I felt compelled to write this blog as gas prices are nearing $5.00 per gallon. But in truth what I’m going to share with you is in my opinion the second most important service you can perform on your car. Changing the oil frequently is number one.
The most important thing you can do is also the simplest. KEEP YOUR FUEL INJECTORS, VALVES, and PISTONS CLEAN.
First some technical mumbo jumbo about why this matters:
1. Fuel injectors spray gas into the engine to burn. Gas must be vaporized before it can burn. Liquid gas will not burn. The finer the mist being sprayed into the engine the easier it is to burn. As the fuel injectors start to become dirty they squirt gas out in streams. Much like a worn out pistol grip sprayer does. As a result the computer needs to spray more gas to get the same power. Your cars computer has the ability to measure how much gas is getting burned and will adjust for more if some of it does not get burned. The unburned fuel goes right out the tailpipe resulting in a loss.
2. Dirty valves & pistons. What do I mean by dirty? A byproduct of poor combustion is carbon which builds up on the pistons and valves. This is a very hard black substance that reminds me of lava rock. Like lave rock it acts as a sponge capturing some of the gas being sprayed and prevents it from burning. The gas sprays right past the valves and when they are smooth metal the fuel ricochets off of the valve and vaporizes. When carbon is allowed to build up the fuel is captured instead and ends up going out the tailpipe unburned.
Below is a dirty injector squirting fuel in a steady stream:
The primary reason carbon builds up is from the use of fuel which does not have cleaners in it. A top tier fuel adds cleaners that help clean injectors and dissolve carbon. With gas prices being so high people are more inclined to look for cheap gas worsening the problem. A second reason carbon builds up is when the engine is running poorly possibly because it needs a tune up.
There is an easy cure: First spend the extra 10-20 cents a gallon for good gas. I don’t mean high octane. Only use high octane if your owner’s manual instructs you to. Good gas can be found at Shell, Chevron, and 76 gas stations. Next I recommend you purchase an over the counter fuel injection cleaner that you can add to your gas tank and add a bottle at least once per month. We offer it with oil changes for $11.95 per bottle. Third you need to have the throttle body professionally cleaned every 30,000 miles. This area controls idle speed and throttle responsiveness. We use a three step process. Step one we clean the throttle body by hand with a safe for throttle bodies cleaner. For step two we then use a commercial atomizer to spray a heavy duty engine de-carbon spray into the throttle body while the engine runs. This will draw the cleaner thru the idle control passages and also melt carbon away from the inside of the engine. The third step is to add a bottle of commercial grade fuel injection cleaner to the gas tank.
This will continue the cleaning process we have started and will also clean the fuel injectors.
The fee for this service is $129.95 and takes about an hour. To recap a statement I made earlier these services are the easiest and cheapest way to maximize fuel economy and keep your engine running smoothly. If you have any questions about this topic call our shop at (916) 924-8040 and ask for Tom. I love helping people.