In the know: Carburetors vs. fuel injectors

Kia Forte

A carburetor and a fuel injector are two components that feed fuel to the engine. The former can be found on older vehicle models while the latter, being a more modern system, can be found on most contemporary cars and motorcycles.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What are the advantages of a carburetor?

    Carburetors are simple and affordable.
  • What are the advantages of fuel injectors?

    Fuel injectors are more reliable and efficient.
  • Today, we look at some of the differences between carburetors and fuel injectors to find out just exactly what these parts mean for you and your ride.

    Carburetors

    keihin-carb-2

    Carburetors are devices that mix air and fuel, then feed the said mixture to the engine. A carburetor is responsible for providing the power plant with a mixture that has an appropriate air-to-fuel ratio necessary for combustion.

    Since carburetors are older than fuel injectors, they use a more simple system. This means that mechanics can easily tweak the carburetors to adjust the ratio of air and fuel based on the needs of their clients, say when one wants to prioritize power or fuel efficiency.

    Overall, these components are more straightforward, easy to troubleshoot, repair, and ultimately, maintain.

    They do, however, have their drawbacks. Carburetors have mechanical parts that need to be adjusted manually by a mechanic. Over time, these mechanical parts can get loose causing the fuel delivery of a carb-type car or motorcycle to become inconsistent. Plus, many motorists say that carb-type vehicles do vibrate harder than fuel-injected ones.

    Fuel injectors

    keihin-fi

    Fuel injectors, unlike carburetors, rely on a computerized engine control unit (ECU) to calculate the ideal air-to-fuel ratio of the mixture that is fed into the engine. The said ratio is determined based on the data collected by the ECU using several sensors. That said, a fuel injector can determine the best mixture based on various driving and riding conditions, allowing the computer to make certain changes on the fly.

    Compared to carburetors that require manual adjustment, a fuel injector does a better job of managing the fuel fed into the engine. As a result, fuel-injected vehicles give better mileage as well as produce more power than their carb-type counterparts.

    However, fuel injectors are not as easy on one’s wallet. Repairs and maintenance could be expensive.

    Verdict

    There’s a reason why many car companies and motorcycle manufacturers favor fuel-injected vehicles over carburetor-fed ones. The automotive industry is slowly shifting to a sustainable and more eco-friendly path. Fuel-injected cars and motorbikes are simply more efficient than their carburetor counterparts making them the choice of most car and motorcycle buyers.

    However, this does not mean that carburetors have lost their place in the motoring industry. Many owners would still choose their carb-equipped vehicles and motorbikes because of their simplicity and affordability.

    That said, fuel-injected vehicles are perfect for those in the market for a reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle. On the other hand, those who are looking for a decent and affordable option can simply choose carb-type vehicles.

    Photos from Keihin and Ruben Manahan

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