ATF in a gas engine to clean injectors

I have heard that using ATF in a gas engine to clean injectors works well?
Any opinions?

Much less effective than a bottle of Techron, I’ll bet. ATF is just oil with some additives, why it has this reputation is a mystery to me.

Me too. I just don’t know if it actually works or of its a tall tale

No reason it would work, as far as I know. Used to be used (with carbs) to remove combustion chamber carbon deposits. Very different problem.

I use ATF to lube my bike chain, and it seems to work pretty good for that. Injectors? Probably not a good bet.

Modern day injectors are pretty much self cleaning. The injectors on my 20 year old Corolla have never been cleaned and the engine runs= good as new. Maybe best start from the start. Why do you think your injectors need cleaning?


You are lucky

I have seen a few vehicles over the years that truly needed to have the injectors cleaned

This was because of misfires

Two of the my colleagues from the painter shop next door borrowed my fuel injector cleaner tool and successfully cured the random misfires on their Dodge trucks. To be fair, the vehicles did have over 100K. And they did systematically rule out everything else first.

Has anyone ever noticed the contents of any injector / engine cleaner…says contains “petroleum distillates”. Even Staybil says it. Which is basically an oil to mix with the fuel.

Just use Techron. If that doesn’t work, you can get your fuel injectors cleaned. There are several places out there on the interweb that will do it for you.

The cleaning solution for my canister fuel cleaner does NOT use the same stuff you pour in the fuel tank.

It’s more powerful. Those guys I mentioned earlier had tried that stuff you pour in the tank. It didn’t work for them, so they came to me.

Where did you hear ATF was an effective injector cleaner?? That’s urban legend stuff…ATF’s additives leave a lot of deposits and smoke when burned. Good way to ruin your catalytic converter…Techron works pretty good and BG 44K works REALLY good…But first you need dirty injectors and few people have those…

Yes, I agree.

Over the years there haven’t been that many vehicles that had plugged/dirty injectors

At least in the places I worked at

The only “urban leged” I’ve heard W/R/T ATF is that tossing some in the (diesel) tank will cure leaky injectors due to hardened o-rings. (Oh, and that it’s the same stuff as petroleum-based bicycle chain lube, at 10% the cost.)

No idea if either is true, but “seems plausible.”

@Howie32703 - There are all kinds of “petroleum distillates”. Only the heavier ones would be called “oil”. The fractions in stuff like Techron is lighter.

Years ago I remember ATF was occasionally used as an oil additive to clean crankcase sludge.

Over the years there haven't been that many vehicles that had plugged/dirty injectors

Has more to do with the filtering process. Many vehicles these days are fitted with a back-flush. This helps prevent dirt from ever leaving a gas tank. It’s great for the person who never use to bother replacing their fuel filter.

I use to always replace the fuel filter (usually much more then required). It kept my fuel system very clean…AND it removed the dirt from the vehicle. The one drawback of the back-flush systems…is the dirt is never removed…it just builds up in the tank. And then when it gets bad enough you have to replace the filter which is part of the fuel pump (INSIDE THE GAS TANK).