How Serious Is a Cylinder Misfire, Really?

March 3rd, 2022 by

A cylinder misfire in your vehicle is a serious issue that could lead to significant damage to your engine. If you suspect you have a misfiring cylinder, it’s important to get it inspected and taken care of quickly. If you don’t, you could find yourself paying a lot of money to replace your engine, in a car accident or stranded on the side of the road. Below, we’ll discuss the role of a cylinder within your vehicle, what causes cylinders to misfire, how to tell if you’re dealing with a cylinder misfire, and what you should do about it.

What Does the Cylinder Do?

The cylinder is an important part of a vehicle’s engine. It’s within the cylinder that combustion takes place, which is what ultimately powers the vehicle. Depending on your type of vehicle, your engine can have anywhere between two and 12 cylinders inside the engine. When a cylinder misfires, you may experience a proportional loss of power. For example, if one of your four cylinders misfires, you’ll experience a 25 percent loss of power.

What Causes a Cylinder Misfire?

A cylinder misfire, also known as an engine misfire, can happen for a few reasons. Essentially, a cylinder misfire is when a cylinder stops producing power. In older vehicles, a common cause for engine misfires is the spark plug, which is built to last for around 12,000 miles. Newer cars have better engine controls and higher quality spark plugs, but it’s still possible for a faulty one to cause the issue.

Another potential cause is the fuel injector. If there is a clog within the fuel injector from dirt or carbon, it has a hard time delivering fuel to the engine. Without fuel, there’s only air inside the combustion chamber, which leads to a misfire.

Some other potential causes include:

  • Faulty emissions system
  • Vacuum leaks
  • Failed ignition coil
  • Leaking seal or gasket
  • Faulty catalytic converter

Since there are so many possible causes for a cylinder misfire, it’s important to determine the most likely reason before you make repairs.

How Can I Tell If My Engine is Misfiring?

The best way to tell if you’re experiencing an engine misfire is by paying attention as you drive. A misfire feels like your engine suddenly loses power. You might experience a hesitation when you try to accelerate the vehicle. If it feels like your vehicle is accelerating slower than usual or if it feels rough, the cause could be an engine misfire.

You’ll also likely notice excessive vibrations when your engine misfires. Misfires happen infrequently, meaning your car will drive fine most of the time. But if you occasionally notice that your engine power drops, resulting in heavy vibrations or a jerking motion within the vehicle, the likely cause is a cylinder misfire.

Finally, engine misfires also cause a unique sound. You’ll hear it coming from the engine or the exhaust, rather than from inside the vehicle. It sounds like a loud popping or banging sound which stops after the misfire. Generally speaking, if it sounds like your vehicle is struggling, you could be dealing with an engine misfire problem, even if you don’t hear the loud popping.

How To Fix a Misfiring Cylinder

There are several ways to go about fixing a cylinder misfire, as it depends on what’s causing the issue. A common place to start is by reading any error codes from the engine. Most modern vehicles have an internal computer system that records error codes when a misfire occurs that can point you in the direction of the problem.

If the engine codes don’t help, mechanics typically begin by inspecting the spark plugs to see if there is damage. Signs of damage include black marks on the spark plug or if it’s wet. If it appears damaged, or if the spark plug is simply old, replacing it may solve the issue.

The next step mechanics typically take is to perform a compression test. This checks to see if your air, fuel, and spark systems are all in order. They do this by inserting a compression gauge into one of the spark plug slots and turning on the vehicle. The mechanic then uses the result of the test to determine if the issue is related to compression. If so, the mechanic may perform a repair, such as replacing the head gasket. Replacing the head gasket is a big job and is typically best left to expert technicians at a local car service station.

Finally, if there are no compression issues, the cause could be the coil pack. Using a multimeter, mechanics can test the coil pack to determine if the coil is still working properly. They compare the resistance they see on the multimeter to the standard resistance for that type of vehicle to see if they need to replace the coil pack.

Contact Ike Honda Today for More Information

If left untreated, a cylinder misfire can lead to significant engine damage. Worse, if you experience a bad misfire while driving, it could result in an accident. This is why it’s important to treat engine misfires as soon as you detect them.

Once you think you’re dealing with a cylinder misfire problem, contact Ike Honda if you’re in the Marion, Illinois area. Our service station can inspect your vehicle for you and determine exactly what’s going on. Then, once we know what type of issue you’re dealing with, we can begin to implement a solution to fix it.

Our team will keep you informed so you know exactly what we’re doing with your vehicle and what the cost will be. Here at Ike Honda, our goal is to help you get back on the road quickly. To schedule a visit to our service center, or to ask us questions about cylinder misfires, contact us today. Also, be sure to check out our latest service specials for more ways to save on your next maintenance job. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule a time for you to visit our service center.