Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Is it Safe to Drive With a Misfiring Cylinder?

Is it Safe to Drive With a Misfiring Cylinder?

Misfiring Cylinder

The cylinder is the part of the engine where combustion takes place. The combustion in the cylinder is what powers the vehicle. The engine block is normally made from cast iron or aluminum. Depending on the type of vehicle, an engine may have as few as two cylinders to up to as many as 12 (the Bugatti Chiron has a 16 cylinder engine!). A misfiring cylinder can cause a proportional loss of power. For example, if one cylinder misfires in a four-cylinder engine, the car will lose 25 percent of its power.

Driving with a misfiring car is not safe. Here are 4 signs and symptoms to look out for if you believe you have a misfiring cylinder:

1. Loss of Power Accompanied by Abnormal Vibrations

One of the biggest signs your cylinder is misfiring is the loss of power along with odd vibrations. Since the cylinder powers the engine, your fuel economy will noticeably start to suffer since the remaining working cylinders have to compensate for the loss of power. In addition, if your vehicle shakes while idling, this is another sign of a misfire. Combine these signs, and they are sure indicators that your cylinder is misfiring and needs to be looked at by a mechanic as soon as possible.

2. Loss of Engine Spark

Another reason a cylinder may misfire is due to a loss of spark. This can be something that stops coil voltage from hopping the gap at the end of the spark plug, such as worn out or corroding parts. Damaged, worn, or bad spark plugs, or a weak ignition coil can cause a loss of spark, and therefore, a misfiring cylinder. This may happen periodically at first, but as components in the ignition system continue to fail, you’ll notice an increase in the number of misfires. Though this cause of engine misfires still requires mechanical repairs, spark plugs, ignition wires, and distributor caps and rotors do not cost too much to replace.

3. Imbalanced Air/Fuel Mixture

If there is not enough gasoline in the air/fuel mixture, this can cause a misfire as well. If the fuel injector is clogged, dirty, or has an air leak, the low pressure will affect all of the cylinders, rather than just one cylinder. A sticking EGR valve may also contribute to the air/fuel imbalance. Misfires caused by the fuel system appear suddenly and tend to be more detectable when idle compared to driving at highway speeds.

4. Intermittent Misfires

Sometimes cylinders have intermittent misfires, which means the cylinder does not misfire all the time. The misfire may happen when it is cold out or while the vehicle is carrying a heavy load. Other times it may seem like the cylinder misfires randomly and without a pattern. These are difficult issues to diagnose, so the vehicle needs to be looked at by a professional mechanic. It could be the car’s vacuum line, intake manifold gaskets, timing belt, or even the valve train.

Driving with a misfiring cylinder is potentially dangerous. If you lose power while driving or a second or third cylinder goes out, this can cause you to get into a car accident, possibly injuring you and others around you. If you suspect a misfiring cylinder, make an appointment with a technician as soon as possible to have your vehicle inspected and repaired.

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

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
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 –...
P0477 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Pressure Control Valve Low
P0477 code means that the PCM has detected an abnormally low voltage reading often due to the exhaust back pressure control valve circuit.

Related questions

Q: P0306 code after replacing COP, wires and spark plugs. What else could it be?

There are several possible causes for an engine misfire. There could be an injector problem, a wiring or connector problem, a PCM problem, or even a problem within the engine. Some further diagnostics will be necessary to locate the cause....

Q: Q: What does the Traction Control Off message mean?

The Traction Control Off message comes on the driver information center (DIC) when the traction control system (TCS) has been turned off. When the TCS is turned on again, the DIC alert will disappear.

Q: Q: Car not starting

Hello! A slave or master cylinder malfunction will not cause a no start condition. I suspect there may be an issue with the clutch pedal sensor. The sensor is made to disable the vehicle from starting until the clutch is...