Should I bother with the $60 fuel injector cleaning solvent from my tune-up guys?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

My wife and I both drive fuel injected Pontiac Grand Ams. I recently had both tuned up at one of those "tune-up" places. The last three times I've been there, they have insisted that we purchase a $60 procedure for cleaning the fuel injectors. My dealer says that it is not necessary. The tune up guys say the dealer will make a bundle when he replaces my injectors. So far, I have not purchased this special injector maintenance, although I do the other regular maintenance. What do you suggest?

RAY: Save your money, John. Let the guy who owns the tune-up place make his monthly boat payment off someone else. I don't think any special fuel injector cleaning is necessary unless your injectors are giving you problems.

TOM: There are two ways your injectors can get plugged up. This $60 proceedure is supposed to deal with varnishes and waxes that come from gasoline deposits. But if you use brand name, good quality fuel, you may never get enough of a build-up to interfere with the car's performance. And if you do, you can deal with it then.

RAY: You can either go back to these tune-up guys and pay them $60 to add their solvent. Or you can buy a bottle of fuel injector cleaner for a lot less, and put it in the gas tank yourself. Two that seem to work well for our customers are Chevron Techron and BG Industries 44K.

TOM: But if I were you, I wouldn't worry so much about varnish. I'd worry about dirt--an equally common cause of fuel injector failure. And this special $60 procedure won't do anything to keep your fuel injectors from getting dirty.

RAY: The best way to keep dirt out of your fuel injectors is to change your gas filter once a year. And for $60, you can get a brand new gas filter AND a subscription to Horticulture Magazine.

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