Can dirty fuel injectors cause Check Engine Light to come on?

Before the world became one big village, direct injection engines were only present in sports and high-end cars. In today’s world, this engine is quite apparent in modern luxury and economy cars.

Keeping your fuel injectors clean is one way to stay away from the mechanics.

The check engine light is one of the many ways your engine communicates to you when there’s an issue you should know about. One of these issues is dirty fuel injectors.  When your injectors are clogged or dirty, the engine will not function normally and might need to relay this information to the driver.

So, Can Dirty Fuel Injectors Cause Check Engine Light?

Yes. Over time, fuel injectors get clogged or develop dirt buildups. If this unwanted material is not removed from the injector jets soon, the engine will not get enough fuel and will in turn get weaker. Any issue with the engine is relayed to the driver through dash lights such as the check engine light.

Symptoms Of Dirty Fuel Injectors

The Check Engine Light Will Lit

A dirty or malfunctioning fuel injector will definitely trigger the check engine light. It might come on to communicate an issue with the fuel injector system, the GDI system, or both.

The system detects fuel injector problems by the effects they have on the combustion process. They may either deprive the engine of fuel or flood it- in some cases, no fuel reaches the engine. By reading the engine’s behavior, the ECU can detect any issue and relay it to the driver ASAP.

Rough Idling

If you’ve driven a brand new car before, you’d understand this point better. Cars are designed to bear a weak and subtle vibration when in idle mode. If your car is for no reason louder than normal, it’s time to check your injectors.

The rough rumble comes from blocked injector nozzles which cannot get enough fuel to the engine.

The issue can result from other areas like spark plugs and air filters but the injectors should be your first suspects.

Engine Misfires

Whenever your car misfires or responds weakly when you step on the gas, your fuel injectors could have issues. Misfires result from the same problem as rough idling so if the latter is connected to the injectors so is the former.

When the injector is dirty and cannot deliver adequate fuel to the combustion chamber, the air-fuel ratio is altered. This situation results in misfire among other symptoms.

If your engine misfires from time to time, try to check the injectors.

Leaking Fuel

When driving, always have your four senses on. A sharp pungent smell in the cabin is a clear indicator of a fuel leak. If the smell is accompanied by any of the symptoms mentioned above then you should be worried.

Old or unmaintained fuel injectors tend to leak from time to time. This issue is common in high mileage vehicles. If your car is old or you got it as the second owner, service the fuel injectors before you have to tow the car to a repair shop.

Unprompted Moves By The RPM Needle

It is quite apparent that whatever happens on the dash gauges is a result of what the driver is doing. If you drive the whole day, the gas pointer will shift from F to E. The speedometer moves from 0 to 80 when you step on the gas.

Dirty fuel injectors can cause the RPM indicator needle to be a little shaky. The needle moves when the RPM changes, maybe when you engage another gear. If it moves abruptly without you affecting any sudden moves, then the injectors are affecting it.

Will Bad Fuel Injectors Throw A Code?

Yes, dirty fuel injectors do throw codes. The list of issues to be expected from a car with faulty injectors is endless. Misfire and rough idling top the list.

When the injectors are dirty, the fuel spray during combustion is usually weak. The engine responds by stalling and choking. This is what causes the misfires and rough idling.

When the system detects an issue with the fuel delivery during combustion, it relays a code to the one behind the wheel. The codes are 0300-0308, they mainly indicate misfires. You can easily locate the ailing injector by looking at the dash information more closely.

Can Fuel Injector Cleaner Clear Check Engine Light?

Yes, if you use a fuel injector cleaner on your car, it can make the check engine light go off. This will only happen if the light is ON because of dirty fuel injectors.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Fuel Injectors?

Every car problem should be rectified immediately but sometimes, other things are simply more important. If you choose to ignore signs from your engine about dirty injectors, there are a few consequences you should expect.

  •  Engine knocking
  • Rough idling
  • Engine surges
  • Gas leaks

What Is The Easiest Way To Clean Fuel Injectors?

Fuel injectors are pretty easy to clean-any novices can get it done. Using this method, you won’t need to take the injectors out although you will need to know where each part is.

  • Cutoff the fuel and pressure regulators
  • Attach your cleaning kit to the fuel port with the fuel cap out
  • Start the car and leave it for 6-10 minutes
  • Remove the kit and reconnect all previously disconnected parts.
  • Test-drive the car and listen for any unusual sounds.

Do You Need To Replace Dirty Fuel Injectors?

Most injectors are built to last the car’s lifetime but things don’t always go as planned- because the car is subjected to very adverse conditions. To be safe, check your injectors after around 60,000-90,000 miles or when you notice bad signs.

It costs around $210 to replace fuel injectors. This price works for most but not all vehicles- some might cost you $1000 just to replace the fuel injectors.

Bottom Line

Fuel injectors rarely malfunction. Nevertheless, when dirt or mud gets into their jets, they could easily get clogged. You can tell when your car has dirty injectors-it misfires and has rough noise when idling.

Dirty fuel injectors can easily be cleaned with a fuel injector cleaner. You can do it yourself or simply drive to a repair shop.

If the injectors are beyond repair, you can affordably replace them.

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