3 Big Problems With Direct Injection Engines (Gasoline) | Engineering Explained

If you haven't made the switch to full battery electric vehicles yet, then there's a good chance that you're driving around in a car that is powered by a direct injection engine. If that's the case, then this video might be helpful. It's a good video on problems associated with direct injection engines and how to avoid them.

Here are my takeaways:

Timing chain wear is a problem with direct injection engines. This is caused by soot that is formed due to the direct injection setup. When soot gets into the oil, there is the possibility that it can get into the tiny clearances on your engine's timing chain. That will cause wear. One way to mitigate this problem is to make sure the engine oil you are using has the API-SP and ILSAC GF-6 certifications.

Repeated short trips, less than 15 minutes or so, can lead to fuel dilution issues in direct injection engines. To avoid these issues, you want the engine to get up to operating temp (180F) during your drives. This means that if most of your drives are short trips, you need to incorporate a longer drive (30 minutes or more). The longer drives help vaporize the fuel that has mixed into your engine oil.

LSPI (Low-speed pre-ignition) is prevalent on small engines that run high boost. It's because running high boost on a small engine, will naturally lead to increased cylinder pressure, which can make LSPI more prevalent. Similar to the timing chain wear problem, one way to mitigate this problem is to make sure the engine oil you are using has the API-SP and ILSAC GF-6 certifications.

^ It might sound like this recommendation doesn't make sense, but you need to watch the video to get the full context. It has to do with studies done on oils that have the API-SP and ILSAC GF-6 certifications. They were found to be better able to resist LSPI.

Side-note: From what I recall during my days of hanging out on car forums, LSPI was prevalent on the 1st-gen Mazdaspeed3 and some early Hyundai turbocharged engines. For the 2nd-gen Mazdaspeed3, Mazda used a different piston design to mitigate LSPI. I don't know what Hyundai did to address the issue. So I guess this is more of a heads up to people driving older cars with turbocharged direct injection engines.

Another side-note: One thing we were sternly warned about as new Mazdapseed3 owners back then, was to never get into WOT or boost below 3000 RPM. This was to avoid blowing up the engine due to LSPI. I've kept this practice to this day and so far have not blown up my engine yet. Knock on wood. I have over 128K miles now on my Speed3.

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