My engine had misfired – a laymen understanding

Picture this: It’s just a normal Monday morning, over the weekend you had been driving your car about town as per usual. But, as you get in your car to head to work on the first day of the week, you start your engine and notice your engine lights are flashing. Then you realize that your engine isn’t sounding so good either. Almost like it’s coughing. Chances are, your engine had misfired. Here’s what you need to know:


The initial onset

Engine misfires can be a mysterious problem to face, especially if you didn’t even know what that problem is all about to begin with. The initial tell varies, some may describe it as your engine ‘coughing’, or stumbling, or perhaps even a lack of power delivery and pickup. Here are some possibilities that may have caused your engine to misfire.


The possibilities and what can you do

  • A spark plug issue

Generally speaking, ignitions parts such as the spark plug and coil are designed with maximum performance in mind. However, as these parts begin to wear and tear and corrode, the ignition misfires thus not producing any ‘spark’. Hence, a lack of maximised engine power. Fortunately, most of these items are affordable and easy to quickly replace. Just a couple hours in the workshop and your car is ready to go. And replacements don’t really occur that frequent too!

  • A fuel system issue

If your trusty mechanic says your ignition system is causing the misfire, then another possibility could be a fuel system issue. After the ignition system is checked out, move on to the fuel system. Parts here typically last longer but still wear out. Perhaps just a clean job to clean that fuel injectors or a replacement of the fuel filter. On the worse case scenarios, you could be facing failure problems with the fuel pump. This would be bad cause, obviously, your car needs efficient fuel delivery to function well on the road. This issue in particular can be cause by various reasons such as using dirty fuel or a bad fuel quality. Replacements do cost a tad bit of money but nothing’s more valuable than your safety in your car. Plus, you don’t even have to replace them ALL the time.

  • A mechanical issue

Here’s where engine misfires can be little more complicated – an absolutely frustrating – than what they normally are. Mechanical issues caused by damaged parts in the system can also cause an engine misfire.  The possibilities here are plentiful ranging from worn piston rings to cracked cylinder walls to slipped timing belts. When it’s a mechanical issue that may the cause of it, be sure your mechanic does a thorough diagnosis on the root of the problem before succumbing any part replacements. 


BUT, let it be known that it is important for you not to MacGyver your way out of this even though you’re now well equipped with these basic knowledge. When in doubt, head straight for your local car workshop and they’ll provide you with a thorough diagnosis and reasonable solutions.

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