Repairing a misfiring engine can be simple or complicated, depending on the reason it is misfiring. The most common causes of engine misfires are: worn spark plugs, weak fuel injector, vacuum leak, worn valve seals, carbon tracking, and no voltage at the coil. Misfiring engines should be looked at as soon as possible, as the problem can worsen over time and damage internal components of the vehicle. There are a number of reasons why a misfiring engine may be unsafe for driving.
Here are some signs and symptoms to pay attention to if you're concerned about a misfiring engine:
While driving, you may be able to hear one or more misfiring cylinders in your engine. A popping and sneezing sound is one of the common sounds of a misfiring cylinder. Furthermore, backfiring is another sound of a misfiring engine. If you experience any of these sounds, have a mechanic inspect the engine as soon as possible.
Along with making a loud noise, a misfiring engine also has a particular smell. The strongest smell you will notice is gas, but it will be accompanied by the smell of coolant, steam, or engine oil. These are signs that you have a serious problem such as damaged cylinder walls, which can cause a misfiring engine.
A loss of power is another sign of a misfiring engine. The loss of power is experienced by vibration in the vehicle, which can cause damage. The internal parts of the engine rotate unevenly, causing increased wear on them. If you notice vibration in the vehicle that varies with the RPM of the engine, this may be a sign your you have a misfiring engine.
A misfiring engine can also produce clouds of black exhaust. If you notice the exhaust of your vehicle has changed in appearance or it has a blue tinge, you need to get your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. This means there is an internal problem in your engine that needs to be fixed.
Driving with a misfiring engine may not be dangerous right away, but over time it will wear on your engine and you can potentially damage the vehicle. If you lose power while driving on a busy road, this is a safety hazard. If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of a misfiring engine, get them checked out by a professional as soon as possible. This will prolong the vehicle of your life and keep you safe while driving.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Misfiring Engine? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.