When gasoline prices soared in the 1980s, automotive engineers looked for a more efficient way than the carburetor to dispense gasoline to the engine. Thus, the fuel injector was born. Using computer technology that considers the ambient temperature, load, speed and a number of other technical factors, the fuel injector sprays just the right amount of fuel into the cylinder of an engine. If you take care of your injectors, they will take care of you for a long time. Of course, as with most automotive parts, fuel injection repair and maintenance is sometimes necessary.
Detecting Fuel Injection Problems
If you suspect that something is wrong with your fuel injectors, start analyzing the situation by logging your gas mileage. Using more gas per mile than you once did may indicate that your injectors need cleaning or repair. A rough idle may also mean a problem with the fuel injectors, especially if the knocking goes away at higher driving speeds. Your injectors won't usually all go bad at once; if your car misfires at high engine speeds it may mean a single cylinder is not getting the proper gas amount or mix that it needs for most efficient running.??
Generally, if your car doesn't respond with the zip it once had, one or more of your injectors may need something as basic as a good, thorough cleaning.
The most common fuel injection repair needed is to unclog the injectors. The clogs are caused by dirt in the fuel that is not caught by the filters. It is also caused by unburned fuel left on the tips of the injectors once the engine is turned off. If clogged injectors are your problem, fuel injection repair is relatively easy. Try pouring a fuel additive directly into your tank or use a chemical specifically designed to clean the injectors.?? Using the special chemical is a little more complicated, but it will save you the trouble of removing and replacing the injectors. The other option is to hire a mechanic who knows what he or she is doing to remove and clean them for you. If you learn that you have dirty injectors, cleaning them will be much cheaper than purchasing new ones.
While it is always best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations, you will not go wrong using the highest octane gas you can find and cleaning your injectors every 30,000 miles or about once a year.
Most fuel injectors use a pintle and orifice system. A pintle is a tapered needle that is electrically pulled back to allow gas to spray through a tiny hole into a cylinder. If the pintle is not seated properly in the tiny hole, the injector may leak, causing the car to start, but with difficulty. Leaky injectors may also damage the oxygen sensors and cause the engine to overheat.
If an injector becomes misaligned, professional adjustment or replacement will be necessary.?? Most backyard mechanics do not have the equipment or the know-how for this job.
Testing Your Fuel Injector
A bad fuel injector is not the only possible cause of an engine that runs poorly or inefficiently. You may also have problems with the other parts of the fuel system such as the pump, the pump relay, the filters, the fuel lines and various electrical and electronic parts. If the unusual noise your engine makes or the way it runs causes you to believe you have a problem, and if you doubt your own qualifications or diagnostic equipment, then be sure to find a good mechanic.