Honda engine misfire symptoms

Honda engine misfire symptoms DEFAULT

PP Cylinder Misfire Detected. Causes, common problems, diagnostic

Updated: July 17,

The code PX (pP) means that the cylinder number X misfires, or there is no combustion in that cylinder. For example, if the cylinder number 1 misfires in a 4-cylinder engine, it will run only on 3 cylinders and will have the code P, see the animation.
Misfiring engine animationMisfiring engine.
The code P stands for random misfire. This means that multiple cylinders misfire at random.

Can you drive with the code PP?Driving with a misfiring engine can cause more damage. When a cylinder misfires, unburned gasoline can overheat and melt the catalytic converter, which is an expensive part of the emission control system.
Some manufacturers advise not to drive with a misfiring engine; others recommend driving only in a very moderate fashion and having your vehicle checked out as soon as possible. See the vehicle's owner's manual for details.


A misfiring engine shakes, runs rough (unevenly) and lacks power. Shaking is more noticeable at idle or during acceleration. Some cars misfire only when started cold. The "Check Engine" light on the dash may blink repeatedly or stay on solid. Sometimes, you could also notice a different smell from the exhaust. Watch this video of a misfiring engine.


The most common cause of the engine misfire and the codes PX in modern cars is a failed on-plug ignition coil. Other causes include:
Fouled spark plugFouled spark plug Carbon buildup on intake valveCarbon buildup on an intake valve
- Worn-out, cracked or fouled (in the photo) spark plugs.
- Faulty fuel injectors
- Damaged or cracked ignition coil pack.
- Damaged ignition coil primary circuit wires (often chewed by critters).
- Cracked or damaged spark plug cables.
- Carbon build up on valves and injectors (common in engines with Direct Injection)
- Vacuum leaks. A vacuum leak will cause misfire in the cylinder closest to the source of the leak. Examples of vacuum leaks include: leaking intake manifold gasket, broken PCV valve or PCV hose, disconnected vacuum line, cracked vacuum line
- Leaking head gasket
- Low compression in the affected cylinder
- Problems with the valvetrain components
- Bad engine computer (PCM)

What can cause the code P - Random cylinder misfire:

If the code P occurs with other codes, such as, for example, P, P, P, P, P, the additional codes must be diagnosed first, as the random cylinder misfire often happens as a result of other problems. Possible causes include:
- Bad mass airflow sensor.
- Ripped intake air snorkel
- Stuck-open EGR valveor purge valve (solenoid)
- Worn valvetrain components
- Low fuel pressure
- Improperly set valve timing
- Clogged catalytic converter
- Problems with the crankshaft position sensor(CKP) or camshaft position sensor (CMP)

How misfiring is diagnosed

The cause of misfire of one of the cylinders should be fairly easy to pinpoint if the problem is present at the time of checking. For example, mechanics can identify a faulty on-plug ignition coil by swapping the coils between the cylinders and checking if the misfire moved with the coil or stayed at the same cylinder. The same procedure can be used to identify a bad fuel injector.

A quick look at the spark plugs can tell a lot. Signs of arcing on the ignition coil also point to the faulty part. An important step is to check for related service bulletins issued by the car manufacturer. If you don't have access to the factory repair manual, Google 'Make Model Year service bulletin code P'. See a few examplesbelow. Basics such as compression, timing and fuel pressure will also need to be checked if no obvious fault is found.

The engine might need to be checked for vacuum leaks. Read more: Vacuum leaks: common sources, symptoms, repairs. The short term fuel trim (STFT) and long term fuel trim (LTFT) need to be checked with a scan tool to see if the air/fuel mixture is not too lean. Often a bad mass air flow sensor causes the engine to run lean causing random misfire. Read more about STFT and LTFT fuel trims here.

Pressure-testing the cooling system might help identify a leaking head gasket that can also cause misfiring. A low coolant level and white smoke can also point to a leaking head gasket.

Valve adjustment may need to be checked, as valves that are out of adjustment can cause misfiring at a cold start, which is, for example, a common issue in some older Honda engines.

If misfiring happens only at idle, the EGR valve and purge valve need to be checked, as either one could be stuck open.

Faulty valve train components such as worn camshaft lobes, collapsed lifters, bad rocker arms or stretched timing chain can also cause the engine to misfire.

Sometimes a broken or damaged tooth at the crankshaft or camshaft sensor gear can be the source of misfiring. This can be checked by monitoring the crankshaft position sensor (CKP)or camshaft position sensor (CMP) signal with an oscilloscope; read more here.

Once the problem is repaired or no longer detected, the misfiring code will clear itself after some driving.

Common problems causing misfire codes PP

Failed on-plug ignition coilsare common in many cars, including BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and GM. A failed ignition coil must be replaced; in a 4-cylinder engine it's a fairly simple job. If spark plugs haven't been replaced in a while, it's a good idea to replace all the spark plugs as well. Worn-out spark plugs require higher voltage to produce the spark, which adds strain on ignition coils.

Some car manufacturers update ignition coils during later production. If one of the ignition coils has failed and the manufacturer has updated the part, your mechanic may recommend replacing other ignition coils with updated parts as a precaution.

In many modern cars, especially those with Direct Fuel Injection, carbon buildup on intake valves and the injector nozzle can cause misfiring. Some mechanics may recommend cleaning the valves with a special spray or foam (fuel induction service), as it's less expensive and sometimes helps. The more effective option is to clean the intake valves manually. Read more about carbon buildup on intake valves in this article. Clogged fuel injectors need to be replaced too. This repair is costly, as it involves more labor; the intake manifold and some other parts will have to be removed. We found a number of YouTube videoson the subject.

Vacuum leaks, as well as a stuck-open EGR valveor purge valve (solenoid)can cause misfiring that mostly happens at idle, but goes away at higher rpms. Read more: Vacuum leaks: common sources, symptoms, repairs.

In some older Honda vehicles misfiring can be caused by valves being out of adjustment. Misfiring could be more noticeable when the engine idles after a cold start. As the valve train components wear, the valve gaps change; to compensate, the valves in many Honda engines need to be adjusted at recommended intervals.

Sometimes, the engine could misfire if during the timing beltor chain replacement, the timing hasn't been set properly. If the problem started after replacing a timing belt or chain, checking the timing is the first thing to do.

In many high-mileage cars, oil leaking into a combustion chamber from worn valve seals and oil rings can foul spark plugs causing misfire; often an engine misfires at idle, but runs better after revving up.

In many older cars, washing the engine compartment or driving through deep puddles can cause the engine to misfire, as water gets into the ignition components and shorts them out. A tune-up with new spark plugs and spark plug cables often fixes the problem. On-plug ignition coils that show cracks or signs of arcing need to be replaced too. In older cars with a distributor ignition, a distributor cap and rotor are also replaced as part of the tune-up.

Examples of related service bulletins

The Honda service bulletin for the Honda Civic with a L engine describes a problem where codes PP or P (fuel system too rich) or a whirling noise coming from the engine can be caused either by fouled spark plugs or by irregular wear of camshaft lobes. Bulletin describes similar problem for the Honda CR-V.

According to the Hyundai service bulletin FLH for the Elantra with a L engine, codes P/P/P/P/P can be caused a faulty ignition coil. The solution per the bulletin is to inspect ignition coils and, if needed, replace with an updated part and update the ECM software.

Toyota issued service bulletin T-SB for the Highlander HV that mentions replacing the ignition coil and reprogramming the ECM as possible solutions (depending on diagnostics) for the codes PP

Mazda service bulletin /16 for the CX-5, Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 mentions the issue where an ignition coil can fail and cause codes P to P If confirmed, the defective coil must be replaced with an updated part.

How the code P is set

The engine computer or PCM can detect a misfiring cylinder by monitoring the engine crankshaft speed (RPMs). If one of the cylinders misfires, the crankshaft loses momentum and slows down in that moment. If the PCM detects a cylinder to misfire for a predetermined time, it sets the code for the affected cylinder and turns the Check Engine light on.

Can a tune-up fix a misfire?

Engine tune upTune-up parts
The term 'tune-up' usually means changing spark plugs, replacing the air filter, possibly cleaning the throttle body as well as fuel injectors. In older cars, ignition wires, distributor cap, rotor, and a fuel filter are replaced too. Modern cars require tune-ups less frequently, as they don't have ignition wires and use long-lasting spark plugs.

A tune-up is a part of preventative maintenance. To fix the misfire the exact cause must be diagnosed first. A tune up needs to be done every 60,, miles. It's best to use only OEM spark plugs.

Read Next:
Ignition coil: problems, when to replace, repair costs
Vacuum leaks: problems, symptoms, repairs
Why "Check Engine" light comes on?


Honda P – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, &#; Fixes


Honda Code P Definition

Random/Multiple cylinder misfire detected.

What Does Honda P Mean?

Honda code P indicates that one or more cylinders are experiencing misfires. A misfire occurs when an insufficient amount of fuel is burning in a cylinder. The efficient burning of fuel is essential to engine operation as the combustion of fuel is what provides the energy to power the engine in your Honda. A misfire from one or more cylinders can be caused by many reasons from a faulty ignition system, fuel system or internal engine failure. When P occurs it should be fixed immediately as long term driving with engine misfires could cause consequential damage to the engine in your Honda.  Many times P occurs when there are worn out spark plugs, spark plug wires, or a faulty ignition coil.

Honda P Symptoms

  • Check Engine Light is on
  • Check Engine Light flashing
  • Engine runs rough and shaking
  • Lack of power from the engine
  • Fuel smell from the exhaust
  • Hesitations/Jerking when accelerating

Honda P Causes

(* = Most Common)

  • Faulty or worn spark plugs *
  • Faulty spark plug wires or coils *
  • Distributor failure *
  • Faulty fuel injector *
  • Vacuum leak
  • Low fuel pressure
  • Camshaft sensor defective
  • Crankshaft sensor defective
  • Engine timing off
  • Leaking head gasket
  • Low engine compression
  • Poor quality fuel

Honda Code P Severity &#; Severe

Honda code P should be repaired immediately. Ignoring this error could result in ignition failure, catalytic converter damage, and unsafe/dangerous conditions while operating your Honda.

Honda Code P Common Diagnosis Mistakes

Loose fitting electrical connectors and broken or disconnected vacuum hoses are often overlooked.

Honda Code P Diagnosis Steps

Tools Needed to Diagnose:

  • Tools You May Already Have:
  • Tools You May Need (FIXD’s Top Picks From Amazon):
    • FIXD
    • Digital multimeter
    • 5/8in. Spark Plug Socket
    • Ratchet, sockets, and extensions
    • Fuel pressure gauge
    • Compression tester
    • Leakdown tester
    • Spark plugs
    • Spark plug wires

How To Diagnose Honda Code P

  1. Use FIXD to scan your Honda to verify P is the only code present. If other codes are present, they must be addressed first.
  2. Check for loose connectors at the ignition coils or for damaged wiring. Look for loose engine ground wires as well. These can cause random misfire conditions. Tighten or connect where necessary.
  3. Check the condition of your spark plugs and spark plug wires. Worn and old spark plug wires are common causes of random misfires. Replace spark plugs and wires if needed and recheck for misfires.
  4. If you have determined that your ignition system is operating correctly, there may be a problem within your fuel system that is causing the random misfires. The following should be checked to ensure the engine is getting the proper amount of fuel:
    • Check fuel pressure. Low fuel pressure can cause intermittent misfires on multiple cylinders. When the pressure is below the specification, the engine does not receive the proper amount of fuel and will start to lean misfire. The fuel pump or fuel pressure regulator could be the source of the low fuel pressure.
    • Check that the fuel injectors are functioning properly and activating. Random misfires can be a sign of faulty or clogged fuel injectors that need to be replaced. Also check that the fuel injector wiring is not damaged and is connected properly.
  5. If the ignition system and fuel system checks out you may want to perform an engine compression test and leakdown test to see if there are any mechanical problems causing your misfire. Some common mechanical problems that cause misfire can be:
    • Broken valve spring
    • Broken piston ring
    • Worn valve guides
    • Burned valve
    • Timing chain or belt skipped tooth and engine is off time.


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The Honda Odyssey is a minivan model manufactured and distributed by Japanese automaker, Honda. The first Odyssey model was released in , and it has remained in production for over five generations (about 25 years).

The Honda Odyssey is a favorite for minivan buyers because of its comfortable interior, safety features, and overall drive quality. However, it has some technical issues which we will review in this article.

From research and data pulled from complaints aggregators such as, we found these problems to be widespread among Odyssey vehicles.

Engine Misfiring issues

One of the most common problems associated with engines is “misfiring.” A complete engine cycle comprises intake, compression, ignition, and exhaust. An engine misfire occurs when you start the ignition, and the air-gasoline mixture in one cylinder does not ignite.

Multiple owners of the Honda Odyssey had complained of various problems when the engine misfired. Some issues they reported are:

  1. Extreme shaking/jerking of car: When the misfire occurs, the engine will run roughly, causing the car to shake or jerk massively. Owners have reported cases of wild shaking, especially when driving at higher speeds.
  2. Excessive vibration from engines: Car makers often balance their vehicle engines from the factory to ensure minimal engine vibration. When one cylinder does not fire properly, the engine may lose balance, causing heavy vibrations in the car. These vibrations are noticeable and often occur during acceleration or when the vehicle is idling.
  3. . Reduced or no acceleration: Engine misfires cause oxygen sensors to generate imbalanced air-gasoline mixtures. Imbalanced mixtures can make the vehicle lose power or stop completely.

Owners have reported cases of their Odysseys going into limp mode (the engine does not rev up past rpm), often causing near-collisions. A particular user on described how his car’s engine misfired when he was on the freeway. According to him, the vehicle lost power, and when he tried accelerating, he could not go past 10mph.

Other users have reported cases of their engines switching off mid-transit, causing the car to stall without warning.

Possible Causes and Solutions:

Engine misfires can be because of:

1. Ignition System Defects: The engine misfire could result from damaged parts of the ignition system. For example, the spark plug may create weak sparks, which causes the air-fuel mixture not to ignite.

If parts such as the ignition coil, ignition cables, or distribution caps are worn out, the air-fuel mixture won’t ignite, causing the engine to misfire.

Solution: Check the car’s internal system to see which part is worn and in need of replacement. You can buy spark plugs and ignition wires at auto parts shop. You can service faulty coil packs and distribution caps at the repair shop at affordable rates.

2. Low Fuel Pressure: A major cause of engine misfires is a “lean mixture” in the internal combustion chamber. A lean mixture has more air than fuel (imbalanced air-fuel ratio).  This can cause the engine to misfire, especially when the car is idling.

Solution: Lean air-fuel mixtures are often caused by faulty fuel pressure regulators, bad fuel pumps, or clogged fuel filter. You can purchase these parts at any auto shop, but prices may vary.

3. Worn-out/Damaged Engine Parts: Damaged engine parts can lead to misfires. Worn camshaft lobes, broken piston rings, leaky valves, and cracked cylinder walls are potential causes of misfires.

Leaking internal manifold gasket or head gasket can also contribute to engine misfires. Bad fuel injectors or slipping timing belt could be at fault too.

Solution: Take the vehicle for a thorough diagnostic test to identify the damaged parts that need replacements. Replace broken and worn parts.

Torque Converter Problems

A torque converter directs torque from the engine to the transmission system. The converter is bolted securely to a crankshaft-rotated flex plate and mounted between the engine and the transmission.

Symptoms of a faulty torque converter are often mistaken for transmission failure as they are similar. Honda Odyssey drivers have reported widespread issues associated with defective torque converters. Some issues users have reported include:

1. Slipping Transmission: The first sign that a car has a bad torque converter is that the transmission’s gears slip while driving. When the gears slip, the tires feel as if they are spinning on ice and feel like they are losing traction.

Gears slipping can also cause unexpected deceleration. Some users have described instances where the gears go into Neutral for minutes before picking up speed again.

2. Wild shaking /shuddering: Some Odyssey vehicles are known to shake excessively, especially at low speeds ( mph). Users say it feels like driving on a bumpy road.

3. Delay in Gears Shifting or Engaging: Damaged torque converters can cause hesitant gear changes. Users say the gear switch process is erratic &#; the car seems to pause for minutes before going into the selected gear. Another issue blamed on bad torque converters is delayed engagement. In reported cases, the car does not move, even though the engine is revving, and the RPM is increasing.

4. Transmission Overheating: Failure of the torque converter may sometimes lead to the transmission overheating. Many Odysseys have experienced overheating transmissions on multiple occasions. This often damages the tranny.

Possible Solutions

1. Check transmission liquid levels: The first thing to do when you discover your car has torque converter problems is to inspect the transmission fluid. If you see bits of metal in the fluid, parts of the converter may be worn out and need a replacement.

Another thing you should notice during your transmission fluid check is the color of the fluid. If it is brown or near-black, drain the oil and refill it with new fluid. You can also take it to a repairs shop for a thorough transmission flush.

2. Replace torque converter clutch plate and solenoid: The solenoid and clutch plate are two important parts of the torque converter. Problems with any of the two can cause symptoms such as slipping gears, overheating, and engine stalling.

An inspection at the repair shop will show you which part is faulty and needs replacement &#; replacing the clutch solenoid costs about $$ depending on whether you do the replacement yourself or at the auto shop. Replacing the clutch plate will cost more because of its complexity. Prices for a clutch plate replacement vary across different repair shops.

3. Fix damaged converter seal: A damaged converter seal will cause low levels of transmission fluid in the torque converter. If the torque converter does not have enough transmission fluid, it cannot transfer power to the transmission. This causes problems such as overheating, gear slippage, delayed engagement, and gear shifting problems.

If the diagnostic traces the problem to a damaged converter seal, you’ll need a replacement.

4. Replace torque converter: Sometimes, the problem may be too severe to repair. In such cases, buying a new torque converter is necessary.

The average cost of a new torque converter is about $$ If you are taking it to the repairs shop, you may spend more on labor costs.

Malfunctioning brake system

Honda minivans have a history of defective brakes, which has led to some recalls in the past. Some issues reported include:

1. Soft brake pedals: In this situation, pressing the brake pedal feels like you’re stepping on a plum-sized tomato. You have to press down farther and apply enormous pressure before the car stops.

In other instances, the brake pedal drops to the floor when depressed, and the car does not stop &#; users have had to run through red lights/stop signs or collide with other vehicles.

2. Steering wheel shakes when you brakes: This is a common occurrence among Odysseys with brake problems. Drivers report cases where the steering wheel shakes violently when they press the brake pedals, making it impossible to drive.

At other times, the entire car shakes/vibrates when you apply the brakes, forcing drivers to stop the vehicle.

3. Brakes make weird noises when applied: Some Odyssey drivers have reported hearing high-pitched grinding, squealing and squeaking noises when they apply the brakes.

Possible Solutions

1. Soft brake pedals often occur if you have a leaky braking system (usually the master cylinder). The leaking could be internal or external and should be repaired by a professional. Do NOT fix it yourself.

2. Worn out or damaged rotors can cause the steering wheel or car to shake when you apply the brakes. If the diagnostic test traces the problem to the rotors, you may have to replace them.

General Pros and Cons for the Honda Odyssey


The Honda Odyssey has a lot going for it. It is designed for large families and comes with all the entertainment gadgetry and climate control systems you need to stay warm and comfortable. The Honda CabinTalk allows the driver to communicate with passengers in the third row, and you can control the music from an app.

The Odyssey features a Digital Driver Information interface with a full-color seven-inch instrument panel. You can also opt for an eight-inch infotainment display with pinch and swipe input capabilities, satellite navigation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

Honda Odyssey is one of the safest in its class with a plethora of sensors to help you avoid collisions and park with ease. The HondaLink app is available for higher trims, and you get up to cubic feet of cargo space. It comes with a three year or 36, miles limited warranty, and you are covered for five years or 60, miles on the powertrain. You also get roadside assistance and service contracts.


  • The base model is expensive and lacks many of the amenities in higher trims
  • May be prone to transmission issues
  • Engine may misfire

What Do the Reviews Say?

The Odyssey is quiet, refined, and delivers exceptional fuel economy. It comes with an intuitive infotainment system, a flexible interior, numerous connectivity, and storage features that make it an ideal family car — the Odyssey sports a powerful V6 engine and a speed transmission that delivers a smooth ride.


Resale Value of The Honda Odyssey

YearMileage (Miles)Price ($)


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Engine is misfiring Inspection Service

How much does a Engine is misfiring Inspection cost?

On average, the cost for a Honda Accord Engine is misfiring Inspection is $95 with $0 for parts and $95 for labor. Prices may vary depending on your location.

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When an engines misfires, it’s usually readily apparent to the driver from the stuttering and jerking produced by the engine when one or more cylinders fails to fire properly, either because of ignition- or fuel-related issues. It is accompanied by a loss of power in direct proportion to the severity of the misfire.

It can be tricky for to track down the problem if the misfire only occurs under certain circumstances, for example, under load. Not all misfires occur across the operating spectrum.

For older vehicles:

On older, carbureted vehicles, the culprit will almost certainly be in the ignition system as older vehicles lack many of the sophisticated sensors that can cause a misfire. A vacuum leak or a faulty fuel pump can also cause this symptom as well. The first thing the mechanic will do is determine which cylinder or cylinders is misfiring, and the spark plug color is probably the best way to tell. The guilty plug will most likely be grayer than the others, which should tend toward brown coloring. If needed, the spark plug can be replaced.

The next step would be checking the wiring to that plug for cracks and deterioration, and replace as necessary.

For most modern vehicles:

In modern cars, misfiring will invariably be accompanied by a Check Engine light. In fact, checking for efficient combustion was the primary reason the U.S. government introduced the rules for OBD-II (on-board diagnostics, second generation). It was part of the push toward cleaner exhaust emissions.

A code reader will tell you which cylinder is to blame, but it may not say whether it is a problem relating to the injector serving that cylinder or the systems delivering the ignition spark. As with older vehicles, a look at the wires and spark plugs is a good idea. Checking them in the dark will sometimes reveal errant spark tracking, as will spraying them with a fine water mist.

One way mechanics check which spark plug is failing to hold its own is by running the engine at an idle speed high enough to produce the misfire, then removing leads from the coilpack (the unit that looks like the distributor we are used to seeing in older vehicles ) one by one. Most removals will cause a profound change in idling performance, but a defective wire will not. That will suggest that it’s either the spark plug or the coil serving that cylinder at fault. If a new spark plug at that cylinder does not remove the stumble, the mechanic may need to replace the coil pack or the wires as a set.

If it isn’t an ignition issue, then the injectors will need to be checked. A mechanic uses a multimeter to check the resistance value at each injector. It may be a bit difficult to reach them, sometimes requiring the removal of an engine cover and the intake manifold. The mechanic disconnects the injector, then touches the multimeter probes to the two connector prongs to read the value, in Ohms. If any of the injectors read outside of the specified values, they will need to be replaced.

Along the same lines, a fuel pump starting to go bad can also cause misfires or similar issues and can be diagnosed with a fuel pressure check of the entire system with the appropriate equipment. This should only be done by a qualified mechanic as the fuel system is highly pressurized and of course, fuel is flammable.

Common reasons for this to happen:

  • Faulty spark plugs or wires
  • Faulty ignition coil
  • Broken piston rings
  • Burnt or bent valves
  • Broken valve springs
  • Camshaft worn out
  • Fuel injector is not working

What to expect:

A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the source and cause of the misfiring engine, and will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.

How important is this service?

A misfiring engine is accompanied by a loss of power, which makes this issue a critical one to correct promptly. Book a mechanic to perform a thorough inspection as soon as possible.

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Engine misfire symptoms honda

September 09, Updated: June 29, By: Abraham Torres-ArredondoArticle ID:

How To Test A Misfire Condition and Misfire Codes on Honda L, L

Having worked on cars as a professional tech for about 20+ years now , I can tell you that I love working on Hondas! Why? For the simple fact that they are very easy to troubleshoot and repair (whenever something goes wrong that is) and troubleshooting a misfire condition is no exception.

Since so many different things can cause a misfire condition on your L or L Honda in this tutorial, I'm gonna' share some of the hands-on experience and knowledge I've acquired over the years in the interest of helping you find the source of the misfire without a lot of time, effort and frustration.

Let's get started by jumping right into the next subheading.

What Is A Misfire Condition?

Simply put, a misfire condition is a condition in which the engine in your Honda is not running on all cylinders. Since the L (and L) is a 4 cylinder, having just one cylinder misfire will cause a problem. Having two or more and your Honda probably won't run

Here are the most common symptoms of a misfire:

  1. The Check Engine Light will be on.
  2. One or more Misfire Codes (PP) will be stored in your Honda's PCM memory.
    1. P Random Cylinder Misfire.
    2. P Cylinder #1 Misfire.
    3. P Cylinder #2 Misfire.
    4. P Cylinder #3 Misfire.
    5. P Cylinder #4 Misfire.
  3. Sometimes, even tho' the engine is suffering a bona-fide misfire, no misfire codes are registered and no Check Engine Light (CEL) comes on.
  4. Lack of power upon acceleration.
  5. Smell of unburned gas exiting the tail pipe.
  6. Rough idle and may stall.
  7. Cranks but does not start.
  8. Will not pass the emissions tests.
  9. Bad gas mileage.

It's pretty cool that an OBD II equipped vehicle can give us a specific misfire code what stinks, is that it doesn't tell you what specific component is bad. On a pre-OBD II vehicle, there is no misfire trouble code diagnostic help coming from the fuel injection computer.

What's gonna' help to get to the bottom of the misfire (or rough idle condition), whether you have a misfire code or not, is knowing what is the root cause of a misfire. Let's move on to the next subheading and we'll find out more

What Causes A Misfire Condition?

To successfully diagnose a misfire code or condition, we need to know that each cylinder needs 3 very specific things to run/operate at their peak. If one of these 3 things is missing, then that specific engine cylinder will go ‘dead’. These 3 things are:

  1. Air
  2. Fuel
  3. Spark

With this important bit of knowledge under our belts, let's take a look at how each one is delivered to the the Engine:

Ignition System: The ignition system is responsible for the production and delivery of Spark. The Ignition System is usually the culprit behind a Misfire.

The usual suspects (that cause a misfire) are:

  1. Bad spark plugs.
  2. Bad spark plug wires.
  3. Carbon tracks on the spark plug and spark plug boot.
  4. Bad distributor cap.
  5. Oil dripping (from the valve cover) onto the spark plugs and spark plug boots.

The good news is that all of the components that make up the ignition system can be tested, and at the end of the article I'll show you where to find the How To test articles.

Fuel System: The fuel system is responsible for the delivery of Fuel. If fuel is missing from any one specific engine cylinder, it will misfire.

fuel system problems could include some of the following:

  1. Bad fuel injectors.
  2. Broken fuel injector connector (this is a very, very common problem).
  3. Electrical short in the fuel injector wires that are keeping the fuel injector pulse signal from reaching the fuel injector.
    1. This is usually the result of human error and after a major mechanical repair where the wiring harness was damaged.
  4. Bad fuel injection computer not pulsing the fuel injector (this is a very rare condition, but it happens).
  5. Bad fuel pump.

Engine Mechanical Condition: The pistons and cylinder head valves are the ones that draw air into the engine, and these bad boys eventually wear out.

Generally, all 4 engine cylinders wear out evenly but not always. In some vehicles, you'll have one or more cylinder (and its related components) wear out at an accelerated pace. When this happens, those cylinders (with accelerated wear and tear)tend to produce a less than average compression value that will cause a misfire condition.

Other issues, that can not be overlooked are vacuum leaks.

Honda Accord engine misfire and ignition coil diagnose.

Technically, a misfire is the result of incomplete combustion (or zero combustion) inside one or more of an engine’s cylinders. But to you, the driver, the problem will usually feel like hesitation or shaking when the car is running. On modern vehicles, the check engine light will also pop on when there’s a misfire.

When the check engine light illuminates, your car’s primary computer, which is often referred to as the powertrain control module (PCM), will store a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) in its memory. Codes P to P are the primary DTCs associated with an engine misfire.

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Why is My Engine Misfiring?

There are many reasons why your engine might be misfiring. It can be a sensor that can cause the engine to misfire or there can be other causes. It is important to get diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible to prevent from damaging other components.

Most Common Causes of an Engine Misfire

Okay – let’s say your car has an engine misfire. The question is: Why is the problem happening?  Unfortunately, there are many potential causes, so answering that question isn’t always easy. If your car is suffering from a misfire, it’s best to let a professional figure out why.

Here is what a mechanic might find when diagnosing the issue:

1. Ignition system problems

When most people hear the term misfire, they think of worn out spark plugs. What they don’t realize is the spark plugs are just one part of the ignition system. A typical modern ignition system contains a variety of components, including the control module, crankshaft position sensor, coil packs, wiring and, of course, the spark plugs. Issues with any of these parts can result in an engine misfire.

2. Air and fuel delivery problems

Air and fuel mix together inside the engine, then the mixture is ignited by the spark plug. The explosion sets the engine in motion, creating the rotational force needed to propel your car down the road. Any issue that throws off the air/fuel mixture – ranging from a failed fuel injector to a vacuum leak – can cause a misfire.

3. Emissions equipment problems

Late-model cars have an array of emissions equipment that helps minimize the amount of pollution released into the atmosphere. A couple of examples include the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system and the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system.  In some cases, issues with emissions equipment can alter the engine’s air/fuel mixture enough to create a misfire.

4. Engine mechanical problems

Many people also don’t realize that an engine mechanical problem can cause a misfire. Each cylinder inside the engine contains a piston that must compress the air/fuel mixture for complete combustion. And when the piston is moving upward, the cylinder must remain completely sealed off to create adequate compression. Internal engine problems can prevent the cylinder from sealing properly, leading to a loss of compression and an engine misfire.

5. Sensor and module problems 

Today’s vehicles contain a plethora of sensors, many of which the PCM uses to determine control of critical functions, such as fuel delivery and spark timing. A such, sensor problems can easily contribute to an engine misfire.  Although relatively rare, a problem with the PCM itself can also cause a misfire.

6. Control circuit problems

All of the input and output engine management devices (i.e., sensors, ignition coil packs, etc.) are connected where needed via electrical circuits. Problems within these circuits, such as damaged wiring or a loose connection, can cause an engine misfire.

What Causes A 4 Cylinder Misfire?

When your mechanic talks about a 4 cylinder misfire, or a cylinder 4 misfire, it means their OBD2 diagnostic scanner is showing error code P When this occurs, it&#;s typically caused by your vehicle&#;s Powertrain Control Module identifying an engine misfire in cylinder #4. The P code can affect how your vehicle performs and drives so the cause needs to be resolved by your mechanic as soon as possible.

Diagnosing the exact problem is not exactly straightforward and there is no ‘magic fix’. Other issues that your car is showing need to be considered in order to eliminate, and track down the potential cause.

Possible causes of a cylinder 4 misfire include:

Any of these components can cause a cylinder 4 to misfire and be the root cause of a P engine code. However, a misfire will be considered in conjunction with the following signs:

  • Check engine light
  • Engine stalling
  • Rough idle
  • Slow acceleration
  • Excessive fuel consumption
  • Hard starting the vehicle
  • Low fuel pressure
  • Low compression

When Does My Engine Misfire?

Engine Misfire When Accelerating

When an engine misfires under acceleration/when the throttle is pressed, it’s not only bad for the engine, but it can be particularly dangerous for everyone on the road. Misfires can happen when a vehicle is under load while accelerating. This causes slow or sluggish acceleration and your vehicle may have trouble getting up to speed. You might feel a jerking motion when pressing down on the throttle.

The most common cause of an engine misfire when accelerating is worn-out spark plugs. When spark plugs are suffering from excessive wear, they don’t ignite the fuel in the piston cylinder when they are supposed to. This can also be caused by fouled spark plugs, a cracked distributor cap, or bad spark plug wires. All these problems lead to the same outcome to prevent coil voltage from jumping the spark plug gap, causing the engine to misfire when the car is accelerating.

We also see a lot of cars with a failing throttle position sensor (TPS) and dirty fuel injectors being reported as having a misfire by their owners. A lot of other systems such as the fuel injection and air intake system rely on the TPS for accurate data, and if it isn’t functioning correctly, you can experience an engine misfire when accelerating, an illuminated check engine light, and the vehicle may even go into ‘limp home mode’. 

Misfire At Idle Only

It’s not uncommon for a car to drive perfectly fine, but then display signs of little hiccups or small misfires at idle. This can, at the surface, seem difficult to determine the cause of, as it doesn’t always log a diagnostic code. Some mechanics may be reluctant to look into the problem further, stating if there’s no code, there is no problem – but this is not the case. Sometimes, as a precaution, mechanics may want to replace the fuel pump, injectors, and spark plugs if they can’t track down the exact cause of the misfire at idle only.

What we find is generally the cause of a misfire at idle is an incorrect air/fuel mixture. This can be caused by a faulty O2 (oxygen) sensor or a single injector that needs cleaning, or even a vacuum leak. Other physical symptoms will need to be considered to track down the problem such as if the car is suffering from minor backfires, if the engine revs are not consistent, or if any unusual noises are coming from the engine bay such as a hissing sound which indicates a vacuum leak.

An engine misfire can cause a lot of stress for a vehicle owner as it makes their car more difficult to drive. This stress can be amplified if your mechanic tells you they’re not entirely sure what is causing the problem. Gathering as much information about any problem you’ve experienced or signs from your engine that something is wrong can help your mechanic track down the cause of your misfire.

What Does An Engine Misfire Feel Like?

It’s worth knowing what an engine misfire feels like as it will help you identify the problem quickly. Keep in mind that you could be driving at any speed when a misfire kicks in, and what your engine misfire feels like depends on what&#;s causing it.

As you’re driving a misfire can cause the engine to lose power infrequently, or a brief hesitation in acceleration when the throttle is pressed. Acceleration may be rough or the car feels like it’s lost power and accelerates slower than usual. The engine may feel like it’s stumbling for a few seconds before regaining pace. This can be caused by an incorrect air/fuel mixture due to a faulty O2 sensor. Alternately, a misfiring cylinder can unbalance the engine, causing a shaking sensation.

As the engine misfires and loses power, it may jerk or vibrate aggressively. The car may seem to run normally most of the time, but when you stop at a stoplight or immediately after starting your car, it can seem like it’s struggling to idle. Stalling will occur more frequently if you are also causing a high accessory load such as running the air conditioner or headlights. Some misfires will allow you to keep driving (albeit with a fair degree of difficulty) while others will cause your engine to stall completely. Any sign of a rough idle is a fairly good indication that your vehicle&#;s fuel system is causing a misfire.

What Does An Engine Misfire Sound Like?

An engine misfire causes a very unique and noticeable sound from your engine. Even if you’re not an expert on automotive sounds, you’ll notice when this happens. You will be able to hear it from the engine, either inside or outside the vehicle, or you may notice a sound coming from the exhaust. So what does an engine misfire sound like?

The most common descriptions of an engine misfire are a sound like a popping, sneezing, banging, chuffing, or a backfire, usually when the engine is anywhere between 1, – 2, rpm. The sound occurs when unburnt fuel exits the cylinder and is pushed out during the exhaust stroke before being ignited by the spark of the next cylinder, causing it to explode out through the exhaust system.

You can also tell that you likely have an engine misfire if it sounds like your car is struggling. You may need to switch off your radio and close your windows to hear it from inside your car. If you listen closely to your engine, you will notice that it sounds different than normal. An overall change in engine sound can be an indication that one cylinder is not working. This can be confirmed by other symptoms of an engine misfire such as the vehicle lacking power under full throttle.

Can My Engine Be Ruined by a Misfire?

A misfire can be caused by a myriad of issues. However continuing to run an engine that is misfiring can cause catastrophic damage – and the longer you put off fixing the cause of the misfire, the more damage you’ll cause to the engine. In the worst-case scenario, a continuing misfire could cause some costly problems that could effectively destroy your engine.

One of the worst culprits, a cylinder misfire, can cause a host of problems starting with your catalytic convertor. When a cylinder misfires, it can cause a cylinder&#;s worth of hot, unburnt to fuel enter the catalytic converter, melt the ceramic material inside. As the inside of the catalytic converter heats up it can start to break apart, plugging the exhaust, which causes problems to keep cascading.

But catalytic converters aren’t the only concern. When an engine runs lean (too much air/too little fuel), it generates excess heat, which can cause damage to the engine itself. Excessive oil consumption can heat the cylinder up, creating preignition which in turn slows the engine down and damages crankshaft bearings. The heat that is generated can warp or crack valves and the cylinder head. Even if a misfire is caused by an engine running rich (too much fuel/too little air), it will cause the engine to run hot, carbon fouling of values, and low compression conditions.

Diagnosis of Common Engine Misfire Codes

One of the first things you mechanic will do when you present a car with a misfire is to check for diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). These codes won’t tell the mechanic exactly what is wrong with the vehicle, but they are one tool that can be used to diagnose what is causing an engine to misfire.

An engine misfire code might indicate a problem with a specific cylinder, or that the engine is running lean. Depending on the diagnostic tool being used, it may show how many misfires occurred within a certain number of cycles, or the engine RPM when the misfire occurs. Not all misfires will cause a DTC to be logged, however, particularly if the misfire is intermittent.

The following codes may indicate a potential misfire:

  • P – P Mass airflow sensor
  • P – P Lean or rich fuel mixture
  • P Fuel injector circuit malfunction
  • P Random misfire that is not isolated to one or two cylinders.
  • P Misfire in cylinder 1
  • P Misfire in cylinder 2
  • P Misfire in cylinder 3
  • P Misfire in cylinder 4
  • P Misfire in cylinder 5
  • P Misfire in cylinder 6
  • P Misfire in cylinder 7
  • P Misfire in cylinder 8

Vehicles showing any of the above DTC codes should not be driven due to the potential for unsafe vehicle operation and driveability concerns.

What Should I Do If My Engine Misfires?

In short, if you suspect your engine is misfiring, make an appointment with a mobile technician from RepairSmith as soon as possible to have your vehicle inspected and repaired and to prevent further damage. But before you call to make an appointment, collect as much information as you can, including any peculiar sounds, to assist your technician in diagnosing the problem.

As you’re driving, pay close attention to how your vehicle behaves. Take note of any unusual sounds or behavior, and under what circumstances the engine is misfiring, such as if it occurs immediately after the car has started if the misfire occurs under acceleration or at idle, and how frequently you notice the misfire occurring. The more information you have, the easier it will be for your mechanic to find the cause of the misfire.

Is It Safe to Continue Driving with an Engine Misfire?

If your engine misfires as you are driving your vehicle, this can present a potential safety hazard, especially if you’re driving in heavy traffic or on a busy road. You should not continue driving with an engine misfire. Although the car may run well enough to get you where you’re going, you risk potentially damaging costly components, such as the catalytic converter and the engine itself. That’s why you should have a professional diagnose and repair a misfire right away.

#Car Care Advice

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