Carburetor Vs. Fuel Injection is a debate that has been going on for many years, with the carburetor being the dominant fuel delivery system up until the 1980s. Even though the latter can still be found in old vehicles, all car manufacturers are now using it in their modernized vehicles. So, what are the main differences between the two main methods of fuel delivery systems?
The carburetor employs Bernoulli's principle in its functioning; an increase in airspeed lowers its static pressure while increasing the dynamic pressure. On the other hand, the fuel injection system comprises a complex set of sensors and electronics that control the fuel flow in the engine.
The fact that the carburetor is the most basic fuel system does not make it better than the fuel injection system. Read on for finer details on comparing the two fuel systems and which one you should choose when purchasing a motor vehicle.
Carburetor Vs. Fuel Injection, Which Is Best
When comparing the fuel injection and the carburetor system, the former emerges as the best as it is the most efficient and effective method of fuel delivery to the engine. While the fuel injection system is effective and offers a more accurate fuel-to-air ratio, it is more costly than the carburetors and can be a little bit harder to fix.
When dissecting the two major systems of fuel delivery systems, there is more than just the cost, repairs, and fuel economy. In other words, the fuel injection and carburetor systems have different merits and demerits. It is prudent to examine them separately before drawing any significant conclusions.
How A Carburetor Works
A carburetor is a mechanical gadget designed to mix air and fuel effectively to provide the energy necessary for motion. While carburetors can vary in complexity and design, they work pretty the same as they employ a common principle; Bernoulli's. Generally, here is how a carburetor works;
- The air flows into the top of a carburetor via the filters that tend to filter out any impurities.
- When the engine starts, the choke moves to almost blocking the top of the pipe, reducing the amount of getting in and increasing the fuel content of the mixture getting into the cylinders.
- The air is forced into the narrow kink, venturi, in the center of the pipe, increasing its speed, hence lowering its pressure.
- The reduction of pressure in the tube creates a suction resulting in the drawing of fuel into the pipe.
- The throttle controls the mixture of fuel and air that gets into the engine.
- The air-fuel mixture flows down to the cylinders.
- The fuel is supplied from a mini-fuel tank known as a float-feed chamber.
- Once the fuel levels go down, the float in the chamber falls to open the valve at the top for a more fuel-air mixture.
- The fuel level rises, raising the level of the float hence closing the valve again.
How Does The Fuel Injection System Work?
The main objective of the fuel system is to store the fuel and feed it to the engine when necessary. The engine intake system ensures the fuel is mixed with the air, atomized, and vaporized before it's compressed in the engine cylinder, where it is ignited to produce the required energy. So how does the fuel injection system work?
The fuel tank is responsible for storing the fuel, and the fuel pump draws the fuel from the tank to the engine. The fuel travels through the fuel lines via the fuel tank to the fuel injectors. Here is a summary of how the fuel injection system works;
- The fuel moves from the tank to the engine. Some vehicles have multiple gas tanks and multiple fuel pumps to ensure that the vehicle always has access to fuel regardless of the terrain on which the vehicle is traveling.
- The pump forces the fuel to the fuel lines and the engine for combustion. Fuel lines are constructed out of durable metal and plastic materials. They are situated where they cannot be damaged by elements, road conditions, or exposure from the heat engines.
- Fuel filters serve as the last stop before the fuel gets into the engine. The filters remove any debris that might cause problems to the engine.
- After passing the fuel filter, the fuel gets to the engine, where it is injected into the combustion chamber.
Advantages Of Carburetors
Although the carburetors are not better than the fuel injection system, they have advantages. The advantages include;
- Cheap to Build and Maintain – The carburetor system comprises relatively few components, making it cheaper and easy to maintain. Further, they do not have electronic components as they rely on air pressure difference; hence they are simple to build.
- Tuning – the carburetor fuel system is separate from the engine, which makes it easy to deal with whenever there is a problem. In addition, you can tune the carburetor to fit different riding styles, environments, and even elevations.
Disadvantages of Carburetors
- One of the significant disadvantages of the carburetor fuel system is that it is affected by environmental factors. For instance, if you are at higher altitudes, the amount of fuel the carburetor will deliver to the engine is different from that at lower altitudes.
- Further, the carburetor is less efficient than the fuel injection system as they offer a throttle lag that affects the vehicle's speed.
Advantages of Fuel Injection
The fuel injection boasts numerous advantages that make it better than the carburetor system. Some of these advantages include;
- Control over the Air fuel mixture as the system works electronically, meaning that it has several electronic sensors that control the flow of the air-fuel mixture.
- The fuel injection system has various options to guarantee consistent fuel delivery and efficiency.
Carburetor vs. Fuel Injection Reliability
Car manufacturers stopped installing carburetors in the 1980s after they realized that the fuel injection system was more advanced and reliable than the carburetor system. Even though the fuel injection system is expensive and hard to repair, there is no doubt that it is more reliable and efficient. Moreover, they are designed to last for an extended period meaning that you would not have to think of replacing them now and then.
Additional characteristics that make the fuel injection systems the best include the faster throttle response and better fuel economy. Furthermore, they guarantee consistent and complete fuel combustion, which means a clean option for the environment.
Fuel Injection vs. Carburetor Which Is Better In Bikes
The fuel injection system is better in motorbikes than the carburetor system as it provides better performance because of its high power output, engine speed, low emissions, and fuel efficiency. Therefore, if high performance is your objective, a fuel injector system will be your best option.
However, if you are on a tight budget, the carburetor will be the preferred option as they tend to be cheaper.
Other parameters that make the fuel injection system better for motorcycles include;
The fuel injectors use sensors to control fuel flow to the engine, guaranteeing better fuel efficiency. On the other hand, the carburetor employs air pressure difference to mix air and fuel, meaning that no dynamic ratio adjustments are executed.
If all other factors remain constant, the power output of a fuel injection system is better than that of a carburetor—consequently, high output of power results in a high speed of motorcycles with a fuel injection system.
In icy atmospheric conditions, the carbureted motorcycle is hard to start. On the other hand, a cold start is not a problem for motorcycles with a fuel injection system.
Both the carbureted and the fuel injection systems have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the carburetor is cheap and easy to fix, while the fuel injection system is expensive and offers more reliable and consistent combustion. Although the injection system is more expensive, it is the better option to use in your vehicle or motorcycle.
Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.