How to Keep Your GDI Engine Clean and Efficient

Challenges, benefits, and treatment solutions for GDI engines

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What are GDI engines and why are they popular?


Gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines are a type of internal combustion engine that inject fuel directly into the cylinder, rather than into the intake manifold. This allows for more precise control of the air-fuel ratio, resulting in better fuel efficiency, lower emissions and higher performance. GDI engines have become increasingly common in modern vehicles, especially in light-duty cars and trucks. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy, GDI engines accounted for 54% of the U.S. light-duty vehicle market in 2018, up from 2.3% in 2008.


How to tell if you have a GDI engine


If you are not sure whether your vehicle has a GDI engine or not, there are a few ways to find out.


You can:


  • Check your owner's manual or the vehicle identification number (VIN) for the engine type and code. You can also look for the letters GDI, DI, FSI, TFSI, EcoBoost or other similar acronyms on the engine cover or the fuel cap. These are some of the common names and abbreviations for GDI engines used by different manufacturers.
  • Look for the fuel injector location. In a GDI engine, the fuel injectors are located inside the cylinder, near the spark plug. You may need to remove the engine cover or the intake manifold to see them. In a conventional port injection engine, the fuel injectors are located outside the cylinder, on the intake manifold. You can usually see them without removing any parts.
  • Listen for the engine sound. A GDI engine may produce a distinctive ticking or clicking noise, especially when the engine is cold or idling. This is caused by the high-pressure fuel pump and the fuel injectors working at high speed and pressure. A port injection engine may not produce this noise, or produce it at a lower level.


What are the challenges of GDI engines and how can they be overcome?


One of the main challenges of GDI engines is the formation of deposits on the fuel injectors. These deposits can reduce the spray pattern and flow rate of the injectors, leading to poor combustion, increased emissions, reduced performance and potential engine damage. The deposits are caused by various factors, such as fuel quality, driving conditions, engine design and maintenance. To prevent and remove these deposits, it is important to use a high-quality fuel that contains adequate detergents. Fuel detergents are additives that help clean the fuel system and keep the injectors free of deposits. They can also protect the engine from corrosion, wear and friction.

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What are fuel additive detergents and how do they work?


Fuel additive detergents are substances that are added to the fuel tank to enhance the quality and performance of the fuel. They work by dissolving and dispersing the deposits that form on the fuel injectors and other components of the fuel system. They also prevent new deposits from forming by creating a protective layer on the metal surfaces. Fuel additive detergents can improve the combustion efficiency, reduce the emissions, increase the power and extend the life of the engine.


What are the benefits of fuel additive detergents for GDI engines?


Fuel additive detergents can provide several benefits for GDI engines, such as:


  • Improved fuel economy: By keeping the injectors clean, fuel additive detergents can help maintain the optimal air-fuel ratio and combustion efficiency, resulting in lower fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Enhanced performance: By restoring the spray pattern and flow rate of the injectors, fuel additive detergents can help improve the engine power, torque and responsiveness, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable driving experience.
  • Extended engine life: By preventing and removing deposits, fuel additive detergents can help reduce the risk of engine problems, such as misfires, knock, hesitation, stalling and cold start issues, resulting in a longer and more reliable engine life.


How to use aftermarket fuel additive detergents for your GDI engine?


If you want to use aftermarket fuel additive detergents for your GDI engine, you should follow these steps:


  • Choose a reputable and reliable brand of fuel additive that is designed for GDI engines. You can find various products online or in auto parts stores, but make sure to read the reviews and ratings from other customers. You can also ask your mechanic or dealer for recommendations.
  • Add the fuel additive detergent to your fuel tank every 3,000 miles or as directed by the product label or the manufacturer. This is the average interval that most experts suggest for using fuel additive detergents, but you may need to adjust it depending on your driving habits and conditions. Do not wait until you notice symptoms of injector deposits, such as loss of power, poor mileage or rough idling, as it may be too late to reverse the damage. Use the fuel additive detergent as a preventive measure to keep your GDI engine clean and efficient.
  • Fill up your tank with gas after adding the fuel additive detergent. This will help mix the product with the fuel and distribute it evenly throughout the fuel system. Use the same fuel grade and octane rating that you normally use for your GDI engine. Do not use a lower quality fuel, as it may cause more deposits or damage to your engine.
  • Drive your vehicle normally and enjoy the benefits of the fuel additive detergent. You should notice an improvement in your fuel economy, performance and engine health after using the fuel additive detergent for a few tank-fulls.




GDI engines are great innovations that can offer many advantages for drivers, such as better fuel efficiency, lower emissions and higher performance. However, they also require proper care and maintenance to prevent and remove the deposits that can form on the fuel injectors and affect the engine performance and health. One of the best ways to keep your GDI engine clean and efficient is to use a high-quality fuel additive detergent that can dissolve and disperse the deposits and protect the fuel system.


One of the products that we recommend is Techron® Complete Fuel System Cleaner, which is a premium fuel additive detergent that is specially formulated for GDI engines. Techron Complete Fuel System Cleaner can help improve your fuel economy, enhance your performance and extend your engine life. You can find Techron Complete Fuel System Cleaner online or in auto parts stores, and you should use it every 3,000 miles or as directed by the product label. Try it today and see the difference for yourself!


Sean Lantz
Sean Lantz is a Fuels Engineer with the Fuels Products and Technology team where he identifies and executes Aftermarket Fuel Additives (AFA) R&D and product development programs. Sean has been with Chevron since 2018; during his time with Chevron, he has held various technical roles supporting passenger car motor oils (PCMOs), AFAs, and ISOCLEAN Certified Lubricants. Sean holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Merced and is a licensed professional engineer (CA) with experience in both powertrain and generation plant engineering.

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