Fuel injector stuck open symptoms and solutions

To improve efficiency and in some way-performance, modern vehicles utilize electronic fuel injection engines. This is considered far more efficient in terms of reliability and workability as compared to the carburetor.

The new system is made up of multiple parts which constitute among other parts, the fuel injector. A well-maintained fuel injector rarely has issues but like any other car part, they are not immune to basic malfunctions.

Some of the faults that ail fuel injectors include clogging, getting stuck open, and ultimate failure.

The fuel injector plays a crucial role in the fuel combustion process-it supplies the engine with fuel. The injector is set to spray just the right amount of fuel into the cylinder at the right and the right angle.

The amounts and intervals are communicated to the fuel injector by the engine control unit (ECU) which through a series of sensors determines the right amount of fuel to feed the engine.

fuel injector diagram- how it works
how fuel injector works

When there’s a problem with the fuel injector in a car, a lot could go wrong. The most obvious result will be unprecedented poor engine performance. Today we will focus on how a fuel injector that is stuck open manifests.

So, what are the symptoms of a stuck open fuel injector? The most common ones are a sudden illumination of check engine light, rough idling, and frequent engine vibrations.

We will list a quick round-up of the most distinct symptoms you can expect in a car with a stuck open fuel injector. Well, not all are distinct as some car problems tend to share symptoms but the occurrence of a few at the same time will most likely not be a coincidence.

Engine Stalling And Unending Rough Idle

The sudden interruption in fuel supply will trigger a fall in the vehicle’s RPM while idling. If it falls below the optimal level, you can expect some rough idling accompanied by strong violent noises (that depends on the engine size).

In the worst-case scenario, the car will stall and even fail to restart.

Engine Vibrations

With stuck open fuel injectors, the cylinder in the combustion process will be deprived of the much-needed fuel. If you drive, the engine will have to operate and complete cycles without adequate fuel to burn. This will cause hiccups as it tries to compensate.

If the problem is left to persist, you will experience vibrations from the engine area.

Engine Misfires

Stuck open fuel injectors mean less or no fuel for the engine. You will notice this from the frequent misfires in the engine and as the acceleration gets weaker.

If you feel a pause after stepping on the gas, then that might be the fuel injector messing with your engine.

If not dealt with in time, this problem could escalate in severity- a change in the fuel-air mixture in the engine could cause a myriad of engine complications not to mention the rather obvious overheating issue.

The Check Engine Light Is On

This is the car’s way of saying “something is wrong with me”. When the fuel injector delivers more or less fuel than expected, there is a trigger that is displayed on your dashboard for you to see.

Some of the CEL illuminations are not caused by stuck open fuel injectors but some are-that gives this symptom the credibility it needs. The car senses a fall in the engine’s efficiency and interprets it accordingly.

Signs Of A Leak

Like all other car parts, the fuel injectors are subject to wear and tear-although with the proper care they will serve for decades.

Being a delivery channel, any damage will most likely result in leakage which should be evident by simple inspection. When you look around the injector and notice fresh fuel stains, you might need to check the system for leaks.

The most susceptible part is the fuel injector seal which tends to give in to adversity rather too quickly-you can inspect it first.

Unusual Gas Odor

When the fuel injector fails, there’s a high chance some of the fuel is not burnt. If the unburnt fuel remains in the cylinder or around, it will begin to smell. If you can smell it from the cockpit or the hood then you should be worried.

This problem can however be attributed to a failed ECU which instructs the fuel injector to supply more than needed fuel. Nevertheless, you have to trace the source of the odor and rectify it as the safety hazard posed is dire.

Increased Fuel Consumption

If the engine is not getting enough fuel, the sensors will signal for more fuel. This fuel will not be required but will be supplied nonetheless and this will mean more consumption of fuel you could have saved on.

What Are The Consequences Of A Stuck Open Fuel Injector For An Engine?

Whenever there’s a problem with the fuel injectors, the engine will not function as expected and the reduced efficiency cannot go unnoticed. The engine will get weaker and the car might even not drive anymore.

How To Fix A Stuck Open Fuel Injector?

The options are somehow limited in this case but you can clean the fuel injectors. There are multiple types of fuel injector cleaning solutions in the market that you can use.

If not, you can drive the car to a professional fuel injector cleaner’s yard and have them take care of this part. If your budget allows it, you can replace the whole thing with a brand new piece.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Stuck Open Fuel Injector?

For the self-cleaning option, a bottle of conventional fuel injector cleaning solution costs about $12-$17. Professional fuel injectors charge around $80.

If you go the replacement way, a new fuel injector goes for around $1550-part and assembly costs inclusive.

Can I Drive With A Stuck Open Fuel Injector?

Stuck open fuel injectors can cause cars not to start but these cases are rare. If you choose to drive the car- which is highly advised against, you risk having the engine overheat. Other results include engine flooding and fuel pre-ignition.

Bottom Line

Stuck open fuel injectors can cause increased fuel consumption, engine overheating, and other expensive engine breakdowns. To protect yourself and your car from such occurrences, you can keep an eye out for basic warning signs like fuel leaks and check engine lights.

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