Q: engine sputtering in the rain and having a harder time starting in the cold recently

asked by on

This June my engine started sputtering in the rain. I figured it had to do with the crack in the plastic top of my radiator, so I replaced my radiator and I stopped losing coolant and the engine stopped sputtering in the rain. but for the last month or so the engine's been misfiring whenever it's damp and starting with difficulty in the cold. last week my ipod would turn off and then on while I was driving, the heating fan was wavering, and then, all of a sudden, my car wouldn't even start. I got a jump, the engine started up just fine and I got it home. when I tried to start it later that day I heard current running through the engine but it wasn't turning over or cranking or even clicking. Are these the symptoms of a bad ignition coil? Could it be the wiring going to the spark plugs? I replaced the sparks about 40000 miles ago and they dont look particularly dirty.

My car has 90000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Consistent occurrence of poor operation during periods of high humidity is a clear sign of current leakage in the ignition system. Such leakage can occur as moisture provides an unintended path to ground on the high tension spark plug wires and could even originate at the coil on account of corrosion and rust (both attract more moisture) in the coil terminals. The contacts on the coil should be inspected as well as the coil itself and it might not be a bad idea to proactively replace the spark plug wires, which don’t last forever anyway. These wires are presently 15 years old on your vehicle if they are original. What I would recommend is a diagnostic for the sputtering during which the aforementioned possibilities will be examined as well as quite a few other possibilities, too.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 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!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. engine sputtering in the rain and having a harder time starting in the cold recently

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: Accelerating

If your Check Engine Light is on, you could have a misfire caused by a faulty ignition component. It could also be caused by improper timing, if the timing belt jumped a tooth. It could also be caused by a...

Q: Toyota Corolla misfire on number two.

In many cases, misfires can be diagnosed by swapping components from the missing cylinder with the components of a functioning cylinder. Then you check the scanner to see if the misfire moves. It can be time consuming, but most auto...

Q: Cylinder misfire and burning oil

The easiest way to diagnose the issue would be to have the vehicle scanned again. These codes will give you insight to things we would spend a lot of time testing for. If you are seeing smoke coming from the...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...