The fuel injector is an engine component located either at the opening of the cylinder or in the inlet manifold. It is a small nozzle into which liquid fuel is injected at high pressure. It works like a spray nozzle of a pressure washer. For every cylinder in the engine there is a corresponding fuel injector. In some vehicles there are 2 injectors for every cylinder.
Today’s fuel injection systems are more powerful and produce a finer spray that is injected into the combustion chamber, which, in turn, improves performance and reduces emissions. The fuel injector is a costly and delicately precise instrument that rarely ever malfunctions. However, it is possible for them to become saturated and obstructed.
When the fuel injector gets clogged, it forms carbon deposits that reduce the flow of fuel and disrupt the spray pattern of the fuel injection. The shape and the density of the spray affects engine performance.
Faulty injectors can cause:
- Lean misfires which basically means that the injectors are either spraying too much or too less fuel into the combustion chamber.
- Rough or poor idle.
- Hesitation and stumbling of light acceleration.
- Loss of power.
- Higher hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions.
- Increased fuel consumption.
- Hard starting.
The use of quality fuels in your car can help prevent the injectors from becoming clogged. Premium-grade fuel contains a cocktail of various additives derived from research centres as well as the joint efforts of oil companies and car manufacturers.
These additives include:
– Friction reducers
– Anti-corrosion additives
– Anti-foaming agents (de-foamers) for diesel engines
The benefits of premium-grade fuels compared to fuels not containing additives are:
– The assurance that sensitive engine components (injectors, valves) stay clean.
– Lower fuel consumption (thanks to friction reducers and detergents).
– Cleaner emissions and reduced CO2 (thanks to detergents and lower fuel consumption)
Proper maintenance and monitoring of injectors will help your injectors last longer, depending on their condition. Injectors can be cleaned or changed, falling within a broad price range:
– The most expensive option is the outright replacement of the part. This is what most mechanics will propose. The price of the component varies to the brand and engine type, but the average price is somewhere between R1500 and R12 000 depending on vehicle make and whether diesel or petrol.
– The moderately expensive option entails a little bit more time as well as some mechanical skills. It involves the removal of the injector in order to clean it with an appropriate solution. This can be difficult for novice mechanics as the fuel injector is not always easily accessible.
– The least expensive option, with no need for disassembly and entailing the shortest service time, and which is an alternative to part replacement, is hydrogen treatment via the Carbon Cleaning station. This service works as a preventative treatment, recommended every 15,000 kilometers, but can also resolve existing problems in the engine.
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