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Cylinder Misfire Causes: Can It Be Fixed?

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The cylinder is an engine component where combustion happens, and this is what powers the car. An engine usually has 2, 6, or up to 12 cylinders, depending on the type of the car. When a cylinder misfires, it can lead to a proportional loss of power. If a car has a 4-cylinder engine and one of the cylinders misfires, it means that the car will only be getting 75 percent of its power. Your car loses 25 percent of power because of that one misfiring cylinder. You might ask, what causes cylinder misfires? Cylinder misfire causes include:

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  • Problems in the ignition system.
  • Problems with the emission equipment.
  • Issues with the fuel and air delivery.
  • Problems in the sensors and modules.
  • Engine mechanical issues.


If you experience cylinder misfires, you may notice that your engine loses rpms or stumbles for a moment, but then regains its normal engine speed after. It usually shows up again and again, either under certain operating conditions or randomly. It is for this reason why it is important to know the cylinder misfire causes, so you will be able to prevent the problem from occurring or fix it when it happens. In this article, we will discuss all this and more!


Cylinder Misfire Causes: Can a Misfire Ruin an Engine?



Misfires can happen when one or more of your cylinders do not produce power or are not firing as they’re supposed to. There are many cylinder misfire causes and we’ll go through each of them later, but you might wonder, can a misfire ruin an engine? Is it safe to drive with a cylinder misfiring?


As mentioned earlier, when one of your cylinder misfires, it can result in a proportional power loss. Cars usually have a four cylinder engine and if one is misfiring, you will lose 25 percent of its power. When this happens, your car may feel slightly sluggish and off-balance, but you can still drive it, maybe just enough to get you home safely.


However, if you think that the road conditions are too challenging or dangerous, you should not consider driving your car in this condition. You should pull over somewhere safe and call for help or wait until you think it’s safe to drive again.


The moment you get home, you should assess your car’s condition and determine the problem. It is important to have your car checked and repaired immediately since the car’s engine is not really made to run using only the power produced by the remaining working cylinders. If you do drive it with its condition, your engine will most likely suffer long-term damages. If this happens, you will have to deal with very expensive repair bills that might lead you to ask, should I replace the engine or buy a new car?



Cylinder Misfire Causes: What are the Signs of a Misfire?



Knowing the cylinder misfire causes can help car owners prevent misfires from occurring and can give them an idea on how to correct the problem. But how will you know if you are experiencing a cylinder misfire? You will know if your car is misfiring when you notice any of these symptoms:


  • Loss of power.


Loss of power can be one of the obvious signs of a cylinder misfire. If your cylinder is misfiring, you will lose power as well as notice unusual car vibrations while idling. You may also notice that your car is consuming more fuel than usual. This is because when one or more of your cylinders stops working properly, the remaining cylinders will have to work harder and compensate for the loss of power by consuming more fuel. If you notice this problem, aside from finding out the cylinder causes, you also need to have it checked and repaired immediately to prevent any further damage.


  • Slow acceleration.


Cylinder misfires can result in O2 sensors receiving wrong information that can alter the air and fuel mixture, making it too rich or too lean. If the air and fuel mixture becomes too lean or rich, it can lead to slow or sluggish acceleration and sometimes, it can even put your car into limp mode. When this happens, your car won’t be able to rev over 3,500 rpms, and will turn off the boost pressure from the turbocharger, if your car is equipped with one.


So if you notice that your car suddenly can’t seem to reach some speeds, it can be an indication of misfire. Misfires usually happen when your car is under load or when it is continuously accelerating. You may also feel a sluggish or slow response when you try to engage acceleration, or you feel a jerking motion when you step on your gas pedal. If you notice this problem, you need to pull over since it can compromise your safety.


  • Engine sounds different.


If you have been driving your car for awhile now, you probably have an idea what your engine sounds like. If you notice that your engine sounds different than usual, it can be an indication of a cylinder misfire.


  • Illuminating check engine light.


Modern cars are equipped with various sensors that are capable of monitoring the car’s performance. If one sensor has detected that there is something wrong somewhere in the engine, it will send data to the engine control unit, which will then set off the check engine light to illuminate to alert the driver that there is a problem. It will also store a trouble code. If you notice this problem, make sure that you have it checked immediately. You can also check the stored trouble codes using a diagnostic tool.



Cylinder Misfire Causes: What Causes a Cylinder to Misfire in a Car?



A cylinder misfire is a common problem. It usually happens on cars, regardless of their make or model. Although it can be a hassle and can be alarming, if you know the cylinder misfire causes, you can easily pinpoint the problem and correct it. Fixing cylinder misfires is usually pretty easy and inexpensive. You can either have it fixed by a professional or fix the cylinder misfire yourself.


What causes a cylinder to misfire in a car? The cylinder misfire causes include:


  • Problems in the ignition system.


One of the cylinder misfire causes is when there are some issues in your car’s ignition system. Parts of the ignition system that might cause cylinder misfires are the crankshaft position sensor, control module, coil packs, spark plugs, and the wirings.


If your spark plugs are old or dirty, they can be one of the cylinder misfire causes. This is because over time, carbon and other debris can build up on your spark plugs. When the air and fuel mixture is too rich, or the mixture has more fuel than usual, the spark plug won’t be able to burn all the fuel, and this causes hydrocarbons.


These hydrocarbons usually build up on the spark plug’s firing end. When this happens, the spark plug won’t be able to produce the needed spark. This means that the fuel won’t be ignited and the power stroke will not occur, which is a misfire. If this is what causes the cylinder misfire, the problem can be corrected by replacing your spark plug.


If the problem is caused by the spark plugs not creating spark, which is one of the cylinder misfire causes, you should also check what is causing it. There are instances when the problem is caused by a faulty ignition coil, which is responsible for sending electrical charges to the spark plugs.


  • Problems with the emission equipment.


Newer cars are equipped with various emissions equipment that are used to reduce the amount of harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere, such as the exhaust gas recirculation or EGR system and the positive crankcase ventilation or PCV system. When these emissions equipment become faulty, it can lead to an altered air and fuel mixture that can cause a cylinder misfire.


  • Issues with the fuel and air delivery.


The air and fuel get mixed together inside your car’s engine. After that, the mixture will be ignited by the spark plug, which paves for the explosion needed to set the engine in motion. This produces the rotational force required to move your car down the road. If there is any problem that can throw off this air and fuel mixture, it will most likely lead to a cylinder misfire.


If this is the problem, one of the cylinder misfire causes is a faulty fuel injector. If your fuel injector won’t do what it’s supposed to, the fuel won’t reach into the combustion chamber. When this happens, the spark plug may start a spark, but it won’t be able to ignite air alone, there is no fuel so it can’t really do anything. To check whether your fuel injector is faulty or not, you can check its performance by using a multimeter. If it is faulty, you need to have it replaced immediately to correct the problem.


Another cylinder misfire causes are the faulty intake valves or one of them, valve seals, or camshaft that cause them to not open. When this happens, air can no longer get into the combustion chamber and the same problem can happen, but this time, instead of fuel, there will be no air to ignite it with. You can have it checked by a mechanic or check the valves yourself. Whatever caused your cylinder to misfire, you should have it repaired as soon as possible.


  • Problems in the sensors and modules.


Modern cars have various sensors and they are being used by the car’s onboard computer or the engine control module, to manage or have a control of important functions. This includes the spark timing and the fuel delivery. That is why one of the cylinder misfire causes is issues in the sensors and modules.


There are instances when the engine control unit or ECU, that manages the engine, glitches. When this happens, even if it is just a minor glitch, it can throw off the combustion process which can lead to a cylinder misfire. One of the ways to fix this problem is pretty easy and straightforward. All you have to do is disconnect your car battery for a couple of minutes and then connect it again. Doing this remedy works like rebooting your computer at home. It can fix any minor glitch in your computer system.


  • Engine mechanical issues.


Since the car is built with a lot of mechanical parts, when any of these parts become faulty, they can affect the operation of the engine. These parts include the piston rings, valves, cylinder walls, and camshaft lobes. When any of these components become faulty or worn, it can easily become one of the cylinder misfire causes. The same problem can occur when you have an intake manifold gasket leak or a head gasket leak, damaged rocker arms, or a slipped timing belt.


Issues with the cylinder compression can cause cylinder misfires since the pressure of the air and fuel mixture will be leaked out, instead of exclusively driving the piston down. You can check or test the ability of your cylinder to hold pressure by using some kits from car hardware shops. If your cylinder is not holding pressure, it means that there is an internal structure breakdown. It can be caused by some issues with the piston, piston ring, or head gasket.


The problem can also be caused by a crack or hole in your cylinder walls. If this is the case, then the problem is more severe. You will likely have to rebuild your engine just to diagnose and fix it. This can cost thousands of dollars. When this happens, you need to assess your car if it is worth repairing. If not, you can sell your damaged car to cash-for-cars companies like Cash Cars Buyer.



If you know the cylinder misfire causes, you will most likely know how to fix it. Most of the cylinder misfire causes can be fixed easily, but there are also some instances where the repair involves rebuilding the engine. If this happens, you should be able to determine whether it is still worth it to repair your car or just sell it instead.

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