Can a Dirty Air Filter Cause Sputtering?

Learn how dirty air filters can cause sputtering in cars and how to prevent it from happening.

Can a Dirty Air Filter Cause Sputtering?

If the engine air cleaner is clogged, the correct amount of airflow will not be able to reach the combustion chamber and you may hear bursting, sputtering, or coughing noises. A heavily clogged air filter can cause the engine to splutter or even stall. When the engine cannot draw an adequate amount of air, it may experience too rich an air-fuel ratio. This leads to an inefficient combustion process, with excess fuel remaining in the cylinders after each piston cycle. With an extremely rich air-fuel ratio, the engine can falter and sputter when accelerating and can even stop when the throttle is lifted.

In less extreme cases, the abundance of excess fuel in the cylinders will create a strong gasoline smell in your car's exhaust system when the engine is running. In some cases, you may hear a crackling sound or a pop. It is also possible to hear a whistle sound due to airflow obstruction. The more it accumulates in the filter, the louder the noises can become. A dirty air filter decreases the amount of air supplied to the engine.

This can cause an increase in unburned fuel that becomes soot residue. Soot can build up on the tips of the spark plugs, making them unable to produce a proper spark. In return, the car may move abruptly, idle, and in some circumstances, the engine may fail. When your car is parked, what does it sound like? An engine that has good oxygen flow should have a smooth and even purr. If your idle is noisy or you hear a vibration or a hiccup, you may face a faulty air filter.

Most automotive companies recommend changing the air filter every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or every 12 months. However, if you normally 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 where there is a lot of traffic, including Los Angeles and Washington DC, making it stop and start more often also requires you to replace the air cleaner more often. Most vehicles also have a cabin air filter that is used to clean the air entering the interior of the car, but it has a different maintenance program than an engine air filter. Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in more than 2,000 U. S.

UU. Fast and Free Online Quotes for Your Car Repair. What has really happened to your engine is that the air filter has become dirty or clogged. This reduces airflow by changing the air-fuel mixture. The rich fuel mixture creates a black soot residue that covers the spark plugs.

The noise comes from the spark plugs not firing properly due to this residue. Dirty spark plugs can also cause problems when starting the car and failing. If you notice your car vibrating excessively or you hear coughing or clicking noises, it's often due to a clogged air filter that dirties or damages a spark plug. A clean air filter has a white or off-white color, but as it collects dust and debris, it will look darker. Over time, the air filter can get dirty and clogged, and lack of air can affect the overall performance of your car. Newer fuel-injected vehicles use the on-board computer to achieve the optimal air-fuel mixture and automatically adjust fuel flow.

Inadequate air supply can cause carbon deposits, the by-product of combustion, to build up in the engine and turn off the engine check light. Replacing the dirty engine air filter with a new, clean one can improve engine acceleration. To do it yourself, first refer to the owner's manual for the location of the filter and refer to this step-by-step guide to removing the air filter. A dirty air filter reduces the amount of clean air that reaches the engine, which decreases its power and performance. Dirty air filters prevent the system from receiving the right amount of air or fuel and make it difficult for the engine to perform its function. Without a proper air intake, the fuel mixture will be too rich in fuel, so it will not burn properly and the engine will be deprived of the oxygen it needs. The following symptoms may appear in older cars that don't have computers but have air intake problems: However, very often, the inner layers of filter paper within the air cleaner can have dust and debris that is not visible even in bright light.