What Causes Fuel Injectors to Get Clogged or Dirty?

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Fuel injectors are responsible for getting fuel into the engine. Fuel injection systems either work via a throttle body containing a couple of injectors that send fuel to multiple cylinders at once, or via injectors that deliver fuel directly into each cylinder individually. The injectors themselves spray gas into the combustion chamber like a spray bottle, allowing the gas to mix with air before ignition. The fuel is then ignited and the engine keeps on moving. If the injectors become dirty or clogged, the engine struggles to run as smoothly.

How fuel injectors work

Whenever an internal-combustion engine is powered down, the combustion chambers have leftover fuel/exhaust hanging around. While the engine cools, the vaporized gases settle on every surface in the combustion chamber, including the fuel injector nozzle. Over time, this residue can reduce how much fuel the injector can deliver to the engine. There is not much you can do to prevent this, but if the engine has worked particularly hard (lots of uphills or high temperature) it may be a good idea to let it cool down a little before shutting the engine off. Driving more gently towards the end of a trip can extend the life of the fuel injectors.

Aside from the fumes and fuel itself, the fuel injectors can get clogged up by debris. This can either come from gas or from the fuel system itself. Gasoline with impurities in it is less common these days, and most major gas stations have consistently high-quality gas. Still, debris can get into the tank and then into the fuel system. The fuel filter catches the majority of impurities but a small amount may make it past the filter. If there is water in the fuel system, corrosion can happen within the lines and fittings of the fuel system. This corrosion can cause debris to be jammed in the injectors.

What services can fix this issue?

In the case of simple debris in the injectors, a fuel injection flush is a cost-effective way to improve fuel injector performance. For cooked-on residue, it usually requires a full ultrasonic cleaning to get the fuel injectors back into fighting shape. For particularly old or inexpensive injectors, replacement may be the best solution.


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Recent Fuel Injector Replacement reviews

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YourMechanic Fuel Injector Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

150

Rating Summary
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Matthew

32 years of experience
689 reviews
Matthew
32 years of experience
Mitsubishi Raider - Fuel Injector - Newport News, Virginia
Great Mechanic!!! Work was complete in a very timely manner. Much easier than having go through the gymnastics of having a dealership perform the work.
Dodge Avenger - Fuel Injector - Norfolk, Virginia
Matt is great! Super knowledgeable and helpful. Not pushy at all and gives you his honest advice on what'd he'd do for his own car. Definitely recommend and will be using him again!

Zachary

8 years of experience
43 reviews
Zachary
8 years of experience
GMC Yukon - Fuel Injector - Hockley, Texas
Nice guy, friendly and courteous. He did good work. While it did not fix the overall issue with the car, what he was tasked to do was done well and knocks off a possible cause of my misfire. Thanks Zachary!
Jeep Cherokee - Fuel Injector - Cypress, Texas
Zach was on time, fixed the diagnosed issue and pointed out another problem, which could have resulted in a major safety issue if not repaired. He was not scheduled to work the rest of the day, but fit me in and got my car back to good condition! Thanks Zachary.

Joseph

19 years of experience
449 reviews
Joseph
19 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee - Fuel Injector - Clearfield, Utah
Joseph was very knowledgeable on what was going on and let me ask questions about anything he was doing or if he had any ideas on what to do. He did help me cut down the price because I didn’t need as much work as a shop told me I needed which of course was very helpful. Honesty is my favorite trait. I would highly recommend this service and Joseph to anyone. I even scheduled my appointment and was fit in that day. It’s very helpful having an expert come to you then you try and find an expert. Best service I have found, I’m not gonna use a shop again if I don’t have too.
Mazda Tribute - Fuel Injector - Bountiful, Utah
He was patient with all of my questions and waiting for the part to come in the mail. Did not make me feel stupid. He was very respectful. A good guy

Clarissa

26 years of experience
166 reviews
Clarissa
26 years of experience
Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera - Fuel Injector - Wayne, Pennsylvania
Clarissa was extremely thorough in repairing my car. I am very grateful for her dedication in making sure that my car runs well and her attention to detail and insistence that all potential issues concerning the running of my car are resolved. She is always cheerful and seems to enjoy showing my mother and me what maintenance we can perform to keep the car running well.

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