There are a number of factors that are commonly recognized as having a direct effect on the fuel consumption of your car. The most common are driving habits and the type of car you have and its engine size. Those two reasons aside, wear on the diesel injector's needle valve can also greatly contribute to increased fuel consumption on your car.
If you haven't changed your driving style or the car you drive and your car is suddenly draining fuel faster than usual, a worn fuel injector could be the reason. Read on to learn more:
How does a worn needle valve increase fuel consumption?
All diesel injectors work through a simple mechanism. Fuel is pumped into the injector at high pressure. A plunger then regulates the opening and closing of the nozzle. The valve needle is at the very tip of the injector. When it moves back, it allows fuel to escape through the nozzle. When released back in place, it blocks the fuel from ejecting.
When the valve needle is worn, it gets tiny grooves that allow more fuel to escape around it. Although the valve timing will still remain the same, more fuel will escape when it's open. Despite the actual wear being very small, the extremely high pressure of the fuel means a considerable amount of fuel is lost in this manner. In the course of just a day's driving, you will notice that your car's consumption has increased abnormally.
How does wear occur on the needle valve?
In most circumstances, the wear of a needle valve is caused by dirty fuel. The needle valve is a very delicate part of the diesel injector. Due to the high pressure of the fuel, any slight friction is bound to cause wear on the needles surface.
Under normal circumstances, fuel alone won't cause considerable wear on the needle. However, dirt in the fuel will. Small particles, no matter how minute, will rub off on the needle's surface leaving scratches and grooves.
How to avoid/delay wear on a diesel injector:
There are several ways to avoid premature wear on an injector's needle valve.
- One, replace your fuel filter on time. A faulty filter will allow dirt to pass into the injector causing you expensive replacements.
- Two, avoid dirty fuel. You can do so by avoiding cheap or unregulated fueling points. You should also avoid fueling from tanks as dirt may have contaminated the fuel.
To be on the safe side keep your diesel injector healthy by having it inspected, tested and cleaned annually. To learn more, contact a company like Hi Tech Diesel Injection Pty Ltd with any questions you have.