Car Sputters After Adding Fuel Injector Cleaner. Troubleshooting Guide

If you’ve recently experienced this issue, you’re not alone. Many car owners encounter sputtering engines after utilizing fuel injector cleaners.

In this guide, we’ll explore the potential causes of this problem and provide you with practical solutions to resolve it. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Fuel Injector Cleaners

Fuel injector cleaners are additives designed to remove carbon deposits, varnish, and other contaminants from fuel injectors.

They help improve fuel atomization, restore injector performance, and enhance engine efficiency. While these cleaners generally offer numerous benefits, there are instances where car engines may sputter after their use.

Possible Causes of Car Sputtering

1. Residual Cleaner in the Fuel System

When using a fuel injector cleaner, it’s crucial to follow the instructions carefully. Some cleaners require adding the entire bottle to a full tank of gas, while others may need to be added in smaller quantities.

Using excessive amounts or not diluting the cleaner properly can leave residual solvents in the fuel system. This can cause sputtering by affecting the air-to-fuel ratio and combustion process.

2. Dislodged Deposits

Fuel injector cleaners are formulated to break down and remove deposits from the injectors. In the process, loosened debris can become dislodged and flow downstream into other components of the fuel system.

If these particles reach the fuel filter, they can clog it, leading to restricted fuel flow and engine sputtering.

3. Fuel System Contamination

In some cases, fuel injector cleaners can stir up sediment or impurities that have settled at the bottom of the fuel tank.

This contamination can make its way into the fuel lines, injectors, or filters, causing disruptions in fuel delivery and combustion. As a result, the engine may sputter or experience a loss of power.

4. Damaged or Worn-out Fuel Injectors

It’s important to note that fuel injector cleaners are primarily designed to address issues caused by carbon deposits and varnish buildup.

If your car’s sputtering problem persists after using a cleaner, it could indicate preexisting issues with the fuel injectors themselves. Damage, clogging, or worn-out injectors may require professional inspection or replacement.

Troubleshooting Steps

Now that we have a good understanding of the potential causes, let’s explore some troubleshooting steps to help you resolve the sputtering issue after using a fuel injector cleaner.

Step 1: Check for Fuel System Contamination

Start by examining the fuel filter for any signs of clogging or sediment buildup. If you notice significant contamination, consider replacing the fuel filter.

Additionally, inspect the fuel tank for any debris or impurities. If necessary, have a professional clean the tank to ensure it’s free from contaminants.

Step 2: Fill Up with Fresh Fuel

To dilute any residual cleaner in the system, fill up your car with fresh, high-quality fuel. Opt for a reputable gas station to ensure you’re getting clean gasoline.

This step helps flush out any remaining solvent and allows the engine to run on uncontaminated fuel.

Step 3: Drive Your Car

Take your car for a drive on the open road, preferably on a highway or a route with minimal traffic. This can help the engine operate at higher RPMs and aid in burning off any leftover cleaner or dislodged deposits. Continuous driving at moderate to high speeds for an extended period can often resolve the sputtering issue.

Step 4: Monitor and Evaluate

After completing the previous steps, observe your car’s performance over the next few days. If the sputtering persists or worsens, it’s recommended to consult a qualified mechanic or technician.

They possess the expertise and tools required to diagnose and resolve complex fuel system issues.


Experiencing car sputtering after using a fuel injector cleaner can be frustrating. However, by following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this guide, you can increase the likelihood of resolving the issue.

Remember to use fuel injector cleaners as directed and be mindful of any preexisting fuel system problems that may require professional attention.

We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and solutions to help you overcome the sputtering problem effectively. Safe travels!

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