Fueling a car and getting it to run is more complicated than just pumping a car full of gasoline. An intricate network of parts and computer sensors is used to ensure that the right amount of fuel gets through when a car needs it, allowing the car to move and operate as normal. Fuel injectors are particularly important components in this process, playing a big part in regulating the amount of fuel that is delivered to be burned, and also the frequency with which this happens.
A relatively new form of fuel injection, called “direct fuel injection,” is gaining traction within the industry, as it holds several useful advantages for fuel delivery. It also, however, has a couple of downsides.
Want to learn a little more? Here are some facts about fuel injection.
Students in Auto Technician Courses Can See That Direct Fuel Injection Is More Accurate
For optimal propulsion and energy generation, a car needs to burn a precise mixture of fuel and oxygen in its cylinders—too much or too little of either will result in poorer results. Where indirect fuel injection involves combining fuel and oxygen outside of the cylinder, moving the mixture into the cylinder, and then burning it, direct fuel injection involves shooting fuel right into the cylinder, where it mixes with oxygen and gets burned. This process makes it easier to control the precise mixture inside the cylinder, which in turn makes for a better burn.
The main advantage of this approach is that it can increase fuel efficiency and power, as both are dependent on a car having the correct mixture of fuel and oxygen to power itself. It’s a technology that is growing in popularity, and you might see it become the norm shortly after you finish your auto technician courses.
Direct Fuel Injection Can Also Lead to Sub-Optimal Engine Performance
This may seem like a direct contradiction with the previous point, but it’s nonetheless true. A by-product of using indirect fuel injectors is that an amount of fuel is sprayed onto the intake valves of the engine, and this can help clean off residue that has collected. Because direct injection doesn’t include this spray, residue can build up on intake valves, and this can decrease engine performance over time.
A solution that is employed in some vehicles is to have both direct and indirect fuel injectors at work, allowing for a middle-of-the-road approach to fuel injection that retains some of the advantages of both technologies. For others, the problem remains something to be solved. Fortunately, it’s relatively straightforward to clean accumulated gunk off of intake valves, so you should have no trouble doing so in your auto mechanic apprenticeship and future career.
Students in Auto Technician Courses May See Direct Fuel Injection Compete With Hybrid Cars
The aforementioned fuel economy benefits of direct fuel injection can be almost shockingly good. Some automakers use a combination of direct fuel injection and turbocharging—which increases the amount of air in the combustion chamber—to achieve levels of fuel efficiency that are comparable to what hybrid cars get! And that’s without the expensive battery and hybrid powertrain that are required to make hybrid vehicles operate.
However, other research states that the emissions from direct-injection cars could contain more soot (which is very harmful to the atmosphere) than indirect-injecting cars, meaning the advantage could be negated. Further research and development will likely be required to achieve a good balance of efficiency and less harmful emissions. You may only see true environmental advantages to direct injection a while into your future career.
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