What is An Engine Misfire?

Engine misfires are on the list of annoying vehicle issues accompanied by horribly loud sounds. Whether it's been your own car or someone driving around town, the loud pop that a misfire makes is unmistakable. After the sound comes to the smell of hot gas and oil, cementing the notion that something is very wrong.

What that something is can be tricky.

Misfires happen when there's a failed combustion within the engine. Your pistons work with the fuel and ignition systems of your vehicle to create small controlled explosions inside each cylinder. This creates power and force to drive the piston back up and keep repeating over and over for consistent engine power.

When any of those cooperating systems fail, you get a misfire. It could be a bad coil, ignition wire, or spark plug which means the explosion isn't being triggered properly. Another option would be that the air/fuel mixture created doesn't have the correct ratio needed for the right level of combustion.

Getting things right should be your priority.

Driving with misfires is dangerous for you, your vehicle, and other drivers on the road. Each misfire causes more and more damage to your engine's internal and external systems. Irregular pressure caused by misfires can damage fuel lines and seals, while improper fuel mixtures can burn too hot and damage the pistons themselves.

Now focusing on impacts for you and other drivers we start to worry about repercussions including poor fuel economy and loss of power. If you drive a four-cylinder vehicle and one piston is misfiring, you've effectively lost 25% of the power your engine can produce. Ignoring it can get to the point where accelerating is too difficult to safely get on the highway, something you may not want to do as misfires can also cause black smoke reducing visibility.

With so many factors coming into play, it can difficult to self-diagnose where the problem lies. Even error code readers have trouble, often just telling you which cylinder is misfiring.

If you're experiencing misfires or need any other engine repair, we encourage you to stop by our auto repair shop for an expert analysis and recommendation!