Six Common Causes of a Sputtering Engine

You are driving along and your engine starts sputtering. It’s been doing this a lot lately. You even put premium gasoline in the tank to see if that would help and it hasn’t. Scotty’s Automotive is going to list the common causes of a sputtering engine below. It’s probable that your car, truck, or utility vehicle’s engine just needs a little TLC and repair work to stop the sputtering.

1. Clogged Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter can get clogged and cause the engine to sputter. The reason why the engine sputters is that the exhaust that needs to be released out of the tailpipe backs up into the combustion chamber because it cannot get past the clogged catalytic converter. This will affect your engine and acceleration performance, including causing the engine to sputter constantly.

2. Clogged Fuel System

A sputtering engine is a sign of a lean fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. This can happen if you have a clogged somewhere in the fuel system that impedes the delivery of fuel into the chamber. For example, your fuel filter or fuel lines might be clogged. Clogged fuel injectors can also prevent your engine from running smoothly and cause a lean fuel mixture.

3. Faulty Engine Control Unit

Your vehicle’s main computer chip is called the engine control unit or engine control module. It controls how much air and fuel are in the combustion chamber. It also controls when the spark plugs fire. If the engine control unit is going bad, you may end up with a lean fuel mixture in the combustion chamber or a problem with the spark plugs misfiring. These things will make your engine sputter.

4. Malfunctioning MAF Sensor

The mass airflow sensor tracks the incoming air to make sure the combustion chamber gets the right amount of air. If the MAF sensor sends incorrect data to the engine control unit, you may end up with a lean fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.

5. Malfunctioning O2 Sensor

The same thing can happen if the oxygen sensor is malfunctioning. This sensor checks to see how much oxygen is being released in your vehicle’s exhaust. It reports this information to the engine control unit. If the information is skewed, the unit may put more air than necessary in the combustion chamber.

6. Worn Spark Plugs/Wires

Finally, worn spark plugs and/or wires can cause your engine to misfire, i.e., sputter. Today’s spark plugs can last as long as 100,000 miles before they need to be changed. If you drive an older automobile, the engine sputtering is a sign that you need new plugs.

Call Scotty’s Automotive in Montague, NJ, if your engine is sputtering all the time. We can fix the problem.

Photo by Mike Bird from Pexels via Canva Pro

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