Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Can Problems with the Ignition System Cause Misfiring?

How Can Problems with the Ignition System Cause Misfiring?

Dirty Spark Plug

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.

Possible causes of ignition-related misfires

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...


Related questions

Q: Engine will not stay started. I have replaced idle control valve map sensor spark plugs spark plug wires no check engine light is

You have a problem with the distributor assembly. I recommend replacing the distributor assembly. This will replace all the possible sensors and coil for the ignition and fix the problem you have.

Q: Cylinder five misfire code

In most cases a misfire condition can be corrected by inspecting and replacing the spark plug and ignition coil for that cylinder. For your Ford Expedition, I would recommend replacing all of your spark plugs and ignition coils to be...

Q: Vehicle has sat for two years

I recommend having a mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, inspect your SL550 to identify and quote the repairs needed. You may need to replace the fuel and fuel filter, have the battery and cables checked or replaced, and a...