Can a Dirty Air Filter Cause Engine Sputtering?

If the engine air cleaner is clogged, the correct amount of airflow won't be able to reach the combustion chamber, leading to bursting, sputtering, or coughing noises. Poor engine performance and an engine check light on the dashboard are the most common symptoms of a dirty air filter. You may also hear crackling or popping sounds coming from the engine. An engine misfire can significantly increase vehicle emissions, so the ECM constantly monitors the misfire status of the engine.

If it detects an engine misfire, it will turn on the CEL. When the fuel ratio is too rich, it can cause engine flooding and spark plug contamination, resulting in misfiring or starting problems. If you experience a rough idle or a reluctant start, you should check your air filter first. A dirty air filter reduces the amount of air supplied to the engine, leading to an increase in unburned fuel that turns into soot residue. This soot can build up on spark plug tips, preventing them from producing a proper spark.

As a result, your car may move abruptly, idle poorly, and in some cases, the engine may fail. Most automotive companies recommend changing the air filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or every 12 months. However, if you drive in dusty or rural areas such as Scottsdale, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas, it's a good idea to have your mechanic check and change it more often - for example, every 6,000 miles. Driving in busy areas with lots of traffic - such as Los Angeles and Washington D. C.

- which requires you to stop and start more often also necessitates more frequent air filter replacements. Most vehicles also have a cabin air filter that is used to clean the air entering the interior of the car; however, it has a different maintenance program than an engine air filter. Engine air filters often need to be replaced every 12,000 miles or 12 months - whichever comes first. It's easy to forget about important technical aspects such as engine filters during normal day-to-day driving. Air filters contribute to fuel efficiency; however, a dirty filter can reduce oxygen flow.

Without enough air entering the combustion chamber, the engine creates more fuel without burning. A professional can read your service code and help you determine if it's related to air intake problems. Restricted air supply from a dirty air filter causes unburned fuel to leave the engine as soot residue. At the same time, the air cleaner must allow enough air to reach the engine so that it can operate effectively. Engine air filters should be changed approximately every 12,000 miles - depending on driving habits. Inadequate air supply can cause some of the fuel not to burn completely in the combustion cycle.

You can find it in a rectangular-shaped cold air box - often in the front of the engine compartment - where it is easily accessible. As long as you keep your filter clean and maintained, you will avoid some of these easily avoidable problems and extend the life of your vehicle. Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in more than 2,000 U. S. UU., offering fast and free online quotes for car repair.