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Does my Kia need a yearly fuel-induction service?

My Kia dealership insists my car needs a fuel-induction service once a year. Friends tell me it is not necessary, that it's a waste of money and simply a profit generator for the dealership. True? – Will, Oshawa

You haven't indicated the year and model of your vehicle, but since the dealer is recommending an induction service and not an injection service, I will assume your Kia is a newer model featuring direct injection.

Manufacturers have to adhere to ever-tightening fuel-economy regulations. Direct injection delivers desired fuel-economy numbers with few shortcomings. However, there is one notable weakness.

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The previous generation's fuel injector sprays fuel upstream into the intake manifold. As that fuel passes by the intake valve en route to the combustion chamber, it gives that intake valve an unintended cleaning. Alternatively, direct-injection deposits fuel precisely into the combustion chamber. Without the fuel passing by the intake valve washing it, contaminants will harden, turning into carbon. As carbon builds on the intake valve, air flow into the engine is hindered and fuel economy takes a hit.

Direct-injection engines will definitely benefit from a properly performed induction service. My reservation is only with their recommended interval. Depending on your yearly kilometres and driving style, you may be able to lengthen that interval. A noticeable drop in fuel economy will be an obvious indicator it is time for this service.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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