the engine hard during your drive. Placing the engine under this kind of stress builds up heat and compression, which will help optimize the cleaning process.

Routine Cleanings

Ideally, you should thoroughly deep-clean your car’s diesel injectors at least once a year or every 30,000 miles. Keep in mind that more frequent cleaning may be necessary if you drive in harsh weather conditions.

Another option is to keep the injectors clean by pouring additives in with the fuel. If you drive your car regularly, you can pour an additive in with the fuel every 2,000 to 5,000 miles. This will discourage the accumulation of heavy buildup.

Keeping your injectors clean will help make sure your car’s engine is always performing at its best. It may also save you money in fuel costs by optimizing mileage.

Check out all the fuel additives available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on diesel injectors, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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