With so many injector and fuel system cleaners on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the shear number of options to choose between. Most companies sell a product that is listed as a specific injector cleaner and another that is touted as a fuel system cleaner.
But are there differences between the two? Let’s look in further detail at Chevron’s Techron Fuel Injector & Fuel System Cleaners respectively.
Is there a difference?
In short, yes. It’s obvious from the packaging and marketing literature that one product is intended for use on injector cleaners specifically and so this product could be introduced into the injector lines directly, neat. The fuel system cleaners are only intended to be added to the fuel tank, diluting them and allowing them to affect the fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel pump, fuel rail and injector inlets, as well as the injector bodies.
Both additives are highly flammable and heavily solvent based. The solvents are included as they dissolve carbon deposits but they also readily evaporate and combust. Both as a liquid and vapour, they will ignite.
To understand the difference, we can look to the manufacturer safety data sheet where some of the ingredients are listed.
Techron Fuel Injector Cleaner Chemical Components
Techron Fuel Injector Cleaner is specifically formulated to be added to a full fuel tank and keep fuel injectors free of carbon deposits. They do not list the same cleaning and corrosion inhibiting properties as fuel system cleaners. It also does not mention the inclusion of a friction modifier or lubricity additive.
Included in Chevron Techron Fuel Injector Cleaner:
- Petroleum Distillates – Readily flammable liquid that makes up 80% of the injector cleaner
- Stoddard solvent 7% – Known round the world as white spirit or mineral spirit (though it is a petroleum-based spirit).
- Mystery Chemical 01154100-5179P – Listed only as a trade secret, but many think this to be PEA, Polyetheramine which is included in almost all fuel injector cleaners
- 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene – around 5%. A solvent.
- 01154100-5323P – Another trade secret product
The chemical composition of Techron Fuel Injector cleaner appears to be different to other products, for example, there’s no pale oil included.
Techron Fuel System Cleaner Chemical Components
- 20% Naptha Solvent
- Stoddard Solvent – No quantity given
- Hydrotreated distillate – Also known as dearomatized kerosene
- Trimethylbenzene-1,2,4 – yet another solvent
- Xylene – Industrial solvent < 3.55%
- Cumene – A constituent of crude oil and is an organic compound <1.5%
There are more chemicals listed in the fuel system cleaner.
What is the difference?
From the above chemical components listings, we can determine that the Injector Cleaner and Fuel System Cleaner are different products. The Fuel System Cleaner appears to have a higher concentration of cleaning detergents or solvents, whereas the injector cleaner is primarily made from petroleum fractions.
One thing is abundantly clear, after having used these products, always wash your hands! They contain a large number of toxic & carcinogenic chemicals that you do not want to ingest or contaminate food with accidentally!
Is one product better than the other?
If your vehicle isn’t suffering too much from the effects of carbon build-ups and you intend to clean the whole fuel system, including the injectors, use the fuel system cleaner regularly.
It will act as a preventative to stop carbon deposits forming in the future and clean any minor formations. Every time you fill up, you might choose to drop in some fuel treatment, especially on direct injection engines with emission control systems.
If your vehicle is smoking heavily, is slow to pick up when accelerating and you’ve noticed a drop in fuel economy, then try the injector cleaner first. It may take several applications to clear out stubborn debris. Allowing the sufficient product time to work is vital. It could take several attempts to restore performance.