What causes a fuel injector to fail?

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asked Sep 23 in Repairs/Maintenance by oapster (1,480 points)
What causes a fuel injector to fail?

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answered Sep 25 by Salmorejo (38,440 points)
The causes of a fuel injector to go bad are contamination of fuel when debris gets past the fuel filter and then destroys the sealing surfaces or clogs the fuel injector ports.

In some cases fuel injections may also simply wear out after 200,000 or 500,000 miles or more.

Most fuel injectors will last the life of a vehicle but sometimes they fail and need replaced.

The symptoms of a fuel injector going bad include rough engine idle, engine stalling, engine sputtering, shaking, poor acceleration, engine misfires, bad fuel economy, the RPM needle that starts to dance around.

In some cases the fuel injector may simply be clogged and use of fuel injector cleaner can in most cases clear the clogged fuel injector but if the fuel injector is actually bad it will need to be replaced.

You may also have a clogged fuel line, fuel filter or bad fuel pump.

A clogged fuel injector will usually sound like a popping noise or rough idling voice.

You will usually have poor acceleration or the engine may try to cut out when you accelerate or it may also idle rough.

A normal working fuel injector normally makes a ticking sound and if you don't hear that ticking sound from the fuel injector then the fuel injector is not working.

A clogged fuel filter is caused by contaminants in the fuel or debris or fragments that can come from fuel storage tanks or fuel lines breaking down on the inside.

Contaminants such as rust in your fuel tank can also cause a clogged fuel filter.

Changing a fuel filter on a car takes on average of 10 to 30 minutes.

If your fuel filter is clogged you will need to replace the fuel filter which you can do yourself pretty easily as long as you have the proper tools.

Some fuel filters require a wrench to change out and some fuel filters require a fuel line removal tool.

The average fuel filter costs between $15.00 to $30.00 although some fuel filters may cost as much as $50.00 depending on the fuel filter and the make and model of the vehicle.

If you need your fuel pump tested a fuel pressure test will need to be performed by an auto repair shop.

The cost to test fuel pump and fuel pressure can range from $50.00 to $150.00 depending on the shop.

If your fuel pump is bad then it will need to be replaced and most fuel pumps are in the fuel tank which requires dropping the tank and that adds to cost.

Replacing an in tank fuel pump can cost between $200.00 to $500.00 depending on the vehicle you have.

Things that burns out a fuel pump are running out of fuel, electrical faults, age and wear and tear, fuel contaminants, high or low voltage.

Inline fuel pumps do have to be gravity fed so they won't burn out.

The inline fuel pump always needs some fuel in it for it to work and prevent failure of the fuel pump.

Mechanical fuel pumps put out around 1 to 4 psi while electric fuel pumps put out between 30 psi to 80 psi of fuel pressure.

Inline electric fuel pumps may only put out around 4 psi to 5 psi depending on the fuel pump.

An electric fuel pump should be no more than 2 feet from the fuel tank.

It's very important that the electric fuel pump is mounted close to the level of the bottom of the fuel tank as mounting them any higher will cause premature failure and poor performance.

The advantages of a mechanical fuel pump are no need for voltage or modules to control the fuel pump, no drop in pressure as the pump speed and fuel flow are tied to the engine speed and no overheating of fuel.

The mechanical fuel pump is mounted to the engine as well so it's easier to access to change out if you need too without having to drop the fuel tank.

Usually, a mechanical pump is preferred over an “aftermarket” electric fuel pump. They tend to be more reliable.

If the mechanical fuel pump is installed wrong then it won't work at all or it will not even supply enough fuel to the engine.

The fuel lines must be hooked up correctly for the fuel pump to work.

If the fuel pump does not work properly then the engine won't be able to start or will run rough, die out or lose power and fuel mileage.

You don't need to use gasket sealer on a mechanical fuel pump as long as you use the gasket to mount it to the engine.

However it is a good idea to add a bit of sealant to the mechanical fuel pump when mounting it to the engine to help hold the gasket in place.

A mechanical fuel pump does need to be primed which means the lines between the tank and the engine have to be filled with fuel before the mechanical fuel pump will pick up the fuel and begin pressurizing.

The mechanical fuel pumps work in the psi range of 1 to 4 psi.

Mechanical fuel pumps last on average of 100,000 miles and sometimes longer.

Although some mechanical fuel pumps may only last 30,000 miles or so before wearing out.

The three causes of mechanical fuel pump failure are contamination, overheating, and the gears in the the fuel pump wearing out over time.

Dirt, debris and rust can also cause mechanical fuel pump failure or even bad gas or other fuel.

Signs that your fuel pump is going out are noises from the fuel tank, low fuel pressure or no fuel pressure.

Common warning signs of a bad fuel pump include.

Engine Sputters at High Speeds. Leaking transmission fluid is one of the easiest way to determine your car attention.
Rising Temperature.
Fuel Pressure Gauge.
Loss of Power When the Vehicle Is Under Stress.
Surging.
Decreased Gas Mileage.
Engine Will Not Start.

If you notice a whining noise coming from the location of your fuel tank, the fuel pump is probably beginning to fail.

If you hear whining, the fuel pump may be bad, you're running low on gas, or there are contaminants in the tank.

A bad fuel pump relay could cause a fuel pump to keep running and not shut off.

The fuel pump relay is a device to switch on and off the fuel pump and when it does not work properly it may either not allow the fuel pump to come on or it may keep the fuel pump on.

A fuel pump that stays on when the ignition is turned off can be caused by a few things.

If you do not believe that the behavior is normal, then it may be possible that the the ignition switch or fuel pump relay have shorted and are feeding power to the pump.

A fuel pump can flow too much and cause too much fuel to get to the engine.

Your engine needs the correct amount of fuel pressure but not too much.

Using the wrong fuel pump that delivers excess pressure can cause problems ranging from poor performance and lower gas mileage to flooding and carburetor damage.

When the pressure is only a little over the required amount, your vehicle may sputter when you first accelerate from a stopped position.

If fuel pressure is too high, your vehicle's engine could be over fueled, leading to many of the symptoms listed below.

Some of these symptoms include your engine running rough, poor fuel economy and black smoke from the exhaust.

The fuel pump is turned on and off through a fuel pump relay.

When you turn the key to the on position the relay turns the fuel pump on for a few seconds and then turns the fuel pump back off.

Then when you turn the key again to start the engine the relay then turns the fuel pump back on.

The fuel pump relay is a small unit covered in a plastic case, which has several sprockets on one side that are clipped onto the ignition system.

The fuel pump relay is what turns on the fuel pump when you start your car and powers it down when you shut off the ignition.

A fuel pump should run as long as the engine is running.

When you turn the key on the fuel pump comes on and then goes off a few seconds later until you turn the key again to start the engine.

Then after the engine is running the fuel pump should stay running for as long as you keep the engine running.

As long as the engine is running the fuel pump should run all the time.

However once the engine is shut off the fuel pump should shut off and stop running.

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