Don’t Wait to Deal with an Engine Misfire

February 4th, 2013 by

Car Trouble
A misfire occurs when there is incomplete combustion of fuel in the cylinders. Typically, this happens because either:

  • •   A) The incorrect fuel/air ratio is being mixed in the cylinder
  • •   B) The spark-plug is not igniting the fuel at the right moment, or not at all

Tell-tales signs of engine misfires include a rough rhythm when your vehicle is idling as well as sporadic changes in engine RPMs.

While this may seem like a minor nuisance, it can actually lead to serious problems. Atomized, unburned fuel is flushed out of the cylinder with the rest of the exhaust and into the exhaust system. The trouble starts when it reaches the catalytic converter, or the cat.

Cats were developed to help neutralize harmful molecules that naturally pollute gasoline, making exhaust relatively cleaner. When unspent fuel is pushed through the cat, though, it taxes the neutralizing agents and eventually creates build up that stops the cat from working efficiently all together. A bad catalytic converter, along with a misfiring, engine will guarantee a solid failure the next time you take your car in for an emissions test.

That’s not the only problem, though. Build up in the cat creates massive amounts of heat, which can lead to a vehicle fire. My girlfriend likes to tell the story of when she was four and the catalytic converter started a fire on the floor right in front of where she was sitting. Luckily, her and her sister, who was driving, got out in time, but the vehicle was a total loss.

Don’t Ignore the Signs

You spend enough time in your car that you know when its not functioning right. If you do notice that it’s idling shakily or it doesn’t sound right, get it checked out. Then there’s the ever important “Check Engine Light.” If it comes on, don’t ignore it. It’s not just a suggestion – it means that something is starting to go wrong. Your sense of smell is also one of the best ways to tell if something is wrong. Once you catch the scent of worn, burning brake pads, you’ll never forget it. In short, if an irregularity is not addressed, the issue could potentially lead to a bigger, costlier problem.

Middletown Honda has an expert team of mechanics that offers competitive prices on a wide range of services. We’re not a Honda exclusive shop either – we also service all vehicle makes with the same timeliness, diligence, and precision. To make an appointment, give us a call or use our online scheduler.

Posted in Honda Service