There are several reasons you may not get the performance you want out of your engine. One you may not have considered is a damaged or worn out fuel injector – it’s a massively common issue, and we talk to customers all the time about it. Fuel injectors are one of the great advances in automotive technological history. They are far more efficient than the old carburetor system — so efficient, most drivers don’t even think about them at all, even though they are vital to your car’s regular operation.
When you have engine problems, you may not consider your fuel injectors could be involved. However, fuel injection system problems are more common than you may think, and they can dramatically impact your engine’s performance. How do you know if you have fuel injector problems? Why do they occur, and what can you do if they happen?
Signs of Fuel Injector Issues
Are you dealing with a problem related to your fuel injectors? Here are some signs to watch out for:
- Loss of engine power —If you find yourself getting much less power out of your engine than you should from time to time, a bad fuel injector could be the culprit. Fuel injectors deliver the air and fuel mixture your engine combusts to create power. If the fuel injector cannot deliver the right mix, you won’t get the power you’re supposed to.
- Fuel injector misfire —Symptoms of fuel injector problems include total misfire. Misfire is an obvious consequence of a fuel injector that cannot properly deliver fuel to the engine. If it misses the engine entirely, you will get a misfire, which you will notice instantly and can lead to knocking (pre-ignition), overheating and other engine issues.
- Problems when idling— If you have issues with your fuel injectors, you may notice them even when your engine is idling. If you feel a lot of roughness and vibration when in an idle state, this could be a fuel injector problem.
- Worse Fuel Economy —If your gas tank isn’t taking you as far as it used to, it could be because the fuel injectors are leaking or wasting fuel.
Top Reasons Fuel Injectors Wear out and Sustain Damage
Now that you know some of the signs your fuel injectors may be clogged, damaged or worn out, you need to understand why it can happen. Here are some common reasons:
- Poor fuel quality —The main reason your fuel injectors become clogged and unable to do their job is the quality of your fuel. If your fuel has too much excess debris or impurities, those by-products can get into your fuel injectors, making it harder for them to work. This is especially true in regions that alternate between summer and winter gas.
- Heat soak –Heat soak is a phenomenon where fuel residue evaporates in the nozzles of the injectors after you shut off the engine. The residue takes the form of waxy olefins, which sit in the ports because the engine is idle, so nothing is flowing through to wash them away. Eventually, the heat causes these olefins to harden into clogging deposits. Your gasoline has detergents in it to get rid of these deposits before they build up, but if you are taking a lot of short trips, your engine may not have the opportunity to wash the olefins out. If this is the case, the fuel injectors will clog up and fail.
- Solenoid failure –One of the functions of solenoids is to create a magnetic field to pull up the fuel injector pintle. If there is a short or an open in the injector solenoid, the injector could fail.
- Engine blow-by –Blow-by is fuel and oil residue that blows past the pistons into the crankshaft during compression. Your car’s PVC system should pull the blow-by out, but if the air filter does not capture it, or if the PCV system is not working correctly, that sludge could end up clogging up your fuel injectors.
- Broken or leaking fuel injector– It could just be the fuel injector itself is cracked or has sprung a leak. If there is a fault in the integrity of the fuel injector, it will not deliver the proper mix of air and fuel to the engine and performance will suffer.
A bad ECU is another fuel injector problem not directly from the injector. The ECU is the engine control unit that runs your combustion system. If there is a problem with your ECU, it may not be able to tell the fuel injectors how to property mix and deliver the air and fuel to the combustion chambers. Therefore, you may get bad performance even if the fuel injectors are fully intact.
If your car has an ECU and you get a “Check Engine” light along with common fuel injector problems such as misfire or stalling, check the error code to see if you may have an ECU problem. Once you figure out if your engine performance problems are related to your car’s fuel injectors, what can you do about it?
How to Prevent Fuel Injector Damage or Replacement
If one or more of your fuel injectors are cracked or broken, there is nothing to do but swap in a new one. However, if your fuel injectors are failing to perform, you shouldn’t automatically assume they are damaged or need replacing. They may be clogged with dirt and debris. A simple solution is to add fuel injector cleaner, such as our famous Rislone Fuel Injector Cleaner. This product removes all the gunk and debris from your fuel injector and lubricates your cylinders to help maximize performance. It’s one of our bestselling fuel products for a reason.
You can find Rislone fuel injector cleaner and products like it near you by using our convenient store locator.