While I very much appreciate the work that dealership service departments do, one of the things that annoys me about them is their tendency to recommend unnecessary maintenance. A couple of common examples of unnecessary maintenance would be:
- A/C Service – Often, this is nothing more than a visual inspection of the air conditioning system, a temperature test, and maybe a vacuum test.
- Wheel Alignment – If you need a wheel alignment, you usually know…your car doesn’t drive in a straight line. There’s very little reason to do an alignment unless and until you notice an issue.
Generally speaking, no one should pay for either of these maintenance items unless they notice a problem.
And now, we can add “Injector Service” to the list of largely unnecessary maintenance.
What Is An Injector Service, Anyways?
If your vehicle runs on diesel or gasoline, it has fuel injectors. These are complicated little devices that spray a precise amount of fuel into your air intake (or, on some newer cars, directly into the cylinder). This fuel mixes with air, and then a spark is added and BOOM, combustion.
An “injector service” is nothing more than running some cleaning fluid (called “fuel injector cleaner”) thru your injectors. The fluid that dealerships will use is the same stuff you can buy yourself and your local auto parts store.
Is There Ever A Good Reason To Pay For An Injector Service?
Probably not. A clogged injector is not common, but also not rare. If you have a clogged fuel injector (or injectors), these are some of the issues you’ll notice:
- Your vehicle is hesitating under acceleration, or
- Your vehicle feels like it’s slower than normal, or
- You’ve had an issue with your vehicle stalling
If you’ve noticed these problems, than cleaning your injectors is a good idea…but you can clean your injectors yourself! It’s super easy, in fact.
Step 1 is to Go to your local Wal-Mart or Target and buy a bottle of fuel injector cleaner (any brand will due).
Step 2 is to go to the gas station. Pour the bottle of cleaner into your fuel tank when you get there, and then fill up the tank with fuel.
Step 3 is to drive around until your gas tank is almost empty. You can do this over several days – the fuel injector cleaner is effective for weeks.
If your problems are a result of a clogged injector, your vehicle will start driving better within a few days. And, if it doesn’t, you can certainly try repeating the process with another bottle of fuel injector cleaner.
What If The DIY Fuel Injection Cleaning Doesn’t Solve My Problem?
If you’ve tried pouring a bottle of fuel injector cleaner into your gas tank a couple of times and it hasn’t worked, you may not have a dirty injector. The fuel injector cleaner you can buy at the store works pretty well, and it’s unlikely that the “pro” cleaner will do any better.
Unfortunately, the same symptoms that are associated with a clogged injector are also associated with a clogged fuel filter, a failing fuel pump, a failed injector, or even something as simple as contaminated fuel. So, if your DIY fuel injection cleaning doesn’t work, my advice is to take your vehicle to your local shop. Tell the shop about your vehicle’s symptoms, let them know you tried a couple of bottles of fuel injector cleaner, and let them figure it out.
Don’t pay for a fuel injection service. Instead, if you suspect a problem with a dirty injector, just buy a bottle of fuel injector cleaner at Wal-Mart and pour it in the tank.
And, if you’d like to clean the injectors just because, feel free to do so. Pouring a bottle of fuel injector cleaner into your car every few months probably isn’t necessary, but it’s also not going to hurt anything eiterh.