How Can Problems with the Ignition System Cause Misfiring?

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Misfires are never good, and they're always a sign that there’s a problem with the engine that needs to be repaired. The problem won’t “go away on its own” and waiting too long can cause the situation to grow increasingly worse. Problems with the ignition system can definitely cause misfiring, and they can do so in a number of ways.

The ignition system is responsible for igniting fuel in the engine's combustion chamber. If the system isn’t working correctly, the engine will misfire on one or more cylinders. Generally, only one cylinder is affected, but this isn’t necessarily always the case. What’s more, you may have misfires and not even know it, as wear on the ignition system components is gradual and mild misfires can be undetectable (although your Check Engine Light may come on, seemingly for no reason).

There are several potential ways that your ignition system problems could translate to a misfire:

  • Worn Out Spark Plugs: If your plugs are worn out, then the electrodes have gotten too short to provide the right amount of spark. This is a gradual process, and is the reason that you need to replace the plugs on a regular basis. If the wear becomes extreme, it’s possible that one or more plugs won’t fire at all, causing a misfire in the engine.

  • Damaged Spark Plug: Spark plugs are exposed to high heat and electricity, as well as vibrations. This can cause damage. If the ceramic insulator around the base of the plug is cracked or broken, it can cause a misfire.

  • Damaged or Failing Spark Plug Wires: If your car has spark plug wires (not coil packs), then the wires may be the source of a misfire. If the insulating coating on the wire has been compromised, it’s possible that the bare wire is touching a metal component in the engine and shorting out. This will cause a misfire. Another potential problem is an internal break in the wire – the charge won’t reach the spark plug and a misfire will result.

  • Dirty Spark Plugs: If a spark plug is fouled with carbon or oil, it may not spark properly, causing a misfire. This isn’t really an ignition problem, though. You’ll need to determine the cause of the carbon or oil buildup and repair it.

Problems with your ignition system can easily cause misfiring, but there are many potential causes. If your engine is misfiring, it’s vital to have the problem diagnosed and repaired by an experienced mechanic.


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Number of Reviews

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Travis

12 years of experience
348 reviews
Travis
12 years of experience
Oldsmobile Alero - Engine is misfiring - Saint Paul, Minnesota
Travis allowed me to watch the trouble-shooting and resolve of my Alero. He was totally honest, forthright, and completed the repair within two hours. Travis was my second estimate and, comparatively speaking, wins the medal of honor! Thank you, Travis!
Ford E-350 Super Duty - Engine is misfiring Inspection - Saint Paul, Minnesota
Travis was a great diagnostician and also wise enough to know when not to do something he wasn't equipped for. I feel better talking to my regular mechanic now that I know what the problem is and how much I can expect it to cost. Will call Travis again when the need arises!

Duane

24 years of experience
389 reviews
Duane
24 years of experience
Cadillac SRX - Engine is misfiring - Poway, California
I thought my caddy was gonna be a big expensive problem for me. And then came DUANE. Not only was it a small problem but it was also not expensive. DUANE took care of the problem in his usual professional way. Words can't explain how happy i am.
Jaguar XF - Engine is misfiring - Fallbrook, California
Duane provided me with excellent service! He is clearly an experienced professional! His knowledge, experience, and pride in his work are clearly reflected in the quality of his work. He will be the only mechanic I request going forward. I am greatly satisfied with the service he provided me with and

Sean

16 years of experience
50 reviews
Sean
16 years of experience
Dodge Journey - Engine is misfiring - Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Great guy, very friendly and knowledgeable. Knew exactly what the problem was as soon as we popped the hood. I'll be using his services again, as well as recommending him to my friends!

Robert

39 years of experience
14 reviews
Robert
39 years of experience
Cadillac CTS - Engine is misfiring - Chandler, Arizona
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Robert saved my a ton of $$$. He came out to diagnose an engine misfire issue that I was having and showed up early for the appointment and ready to work. He was very thorough in his diagnostics and he was able to pinpoint exactly what my issue was. Turns out it was something minor, every other mechanic had overlooked. He was able to save me on what everyone said was going to be a major repair bill. My vehicle is back on the road and it only cost me $89. I should have just called him first, I could have saved myself from a lot of headaches. For a very competitive price I was able to have a 5 star mechanic come to my home and fix my car on the spot. I am never going back to a traditional auto shop...this process was very convenient and affordable. Like I said HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!

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