Fuel Injector Cleaning Tips

Fuel injector cleaning, its purpose, its Achilles heal, operation, duty cycle and preventative maintenance are important vehicle maintenance skills to have.

A fuel injector is a small electro-mechanical device used to introduce atomized fuel into the intake manifold to be drawn into the engine via the intake valve. The injector regulates the amount of fuel injected by the length of time that it is open-or its duty cycle. The fuel injector has power continuously when the key is on. The computer has an injector driver circuit and operates the injector by grounding the circuit. The longer the computer grounds the circuit, the longer the injector is open thereby increasing fuel flow.

The fuel injector has a small high micro final filter in the inlet side and a fuel spray orifice the size of a hypodermic needle which makes it understandable how a little dirty or carbon on the tip can be a problem. These little guys are expensive and there is one for every cylinder. This adds up to hundreds of good reasons to protect them.

Injectors operate at the exact same rate as the rpm. This means that they are working at a duty cycle of an average of 2300 to 3500 times per minute. This means they are opening and closing over 138,000 times an hour. Their lubrication is the fuel itself. Water in the fuel can be unbelievably destructive. It displaces the fuel, which eliminates the lubricating properties and anything moving this fast simply self destructs. -Nuff said about water in the fuel.

The main factor that affects the performance of fuel injectors is the use of the wrong fuel. This could not only be fuel of the wrong octane, but too much ethanol, a poor tune up, long periods of idling and timing can affect fuel injector performance.

As long as the above is kept in mind, over the counter fuel injection cleaner from a parts store is in order for every second tank of fuel. Just one can will do, and it will prevent, for the most part, the build-up of carbon within or on the injector.

The best thing to do, besides adding fuel injector cleaner to the fuel, is have the injectors professionally cleaned every 60,000 miles at a shop. Mechanics will cut the fuel pump off and run the engine solely on the fuel injection cleaner. This is the Mac Daddy of cleaning systems. At the same time they will clean all the carbon and sludge from the upper manifold. The car will feel like new again, except for any mechanical problems. 

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