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5 Handy Tips for Keeping Your Fuel Injectors Up to Speed

Posted by Scott Goldfarb on

Your fuel injection setup represents the circulatory system of your diesel engine and is crucial to its longevity. So how do you keep these essential fuel injection pump parts functioning efficiently? It might surprise you that all it takes is a keen eye and taking time to educate yourself on some essential maintenance habits.

Fuel injector systems must remain clear of dirt, debris, water, and excess air to operate reliably. As a veteran diesel parts supplier of more than 25 years, we narrowed the list down to what we believe are the five most important tips for extending the life of your fuel injectors (and the rest of your fuel system):

1. Use the Right Stuff

Always use diesel fuel for a diesel engine. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it happens all the time. You’re not paying attention, and you grab the wrong nozzle. Or, somebody told you that regular fuel works just fine for your diesel engine; the station is out of diesel, and you really need fuel. We’ve heard them all.

Regular gasoline and diesel fuel have significant differences, the foremost being that diesel is an oil and gas is a solvent. When you pump regular fuel into a diesel tank, it will ignite prematurely. This can damage both your fuel system and your engine. The lower level of lubricants present in standard gas likely will also gum up your fuel injectors and filter.

If you do end up making this mistake, it’s best to stop using your car or truck and call your service technician.

2. Keep an Eye on the Weather

Diesel fuel typically has two primary grades:

  • Grade #1, or winterized diesel, does not contain paraffin so it won’t gel up on you in colder temperatures.
  • Grade #2 is the most commonly used at filling stations just about everywhere.

While Grade #2 diesel is less expensive than Grade #1, the paraffin in the fuel mixture starts firming up as the mercury falls. As it thickens, it can clog your sensitive fuel injectors and markedly reduce your engine’s performance.

3. Clean it Like You Mean it

Manufacturers have different recommendations, but for the most part, they agree you should have your fuel injection pump parts cleaned roughly every couple of years or 45,000 to 90,000 miles. A complete system flush will eliminate carbon deposits and leave your injectors free of obstruction.

You can go about getting your fuel system cleaned in a few ways. Some choose to use fuel additives, such as Sea Foam, Gumout, and Chevron every 2,000 to 5,000 miles to keep their injectors and everything else running optimally. Another school of thought is that while effective, additives never get your system fully clean. Spending the money every few years on a professional, ultrasonic clean may be better. Of course, if you want to do both, that’s OK, too.

Keeping your fuel injectors healthy requires consistent cleaning, regardless of your chosen technique.

4. Stay on Top of Your Filter Changes

Think of your fuel filter as a gatekeeper - your engine’s first line of defense in keeping dirt and other obstructions out of your fuel system. Diesel fuel filters tend to get dirty much faster than standard gasoline filters. Just because your Toyota Camry didn’t need a new fuel filter until it passed 30,000 miles doesn’t mean your Chevy Silverado can wait that long.

Today’s high-precision diesel engines necessitate using pure fuel, so when debris gets past the filter and clogs up the works, the resulting damage can quickly add up to high repair costs. It’s a good idea to check your truck’s manufacturers’ recommendations for exact scheduling, but automotive experts generally agree that you should look at replacing your fuel filter every 10,000 to 25,000 miles. That estimate can increase slightly, depending on how you use your vehicle (e.g., for heavy towing, etc.), how often and how far you drive, and your climate.

5. Gimme’ Shelter

An enclosed garage or thick automobile cover will give your fuel system a fair amount of protection from the elements. Heavy rain, excessive heat, frigid temperatures, and even raging dust storms can all negatively affect the functionality of your fuel network.

For instance, water formed by condensation or outside forces will settle on the bottom of your fuel tank and can introduce algae and other microbial organisms or cause it to rust. As mentioned above, colder temperatures can increase the viscosity of your fuel and clog your filters and injectors. And dust? What can we say - dust is just plain bad for everything, especially fuel.

The saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is not a cliché when it comes to your diesel injection pump parts. By following these simple, tried and true pointers, you can help your fuel injectors operate more efficiently, thus extending the life of your engine. And who doesn’t want more time with their favorite 4x4?


For fuel injector systems to function properly, they must be kept free of dirt, debris, water, and extra air. As a more than 25-year-old diesel parts provider, we've extracted the list down to the top five recommendations for extending the lifespan of your fuel injectors and the rest of your fuel system.

5 Tips for Efficient Fuel Injectors Infographic



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