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How To Spot A Faulty, Dirty Or Clogged Fuel Injector?

By Expert Author: Nate Rodney

Fuel injector performs an important function in a vehicle's fuel delivery system. It is an electronic valve that takes pressurized fuel from the fuel pump and sprays the right amount of fuel uniformly into the engine cylinder to facilitate combustion. Unless it supplies required amounts of fuel at appropriate time, the engine cannot perform well. Therefore, a properly functioning fuel injector is quite essential for optimal engine performance and fuel economy.

When a fuel injector gets damaged, clogged or dirty, it leads to several other problems. You have to replace it immediately to save other engine parts from getting damaged. However, in order to do that, you need to identify a faulty fuel injector. Listed below are some signs that help you spot a faulty, dirty or clogged fuel injector.

Signs of a faulty, dirty or clogged fuel injector
Signs of a bad fuel injector can be broadly classified into two types – engine related and fuel related.

Engine related issues
Starting trouble – With a faulty fuel injector, the vehicle hesitates to start; it is due to delayed combustion. You have to turn on the ignition key repeatedly to get the vehicle started. Clogged fuel injectors interfere with the combustion process and cause engine hesitation.

Engine misfire – When the injector doesn't work properly or when it is clogged with foreign particles, it does not supply fuel to the engine uniformly. At that time engine experiences lack of power and produces a misfire. Engine misfire can be felt easily while driving and the issue has to be addressed immediately before it gives rise to other issues like engine overheating and pre-ignition of fuel mixture.

Sudden engine power – We have already discussed that a clogged fuel injector will supply irregular fuel. With such unbalanced flow the engine will fluctuate between high and low rpms (revolutions per minute) and whenever it receives high fuel, it delivers power in chunks resulting in abrupt engine power.

Rough engine idle – A bad or faulty fuel injector not only troubles you on the move but also gives problems while idling your vehicle. While the fuel injector malfunctions, it affects the combustion process and you will experience a rough or sputtering engine while idling the vehicle. It also produces some strange noises.

Fuel Related Problems
Fuel leakage – When a fuel injector develops cracks or breaks, fuel leaks from its body. Due to fuel leakage from its body, the fuel will not reach the nozzle. Thus, the fuel, instead of getting sprayed flows in the form of droplets into the engine cylinder. As a result, it leads to poor engine efficiency.

Restricted fuel flow – A clogged fuel injector fails to pump gasoline continuously into the engine. This results in restricted fuel flow which negatively impacts the fuel combustion and engine performance.

Strong fuel odors – One prominent sign of leaky fuel injectors is the strong gasoline odor from the vehicle. You can smell it easily on the move.

Poor fuel economy - A damaged fuel injector with external cracks reduces the fuel economy by leaking the fuel. A faulty fuel injector whose internal springs are damaged pumps excess fuel, which leads to poor gas mileage. Sometimes clogged fuel injectors may also affect the mileage of the vehicle as it affects the combustion efficiency of the engine.

Increased emissions – Clogged fuel injectors as mentioned earlier affect the combustion efficiency of the engine. As incomplete combustion is directly related to emissions, the poorer the combustion, the higher the hydrocarbon (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.

Look for these signs and make sure that you are responding to them as early as possible.

Airtexproducts.com is the leading aftermarket supplier of mechanical and electric fuel pumps. For over 50 years, the Airtex brand has been the benchmark of fuel delivery components for leading companies in the automotive aftermarket. If you are searching for a fuel pump, consider Airtex as electric fuel pump from Airtex has exceptional quality that meets or exceeds OE design specifications and ISO standards.

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