Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Can I drive a car that is misfiring to the mechanic to get it fixed or do I need to have it towed in?

asked by on

Can I drive a car that is misfiring to the mechanic or do I need to have it towed in?

Unfortunately, if the engine is actively misfiring, unburned gas from the misfiring cylinder(s) ends up in the catalytic converter. Basically, once that gas is dumped there, as a vapor of course, it eventually "lights off" in the converter (gas, of course, is supposed to burn in the engine cylinders, where it is safe to do so, not in the catalytic converter or exhaust system) melting the converter internals.

How much "driving" you can get away with while an engine is misfiring is variable, but in all events is not much. If you happen to be in an area served by a mobile mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, you need not drive the car or have it towed. The mechanic can come to you and determine the cause of the misfiring engine. This will obviously save you the risk of further damage to the car (to the catalytic converter) and the costs of towing.

As far as the repair goes, if the misfire is consistent (always present), the diagnostic will be straightforward once the engine is put on a scope and especially if the misfire is limited to "a" cylinder versus a random misfire. A random misfire will present a numerically larger number of possible causes that need to be evaluated.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Can I drive a car that is misfiring to the mechanic to get it fixed or do I need to have it towed in?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: My car has a rough idle and misfires once its warmed up

Hi, and thanks for contacting YourMechanic. First of all, the mass air flow (MAF) sensor requires its screen; the air registering through the sensor is monitored with the elements in the screen. By removing the screen, you actually destroyed the...

Q: How should it be towed?

While it’s hoped this never happens to you, there’s a chance that you may have to have your car towed at some point during your ownership. There are a couple of important pointers to understand with the towing process. ...

Q: 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan hard detonation problems

Take a compression tester and check the compression of each cylinder. This will determine how much pressure will hold in the cylinders. If the pressure is 120 or higher, then the cylinders are okay. If the pressure is lower than...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...