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Car Sputters While Driving – How Do I Fix My Car From Sputtering?

Car Sputters While Driving

Your car sputters while driving. How aggravating! There are reasons and remedies that we will offer, to help you gain some insight into this common but frustrating issue. Let’s examine some reasons why your car sputters while driving. 

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Causes For A Car Sputtering 

OK, so since you have a car that sputters while you drive, what are the reasons for such? Check out some causes below: 

Bad or Faulty Spark Plugs 

Your car’s spark plugs are important or vital in providing the necessary ignition for the fuel/air combination. But spark plugs do wear out and can no longer function as they should. In this instance, you will experience fuel that is not burning- which in turn causes engine sputtering and misfiring. When you visit your mechanic, ask him or her to check those spark plugs, as you may have to get them replaced.  Faulty or bad spark plugs will cause misfires- that can lead to engine sputtering.


A Leak in the Vacuum 

Vehicles have a set of vacuum hoses that can deteriorate and develop leakage. Due to these leaks, sputtering can happen. This is due to the fuel/air combination becoming too lean or too rich. 


Fuel Injectors That Are Dirty 

The fuel injectors play the vital role of spewing fuel into the combustion chambers. Then the fuel is combined with air – which is further ignited by the spark plugs. For a fuel filter that is dirty, you will have minimal fuel entering into the combustion chambers. Because of this you will experience staggered and slow acceleration. You or your mechanic can clean your fuel injectors with the hopes that the issue will be resolved. 


Mass Airflow Sensor That Is Dirty 

Your vehicle’s combustion chamber requires the correct amount of air and fuel. Engines in modern vehicles are equipped with an onboard computer system that monitors and evaluates the flow of these vehicle components. The mass airflow sensors safeguard the components, and ensure that the right amount of air is provided to the combustion chambers. Once the sensors are saturated with debris and dirt particles, they are no longer able to relay the correct information to the ECU. This causes less air to enter into the combustion chambers. Your mechanic can clean your mass air flow sensor, should it become dirty. 


Catalytic Converter That’s Faulty 

Your vehicle’s catalytic converter plays a very important role in removing toxic gases from your vehicle’s exhaust. With a faulty catalytic converter, some of these toxic gases will find their way into the tailpipe. Sulfur- one of the most toxic gases to humans – has to be broken down; it poses a real threat to our environment and our Earth. 

Additionally, with a faulty catalytic converter you may notice that smell of “rotten eggs”. If you ignore your faulty catalytic converter it will eventually break and stop working. 


Oxygen Sensors That Are Dirty 

Most vehicles on our roads are outfitted with onboard computer systems that monitor and evaluate the components of the engines.  Oxygen sensors are connected to these computer systems. The oxygen sensors have the job of regulating fuel into the combustion chambers. A defective oxygen sensor will produce a lean and rich mixture. Over time, oxygen sensors can become contaminated with debris and dirt. This will prevent them from relaying the most accurate and correct data to the onboard computer systems. These dirty oxygen sensors will release too much or too little fuel. You may want to get with your mechanic and ask him or her to replace the oxygen sensors from time to time. 


Gaskets and Seals That Are Worn 

The gaskets and seals help to keep oil and gases from finding their way into your vehicle’s combustion chambers. When these experience failure, you will begin experiencing a sputtering engine. For a seal that has further damage, you will experience complete destruction of your vehicle’s exhaust manifold. Your mechanic or auto professional will replace the gaskets and seals if tears and leaks are present. 


A Leak in the Exhaust System 

Your vehicle’s internal combustion engine works within the ignition of air and fuel mixture. Exhaust gases are created and produced as gases that are byproducts. These gases will flow through the manifold and eventually make their way into the air and atmosphere. The catalytic converter is essential for the removal of harmful compounds from the exhaust – carbon monoxide and hydrogen monoxide- are examples of these gases. The harmful gases are then are then transformed into less harmful immobile gases. With a leak in the exhaust system, then these toxic and harmful gases will begin to escape, before they reach the vehicle’s tailpipe.  While sputtering sounds can be heard, your circumstance can worsen. Those exhaust gases are quite hot and now have the capacity to melt some of the car’s machineries.


How Do I Fix My Car From Sputtering?

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As you can see, a sputtering car engine can be due to a number of faulty components. While the problem can stem from an array of issues, it’s important to have a certified mechanic look at the issues. If you are looking to fix your car sputtering issue yourself, check out our steps below to see if you are able to successfully to a DIY fix. 

Inspection Of Your Secondary Ignition System 

First, you want to take the time to evaluate your secondary ignition system. You want to make sure that you check for damaged or burned insulation on your vehicle’s spark plug wires. Take each wire, and look it over for fractured wire conductors.  Your faulty spark plug wire will prevent a sound and strong spark from reaching the vehicle’s cylinder. Remove your spark plugs and look at them. Check for faulty, worn  and foul plugs or electrodes. You want to locate your distributor cap and rotor. Both need to be free of carbon deposits and fractures.


Check The Ignition Coil

An additional step in reducing engine sputtering is to check the resistance of the ignition coil with your ohmmeter. You may need to replace that coil if it is burnt out. 

Look at Your Fuel Injectors 

Look at the condition of your vehicle’s fuel injectors. With your mechanic stethoscope, start your engine. Next, take a listen to each fuel injector as the engine idles. Notice the clicking sound you hear, as each fuel injector closes and opens. If you don’t hear the clicking, then you may have a faulty injector. It’s time to go to a mechanic for service. 

Check spray pattern 

Next, you want to check your engine as well as your fuel spray pattern located on the throttle body injector. Take off the air intake assembly and look at the spray. That spray should be an even spray and even have a pattern that is a partially atomized V-pattern. If that spray pattern isn’t even or lopsided, then you have a faulty injector.

Inspect your Vacuum Hoses 

Next, you want to inspect your vacuum hoses and their present condition. Be sure that you check for torn, collapsed, damaged or even loose hoses. A vacuum leak affects engine performance. Replace vacuum hoses as necessary.

Replacement of air and fuel filters is necessary too! 

Next you want to check your air and fuel filters and replace any that are broken or fractured. Blocked or dirty air or fuel filters will hinder engine operation. 


What Does It Mean When Your Car Sputters And Dies?

Perhaps your engine isn’t receiving enough fuel. Your engine may start up normally then die off once you give your car some gas. Take the time to check the fuel pressure once you start your engine. Then, make sure that you monitor the pressure as you give your vehicle some gas. If the pressure drops, then you may have a faulty fuel pump, or the fuel pressure regulator failing to work.  So, see if the fuel pump is not only working, but staying on too. Then, check to see if the fuel pressure relay is getting hot. If it isn’t getting hot, then it will shut off. If you have a working and active fuel pump, then look at your fuel pressure regulator and check if it’s getting power.  If your fuel pressure regulator isn’t getting suitable power, then you need to look at the wiring with the engine key off. Look at the OHMS and see if there is some sort of fracture in the wiring. For a meter reading of “OL”, then you have a break in the wiring and it needs to be repaired.  Next, look at your fuse box for and check for any fuses that may be damaged and burned – that are preventing the fuel system from working. Your mechanic can assist and offer you assistance, during your DIY efforts to target the cause of your engine sputtering. 


Sick of Dealing With A Car that is Sputtering? 

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