Now that you know some of the signs your fuel injectors may be clogged, damaged or worn out, you need to understand why it can happen. Here are some common reasons:
- Poor fuel quality —The main reason your fuel injectors become clogged and unable to do their job is the quality of your fuel. If your fuel has too much excess debris or impurities, those by-products can get into your fuel injectors, making it harder for them to work. This is especially true in regions that alternate between summer and winter gas.
- Heat soak –Heat soak is a phenomenon where fuel residue evaporates in the nozzles of the injectors after you shut off the engine. The residue takes the form of waxy olefins, which sit in the ports because the engine is idle, so nothing is flowing through to wash them away. Eventually, the heat causes these olefins to harden into clogging deposits. Your gasoline has detergents in it to get rid of these deposits before they build up, but if you are taking a lot of short trips, your engine may not have the opportunity to wash the olefins out. If this is the case, the fuel injectors will clog up and fail.
- Solenoid failure –One of the functions of solenoids is to create a magnetic field to pull up the fuel injector pintle. If there is a short or an open in the injector solenoid, the injector could fail.
- Engine blow-by –Blow-by is fuel and oil residue that blows past the pistons into the crankshaft during compression. Your car’s PVC system should pull the blow-by out, but if the air filter does not capture it, or if the PCV system is not working correctly, that sludge could end up clogging up your fuel injectors.
- Broken or leaking fuel injector– It could just be the fuel injector itself is cracked or has sprung a leak. If there is a fault in the integrity of the fuel injector, it will not deliver the proper mix of air and fuel to the engine and performance will suffer.
A bad ECU is another fuel injector problem not directly from the injector. The ECU is the engine control unit that runs your combustion system. If there is a problem with your ECU, it may not be able to tell the fuel injectors how to property mix and deliver the air and fuel to the combustion chambers. Therefore, you may get bad performance even if the fuel injectors are fully intact.
If your car has an ECU and you get a “Check Engine” light along with common fuel injector problems such as misfire or stalling, check the error code to see if you may have an ECU problem.