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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I pruchased my '04 prius (44,000 miles to date), I heard a Toyota mechanic say that I should not use fuel injector cleaner in my gas tank. Since that time, I have asked several Toyota service magagers, another Toyota mechanic and Toyota Parts guys if I could/should run some fuel injector cleaner through my gas tank and have gotten different answers ranging from "of course its OK to use the Cleaner" (from a service manager) to "it probably alright", to "I don't know" from a parts guy. Recently, a Parts guy at the dealer told me he would check with the sales rep of a cleaner they sell (BG44). I called back in a couple days and he said that I shouldn't use it becasue the rubber blader in the gas tank could be damaged. I had mentioned this as a potential issue and am not sure he factually investegated my question or if he was saying that just to be conservative.

Should I use fuel injector clearner? Do you use it?
 

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No, do not use injector cleaner. A quality name brand gasoline used most of the time in your vehicle should provide all the detergents necessary to keep injectors clean. If you have a performance issue with your Prius, you should go to the dealer and have it examined for any stored codes that might indicate a problem. Otherwise do not add anything to the vehicle that is not necessary.

Most fuel and oil adatives are snake oil anyway, avoid them.
 

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dare I?

I specifically asked an official Toyota maint shop for accelerator butterfly cleaning, and their response was to do both that and fuel system cleaner added to the tank. It was not disclosed what they used, but informed speculation points to BG 44K products.

In particular, they stressed that I should immediately afterwards top off the fuel tank, because their fuel system cleaner was "pretty strong stuff".

That was about 23k miles ago and my 2001 Prius continues to run perfectly. Boring, in a way, not that I'm complaining. But the butterfly soot is becoming visible again.

DAS
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dare I

Does the 2001 Prius have the rubber bladder in the gas tank as does the 2004 model? The Parts guy said he checked with BG 44 Rep who advised him not use fuel injector cleaner in a Prius- though as I said, I am really not sure he actually checked with the Rep and may have just been following advice of others in his Dept.

Has Any one used fuel Injector cleaner gas additive in an '04 or later model?
 

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dare I?

2001-2003 US Prius do have the flexible fuel bladder - I don't know that it is rubber though. Don't know what polymer it is, really. I would like to get a definitive word on the BK 44, one way or the other.

Wasn't so long ago that we were wondering whether the polymers in the fuel system would object to a bit of acetone, come to think of it.

DAS
 

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Injector cleaner

Most fuel injector cleaner is the same stuff that's already in the gas (Techron, etc) and adding just ups the concentration. If it's already in the gas how can adding more be a problem?
 

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Re: Injector cleaner

s3nfo said:
If it's already in the gas how can adding more be a problem?
Concentration, that's how. You can safely use E10 gas, but be ware of using E85, as the long term effects on the seals and hoses are not known.
 

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I just had the dealer do my 5,000 mile maintenance today (I know, it's a rip-off, but my first few oil changes are free).

Printout says they "add premium engine treatment and fuel injector cleaner," among other items.

So, now I'm wondering whether I should tell them to not do those things in the future, since I don't even know what products they're using. But I would think the dealer, which has a Prius mechanic on staff, would know how to service their own car.
 

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Dealers with pretty extensive oil change business tend to use additives as a way of boosting their margins on an otherwise low margin and more importantly commodity service. Oil change places like to promote additives and such when you go in and it is smart to always refuse them. First, they are overpriced and second unnecessary.

Since you are getting your first oil change(s) for free I'm a little surprised that they would continue to put in additives that are normally used as profit enhancers. And I'm concerned that they feel it necessary to add additives of any kind to a brand new, low mileage vehicle. :eek:

I think next time you should specifically turn down the additives, you don't need them, and I'd start figuring out where or how you are going to change your oil when your freebies run out. The Prius is very easy to change the oil on. You can do it yourself.

Have you ever seen the sales materials for most additives that oil change places get from the dealers of additives. The marketing is blatantly skewed toward profit enhancement and customer retention through continued encouragement of use of a specific brand of products. The marketing materials you might receive about a product from an oil change shop or from the manufacturers web site are all going to be about what the product will "do" for your car. However that isn't the message that is given to oil change shops. They get marketing that talks about profits and barely mentions anything about the technical need for the product. I think that qualifies most additives as snake oil right there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
dare I

Hmmmm. 9 replies and still no definitive answers yet (will fuel injector clearer damage the fuel system). What do you think?
 

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Treydot said:
When I pruchased my '04 prius (44,000 miles to date), I heard a Toyota mechanic say that I should not use fuel injector cleaner in my gas tank. Since that time, I have asked several Toyota service magagers, another Toyota mechanic and Toyota Parts guys if I could/should run some fuel injector cleaner through my gas tank and have gotten different answers ranging from "of course its OK to use the Cleaner" (from a service manager) to "it probably alright", to "I don't know" from a parts guy. Recently, a Parts guy at the dealer told me he would check with the sales rep of a cleaner they sell (BG44). I called back in a couple days and he said that I shouldn't use it becasue the rubber blader in the gas tank could be damaged. I had mentioned this as a potential issue and am not sure he factually investegated my question or if he was saying that just to be conservative.

Should I use fuel injector clearner? Do you use it?
Treydot said:
Hmmmm. 9 replies and still no definitive answers yet (will feul injector clearer damage the fuel system). What do you think?
I want to touch on both posts. First off, there is credence on the concentration of detergents in an additive being bad for the bladder material. Danman said that and I agree. Sounds like your parts desk guy also thinks that might be the case. There is a big difference in the concentration of Techron, for example, in a gallon of gas from a Chevron than what happens when you buy and put a container of Techron in your tank.

So, let's say Techron comes in a 16 oz container (not sure about how large a normal treatment container is) and you put it in a full tank of gas, say 11 gallons, that's 1.45 oz per gallon of detergent that you have added to gasoline which already has a concentration of detergent in it. That is a lot of detergent. And that kind of concentration done repeatedly, over and over again might just be enough to cause problems with the bladder.

We haven't even answered the question about how the detergent removes deposits from injectors or from valve seats. Sounds to me like detergent additives might be a little caustic, yes? Now, high concentrations of that substance against a lot plastic and rubber parts. Doesn't sound like a good thing to me.

Should you use fuel system cleaner? No.

Do I use fuel system cleaner? No.

Definitive answer about fuel system additives and the Prius? Like a lot of things in the auto service industry, there is no definitive answer. A fuel system cleaner on an older vehicle might be useful, but on a low mileage late model vehicle, I can't see that it would be helpful. My opinion is not a definitive answer and neither is the opinion of other posters, however it seems that the vast majority of those that have posted here have indicated that additives are at the least wastes of money and at the worst potentially damaging.

My recommendation is knowing that the jury is still out on this one, but circumstantial evidence is strong, I'd avoid the cleaners and just use a quality brand of gas instead.
 

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From an automotive engineer:

You can, and likely should use fuel injection cleaner occassionally. First, as to compatability, SAE and other tests require all components that can and do come into contact with gasoline to be compatible with known industry additives. The only hitch here is the additive should meet compatibility requirements as well, meaning it meets other requirements to ensure it does not damage components. Any name brand of cleaner (STP, Gumout for example) meets these requirements. They also include statements regarding catalytic converter compatibility.

Last, why should you use it? Because most gasoline available does not contain the minimum amount of cleaning additives deamed necessary by the automotive manufacturers. Top Tier gasoline certified suppliers are the only ones that do. Over time, deposits will partially clog fuel injectors causing performance and economy loss. Fuel injection cleaner will minimize or prevent this. As an asside, the $100 dealer treatments, a concentrate injected directly into the fuel rail schrader valve, is a waste of money unless you are terribly clogged. Add fuel injector cleaner (carb cleaner is generally the same thing, same concentration and content, just a different name so it can be marketed/sold at a higher price) will prevent this from occurring.

Tanks, bladders, fuel lines, tank level floats as electronics, hoses, injectors, etc. are all designed to tolerate most chemicals they will come into contact with. The general exception is E85, which is very corrosive to components not specifically designed for their use. Most non-E85 vehicles will not even run on the stuff.
 

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Non E85 vehicles are partially equipped, in the area of combustion control, to run on E85, except for 2 issues.
The reason E85 probably would run on a non-e85 vehicle is because the ECM is designed to adjust the fuel/air mixture for a perfect burn; not too much air (air alone provides no power and is a waste) or too much fuel (not enough air, and some of the fuel is not burned properly, also waste). The ECM can do this by measuring the amount of oxygen left in the exhaust using an O2 sensor near the catalytic. So with E85, the ECM should be able to adjust the mixture for the correct burn.
But for the 2 issues:

Open loop. When you initially start the ICE, the O2 sensor in the catalytic converter is not hot enough to do its job. Therefore, the ECM guesses the appropriate mixture based on the conditions presented by its other sensors. However, it assumes a particular octane, which would be way wrong for E85, so the engine would initially run poorly.

Long term error trend: As I said, the ECM would offset its ratio prediction with what it determined it should do based on the O2 sensor. If the correction from the prediction is way off, as it would for E85, then eventually the ECM would assume there is an engine problem, and flag a DTC, even though everything really is fine.

An ECM that is E85 aware would be told by a sensor that E85 is being used, and would use a different table than it would for E10 or E0 gasoline, thus would have a close to correct open loop burn, and would not falsely detect an engine problem.

These issues have been tested and proven with the Classic Prius, though I don't have the documentation handy.

What hasn't been established, which is what we are really discussing here, is the caustic damage to components not specifically designed or tested to withstand the strong stuff.
 
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