Common Fuel System Problems Explained for those in Automotive Careers

As any auto professional knows, the fuel system is a critical part of the engine. Without fuel, the engine cannot run, and any problem that affects the fuel system is likely going to result in poorer engine performance. Unfortunately, trouble with the fuel system is often difficult to pinpoint. From the quality of the fuel to the various components of the fuel system, there can be numerous causes of fuel-related vehicle problems. 

A professional auto service technician will be trained in the fundamentals of servicing a gasoline engine as well as the operation and maintenance of fuel injection systems. Here’s a closer look at how and why the most common fuel system problems occur.

Trouble With Fuel Injectors

One of the most common fuel system problems in a car is the fuel injectors. In fact, if a vehicle is experiencing any problem with the fuel system of the engine, the injectors are most likely the cause. Normally, the fuel injectors pump a steady and strong line of fuel. If an injector cannot open, the engine may lack power, while an injector that is stuck open can cause a raw gas leak. Luckily, the symptoms of faulty fuel injectors are very noticeable. A driver may experience difficulty in kick starting the engine, fluctuating engine revs, or rough running conditions. Additionally, the vehicle may experience a sudden increase in fuel consumption.

Professionals in automotive careers can diagnose a poorly performing fuel injector by checking to see if it is stuck in an open or closed position. This may not be possible for every vehicle, as some modern engines operate in a complex layout. If you suspect the fuel injectors are dirty, they can be cleaned using specialized additives to clear clogged contaminants. Otherwise, a mechanic can replace the faulty part if the injector is beyond repair. 

Training in the automotive industry teaches the operation and maintenance of fuel injection systems

Faulty Fuel Pumps 

Electronic fuel pumps are another common culprit when it comes to problems with a car’s fuel system. The fuel provides lubrication and cooling for the pump. Continually driving with low fuel levels can cause the fuel pump to dry out or overheat, and potentially break down. Another cause of the malfunction could be loose or worn connections, when the pump doesn’t receive the right current flow.

A faulty fuel pump exhibits many of the same symptoms as the fuel injectors. If the engine feels hard to start, the pump may have difficulty getting sufficient fuel for the engine. Likewise, if the vehicle experiences any misfires or sudden fluctuation in power while driving, there may be a malfunction with the fuel pump. Slow acceleration and increased fuel consumption are other obvious indicators that something is up. After an auto mechanic apprenticeship, students will have the relevant field experience to engage in the servicing and maintenance of different vehicle parts. 

Electric fuel pumps are a common cause of fuel-related trouble

Those with Automotive Careers Should Look for Clogged Filters 

Most vehicle manufacturers will recommend that you replace the fuel filter every two years or so. Over time, dirt can become trapped in the fuel filter, affecting both the pressure and flow of the fuel system. The very purpose of the filter is to provide protection for the entire fuel system, designed to block any contaminants from getting into the fuel. Dirt in the fuel system can affect the smooth performance of the engine and ultimately damage it. Once again, the symptoms may include difficulty starting the engine, or an engine that stalls or struggles to remain idle. Luckily, for most vehicle models, the fuel filter is quick and easy to replace. A professional auto mechanic should be able to identify the root cause of a vehicle’s engine trouble and perform the appropriate replacement.

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