Does your vehicle have poor performance, lousy gas mileage, or rough idling? It either has a severe case of the Mondays or, more likely, some dirty fuel injectors.
Spotting the signs of dirty fuel injectors and investing in a quick cleaning can help you smooth out your rough ride and get back to care-free cruising.
Fuel Injector Basics
This might be the first time you’ve heard of fuel injectors, and that’s okay. Your car’s fuel filter, pump, and injectors are all part of an interconnected (though unseen) under-the-hood system. Together, the filter, pump, and injectors ensure your engine receives the correct mixture of fuel and air.
Here’s a general idea of how the whole fuel system works.
- Your car’s fuel pump delivers gasoline to the fuel injector.
- The fuel injector injects/sprays fuel into the intake manifold at a very precise angle.
- Within the intake manifold, air and fuel mix.
- The air-fuel mixture is compressed in the combustion chamber, igniting the chemical reaction required to power your engine.
Dirty Fuel Injector Symptoms
Knowing the complicated dance that goes on in your fuel injection system, it’s easy to see how bad or dirty fuel injectors can throw a wrench in your engine!
Here are a few signs there might be something wrong with your fuel injectors.
1. The Engine Misfires
Dirty fuel injectors may cause your vehicle’s engine to misfire. This problem makes the motor feel as though it is sputtering — sending vibrations through the car. Such misfires can happen when a fuel injector problem mixes up the delicate balance between fuel and air entering the engine.
2. Idling Gets Rough
Does your vehicle sputter and shake when you’re at a stop sign or sitting in traffic? It’s not channeling a bucking bronco. It’s telling you that there may be dirty fuel injectors at work.
Typically, “rough idling” is characterized by varying revolutions per minute (RPMs), even when you have your foot off the pedal. Often, rough idling is accompanied by engine stalling — a sudden decrease in RPMs and engine noise that feels like running out of gas on a hill.
Dirty fuel injectors are only one of several engine problems that can result in rough idling and engine stalling. If you notice these issues in your car, come in for a Complete Vehicle Inspection. Our expert technicians will get to the bottom of the problem and recommend a fuel system cleaning if needed.
3. Your Gas Mileage Tanks
Well-performing fuel injectors help your vehicle get the kind of gas mileage that manufacturers promote. While a variety of engine issues can cause you to stop by your local gas station more often, lousy gas mileage could be a signal that something is wrong with your fuel injectors.
4. The RPM Needle Starts to Dance
Typically, you control what your car’s dash gauges do. When you drive a lot, the gas needle moves from “F” to “E.” When you accelerate, the speedometer moves from “0” to “60.”
What do dirty fuel injectors do? They can cause the needle on the tachometer — the gauge that displays the vehicle’s RPM — to move unpredictably. You may notice the needle moves unprompted, indicating changes in RPM when your car isn’t switching gears.
5. Your Car Won’t Start
Fuel injectors deliver gas to the appropriate cylinders. That’s Job #1. And when Job #1 isn’t getting done, your engine won’t receive its crucial combination of air and fuel. When the ratio of air and fuel in your engine is off, your motor may not generate the combustion it needs to operate.
It’s rare, but in some cases, fuel injector issues can lead to engine failure that prevents your car from starting. It’s also possible that your car won’t start because, um, you forgot to put gas in it. (It happens to all of us!) Unfortunately, running out of gas can also lead to fuel injector issues.
Get Fuel Injector Cleaning and Services
If you think your fuel injectors need a little attention, visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care. A Complete Vehicle Inspection can help identify and remedy any issues giving your ride a hard time.