Fuel injectors play an important role in the function of a gasoline-powered vehicle, as they deliver fuel to the engine. Unfortunately, fuel injector issues are common and can negatively affect the performance of a vehicle. Here are some common fuel injector issues, along with tips for identifying them.
Dirty Fuel Injectors
Sometimes, fuel injectors fail to work properly is simply because they are dirty. Impurities and additives in the fuel can be deposited on the fuel injectors, where they leave a residue. As the fuel injector heats up, this residue burns to form a hard crust that gradually prevents the part from working properly.
Dirty fuel injectors often spray fuel into the engine in an uneven and inconsistent way, leading to unpredictable engine performance. If a driver notices the RPM gauge on the dashboard fluctuating inexplicably between high and low values, then dirty fuel injectors could be the problem. This common fuel injector issue can also cause an engine to not run smoothly when idling. Drivers should listen to their engines carefully to watch out for the early signs of dirty fuel injectors.
Clogged Fuel Injectors
Over time, dirty fuel injectors can become completely clogged. This can lead to an interruption in the fuel supply, which can present as the engine misfiring. Clogged fuel injectors can also occur when a car sits idle for a long time, or from rust building up on the part.
Fuel Injectors Not Opening
Rust and other types of clogs can lead to fuel injectors not opening, but sometimes the problem is caused by faulty windings. If the windings that control the fuel injector are broken, rusty or even just overheated, they may not allow the valve to open fully, preventing the fuel injector from spraying fuel into the engine. This can lead to engine misfiring, just as when the fuel injector is clogged.
Fuel Injectors Not Closing
Fuel injectors that fail to close can be just as much as a problem as ones that fail to open correctly. Springs are supposed to pull fuel injectors closed after each injection of fuel, but if they are broken or rusty, then the injector will remain open, allowing fuel to leak out. Drivers may notice a strong smell of gasoline or reduced fuel economy as a result of the leak.
Leaking Fuel Injectors
There are some other causes of fuel injector leaks that drivers should watch out for. If the mechanism that keeps the injectors cool malfunctions, then overheating could cause damage to the injectors, allowing fuel to leak out. Once again, this problem would lead to poor fuel economy and a noticeable smell.
Diagnosing Common Fuel Injector Issues
Looking out for the above symptoms of a fuel injector issue is the best way to be aware of these common problems. Drivers can also check on their fuel injectors by using an engine stethoscope, which allows them to listen to the fuel injectors. When working properly, injectors make a clicking noise, so listening can be a useful way to find out which injector is broken or faulty.
Another option is to remove the fuel injectors from the car and visually inspect them. Dirt, clogs and rust are often immediately obvious, as are cracks and other types of mechanical damage. If the fuel injectors are cracked or broken, they will need to be replaced.
Once a driver has identified a fuel injector issue, he or she can fix the problem by buying a new injector online and fitting it into the vehicle. Alternatively, drivers can ask a mechanic for help to resolve the issue.