Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...


Related questions

Q: How Do High-Performance Ignition Systems Differ from Standard Ones?

There are many variations of ignition systems in today's automotive market and a lot of them put out over 20,000 volts. These are the most standard ignition systems used in most engines. There are many differences in the amount of...

Q: Misfire cylinder2 when engine cold engine

Check the spark plug, ignition coil, and fuel injector for proper spray pattern. If all are good, then it may be a wiring issue or possibly carbon build-up on the intake valves effecting the fuel mixture. If you'd like some...

Q: Key ignition - 2001 Honda Passport

Hello. This is a very common issue with Honda's. You either have a bad ignition lock cylinder or ignition switch. Most of the time, it is the ignition switch. The ignition switch gets excessive play in it not allowing it...