Fuel System

Don't be Fuelish (Signs Fuel Pump is Failing)

A driver of a large SUV loaded with equipment was heading on a 7-hour work trip when he stopped at a gas station to refuel.  When he went to restart his SUV, it turned over but wouldn't catch.  Try as he might, he was never able to get it started again. 

Of course there are many things that can cause those symptoms, but the next day he had his SUV towed to a service repair facility.  Using their test equipment, they were able to pinpoint the problem.  His fuel pump had failed.  The pump, which was located in the fuel tank, had to be replaced, and after awhile he was back on the road, delayed, but happy to be up and running again. 

What had happened is that the pump was not strong enough to deliver adequate  fuel to his engine, vital to being able to start it.  It had delivered just enough pressure in the morning to get it started the first time, but it was on its last legs.  He had been having trouble starting his SUV in the days leading up to this trip, a clue that something was wrong. 

The engine relies on a certain pressure of fuel from the pump to run properly, and there are some other signs to be aware of that your fuel pump may need to be replaced.  If you are putting strain on your engine, such as going uphill or hauling a big load, and the engine sputters, it may be a sign that the pump isn't delivering that consistent pressure.  Another warning sign is if your engine is running hot and then stalls.  That could mean your fuel pump is getting weak.

Sometimes you might notice your vehicle suddenly speeds up on its own or your fuel economy goes from good to poor in a short time.  If your fuel gauge shows you have plenty of fuel in the tank and your engine stalls, that's another possible sign of a failing fuel pump. 

Technicians have special equipment to see where the fuel problems are, and there are many possibilities.  Have your vehicle checked before you're left stranded.  Oh, and one more tip to prolong the life of your fuel pump.  Since it is cooled and lubricated by the fuel in your tank, make sure you keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel at all times.  Avoid your "low fuel" light going on and you may be helping yourself avoid having to replace your fuel pump. 

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Fuel Injector Cleaning at PDR

In very simple terms, a fuel injector is a valve that squirts fuel into your vehicle engine. Your engine control computer tells the fuel injector how much fuel to deliver as well as the precise time it should be delivered. Of course this happens thousands of times a minute in every single fuel-injected vehicle driving down Urbana roads.

Most fuel injectors for gas engines are known in the Urbana automotive community as port fuel injectors because they deliver the fuel to a port just outside the cylinder. The fuel pump provides pressure needed to squirt the right amount of fuel into the engine.

A few have recently introduced gas direct injection systems on some engines. They are now available at some Illinois dealerships. These systems inject the gas directly into the cylinders under very high pressure – many times the pressure of port injection systems.

Although more complicated, direct injection technology promises greater power with improved fuel economy. Illinois motorists can expect to see more of it in the future.

High temperatures under your vehicle hood and variations in Urbana gas quality cause fuel injectors to be fouled with wax, dirt, water, additives and carbon. Injectors can become partially clogged, preventing them from delivering the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure.

When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn't burn as efficiently resulting in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it's wise for Urbana residents to keep their fuel injectors clean.

Your technician at PDR can perform a fuel system service for you in which the fuel injectors are cleaned so that they operate properly and deliver the right amount of fuel at the right time.

Proper maintenance of your vehicle fuel system means that you will spend less on gas, enjoy strong performance and prevent repair bills down the road.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Fuel System Cleaning at PDR for Better Performance

Hi Urbana residents. Let's talk fuel injectors. A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle's engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.

Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.

Vehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle's control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle.  It also adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle's engine. Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel efficiency and loss of engine performance for Urbana residents.

So it's to Urbana residents' advantage to keep their fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel to Urbana vehicles than do bargain Urbana area service stations.

The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.

Urbana residents should check their owner's manual to find out how often they should change their fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle, your filter will need to be changed more often.

You can also purchase cleaners at PDR that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won't be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use. If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at PDR in Urbana that will result in better fuel economy and improved vehicle performance.

Good vehicle care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Don't Be Fuelish

If you smell gasoline in your vehicle, pay attention to your nose. That's because it has an important message for you.

Newer vehicles should never have a gasoline smell inside. One of the most dangerous conditions can come when your fuel line system has a leak or multiple leaks. Vehicles with fuel injectors are under pressure, meaning a crack or small hole in a fuel line can allow vaporized fuel to escape, sometimes around hot engine parts. Gasoline vapor and hot metal? You see the problem.

One of the most common causes of a gasoline smell inside a vehicle is a fuel tank leak. The gas tank can rot or be punctured by road debris. A PDR technician can evaluate the condition of your fuel tank and suggest either repair or replacement.

Fuel injectors can develop small leaks around their seals or O-rings. Those can deteriorate over time as the material they are made of gets old and less flexible. A technician can replace those parts.

Modern vehicles contain something called a charcoal canister. It gathers evaporating gasoline vapors from inside your fuel tank and prevents them from venting out to the atmosphere. If that canister has a leak, you'll smell it. One hint that you have a problem is the Check Engine light may come on.

You may have a leak in your fuel tank vent hose. Or you may be smelling gasoline simply because your gas cap is loose, the cap is faulty or—yes this does happen—your gas cap is missing altogether.

Consider the dangers of gasoline fumes seriously. Inhaling them can be bad for your health or they may start a fire. Don't fool with fuel; have gasoline odors checked out right away.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

PDR: Good Service and Good Fuel Economy

Most Urbana auto owners want to save on gas and seek our advice on improving economy. At PDR, we are frequently asked, however, if it is really worth the extra effort. Just how much money can Urbana drivers actually save?

In today's PDR article, we're focusing on the things you can do to improve your vehicle’s economy driving around Illinois. We'll tell you the potential savings per gallon of gas at $3.50, and we'll show a chart that also shows the savings at $3.00 and $4.00.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 / $3.50 / $4.00

TUNE UP 4%.12.14.16

The next item is replacing a clogged engine air filter. Your engine needs enough air to burn fuel efficiently for the best mileage. A clean air filter means you get plenty of air. The fact that the air's clean protects your engine. That can save you up to 10 percent or 35 cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON$3.00 / $3.50 / $4.00

AIR FILTER 10%.30.35.40

Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve economy by up to 40 percent. That's a whopping $1.40 in savings per gallon. Bring your car to PDR in Urbana and we'll check your oxygen sensor.

DOLLARS PER GALLON$3.00 / $3.50 / $4.00

FAULTY O2 SENSOR 40%1.201.401.60


Chances are that if your oxygen sensor is kaput your Check Engine light will come on. Now, there are any number of things that could cause your Check Engine light to come on besides oxygen sensor problems. But if it's on, get it checked out as soon as you can at PDR.

Here's an easy one for Urbana auto owners. Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. That could save you three percent or 11 cents a gallon. Even a little drop in pressure will bring down your economy, so check your tires every week.

DOLLARS PER GALLON$3.00 / $3.50 / $4.00

TIRE INFLATION 3%.09.11.12

Your vehicle has recommended a specific weight of motor oil. The recommendation is based on engine design and will give you the best protection. Using a heavier weight could cost one to two percent in reduced economy, or up to seven cents a gallon.

Another thing Urbana vehicle owners can do to improve that costs nothing is to toss the junk out of our trunks. In other words, clean out the car and stop hauling around non-essentials. Don't treat your vehicle like a storage locker. Dumping 100 pounds of extra weight adds up to a 2% savings at the pump.

So when you tell someone you were going somewhere anyway and they're welcome to come along, that's okay. But if someone tells you they need to come along and it's no harm to you since you were going anyway—well, now you can tell them, “Sorry, dude, but you're an extra fifteen cents a gallon!”

All joking aside, let's all do ourselves a favor and fatten up our wallets by practicing good car care and better driving habits in Illinois.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Fuel System Cleaning at PDR in Urbana for Better Performance

A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle's engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.

Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.

The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.

Vehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle's control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle.  It also adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle's engine.

Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel economy and loss of engine performance.

So it's important to keep your fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name Illinois fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel than do bargain stations in the Urbana area.

The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.

Check your owner's manual or ask the pros at PDR in Urbana to find out how often you should change your fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle, your filter will need to be changed more often.

You can also purchase cleaners that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won't be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use.

If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at PDR in Urbana that will result in better fuel economy and improved vehicle performance.

Good vehicle care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

The PDR Guide to Saving Fuel: Car Weight

The team at PDR in Urbana, and Illinois car owners are all talking right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Urbana drivers want to save the environment and their pocketbooks.

And we all know—or should know—that preventive maintenance will help maximize fuel economy. But is there something more people in Urbana can do? After all, some of us folks can't cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from point A to point B. And that means buying more gas in Urbana and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle's weight isn't negotiable. And you can't do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn't an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your vehicle. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your home? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don't. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your car: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don't.

Clean out your trunk. You'd be surprised how much weight you're lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food and regular old dirt. Even if it's not a lot of weight, you'll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don't toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire—the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in your vehicle when you go on a longer trip, but you don't have to lug it around all the time. After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money in Urbana.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Fuel Injection Basics for Urbana

All modern Urbana vehicles come with fuel injection systems, so it's a topic Urbana drivers need to know something about. The mighty fuel injector is a valve that delivers the gas or diesel fuel to the right place, in the right amount at the right timeto be mixed with air and burned in the engine.

So how many fuel injectors does your vehicle have? There's one for each cylinder. So four, six or eight for most folks in Urbana, Illinois. Some vehicles have 10 or 12 cylinders. The engine control computer makes adjustments to the fuel injector as it monitors the engine and other sensors. Fuel injectors are a pretty high-tech.

PDR can help Urbana drivers with a fuel injector cleaning service. What's the benefit? In order to work right, the fuel injectors have to deliver the fuel at a precise pressure at a very precise time. It's important that the fuel is sprayed in a particular pattern as determined by the engine design.

Over time, varnish can start to build up in the fuel injectors, effecting the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel charge. The result is that the fuel doesn't get burned as efficiently as it could. That robs performance and hurts fuel economy.

What about dirty fuel? How does that affect the fuel injectors? The fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel system. It starts at the fuel tank. Frankly, the best way to keep your fuel injectors working well is to use high quality fuel. It's tempting to shop for bargains in Urbana with fuel prices as high as they are, but major brands in the Urbana, Illinois, area have better detergents and additives and deliver consistent quality.

What about a good fuel filter? The fuel filter is component of the fuel system. Its job is to filter out the dirt and rust that collect in the fuel tank. If it's clogged up, the dirt will bypass the filter and head upstream to the fuel injectors.

It's important to replace the fuel filter when your manufacturer recommends it. That's part of a comprehensive fuel system cleaning.

There are different kinds of fuel injection systems. Port fuel injection systems, the kind most gasoline engines have, operate at 60 pounds per square inch. The injectors for the new gas direct injection engines Urbana drivers are starting to see require 10 to 30 times as much pressure. And some diesel engines for passenger vehicles have injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch. There's no room for dirt and gum in a precision part like that.

There are a lot of good products available in Urbana, Illinois, that can clean fuel injectors. They're best used to prevent fouling in the fuel injectors. Many can't clean a seriously gummed up injector – that requires a professional deep cleaning, like those we offer at PDR in Urbana. But putting the cleaner in the fuel tank after you've had PDR take a look at your fuel system will help keep it clean. Be sure to read the label for directions.

Give us a call if you think your vehicle may be ready for a fuel injector cleaning.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

 

How Do You Save Gas in Urbana, Illinois?

No one in Urbana, Illinois, likes to spend a chunk of change at the gas pump. Rising Illinois fuel prices, however, have spurred Urbana drivers to focus on how to improve their fuel economy. North Americans literally drive billions of miles/kilometers less each month during times of high fuel prices. But we still need to drive (we love our vehicles, after all!), so it makes sense to try and increase our fuel economy however we can.

Let's look at a real life example. This man has one of those really big SUVs. Lots of kids and horses to haul around, you know. His family was planning a four day camping trip. Here's what he did to cut his fuel costs:

First, he installed a new, high flow engine air filter. Then he had his service center change his oil, flush his cooling system and service his front and rear differentials along with the transfer case. He also had a fuel system cleaning, replaced his PCV valve and breather element. He also made sure his tires were up to the recommended pressure.

Now this cost several hundred dollars. But keep in mind, it all needed to be done anyway – it was all scheduled, and some of the work was overdue.

So he headed out, loaded with nine people and pulling a trailer with everything needed for four days of camping. When the trip was over, he tallied his costs.  Turns out, he got the best fuel economy on that vehicle up to that point. It had improved 25 percent! He saved $48.00 on that trip alone. And the savings keep on coming every day.

Here's a quick summary of what you can do to save fuel in Urbana, Illinois. First get caught up on your routine maintenance. Nearly every scheduled service item can boost fuel efficiency. If it's time for a tune-up, git'er done at PDR. That's a big item.

If your Check Engine light is on, have your service advisor at PDR figure out why and fix it. Check Engine problems can be real gas wasters.

Proper tire pressure and wheel alignment can really help Urbana drivers as well. Try not to carry around a bunch of stuff. An extra 100 pounds can cost a mile per gallon.

Now you may not want to hear this, but the single biggest fuel waster for most Urbana folks is their right foot. Zooming away from stop lights and hot rod lane changes really waste fuel. Take it easy on Illinois roads and Urbana streets: don't speed, and plan ahead.

Finally, you may have noticed that we haven't mentioned any magic pills or devices that will double your mileage. That's because there aren't any. Some may help a bit, but there are a lot of "miracle fuel saver" scams in Illinois. Don't shell out any to swindlers; you need it to buy gas!

Do some research and check with your service advisor at PDR in Urbana before spending your hard earned cash.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

PDR Often Asked About Premium vs. Regular Gas

Urbana residents often ask the question: "Will using premium gas make my car run better?" The answer is simple. But first, let's talk about what exactly premium gasoline is.

Different grades of gasoline have different octane ratings. Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and premium the highest. Most gas stations around Urbana, Illinois, also carry a mid-grade that falls in between the two. The octane range for the different grades of gas varies by region due to altitude differences.

Engines require different octane ratings because of design differences. For example, turbocharged engines usually require premium gas.

There's a sticker on your gas tank filler lid that tells you the minimum octane rating your vehicle manufacturer recommends.

For help identifying the type of gasoline your engine needs, come by PDR in Urbana.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com