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The Symptoms and Causes of Engine Misfire

Engine misfire is a frustrating problem because in most cases it sounds worse than it is and gives you the feeling of an expensive repair. The symptoms could be different depending on the make and model but each of them produces the same aftereffect – a brief delay in power delivery. The problem could be temporary or repeating but it won’t lead to an expensive fix if you take timely action.

Engine Misfire: The Most Common Causes

What cause engine misfire? An engine depends on three things to fire the cylinder – an adequate amount of fuel, oxygen to burn the fuel, and a spark for ignition. The inadequacy or absence of any of these elements will cause an engine misfire.

Some other possible reasons could be vacuum leaks, incorrect ignition timing, and worn out valve spring.
Let’s discuss some engine misfire symptoms and their causes:

1. The Ignition System

Ignition parts including spark plugs, ignition wires, and coil packs wear or corrode over time. They have a specific lifespan and have to be replaced after that time. When any or a couple of these parts start to wear out, there will be a point when the spark plugs don’t get enough electricity to create sparks.

what cause engine misfire
Worn out spark plugs could be the culprit.

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It will start as brief intermittent misfires and become worse over time. However, most of the items in the ignition system are inexpensive and easy to fix.

2. Check the Fuel System Components

If the issue is not with the ignition system, the parts in the fuel system are what you should check next. These components also wear out although at a slower rate. Examine for a clogged fuel filter, dirty fuel injectors, and failing mass airflow sensor or fuel pump. The EGR valve could also stick for not cleaning it for a long time. If that is the case, it will allow the exhaust wastage to go into the intake manifold and create an engine misfire. Most of the issues can be solved by cleaning or replacing the problematic part.

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3. Damaged Cylinder Walls

A misfiring engine creates popping or sneezing sounds. Sometimes, there is a distinct smell too, which is a mix of gasoline, coolant, and steam. Such a strong odor is a warning sign indicating damaged cylinder walls. You should take the car to a mechanic to inspect the engine as soon as possible.

engine misfire symptoms
Take the car to a mechanic if the problem persists.

Is It Safe to Drive When an Engine Misfires?

Driving with an engine misfire is unlikely to be dangerous. But, it could become worse over time. Ignoring the problem for too long can damage the engine parts such as the catalytic converter and oxygen sensor. Also, think of the safety concern when the car loses power and stops in the middle of a busy road. A misfiring engine also increases emissions and decreases fuel efficiency.

The measure is to take the car to a servicing center as soon as possible. It will extend the engine’s lifespan and ensure your safety while driving.

4 Comments
  1. Barry gud2knw says

    My 1NZ engine is giving me hell serious vibration when reversing and sometimes goes off iam seeking for help

  2. CHIKO BBALANDAU says

    I changed the spark plug still the engine is shaking and misfire

    1. Marysol says

      i had a same problem with my old car 2002 toyota echo, could be a catalyst and must be replaced the oxygen sensor 2 (downstream) a new catalyst converter, {replace a new manifold gasket as well) rys

  3. Jimmie McAdams says

    I do agree that mechanical abnormalities which cause engine misfire should not be ignored. The reason behind the appearance of such sign needs to be identified and repaired in time to keep to prevent any major mechanical breakdown. The engine is the most important as well as an expensive component of the vehicle which needs special attention to run smoothly without any major mechanical abnormalities. So, warning signs which indicate that the engine has some sort of abnormalities should not be ignored.

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