The calm before the storm:
Nobody likes a stalling engine or a poor fuel economy. If your vehicle performance doesn’t seem to be at the top of its game, there’s a high chance you need to take a look at your fuel injector!Better safe than sorry:
A lot of people see mechanics recommending them a cleaning service for their fuel injectors every time they visit them. More often than not, customers fear a rip-off.
That’s not always the case, however. You’ll be surprised to see how important fuel injector cleaning is for the general well being of your automobile.
What fuel injectors do
Fuel injectors control the flow of fuel from your fuel tank to the combustion chamber/engine. Over time, particles from a not-so-clean fuel supply get clogged in the fuel injector valves.
I know what you’re thinking, big deal! I can get it unclogged at home after watching a simple DIY tutorial. Right? Well, no! The solution may not be that simple.
Why you should clean your fuel injector from time to time
While there are numerous ways one can go about cleaning a clogged injector, it’s important to know why this problem needs attention in the first place.
A clogged fuel injector affects the supply of fuel to your vehicle’s engine and the combustion chamber. It may sometimes block it all together!
This effect ranges from both an excessive supply of fuel sprayed on the engine’s inlets to a lack of necessary fuel needed in the combustion chamber.
What this implies is that pressing on the acceleration may not allow your car to speed up, and alternatively, letting go of the gas may not keep the engine from revving up!
It’s like you hitting the gas with the clutch pushed in. You won’t get the appropriate required mobility from your car, all the while taking a heavy toll on the engine.
But this is hardly the tip of the iceberg. Even at a standstill, the noise from your engine may be beyond bearable. The credit for this, too, goes to a fuel injector that needs cleaning!
Your engine might misfire too if the supply of fuel to the combustion chamber is limited by the left-over adhesive residue attached to the fuel injector’s exiting valve.
There’s still one problem that dwarves all others. It’s the issue of fuel mileage! Every driver, automobile enthusiast or not, holds this factor in high regard.
Bad fuel injectors have got this area covered too! Letting most of your precious gas go to waste while consuming it in places it’s not needed, such as loud noise idling, etc., this problem is the final nail in the coffin for someone still torn between whether they should get their fuel injector cleaned.
You like maintaining your car, right? You want to extend its lifetime and peak performance, correct? So, the question of necessity for fuel injector cleaning is now a no brainer.
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How often should you change your fuel injector
Now that we’ve established that you have to get your fuel injector cleaned and why to let’s see how often and when to do so.
Many car manufacturers recommend that you change or clean your fuel injector at around 16,000-mile coverage, but reports have shown that 30 to 60,000 miles is a good enough benchmark.
It goes without saying, however, that this is just in case your vehicle is providing you with optimal performance. You may even have to get it cleaned before the 16,000 mileage is reached.
The frequency of change/cleaning of the injector is completely variable and subject to different conditions.
These conditions include car model, maintenance of the vehicle, and the quality of fuel that the vehicle was injected with, overtime.
Car manufacturing year cut-off for better quality fuel injectors is at around 2004. If you have a pre-2004 vehicle, you’re more prone to facing these problems than the owners of newer models.
This is mostly because post-2004 vehicles have had modified installation of fuel injectors and fuel filtration systems. The chance of clogging and burning of fuel injector valve tips, therefore, turns out to be highly unlikely.
That’s not to say that all post-2004 vehicles are in the clear. There’s just as good a reason for a contemporary vehicle owner to worry if he’s facing the problems mentioned above!
Filtration systems of modern vehicles, efficient as they are, still risk being damaged by low-quality fuel as they’re accepting of a wider range of chemical compositions.
More old school filtration systems have a rather sophisticated screening process for the fuels they pass on to the combustion chamber. The versatility is traded off with long term durability in that case!
Bottom line, for a coherent identification of fuel injector cleaning necessity, is this:
For pre-2004 vehicles: If you’ve maintained your vehicle all these years and always used quality fuel recommended by the manufacturers, the aforementioned problems can be a result of a clogged fuel injector.
For post-2004 vehicles: If you’ve covered a mileage of 16,000 miles and during this coverage, all the DTCs have been dealt with along the way, and you still see a lit up CEL in combination with the issues mentioned above, your fuel injector needs replacement or cleaning ASAP!
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How to clean the fuel injector (Is the Mechanic trip worth It or not?)
Having dealt with the when let’s move to the how of fuel injector cleaning!
We will talk about some of the most famous and easiest ways of going about cleaning your fuel injector. All these ways have proved to reproduce tremendous outcomes!
One of the more unorthodox but fun ways is to do it at home by yourself. If you know your way around the hood of your vehicle and can identify and remove the fuel injector safely, you can use this method.
Attaching a thermally contractible rubber to the entry valve of your injector, make a pathway as long as your cleaning product’s exit valve. You can get a pack of these rubber hoses for under ten bucks.
Once you’re done, attach a battery to the fuel injector’s mechanism and partially give it voltage pulses for around 1 second each. Each pulse will unclog your fuel injector one step further!
If you’re looking for a mechanical and cheaper way to get this done, this method is your best bet. It’s cost-effective and efficient!
Another way you can clean your fuel injector is by adding an additive in the fuel. These are individually manufactured chemical compositions that mix with your fuel, giving it a sort of unclogging or adhesive removing capability.
If the problem persists after one try, you can use this for around three runs of full fuel gas tank usages. Make sure you add specified and recommended additives.
Adding the fuel injector cleaner (used in the first method) directly in the fuel tank is a huge no go! This can wreck your vehicle’s engine and combustion chamber, making cleaning of fuel injector the least of your problems!
This method is cost-effective and convenient, but it’s not as efficient. No performance improvement is guaranteed from this approach.
The last method is not as much of a method as a suggestion, and that is going to the mechanic. If you’ve ensured that you’re not getting fooled and a fuel injector cleaning is actually what your car needs, then go to the mechanic.
Just as a doctor is best for a diagnosis and a plumber is best for unclogging the drain, mechanics and technicians hold the torch of vehicle diagnosis.
This approach might be heavy on your wallet, and it may take some research to go through with it, but in the long run, it’s going to be more than worth it!
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Countless times, hustling through the roads, we all come across hurdles (regarding the car’s engine or exterior) that we know could’ve been avoided if they were nipped in the bud.
From a simple tearing of the tire due to a small nail parallel to the sidewalk to a major engine failure and seize, all setbacks start off slow.
It’s ignorance and lack of judgment that causes small hitches to snowball into major hardware failure. The analogy sits quite well with the cleaning of fuel injectors! Seemingly a small catch, the nuisance of a clogged/inefficient fuel injector keeps amplifying if kept unchecked.
It won’t matter if you haven’t tuned your car in a long time or even washed the engine for that matter. The fuel and filtration system of the car needs the most attention when it comes to extending the lifespan of your ride.
And the fuel injector is the most used as well as the most important cog in the car’s filtration machine. (Metaphorically and literally!)
So, the next time you feel that your fuel performance is dropping, and the mechanic tells you to take a look at the Fuel injector; you might want to give it a thought instead of nodding along and then brushing it off eventually! Good luck!