Common Fuel Injector Problems

Common Fuel Injector Problems

As discussed in our previous blog article, fuel injectors have a specific task. They are designed to spray fuel in a fine mist to mix with passing air as it heads into the combustion chamber. Many vehicles today have multi-point fuel injection, which means each cylinder is fed by its own fuel injector. Your vehicle requires a specific air/fuel mixture to operate at maximum efficiency, and that recipe can be thrown off if the fuel injectors are not operating as designed.

Typically, fuel injectors have 3 basic problems: becoming clogged, being dirty, or leaking. Other issues, such as computer errors or failing sensors, can cause the fuel injectors to function improperly, but these are not a result of failing injectors. Here is what you need to know regarding common fuel injection problems.

Clogged Fuel Injectors

It is not easy to diagnose a fuel injector as the symptoms it causes can be like a bad spark plug or ignition coil, meaning, one of the cylinders is not firing. If it is related to a clogged fuel injector it is due to old fuel being run through the engine, resulting in residue getting stuck inside the injector or its filter basket. If a fuel injector becomes fully clogged it will have to be removed from the vehicle and be professionally cleaned, as additives and fuel tank introduced injection cleaners will not be able to clear the clog, as they cannot pass through at all.

Dirty Fuel Injectors

If fuel can still pass through the injectors, but not the proper amount, they will be considered dirty. Dirty fuel injectors will affect the flow rate of the fuel, which can result in poor idling, stalling, hard starting or sputtering, which reduces your car's ability to effectively accelerate. While some gas tank additive injector cleaners may help reduce the buildup in the injectors, the only authentic way to clean them and restore peak performance is to remove them and use the proper chemicals and equipment.

Leaking Fuel Injectors

This can be an extremely dangerous situation. If the fuel injectors are leaking externally, you should not drive your vehicle. While a leaking injector will cause issues like that of a dirty one, you will often be able to smell gas or diesel under the hood or even spot a leak, depending on your make and model. Externally leaking injectors pose a fire risk and need to be completely replaced.

If it seems as if your vehicle is struggling to get fuel it is important to let a professional technician complete a diagnostic test to identify why.