When your car isn’t running on all cylinders. Misfiring, vibration, low power, sluggishness in revving and switching gears. These are the telltale signs of a car that has one or more cylinders out of order.
When this happens it can be a really annoying situation that will cost you power and fuel, seriously affecting your engines efficiency.
There are quick ways to diagnose the problem and maybe even fix it yourself. A few of these problems are faulty spark plug, bad ignition coil, faulty fuel injector, cracked distributor cap, bad fuel pump/filter.
Here are a few tips on checking to know what your problem is. We’ll start with the easiest.
1) Spark Plugs:
They are usually the most common cause of misfires and are the cheapest to fix.
Causes: A spark plug might stop working because its burnt out, covered in carbon deposit or soaked in too much fuel(yes, too much fuel in the cylinders is a bad thing, I’d talk on rich and lean mixtures some other time).
Diagnosis: An easy way to test which spark plug us out of order is to disconnect its connector while the engine is running, this is a highly insulated cable that feeds into each ignition coil which in turn supply the spark plugs.
As you disconnect them serially you might hear the engine sound dip, it does connect it back and move to the next one, when you finally disconnect the faulty one you would find out that the engine sound stays the same. Switch plugs and coils from another cylinder and try again to ascertain if it is really bad or if it is another issue.
Fix: When you have finally discovered the faulty plug or plugs, turned off the engine and use a plug spanner to get out the faulty plug(s). Inspect for carbon deposit, clean and reinsert, run the engine again.
If problem persists its time to get a new spark plug.
These are a little expensive and to the untrained eye might be misdiagnosed as a spark plug problem. Cause: They might fail due to age or unnecessary vibration in the cars engine which can damage internal components.
Diagnosis: Carry out the aforementioned spark plug test and if after switching out the spark plug the problem persists then you might have a bad ignition coil. For unsophisticated cars you can’t be sure until you inspect the injector.
Fix: Throw out the old coil and get a new one. Install as it was and you are good to go.