In today’s era of ever-rising gas prices it is tempting to purchase the cheapest fuel you can find. But did you know the habit of using low-quality fuel can leave behind some nasty remnants in your engine?

Low-quality fuel usually has fewer detergents and less cleaning ability than the higher-priced options, leaving behind carbon deposits in your engine. These deposits cause symptoms like hesitation, diminished vehicle acceleration, increased emissions and reduced fuel economy.

There is a maintenance service, called fuel system cleaning, that helps eliminate these unwanted deposits. There are two types of fuel system cleaners. The first is added directly to the fuel tank and, just as mouthwash cleans your mouth, a fuel system cleaner offers a feeling of clean to dirty fuel systems.

Think of the second type of fuel system cleaning as your yearly trip to the dentist. Visiting the doc lets him remove the plaque lurking in hard-to-reach places something your toothbrush and floss usually can’t accomplish. Likewise, a multi-part fuel system cleaning for your engine is more in-depth than a fuel-tank treatment and cleans carbon deposits out of hard-to-reach places. Multi-part fuel system cleanings vary depending on the formulation, but all of them do the same job: remove carbon deposits, clean fuel injectors and rid the system of water. As dentists are specially trained to work on teeth, your technician is specially trained to perform a multi-part fuel system cleaning, the type of cleaning best left to the pros.

The deposits left behind by low-quality fuel in your engine are like bacteria in your mouth, and a fuel system cleaner helps wash them away. Mouthwash delivers instant gratification, but it may take a wee bit of patience to notice the affects of a fuel system cleaner.

After performing a fuel system cleaning and driving the car about 150 to 200 miles after the cleaning so the chemistry has a chance to work drivers will typically enjoy restored fuel economy, reduced tailpipe emissions and better drivability with a more responsive throttle, said Alan Ferry, director of Research and Development for ITW Professional Automotive Products.

Regular fuel system cleanings will help make your vehicle last longer, while reducing vehicle repairs and gas consumption. Just as brushing, flossing and mouthwash are essential to a healthy mouth, fuel system cleaners are essential to keeping your engine clean and your vehicle running properly.