Any easy way to think about fuel injectors is comparing them to the cells in your body. Just as your circulatory system provides nutrients and oxygen to your cells, fuel injectors provide gasoline (fuel) to your engine. After 1990, cars began to be built with fuel injection systems rather than carburetors because fuel injectors offer better efficiency and performance in delivering fuel to the engine. When you step on the gas pedal in a fuel injection system, the Engine Control Unit (ECU) of your car calculates what the air-to-fuel ratio should be and signals it to the fuel injectors. In response, the fuel injectors send a high-pressure spray of fuel to the cylinder, which then powers the engine and makes the car move at the appropriate speed.
Before fuel injection became common, carburetor systems performed the task of burning gasoline to provide power to the engine. Carburetors are less efficient than fuel injectors because they only take into account engine vacuum and engine throttle position and have an indirect method for finding out when you first start engine. Fuel injection systems are computer controlled and consider many factors that include:
All of these factors result in powering a car that is more fuel efficient, runs better, and cuts production of unwanted emissions. But just like human arteries that build up plaque and block blood flow, fuel injectors can become dirty and clogged.
Aside from becoming clogged, fuel injectors can also leak. If this occurs, your car can develop:
Some of these issues are common to both dirty injectors and leaking injectors. However, leaking injectors are a fire hazard, cannot be repaired, and must be replaced. Even if you use a chemical injector cleaning solution two-times a year, fuel injectors still can clog or leak.
Many of the symptoms of a dirty or clogged injector are the same as having a bad coil, a broken spark plug wire, or a bad spark plug. A technician can use advanced diagnostic equipment in order to check for fuel injector issues. It is vital to the performance of your car and your overall safety that you regularly have a technician maintain your car with fuel injection cleaning as needed. This will keep your car running at its best and prevent even bigger problems and safety issues in the future.