Blog Car Care Advice Everything You Need to Know about Fuel Injectors
Car Care Advice

Everything You Need to Know about Fuel Injectors

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Ever wonder how your car manages to gulp down fuel with such precision? 
It’s because of a little marvel called fuel injectors.

These tiny components play a big role in your vehicle’s performance, ensuring the perfect blend of air and fuel for optimal combustion. 

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In this post, we’ll peel back the hood to uncover how fuel injectors work and the different types of fuel injectors, as well as decode the cryptic symptoms of injector issues.

Let’s hit the road!

This Article Contains: 

What are Fuel Injectors?

A fuel injector is part of the fuel delivery system of an internal combustion engine. It receives fuel from the fuel tank (via the fuel pump and fuel line) to atomize and spray it into the engine as a high-pressure mist. Combining high fuel pressure and finer droplets ensures efficient fuel combustion and reduced emissions.

Fuel injectors are controlled by the engine’s computer (Engine Control Unit or ECU) to optimize the amount of fuel and injection timing for better fuel economy (gas mileage).

Let’s dig a little deeper into their functioning. 

How Does a Fuel Injector Work?

A fuel injector consists of three main parts: a solenoid, a nozzle, and an injector body. 

Fuel injectors feature a plunger or valve that regulates fuel flow. Under fuel pressure, the plunger or valve opens or closes the injector nozzle. The solenoid is an electromagnet that controls the opening and closing of the injector.

When the car’s ECU sends a signal to the injector (in electronic fuel injection), the solenoid is energized, opening a valve inside the injector. It allows the pressurized fuel to flow from the fuel rail to the cylinders.

As the fuel flows through the injector, it passes through a small nozzle at the tip. The injector nozzle is designed to atomize the fuel into a fine mist, which ensures better mixing with the incoming air in the combustion chamber.

So, do different cars have different injector types?
We’ll answer that next. 

Different Types of Fuel Injectors Found on Cars

The fuel injectors in a petrol engine can be used for direct or indirect fuel injection: 

A. Indirect Fuel Injection System

In a traditional injection setup, the injector sprays fuel into the intake manifold, where it mixes with air before entering the combustion chamber and getting ignited. These are called indirect fuel injectors. 

Indirect injection can have the following configurations: 

  1. Single-point or throttle body fuel injection: This system uses one injector in a throttle body mounted on an intake manifold. The fuel mixes with the air before the intake valve.
  1. Multi-port fuel injection: This injection system uses multiple fuel injectors — one for each cylinder. Under multi-point fuel injection, the injectors spray fuel directly into the intake port of each cylinder, just before the intake valve.
  1. Sequential fuel injection: Under this system, the injectors spray fuel into each cylinder in sync with the engine’s firing order. Sequential fuel injection helps in precision fuel delivery and better engine performance. 

B. Direct Fuel Injection System

In recent years, more manufacturers have switched from indirect injection to direct injection. In this system, the fuel injectors spray gasoline directly into the cylinder, instead of into the intake. Direct injection system allows for higher fuel efficiency and better emissions control as well as higher power output from a smaller internal combustion engine.

Note: Similar to a petrol engine, a diesel engine can have either direct or indirect diesel fuel injectors. 

Now, like every other fuel system part, these injectors can wear out or clog over time. But when they do, there will be indications. 

What are the Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Injector?

Here are some telltale signs that you have dirty fuel injectors: 

Want to know more about fuel injectors?
Keep scrolling!

4 FAQs about Fuel Injectors

Check out answers to some common doubts car owners have about fuel injectors. 

1. How Long Do Fuel Injectors Last?

Fuel injectors in a petrol engine typically last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, while they can last from 100,000 to 150,000 miles on a diesel engine.

However, their lifespan also depends on the type of fuel you use and how frequently you maintain your fuel system. That said, you can keep them functional for longer by cleaning dirty fuel injectors at every 30,000-mile interval. 

2. Is it Safe to Drive with Faulty Injectors?

No, driving with a faulty or clogged fuel injector can put you and your car at risk.

Here’s why: 
If a clogged fuel injector fails to supply adequate fuel, it can lead to incomplete combustion and fouled spark plugs, causing misfires, rough idling, or engine stalls. This can be dangerous in fast-moving traffic. 

Moreover, when the car runs lean, the ECU will try to overcompensate by releasing more fuel. Any unburnt gas due to the excess fuel consumption will then escape into the exhaust, increasing your car emissions and damaging the catalytic converter

Remember, catalytic converters are pretty costly to replace

3. How Much Do Fuel Injectors Cost?

Replacing a single fuel injector on a more simple engine may cost between $300 – $900. 

However, many newer vehicles have a more complicated electronic fuel injection system, which means a higher cost of parts and labor. Other cars may have a fuel rail (which holds the injectors) that is difficult to access. In some cases, a single injector can cost several hundred dollars or more to replace.

4. How Can I Keep My Fuel Injectors Clean?

Here are some proactive steps that can help prolong the life of your fuel injectors for adequate fuel supply: 

Keep Your Fuel Injectors Functional with AutoNation Mobile Service 

Fuel injectors are essential for delivering the right amount of fuel at the right time for efficient combustion. Understanding the signs of a faulty fuel injector, such as rough idling or reduced fuel efficiency, can help diagnose and address any faults early.

If you suspect an issue with your fuel injectors, fuel supply, or engine performance, it’s crucial to seek professional diagnostics. 

That’s where AutoNation Mobile Service steps in. 

We’re a mobile auto repair company that can perform any fuel system-related replacement or fuel injector cleaning right from your driveway. We also offer a 12-month, 12-000 mile warranty on all repairs, including an oil change and brake repair.

Contact us today to keep your engine revving smoothly.