How to Tell if Your Fuel Injectors Are Clogged

Poor fuel economy? Rough running engine? These are all signs that you probably have clogged  fuel injectors. Although fuel injectors are an extremely important part of a vehicle, few people give them a second thought. This is probably because, well, fuel injectors are kind of boring – especially to the average Joe. But, if you want to keep your vehicle purring like a kitten, fuel injector maintenance is a must. The fuel injector is designed to do just what its name implies – spray fuel into the engine. If an injector becomes dirty, it can’t flow as much fuel as a clean one. In addition, it won’t be able to produce the correct spray pattern required for peak performance. In a perfect world, the fuel filter would prevent all dirt and debris from reaching the fuel injectors, but the world ain’t perfect, so over time the injectors can become clogged. Besides particles that escape being trapped by the fuel filter, the injectors can also be contaminated over time by the fuel itself. Gasoline is a mixture of many different hydrocarbons (a scary term you probably haven’t heard since high school) including a subgroup called oilfins. When the engine is turned off, the oilfins stay behind, gumming up the injectors. To combat this process, special detergents are added to high quality gasoline, but overtime the waxy oilfins take their toll. This is especially true if the vehicle is primarily used for short trips, as the deposits may accumulate faster than the detergents can clean them away. High quality gasoline has detergents designed to keep injectors clean. This implies that cheap... read more

What is a Fuel System?

Open the cap, insert the nozzle and begin fueling. Gassing up is the extent of what most drivers know about their fuel systems. They have no idea what happens after they fire up their engine and drive away – nor do they care. To prevent yourself from being one of those people, you need to know how your vehicle’s fuel system works. Let’s start with the basics. Just what does your fuel system include? Fuel tank: Most tanks are made of sheet steel that has been pressed into shape. This is where the fuel starts its journey through the system – no surprises here. Fuel pump: The fuel pump is typically located in the tank of modern, fuel injected vehicles. The fuel pump does exactly what its name implies – it pumps fuel from the tank to the injectors. The pump must deliver fuel to the injectors under high pressure (typically 30 to 85 psi) so the injectors can spray fuel into the engine. Fuel lines: Carries fuel from the tank to the injectors and back. Unless of course, your vehicle is a fancy new return-less style system, then there’s no return line. Fuel filter: The fuel filter is designed to filter out all of the nasty stuff that may be trying to make its way from the bottom of the tank to the fuel injectors. Fuel rail: The fuel rail houses the injectors and has an inlet connection that attaches from the fuel filter. Fuel pressure regulator: In a traditional fuel system, the regulator controls the return of fuel to the tank in order to maintain pressure at... read more