Does Fuel Injection Increase Horsepower?

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  • Post last modified:June 6, 2021

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Discussion about horsepower is common in the world of car enthusiasts, especially when talking about fast cars. However, when the discussion moves into the topic of whether or not fuel injection increases horsepower, we’ve got you covered. We have done some research on fuel injection versus carburetor and found an answer. 

The technical answer is yes; fuel injectors can add 10 extra horsepower at peak. However, for some car owners, that minimal difference does not offset the increased cost and complexity of switching to fuel injectors or upgrading the existing stock fuel injectors. 

Fuel injectors are standard in newer vehicles because they decrease emissions and increase engine performance. However, there are times when fuel injectors are not the best choice, even for those who seek increased horsepower. Keep reading to find out more about fuel injectors and increased horsepower, including when carburetors are still favored.

A car mechanic fixing fuel injector at two camshaft gasoline engine, Does Fuel Injection Increase Horsepower?

Fuel Injector Vs. Carburetor 

Fuel injection has slowly replaced carburetors in newer vehicles, and for good reasons. Fuel injection introduces fuel to a vehicle’s engine through injectors and a fuel pump. In contrast, carburetors draw fuel directly from the fuel tank via an external or internal transfer pump and mix it with air to power the engine. 

Fuel injectors utilize technology to monitor a vehicle’s engine and the outside environment and continually make necessary adjustments to ensure the vehicle maintains the optimum driving performance.  Carburetors do not have this capability because they rely solely on airflow to determine fuel flow.  

What Is The Advantage Of Fuel Injection?

There are many advantages of fuel injection. First, fuel injection is precisely controlled, resulting in more efficient fuel usage, which yields less fuel consumption and fewer emissions. This is a win for the wallet and the environment. Also, fuel injection allows the fuel system to make necessary adjustments when it senses changes in air and fuel temperature and atmospheric pressure, giving the vehicle more power and better performance. 

What Is The Disadvantage Of Fuel Injection?

Fuel injectors are far more costly and complex than carburetors. Fuel injectors have electronics and sensors which are more expensive to build and require a trained expert for diagnostics and repair when something goes wrong. In comparison, carburetors are simple and can easily be rebuilt with a basic knowledge of mechanics. A few tools, parts, and a little time and you are back on the road.  

Conversion to fuel injection is not an option for some classic cars without costly modifications and customization, which adds even more expense to the fuel injection system. Even when it is an option, many classic car owners prefer to stick with the simplicity of the stock carburetor because they can be tuned to certain requirements and serviced without disturbing the rest of the engine. 

Horsepower and event racing are almost synonymous. As a result, car owners and drivers always look for ways to add horsepower and gain the advantage to get to the finish line first. However, some racing sanctions do not allow fuel injection, so carburetors will continue to rein for now.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Increase Horsepower?

There are some inexpensive methods to gain more horsepower. However, be aware that some modifications can void your vehicle’s warranty. So do your research and proceed with caution.  

Air intake Upgrade

Adding a cold-air intake can increase horsepower. Think of the engine as an air pump.  The more air, the more power.  This simple upgrade adds a noticeable boost for a couple of reasons. First, cold air intakes are usually less restrictive in design than stock intakes, allowing more open airflow. Second, the cooler air from outside the engine compartment is denser, which triggers increased fuel and added horsepower.  

Exhaust Upgrade

If you modify the intake, it makes sense that you should also modify the exhaust to handle and push out the increased inflow of air. Consider adding a performance exhaust or high-flow catalytic converter. Either one will add a larger air-flow opening, allowing airflow through the exhaust system, increasing horsepower. 

Performance Chips

Performance chips are designed to override and modify the factory settings on the fuel and timing maps, increasing engine performance.  They are simple to install because they plug directly into the diagnostic port of the vehicle. While they increase horsepower, the tradeoff might be decreased fuel mileage.

Check out this top-rated performance chip on Amazon.

Boost Controller

A boost controller allows you to control and modify the boost rather than being locked into the factory setting. However, there is a danger in adding too much boost and damaging your engine. Therefore, it is recommended to add a gauge to monitor the added boost and never increase boost over 15% to 20% over factory setting. Also, this is an area where research and professional consultation are recommended. 

Check out this boost controller kit on Amazon.

Synthetic Oil

Increased horsepower means increased heat, so your oil needs to be up to the job. But, unfortunately, increased engine wear occurs, and that is something you do not want. Synthetic oil and synthetic lubricants better protect against the high heat and friction caused by increased horsepower.  

Does Changing The Fuel Injectors Improve Performance?

When you purchase a standard vehicle, it will come with stock fuel injectors and a stock engine that provide adequate performance for the average driver. For some, the stock option is not quite enough, so you find the installation of turbo or superchargers on those engines.

Since stock injectors only flow at roughly 80% of potential capacity, there is the capacity for improved performance. You can gain full capacity by installing performance injectors. You must match the performance injectors to your specific engine, fuel type, and amount of NOS you plan to use. 

In turn, you will also need to evaluate the rest of your fuel system and determine what additional upgrades are needed to handle the increased fuel flow. It is recommended to reprogram your ECU and add a performance fuel pump, an adjustable fuel pressure regulator, and fuel treatment. If you do not upgrade the entire fuel system accordingly, you will hinder and possibly even decrease performance. 

Do Headers Increase Horsepower?

Headers replace the exhaust manifold on your exhaust system and can give you an increase of 10 to 12 horsepower. Header construction allows an increase in exhaust flow out of the engine, whereas the exhaust manifold design is intended to maximize space in the engine compartment.

However, headers alone will not increase exhaust flow. The rest of the exhaust system must also undergo an upgrade to accommodate increased exhaust output all the way throughout the exhaust system. This requires adding larger diameter exhaust pipes and a free flow muffler. Otherwise, the increased airflow still clogs within the exhaust system defeating the effects of the headers.

In closing

Fuel injection is standard stock on today’s vehicles, replacing the carburetor. Even though fuel injection is costly and complex with all its technology, it increases fuel efficiency and increases horsepower. At the same time, fuel injection limits emissions which is an advantage for drivers and the planet. 

If you are looking to purchase a truck and horsepower is a concern, read Which Pickup Truck Has The Most Horsepower and Torque for comparison information.

If you like horsepower, then you also might enjoy shifting gears.  If so, also check out What Trucks Come With a Manual Transmission.

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