Fuel injectors are electronically controlled gates and form an integral part of the engine. Not only do they provide the correct mixture of fuel and air to the combustion chamber to power the engine, but they also help the vehicle operate more efficiently and smoothly.
Usually, mechanics suggest that you should take as much care of the vehicle’s fuel injector as much you take care of other parts of it and clean them every 30,000 miles or so. However, even if you clean them regularly as advised, you still may result in having a clogged fuel injector, or it may go bad due to any other reason. This article will help you understand what happens when fuel injectors go bad, and the symptoms of a bad fuel injector, so that you may easily diagnose it. Another important question that pops up here is whether a bad fuel injector can damage the engine or not. So, stay put, all your doubts will be cleared shortly.
- 2. Causes of a Fuel Injector Going Bad
- 3. How to Know If You Have a Bad Fuel Injector?
- 4. What Happens If Your Fuel Injector Goes Bad?
- 5. Can a Bad Fuel Injector Damage the Engine?
- 6. Conclusion
2. Causes of a Fuel Injector Going Bad
Fuel injectors are not something that wears out as they get used. Rather they’re something that could go on for a lifetime and have a very little room for error. However, machines are highly unpredictable, and every mechanical part has some probability of malfunctioning for one reason or another. Here, you will be provided with some events that might have resulted in your fuel injector going bad.
· Injector Solenoid Failure
The electromagnet that is used in controlling the opening and closing of the nozzle might wear out over time, the electrical circuit is designed very carefully, but if due to some malfunction the solenoid gets power for a slightly longer time than it is meant to, it could break down. This will cause the electromagnet to lose it magnetism hence nozzle won’t be opened and the fuel not injected properly.
· Damage to Components
The burn out of internal components might also be the cause. This could be a result of a lousy mechanic job. It would typically cause the return spring to malfunction, and at slow speeds, the system may work normally but misfire at higher rpm.
· Debris in the System
This is a rather common reason, and most people running into bad fuel injectors face this issue. As you might already be aware, the injector has a very fine opening to spray the fuel in a fine, precise way. So, even in the slightest amount of presence of debris at that part could cause your fuel injector to go bad.
3. How to Know If You Have a Bad Fuel Injector?
There are various symptoms of a bad fuel injector, but luckily there’s no rocket-science in figuring them out. So here are the five most common symptoms of a bad fuel injector that you may easily observe even if you’re not very much into automobiles.
- You notice the engine light is on
- You smell or observe fuel leaking
- You have to refill fuel more often
- The engine is misfiring
- The engine is rough even when idle
- The engine is surging at times
4. What Happens If Your Fuel Injector Goes Bad?
As now we have talked about the factors which could help in figuring out the malfunction of your fuel injector, we will now talk what happens when a fuel injector goes bad and whether a bad fuel injector could damage the engine of your vehicle.
· Poor Engine Performance
Faulty or bad fuel injectors are most likely to leave you stranded on the side of the road. Automotive engine performance is negatively affected when an automotive fuel injector goes bad. The main aim of a fuel injector is to inject a determined amount of fuel into the engine cylinder to help the engine combustion. By altering the amount of fuel that is injected in the fuel cylinder, a faulty injector disturbs the normal engine combustion. Other parts of the engine can also be damaged and effected if the fuel injector is faulty or bad.
· Poor Fuel Economy
As fuel injector is the major part of delivering the right amount of fuel to combust, and if it has gone bad, it could be delivering extra fuel to the combustion chamber, it does not actually need hence wasting fuel and causing the efficiency to be poor. Thus having a bad fuel injector might lead to a significant amount of your precious money going to waste.
· Uncomfortable drive
Due to the lack of supply of fuel to combust, the engine may misfire while you drive. This is usually caused by clogged fuel injectors. In contrast, the engine could be getting extra fuel, which could cause the vehicle to surge too fast then accelerate slowly. Either of these things will eventually lead to a very uncomfortable drive, and the drive could turn out to be a tiring task.
· Rough Idle State
This is rather the most common and disturbing symptom of having a bad fuel injector. Even if the vehicle is not moving, the effects persist, and the engine is still very unstable and extremely violent. This is caused by the improper mixing of the fuel and air, which either results in less fuel as compared to air or low. Although, whatever the case might be, it will result in a failure of the constant stream being provided to the combustion chamber hence resulting in uneven idle state.
· Difficult to Start the Engine
Sometimes, a malfunctioned fuel injector may cause a vehicle to take some time while starting or sometimes even totally to keep it to start. Starting the engine requires an adequate supply of fuel which if not provided properly, could give a very hard time in starting the engine. This is also usually caused by clogging or partial blockage. Furthermore, if there is complete blocking of the fuel injector, it could actually entirely keep your vehicle from being started hence breaking down of your vehicle. Another reason why you might be facing this issue is a partially leaking fuel injector. Due to the leakage, the pressure in the fuel rails might drop, and fuel might not be sprayed as much as calculated by the ECU (Electronic Control Unit).
· Engine Catching Fire
An injector that stops working is not a fire risk but can damage and cause the vehicle to run poorly. However, there may be times when the body of the fuel injector gets damaged, resulting in partial breakage or even cracking of the outer body. As a result, fuel leaves the body of the fuel injector through that crack instead of going through the nozzle where it’s supposed to go. As this goes on for quite a time, the fuel could accumulate on the outer body, and due to the extensive heat engine produces while operating, a fire could ignite. In the worst case, it could even destroy the whole vehicle.
Read Also: How Do Fuel Injectors Work
· Environment is Polluted
A broken or leaking fuel injector may result in incomplete fuel burn, which could cause a lot of emissions to the environment, which should be a great concern for avoiding pollution. Sometimes, a fault in the fuel injector causes the air-fuel mixture to fuel so-rich that the catalytic converter actually out. This could cause a heck of a fortune to fix. Furthermore, faulty fuel injectors could release extra smoke coming from unburnt fuel, especially from the tailpipe. This smoke is very hazardous, and if any signs of it are seen, you should immediately go for service.
5. Can a Bad Fuel Injector Damage the Engine?
This is the question that might worry you. Well, to be clear, a fuel injector gone bad does not damage the engine directly. But, as I have mentioned above, there are a lot of discomforts that come along, and in some cases, if the fuel injector is blocked completely, they can keep your vehicle from running. However, to be back on track, you will only need to get your fuel injector fixed, and your engine would not be hurt.
So, there might not be a direct link between bad fuel injector damaging your engine; it may present you with enough disgust and discomfort that you are eventually forced to repair or replace the fuel injectors.
In most cases, people do not bother about getting their faulty fuel injectors fixed unless they are very much forced to do so. They rather get themselves used to the engine hiccups, increased fuel costs, and the problems in starting of the vehicle. However, if you’re one of those people, I will highly recommend getting your fuel injectors fixed as soon as you discover them going bad because you may be able to get along in the initial stages of the issue, but once it gets worse, it will cost away a lot of fortune than what it will cost you to fix it in the initial stages of the problem. For example, setting your engine on fire may be where you eventually end up. Or someday, without you seeing it coming, the fuel injector may get totally blocked, and you might not be able even to start it.
So, to avoid all these occasions, and even knowing that a bad fuel injector might not damage the engine directly, you still should rush to the mechanic and get it fixed before it becomes bigger of a problem.