Direct injection (DI) is a fuel delivery system common in modern cars with gas and diesel engines. Rather than a fuel/air mixture entering the engine’s cylinders through the intake valves, an injector sprays fuel directly into the combustion chamber in an engine with direct injection.
In other words, direct injection works more efficiently to deliver gas and oxygen to an engine, resulting in a more powerful ride and better fuel economy compared to traditional multi-port fuel injection.
How Direct Injection Affects Your Car
If your car has direct injection, you’re getting the most out of every drop of gas you put in your tank. Fuel injection has been around for decades, but in a traditional fuel injection system, lots of potential energy is wasted in the fuel/air mixture before it enters the engine’s cylinders.
The engine more efficiently burns gas and oxygen with DI to improve both performance and fuel economy. It’s a mechanical win-win.
Here are a few benefits of direct interjection:
- Better fuel economy. Direct interjection ensures the gasoline that you put into your vehicle reaches its full potential.
- Quicker Acceleration. Thanks to the engine receiving the fuel directly, the car is able to accelerate quicker than cars without DI.
- Smoother ride. When driving a car that uses a direct injection system, the engine can work more efficiently, giving the driver a smoother ride.
Like any new type of engineering, direct injection had its share of growing pains when it first started to go mainstream. Early DI systems in luxury cars had some issues with premature carbon build-up and the fuel system clogging up. So, one of the only downsides of direct injection is that you need to get a pretty modern car to get an engine with a low-maintenance direct injection fuel system.
The good news is that you can find a reasonably affordable used car with a reliable direct injection system like a Ford EcoBoost engine or a Kia GDI engine. Consider using a fuel system cleaner in your gas tank with every oil change to help avoid any unwelcome clogging or build-up.
How to Maintain a Direct Injection Engine
Direct interjection engines offer more good than bad, but the bad can be very bad sometimes. One of the main issues with this type of engine is that carbon can build up, which can lead to issues down the line. Here is how to maintain your engine if it uses direct injection.
- Clean your intake valve. Using store-bought aerosol products meant for cleaning the carbon build-up is a crucial part of maintaining the engine’s optimal performance.
- Don’t push off your oil change. Follow your car’s manual of when to get your oil changed. Doing so will help to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
- Only use the grade of gasoline intended for your car. Using a lower grade could have harsh effects on the engine in the long run.
Is Direct Injection Right for You?
Direct injection is suitable for most drivers. It has big pros like improved performance and better fuel economy and very few cons, including potential clogging in the fuel system.
When shopping for your next new or used car, do a little extra research to see if it has DI so you can enjoy the benefits of this clever engineering.
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Editor’s Note: This article has been updated for accuracy since it was originally published.