Engine Misfire

October 5, 2023

 A misfire is a common issue that affects many truck and car engines. While this problem typically won’t prevent you from driving the vehicle, it indicates that your engine likely isn’t operating as efficiently as it should be.

Misfires occur when a cylinder remains unfired after incomplete engine combustion. This situation can result when starting the vehicle or while the engine is idling. 

There are three types of misfires:

  • Dead-miss: This indicates a complete misfire where no combustion takes place.
  • Partial: In some cases, only an incomplete combustion will occur.
  • Intermittent: Signs of this condition include sporadic, random misfires and ones only occurring in certain situations.

Most misfires don’t require immediate attention, but they can eventually cause significant mechanical issues. As a result, knowing how to detect and resolve this problem is vital. 


What Does a Misfire Feel Like?

A cylinder misfire can exhibit many symptoms. Your vehicle may accelerate slower than usual or feel like it is losing power. However, in many cases, the engine will regain its normal speed after a few seconds. You may also notice vibrations or excessive shuddering. You may even hear certain sounds during a misfire event, such as popping, sneezing, chuffing, banging or a loud backfire.


Is Engine Misfire Serious?

Although an occasional misfire isn’t a significant concern, you should take the vehicle to a mechanic if you’re experiencing more frequent events. Eventually, a cylinder misfire could lead to a breakdown and substantial engine damage. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to replace the entire engine. 


Why Could Your Engine Be Misfiring?

Misfires can happen for many reasons. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Stiction: This combination of sticky friction in fuel injectors can result in hard starts, throttle loss and rough idling.
  • Ignition system issues: Numerous ignition system components, including spark plugs, crankshaft position sensors, control modules and ignition coil packs, can cause a misfire if they’re worn or malfunctioning.
  • Air and fuel delivery problems: Clogs in the fuel injector, pump or filter or a fuel leak can disrupt the air-fuel mixture, leading to a misfire.
  • Faulty emissions equipment: Problems with catalytic converters and an array of other modern emissions components, like oxygen sensors and gas recirculation systems, can impact the air-fuel mixture and cause a misfire.
  • Engine issues: An internal engine problem could prevent a cylinder from sealing correctly, creating a compression loss that results in a misfire. 
  • Malfunctioning sensors: Misfires may occur due to a problem with fuel pressure, spark timing or fuel delivery sensors. 
  • Control circuit issues: Multiple electrical circuits connect the sensors, coil packs, and other input and output management devices, and loose connections or damaged wiring can result in misfires.


How to Detect and Correct an Engine Misfire

In some cases, a car misfire will cause the engine warning light to come on or flash, often indicating a problem requiring a mechanic’s attention. When you take the vehicle to a repair shop, the technician will use a scanner to read the diagnostic code stored in the onboard computer’s memory. 

The scan could reveal one or more codes:

  • P0100 to P0104: Mass airflow sensor malfunction.
  • P0171 and P0172: Rich or lean fuel mixture.
  • P0200: Problem with the fuel injector circuit.
  • P0300: Random issue not restricted to a misfire on two cylinders or less.
  • P0301 to P0308: This series of codes enables the mechanic to determine a misfire within a specific cylinder, up to eight cylinders. For example, a P0301 code indicates a potential problem with cylinder one and a P0308 code points to an issue with cylinder eight.

A misfire doesn’t always generate a diagnostic code, especially if it only occurs occasionally or intermittently. In these cases, the mechanic will likely need to look deeper inside the engine. The typical first step involves checking the spark plugs for damage or wear. A plug replacement may resolve the issue.

The mechanic may also conduct a compression check to uncover potential problems with the fuel, air or spark systems. A head gasket replacement or a similar repair can often correct the problem. 

A faulty coil pack is another issue that a technician will investigate. This collection of coils uses low voltage from the battery to bridge the gap in a spark plug, and replacing it could be the solution to your engine’s misfiring. 


Is Stiction in Your Fuel Injectors Causing a Misfire?

Stiction is often the cause of a misfire. This sticky residue consists of burnt motor oil that accumulates on HEUI fuel injectors, O-rings, turbochargers, pistons or springs. The result is a dragging friction that eventually impacts engine performance. 

Stiction can occur when the oil inside the injectors is exposed to high temperatures over an extended time frame. Eventually, the heat will cause the oil to break down, leading to carbon accumulation, varnishing and sludge within the injector’s valve. The result is a gummy residue that creates hesitation when accelerating. 

A failed fuel injector, which a mechanic can identify via a diagnostic code, is the most typical stiction symptom. Other potential signs include misfiring, rough idling and the presence of white smoke. Moreover, stiction could be the culprit if your engine hesitates or loses power while accelerating. 


How Can Hot Shot’s Secret Help Your Engine?

Applying lubricants to fuel injectors and other engine components is a typical method for addressing stiction and preventing misfires. However, this provides only a temporary solution. These products can briefly alleviate the dragging effect, but they won’t remove the sticky oil residue, so stiction will return and the performance problems will continue. Also, some of these lubricants contain harsh solvents and other ingredients that cause engine wear. 

At Hot Shot’s Secret, we offer a better and more reliable solution. Our Stiction Eliminator product contains an effective synthetic cleaner that removes stiction quickly and efficiently while lubricating fuel injectors, turbo bearings and other essential components. Additionally, it restores compression and reduces engine wear by freeing up piston rings and minimizing friction. 

Stiction Eliminator is safe to use — it contains no potentially harmful solvents or other harsh chemicals or ingredients. This product also provides long-term results. You can leave this solution on your vehicle’s engine for thousands of miles and experience enhanced performance with no damage risk. 


Choose Hot Shot’s Secret to Prevent Misfires

At Hot Shot’s Secret, we create multiple oils, additives and spray lubricants designed to prevent and correct many common automotive repair issues, like misfires. Our products offer specific solutions you can trust to alleviate your vehicle problems and keep your truck or car on the road. 

Our products come with an industry-best money-back guarantee, enabling you to purchase them with confidence and peace of mind. You’ll also get free shipping on most orders over $49 in the U.S. Many of our products can help you save thousands of dollars in engine repairs, so you can trust that you’ll enjoy excellent value from Hot Shot’s Secret. 

Contact us to learn more about what cylinder misfires are and how we can help.