The fuel-injection system replaces the carburetor in most new vehicles to provide a more efficient fuel delivery system. Electronic sensors respond to varying engine speeds and driving conditions by changing the ratio of fuel to air. The sensors send a fine mist of fuel from the fuel supply through a fuel-injection nozzle into a combustion chamber, where it is mixed with air. The mixture of fuel and air triggers ignition.
The internal-combustion engine is powered by the burning of a precise mixture of liquefied fuel and air in the cylinders’ combustion chambers. Fuel is stored in a tank until it is needed, then pumped to a carburetor or, in newer cars, to a fuel-injection system.
The carburetor controls the mixture of gas and air that travels to the engine. It mixes fuel with air at the head of a pipe, called the intake manifold, leading to the cylinders. A vacuum created by the downward strokes of pistons draws air through the carburetor and intake manifold. Inside the carburetor, the airflow transforms drops of fuel into a fine mist, or vapor. The intake manifold delivers the fuel vapor to the cylinders, where it is ignited.
All new cars produced today are equipped with fuel injection systems instead of carburetors. Fuel injectors spray carefully calibrated bursts of fuel mist into cylinders either at or near openings to the combustion chambers. Since the exact quantity of gas needed is injected into the cylinders, fuel injection is more precise, easier to adjust, and more consistent than a carburetor, delivering better efficiency, gas mileage, engine responsiveness, and pollution control. Fuel-injection systems vary widely, but most are operated or managed electronically.
High-performance automobiles are often fitted with air-compressing equipment that increases an engine’s output. By increasing the air and fuel flow to the engine, these features produce greater horsepower. Superchargers are compressors powered by the crankshaft. Turbochargers are turbine-powered compressors run by pressurized exhaust gas.