I add fuel injector cleaner to my GMC and Monte Carlo once a month. Seems to help performance and mileage slightly.
I've read that using it too often can cause damage to the fuel system, or even cylinder walls. Any opinion on this?
I do once a year, but my cars are under 1000 miles a year. I like Techtron. I wouldn't do it that often. I have gotten bad gas a few times over the years, and did 2 bottles of Dry Gas to burn it out.
Usually fuel issues are from cars sitting and gas turning bad after a few months. I use Stabil in everything for mowers, boats, cars etc, and Startron I use to prevent ethanol breakup in the gas tank. That's a bad situation. If you drive a lot, you don't run into this. My favorite gas is Shell vs no name cheapo generic gas stations. I also buy from busy gas stations, not the isolated one that's in the real small town, so I get fresh fuel into the tank.
So long as the injector cleaner is actually made to clean injectors, that should be OK. There's a really great product I use called Sea Foam, and they sell it in both a can and a bottle. It does a pretty good job of removing carbon buildup. Whenever I clean my throttle body, I take it off, use Sea Foam to clean that, and then spray it in one of the vacuum lines and run the engine.
The base V6 on a regular Taurus was the 3.0 "Vulcan" V6 with an iron block and heads, also used in the Ranger. Head gasket problems on that engine were pretty much unheard of.
I don't like SeaFoam. It's a pretty severe product. Make sure you park out in the open, not in your garage or near open windows of your home. I had clouds of black smoke when I used it. I have never been a fan of liquid additives. A well tuned car does not need them in my opinion. I like Techron if needed once a year in a full tank. I like Shell fuel 93 octane, as it has injector cleaning additives in each tank. I don't use cheapo air cleaners, and changed all to K&N, including my new Silverado. And I clean often those lifetime filters and spray with new K&N filter oil. But not too heavy to pop up a sensor fault on the dash display. I also never run my vehicles below a 1/4 tank to suck up dregs in the tank. Or run near empty, to avoid buying a fuel pump after running dry a lot.
I don't drive my Monte Carlo during winter, and park it with a completely full tank with some Stabil added. I fully charge the battery, then start and run it until fully warm once a month. For some reason there are few Shell stations in my area, and I only go out of my way to get ethanol-free premium for my yard equipment. I'm mainly concerned about my higher mileage truck that I use in the winter. I'm trying to keep the fuel system and non-serviceable filter in the tank as clean as possible to avoid problems. I think I will take your advice to use a higher strength cleaner, but less frequently. Thanks for this.
I also think Seafoam is too harsh. Having this stuff get on cylinder walls and possibly into the crankcase is not worth the risk to me. I'm also sure that black smoke is not good for O2 sensors or catalytic converters. I believe the best way to keep an engine clean internally, along with sustained high speed runs, is to regularly do oil changes with quality oil and filter. I switched both of my vehicles to Pennzoil ultra synthetic last year, and can't say enough good things about this oil. After putting it in my truck, the cold start engine noise completely disappeared.
You are doing good things. I go through a wintertime procedure on my toys. I never use Sea Foam. Stabil is good, but ethanol breakup risk is possible so I use Stabil. I buy pure gas for small engines like my gas trimmers, pre oiled. It's very expensive buying quarts with zero ethanol for them.
I don't use my battery chargers any more; I use battery maintainers on my cars, truck and boat. They float on and off, never overcharging with a 3 amp float. Keeps the battery at optimum. Battery chargers and even my solar panel would overcharge. I fished the weatherproof plug through my grilles. When I get home, I do not even pop the hoods any more. I put a weatherproof fuse by the battery, and bought a roll of black flex harness protection to the plug. I even did my Corvette and hide the plug by the windshield under the cowl. With my boat, I have pulled it through in a hidden spot in my center console.
You can buy good maintainers from Battery Tender. You can get a single multiple like I have on my workbench. Or one for one. Sears sells a single with 5 different cable ends for under 30.00. The units have 3 lights. When you see a solid green light, you are at 100 percent. They are also pretty weather resistant. I bought the 1.5 amp for my Harley vs the 3 amps.
I never have issues with my motors as I am meticulous.
Seafoam isn't going to do a thing to the engine. In fact, it's used fairly widely in the marine engine industry as a "fogging oil", when an engine is to be taken out of service for a time and there needs to be an internal oil that will keep the innards from rusting. The smoke that was mentioned before is the result of the carbon that Seafoam dissolves, which is then of course burned up in the exhaust. I've used the stuff for years, and all of my cars and my one truck all have at least 200-250,000 miles on them.
I've use Seafoam in all my cars with never a hint of problems. I also use injector cleaner at every oil change. I have never had to manually clean my injectors, nor have I ever had ANY problems with any of my cars in up to a quarter million miles. Of course I only drive more reliable domestic vehicles. Our few imports were very unreliable and short-lived.
I do Techtrol; that's it. And only if needed. A finely tuned vehicle with high quality frequent filter attention and not stretching oil changes is fine.
I am not alone in not using Seafoam. You can take your seals with it. Also close your windows in your home. I used it on a badly neglected boat. You have to be careful just dumping chemicals in your engine. Buy better fuel and use nice filters like NAPA GOLD. Telling everyone something is perfectly safe is wrong. They may not want seals wiped out or worse.
I am also concerned about sensor light ups; yet another expense. My motor vehicle is wise on unhooking the battery or clearing out the codes before driving through for re-inspection. If you are driving off road or dirt roads, change the filters a lot vs the chemical wonders. Sometimes you also end up burning oil as well as leaking it.