The shelves in most parts stores are stocked with an abundance of aerosol maintenance products – everything from cleaners to lubricants. The huge selection of products can be overwhelming, leading to confusion about which product you should purchase for a given application.
Take fuel system cleaners, as an example. There are carburetor cleaners, throttle body cleaners, intake system cleaners, special cleaners for MAP sensors and cleaners for removing carbon deposits from intake valves on engines with gasoline direct injection (GDI). There also are top cleaners, combustion chamber cleaners and “general purpose” cleaners. It’s almost as confusing as shopping for laundry detergent in a grocery store.
The answer to which product you should use depends on the application (what exactly are you trying to accomplish?) and the vehicle application. It also requires some product knowledge on your part and being familiar with the features/benefits of the individual products on store shelves. The only way you can gain this type of knowledge is to read the product labels and any promotional materials that have been provided by the product’s supplier. Searching online to see what others who have previously purchased such products can also give you insight into which ones work best and which ones don’t.
One of the common traits of all types of fuel systems is that fuel varnish and carbon deposits build up over time. MAP sensors can become contaminated and sluggish, gunk can build up in the throttle body and idle control circuits that interfere with normal idle control and throttle response. Deposits inside the intake manifold can disrupt airflow, as can heavy carbon deposits on the intake valves. Fuel injectors can get dirty, and carbon deposits can build up in the combustion chambers and on the tops of the pistons.