Home » Issues Caused By Bad Fuel Injectors

Issues Caused By Bad Fuel Injectors

Update On

Fuel injectors provide a steady flow of fuel to your car’s cylinders. They are controlled by your vehicle’s computer and are critical to performance.

Like all parts, they can break down and compromise your car’s efficiency and safety. The longer they are used, the more they fall apart. The most common cause of fuel injector failure is the build-up of dirt and gunk in your engine.

In this article, we’ll cover how to identify a faulty fuel injector and what to do about it. Also, we’ll discuss whether you can drive for a while with a partially operating system, or whether you should take your car to the garage immediately.

What Will Happen If You Drive With a Faulty Fuel Injector?

What Will Happen If You Drive With a Faulty Fuel Injector

If your vehicle’s fuel injector breaks, it’s still possible to drive it … at least for a time. Your car will just operate at less than peak performance. Eventually, however, that can cause lasting damage to your car that might cost more money than replacing a bad fuel injector.

A dysfunctional fuel injector will harm your fuel economy, increase your exhaust emissions, and reduce your engine’s performance. Eventually, it could stop your car from starting at all.

How Does a Car Perform When the Fuel Injector Is Broken?

How Does a Car Perform When the Fuel Injector Is Broken

When your vehicle’s fuel injectors begin to fail, it will show several signs. As the fuel injector is vital to your engine’s performance, these can be pretty obvious.

Your vehicle will start rough and will then knock and vibrate. This is because the fuel struggles to get through a partially blocked injector, limiting the flow to your engine.

When this happens, your vehicle’s computer will overcompensate by using more fuel. That will lead to a decline in fuel economy and cost you money.

If the injector has completely failed or is completely blocked, your car just might not start because it can’t get fuel to the engine. It can also stall.

What Happens if the Fuel Injector Breaks?

What Happens if the Fuel Injector Breaks

If an injector breaks, the engine will receive poorly mixed fuel. This will cause performance issues with your vehicle and might even prevent it from starting.

A faulty fuel injector can cause your vehicle to start harder, or not even start at all. When it starts, it may also idle rougher and even cause your vehicle to shake a bit.

When you start driving, you’ll notice reduced performance. If this goes on for long enough, it can even damage other parts of the engine.

One thing you’ll notice is a reduced fuel economy because your vehicle’s onboard computer is compensating for a loss of properly mixed fuel by using more of it. You’ll need to fill up more frequently, so this will hit you directly in the wallet.

Can You Replace Just 1 Fuel Injector?

Can You Replace Just 1 Fuel Injector

For most vehicle repairs, if you need to replace one of a set of something it’s usually a good idea to replace all of them. This is normally the best way to maintain consistent performance in your vehicle and it’s also often the most cost-effective.

This is also the case with fuel injectors. If you take your car in and the mechanic tells you that it’s time to replace a fuel injector, it’s most cost-effective to ask him to just replace all of them.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Injector Failure?

What Is the Most Common Cause of Injector Failure

There are three primary causes for a fuel injector to fail. Either the injectors will get clogged with dirt, they’ll begin to leak because of a failed component, or they will suffer a mechanical failure.

The most common is that they become clogged with dirt. Engines are dirty places, where oil often collects dirt and dust from the surrounding environment. Both of these can lead to clogged components, including fuel injectors.

It’s recommended to get them cleaned every 30,000 miles or so to maintain peak performance.

O-rings around the base of the injector can also become hard and brittle over time because they function close to a hot engine. Those rings can crack and begin to leak fuel. If this happens, there’s not much to do except replace the fuel injectors.

Finally, fuel injectors have moving parts, which means that something mechanical eventually can go wrong with them. This is normal wear-and-tear that affects everything as it gets used longer.

Is It Dangerous to Drive With a Bad Fuel Injector?

Is It Dangerous to Drive With a Bad Fuel Injector

Your car won’t explode or veer off into a ditch if you have a faulty fuel injector. From the standpoint of physical safety, a poor fuel injector is not dangerous.

But it will cause performance issues for your vehicle that might cost you money in the long run. The most immediate of those is reduced fuel economy as your vehicle’s onboard computer needs to use more fuel to compensate for the reduced fuel mix.

If you have fuel problems, it’s advisable to get them repaired as quickly as you notice them prevent damage in one component from translating to damage in another. That will go from spending a penny for prevention to a dollar for a cure.


The most likely cause of fuel injector problems is simple dirt and grime buildup that can block it from properly doing its job. But fuel injectors just wear out as they get older, so you might see a leak from a cracked seal or a mechanical failure.

If that happens, you can still drive your vehicle, but it won’t operate at its best. This could cost you directly by forcing you to spend more on fuel, or it could cause other parts to fail that require expensive repairs.

If you feel as if you learned something of value from this article, we’d love to hear about it in a comment down below. You can also share this article on your social media networks. You might even save one of your friends a bit of money.

Leave a Comment