How Fuel Injection Systems Work

The Injector

­A fuel injector is nothing but an electronically controlled valve. It is supplied with ­pressurized fuel by the fuel pump in your car, and it is capable of opening and closing many times per second.

Inside a fuel injector

When the injector is energized, an electromagnet moves a plunger that opens the valve, allowing the pressurized fuel to squirt out through a tiny nozzle. The nozzle is designed to atomize the fuel -- to make as fine a mist as possible so that it can burn easily.

A fuel injector firing

The amount of fuel supplied to the engine is determined by the amount of time the fuel injector stays open. This is called the pulse width, and it is controlled by the ECU.

Fuel injectors mounted in the intake manifold of the engine

The injectors are mounted in the intake manifold so that they spray fuel directly at the intake valves. A pipe called the fuel rail supplies pressurized fuel to all of the injectors.

In this picture, you can see three of the injectors. The fuel rail is the pipe on the left.

In order to provide the right amount of fuel, the engine control unit is equipped with a whole lot of sensors. Let's take a look at some of them.