Fuel injectors are an engine management component that is found on the vast majority of road going vehicles. They are a part of the vehicle’s fuel system and act as the nozzles that spray the fuel into the engine. They are controlled by the engine computer and operate by spraying the fuel in specific patterns and at specific timed intervals that will optimize engine performance. They are found on the vast majority of road going vehicles in one form or another. Because they are a part of the fuel system, any problems with the fuel injectors can cause all sorts of engine performance issues, that can sometimes even render the vehicle undrivable. Usually a bad or failing fuel injector will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue
1. Engine misfires and decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency
One of the most common symptoms of a potential problem with a fuel injector is engine performance issues. If any of the vehicle’s fuel injectors have an issue, the air fuel ratio of the engine will be upset, which can result in performance problems. A faulty fuel injector can cause the vehicle to experience misfires, a loss in power and acceleration, a reduction in fuel efficiency, and in severe cases can cause stalling or prevent the engine from running at all.
2. Fuel odor
Another common symptom of a potential issue with a fuel injector is a fuel smell. Injectors hold high pressures which over time can cause them to leak at the nozzle or at the seal that is located at the tip of the injector. A leaky injector will excess fuel into the combustion chamber of the engine, while a leaky seal will leak fuel at the base of the injector. Both can affect engine performance, specifically fuel efficiency, and both will usually produce a noticeable fuel smell. Any sort of fuel smells should be addressed as soon as possible in order to prevent them from becoming a potential safety hazard.
3. Check Engine Light comes on
Another symptom of a potential issue with a fuel injector is an illuminated Check Engine Light. If any of the fuel injectors become clogged and cause a misfire, or experience an electrical issue the computer will set off the Check Engine Light to alert the driver of the issue. The Check Engine Light can also be activated by a wide variety of other engine management issues, so having the computer scanned for trouble codes is highly recommended.
Because of their role as the nozzles that provide the fuel that allows the engine to run, fuel injectors are a very important component to the overall operation and drivability of the vehicle. If your vehicle is displaying any of the symptoms above, or you suspect that your vehicle may be having an issue with one of the fuel injectors, have the vehicle diagnosed by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if any of the fuel injectors need to be replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuel Injector and was authored by Eduardo Ruelas.