What causes damage to fuel injectors

By: Kris LeSueur   |   05 Dec 2022

Fuel injectors are a necessary component in any modern car’s fuel management system. It is responsible for delivering fuel to the cylinders which starts the moment you turn your ignition key.

What is the fuel injector?

A properly mixed air-to-fuel ratio is an important element in the operation of combustion engines. This used to be the job of carburetors, but they were soon replaced by computerized fuel injection systems. Fuel injectors are more reliable in terms of efficiency, fuel economy, and performance. Because fuel injectors can be controlled more precisely than carburetors, switching to a fuel injection system resulted in better fuel economy and fewer emissions.

The fuel injectors are connected to the fuel tank through fuel lines. They open to spray fuel into the cylinders. The mass airflow sensor is the one responsible for tracking how much air enters the engine.

What happens if you have a faulty fuel injector?

Your fuel economy will greatly suffer at the hands of a bad fuel injector. Your car’s engine will consume more fuel while it decreases in performance and power.

If your tailpipe spews more smoke and emission than usual, it could be a sign that one of your fuel injectors is not functioning normally.

For long drives, you may notice that the engine stalls. Your engine may have a hard time when accelerating. Watch out for rough idles and sudden jerks while you drive. This is due to the imbalance in the air and fuel supply that the engine gets. It’s also hard to start an engine without enough air and fuel in it.

A bad fuel injector may also cause the “check engine” light to light up. 

What causes these fuel injector damages?

Injectors are prone to clogging due to the hydrocarbons that fuel contains. The injectors’ nozzles become eventually clogged or blocked because of hardened deposits.

Leaks can also happen and cause trouble. The O-ring is where the fuel rail meets the injectors and this part can get brittle because of the high heat from the engine. When it does become brittle, it breaks and causes fuel to leak.

And finally, you already know that moving parts are prone to wear and tear. Your car’s fuel injectors are no exception. Without proper maintenance, wear and tear can catch up to moving parts much faster.

How to fix it

Like most parts, fuel injectors are not forever. They will fail sooner or later after long usage, but there are practices you can do to extend their longevity.

Avoid low-quality fuel as much as you can. Experts blame the excess alcohol and additives in most gasoline products because they cause premature failure of fuel injectors. It pays to know your fuel and stick with it.

Other than only getting high-grade gasoline, you must also change out the oil frequently and replace bad fuel filters.

Schedule fuel injector clean-ups with your trusted mechanic. There are also fuel injector cleaning kits in the market if doing it on your own is your preferred method.

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