Is your car acting sluggish or slow to accelerate? Have you noticed your gas mileage decreasing and find yourself filling up more than normal? If so, it might be time to get a fuel system cleaning. It’s an often-overlooked maintenance element, but it can have huge effects on helping your car reach its optimal driving performance and fuel efficiency.
Fuel is obviously very important to your car, but it can also be the reason for uneven performance. As you drive, fuel injectors spray an incredibly fine line of fuel into the engine, much smaller than a grain of sand. That fuel is ignited and puts your car in motion. When you adjust the gas pedal, you are adjusting the amount of fuel that runs through the fuel system, and over time that wear and use can cause problems with performance, efficiency, and speed. Varnish and fuel deposits can build up over time, creating a fuel system that is lined with sludge. Similar in the way plaque builds up on your teeth and can affect the rest of your mouth, fuel buildup can affect the rest of your car’s performance.
It can be a little unnerving to realize such an important part of your car is running under less-than-ideal circumstances, but a periodic fuel system cleaning can set things straight again and is relatively simple. Most mechanics perform the cleaning in three steps: typically by running a series of cleaners through different parts of the fuel system and hand cleaning all of the parts to remove every bit of residue. In many cases, fuel system cleaning alerts technicians to the need for a fuel filter replacement, but that can also easily be taken care of at the same time.
Most mechanics recommend you get a fuel system cleaning every 12,000-15,000 miles, but you can definitely get them more often if you notice performance issues with your car. Some car types and designs are more sensitive to buildup in the fuel system, but if your car won’t benefit as much from the service, you can spread out your maintenance. Check with your mechanic to see where your car falls.
Regular maintenance, especially on the ever-important fuel components of your car, can greatly extend the life of the vehicle and save you money on gas and maintenance in the long run.