Adaptive Learning / Fuel Trim
Fuel trim is a two-part adaptive strategy that adjusts fuel injector pulse width (open time) to adapt to wear, defects, or changes in the system. The two parts of a computer fuel trim adaptive strategy are short term fuel trim STFT (additive) and long term fuel trim LTFT (multiplicative).
The vehicle's operator controls air intake into the engine's cylinders through the accelerator pedal, and the PCM controls the amount of fuel required to meet these and other demands. It tries to maintain a long term air/fuel ratio of 14.7:1. If the long term ratio is not maintained at an acceptable range for STFT, it adds or subtracts fuel to the mixture to compensate. The injector on time is the result of sensor input and learned adaptive strategies implemented by the PCM. When LTFT exceeds 10%, the PCM is likely compensating for a faulty component, something beyond normal engine wear.
Different sensors used to calculate the fuel injector pulse width. The oxygen sensor's input is vital to calculate the injector pulse width. The PCM's fuel trim is based on feedback from the oxygen sensor. The PCM makes minor adjustments to the fuel ratio and checks the results with the O2 sensor's input. If the oxygen sensor were stuck frozen with an erroneous and constant output of 800Mv, the injector pulse width and air/fuel ratio would be affected.