As both new and used car prices increase, owners are keeping their cars, trucks, and SUVs for even longer periods of time. In addition, fuel economy continues to be a hot topic for both automobile owners and manufacturers. There are plenty of factors that can influence fuel economy and engine performance, including engine size, age of the vehicle, and driving style.
Even if you make changes to your driving habits and bring your car in for regular oil changes and maintenance, fuel economy may still plateau as your vehicle is bogged down by sludge in its fuel system. Over time, particles, gum, and varnish can accumulate inside your car’s fuel lines, fuel injection systems, and more. These buildups can cause your car’s fuel system to function similarly to a blocked artery, reducing the amount of fuel that can travel through its lines to your engine.
How do you improve your fuel economy and deal with this sludge? A regular fuel system cleaning service from Kennedy Transmission can keep your fuel flowing and your car’s gas mileage from bottoming out.
From Gas Tank to Engine: Your Fuel System Explained
Depending on a car’s age, there are several components of your fuel system. Many of these are susceptible to build-up over time, and can include:
When you stop by the gas station to get fuel, this is where it goes.
Fuel lines deliver gasoline from the fuel tank to the engine and run the length of your car.
This pushes fuel through the lines to the engine.
The fuel filter screens dirt or rust particulates from fuel and helps keep your engine clean. This is generally either replaced or cleaned as part of regular routine maintenance.
Fuel Injectors or Carburetor
Fuel injectors are chambers where fuel and air are mixed outside of the combustion chamber of the engine prior to ignition. Fuel injectors’ primary job is to measure the precise amount of fuel needed to run the engine and to send it off in a specific pattern that often varies by engine type and design. Modern vehicles use electronic fuel injection systems, whereas older vehicles may still use a carburetor system.
How Dirty Fuel Systems Impact Your Vehicle
Think about your car’s fuel system like your circulatory system. Just like high cholesterol can impact your health, heavy build-up in the fuel system can lead to suboptimal performance for your engine.
At every point in the system, dirt and debris can accumulate. At a certain point, this buildup reduces the efficiency of your engine.
In the fuel tank, for example, dirt, rust, and sediment can gather over the years. While your fuel filter should remove the majority of this build-up, it does need to be cleaned or replaced to stay functional. As dirty fuel travels through the lines, it can leave deposits along the canal that block optimal fuel.
The biggest risk for reduced fuel economy happens in the fuel injectors when they get dirty. Because they’re precision instruments, any disruption—due to gunked-up components or debris—can affect pressure and timing if fuel delivery. This debris can lead to:
- Improper mixtures of gasoline and air
- Incorrect patterns
- Transfer of gunk to the engine
It should be noted that while special additives can preserve a fuel system that is already clean, they can’t perform the kind of deep, major cleaning necessary to revitalize your fuel system.
How Fuel System Cleaning Works—and When to Schedule One
The best way to know that it’s time for a fuel system cleaning is to check your vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendations. Red flags to watch out for include trouble starting, a loud idle, or struggling with acceleration. If you notice any of these, it’s probably time to clean out the fuel system. If you’ve also noticed reduced fuel economy, a dirty fuel system might be the cause.`
When you bring your vehicle in for a fuel system cleaning, we will flush your fuel system and eliminate any collected dirt, debris, and sediment from its various components. Over time, you will notice your vehicle’s gas mileage improve and greater power while accelerating. As an added benefit, your exhaust system will become more efficient.
Schedule Your Fuel System Cleaning with Kennedy Transmission Today
Ready to optimize your car’s performance, improve fuel efficiency, and prolong the life of your vehicle? Visit your nearest Kennedy Transmission service center today and schedule your fuel system cleaning.