The fuel system inside most vehicles has something called a fuel injector. The function of the fuel injector is to supply the engine with fuel. The injector basically sprays fuel into the cylinder of the engine through a nozzle so that the internal combustion process can begin. The computer which manages the engine (called the Engine Control Unit – ECU) also manages its vital components, such as the fuel injector. It makes sure the injector sprays fuel at just the right intervals so that the engine can give its best performance possible.

The Top 7 Symptoms of Bad Fuel Injectors

If something were to go wrong with the fuel injector, then your vehicle’s engine won’t be able to perform the way it’s supposed to. A bad fuel injector will either prevent fuel from being sprayed into the engine all together or it will mess up the intervals at which it is supposed to be sprayed. Either way, it will render your vehicle undriveable.

Below are 7 symptoms of a bad fuel injector that you can recognize early on. Then you can get the injector replaced before any serious damage is done to your engine.

  1. Engine Vibrates – When the engine cylinder doesn’t get enough fuel, the engine will vibrate after it tries to finish each cycle without fuel.
  2. Engine Misfires – If the engine does not get enough fuel sprayed into it, then the engine will misfire as you try to start it up. If you are able to start it up, you will have a hard time taking off or there will be a pause after you step on the gas pedal. Either way, you likely won’t be able to drive very long because the engine will eventually stall.
  3. Engine Light Turns On – The most obvious sign of a problem is when the “Check Engine” light illuminates on your dashboard. Although this could mean a lot of things, a bad fuel injector could be one of them.
  4. Fuel Odor – If the fuel injector is not closed completely, then fuel won’t be getting burnt. This means the odor from the fuel will be easy to smell.
  5. Engine Surge – If the fuel injector is spraying too much fuel into the engine cylinder, this will create a fast surge in the engine and cause your acceleration to be much slower.
  6. Bad Fuel Economy – If the engine is not getting the right amount of fuel it needs for combustion, then it will place more demand on the injector to supply it with additional fuel. This means your fuel economy is going to go down as you pay more for gas.
  7. Fuel Leak – If your fuel injector is actually broken or cracked from damage or old age, then gasoline will begin to leak out of it. This means the fuel won’t be able to reach the nozzle but instead, it will leak from the body. If you check the fuel injector, you will be able to see the gasoline all over it if there’s a leak.

Maintenance Tips & Average Cost to Clean

Fuel injectors do not last forever but you can take steps in preserving their lifespan for as long as possible. Most experts recommend that the fuel injectors be cleaned every 30,000 miles or so. That way, the injectors don’t get clogged and prevent fuel from spraying into the cylinder. However, fuel injectors can get worn out over time and can still cause the same symptoms as when it’s clogged. When you know your injector is bad, you’ll have to go to a mechanic and pay about N15,000 (depending on your car) to get it replaced.