One of the most overlooked maintenance services for our vehicles is the on your vehicle is a fuel injection cleaning service. This service not only cleans the fuel injectors, throttle body, intake manifold clear through the exhaust system, it can also decarbon the combustion chamber, the top of pistons and the intake and exhaust valves. There are various types of fuel system services that are very important to keep your engine operating properly.
When our vehicles’ were equipped with carburetors as the primary fuel mixing and delivery system, it was very common as regular maintenance to have it cleaned and adjusted regularly, as a part of the tune up of the vehicle, so that it would keep operating properly. Conditions that occur with the use of fuel, are varnish and carbon deposits that form in the presence of heat associated with engine operation. These carbon deposits act like a sponge inhibiting fuel entering the cylinders of the engine. Varnish can clog passages and gum up moving parts. The carbon and varnish can also cause interference with the intake and exhaust valves, causing a rough running condition and/or misfires. This can have an effect on the emissions, fuel economy and performance of your vehicle.
In the 1980’s manufacturer’s phased out most carburetors, and switched over to fuel injection systems for the fuel mixing and delivery system of the vehicle. In 1996 there was another switch to direct injection fuel systems that became very prominent in 2008. Even though the primary functions are the same, the differences are that a carburetor used low pressure and the intake of air rushing thru to add fuel. In a fuel injected vehicle fuel injectors have a very small nozzle and higher pressure to atomize the fuel. The fuel injectors have a fan spray pattern that is crucial to their effectiveness, they spray fuel into the air intake manifold where it mixes with air, then sprays into the engine combustion chamber. Fuel injectors that are clogged and/or have varnish in them, can distort the spray pattern. This affects fuel atomization and can decrease combustion efficiency. In a direct injected vehicle the fuel is directly injected into the combustion chamber for more efficiency, throttle response, economy and less fuel waste. The downside is that the fuel and detergent are no longer hitting the back of the valves during combustion, so it is not keeping the backside of the valves clean, the carbon then has a tendency to build up over time.
Even though fuel delivery and mixing systems have changed in vehicles over the years. Byproducts of gasoline remain the same. One of the best things that you can do is use a top tier fuel to run your engine as a good habit. This will help reduce some of the carbon deposits. In fuel injection systems these small nozzles that are used to atomize the fuel, and they DO NEED to be kept clean. There are various types of fuel injection cleaning services and products on the market. They treat some of the different issues that are seen with fuel injected and direct injected vehicles. Top engine cleaners, fuel cleaning misters, fuel tank additive, and fuel system cleaning and decarboning services are all offered
Professional, effective fuel injection services will include:
• An overall inspection of the fuel system including the ability of the fuel pump to produce the pressure specified to operate the injectors.
• Cleaning of the throttle body and a method of “flushing or washing out” small particles and varnish that build up or lodge in the injector.
• This carbon clean service should clean the air intake, and fuel system clear thru the exhaust.
Industrial equipment and professional cleaning products are critical for effective results of:
• Repairing drive ability problems such as hesitations, hard starts, rough idling or lack of power.
• Reduce harmful emissions and smoke opacity.
• Restore fuel economy.
• Restore “New Car” performance.
• Extend fuel system component life.
A professional fuel cleaning service is highly recommended at least every 20,000 to 30,000 miles on your vehicle. This will help to optimize the longevity and performance of your vehicle’s fuel system. Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive in Historic Downtown Gresham.