Basic knowledge of car backfire you should know


Posted by: Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Car backfire is a common phenomenon but with improper handling, it can lead to serious consequences. Click inside to read its possible causes and solutions!

Car backfiring is an unfortunate experience that will make most newbies pee in their pants out of panic. Though quite normal to some drivers, who had experienced it before, but the situation is not a good impression on the state of your car. Car backfire can occur as a result of spark plug(s) igniting the fuel in the cylinder, which consist of an installed open valve, out of turn. You can easily notice this when your car starts making funny sounds at the time you decide to put the engine to a halt. Afterwards, it releases fire or smoke from the tail pipe when you attempt to start the engine. This issue can be traced to the occurrence of fuel combustion from the internal combustion engine.

1. Reasons why car backfire happens:

  • The distribution cap may be broken

Absence of an ignition coil on the spark plug in some models can cause backfire. This is due to the distribution of electrical pulses on spark plug using the distribution cap and set of wires. Consequently, the electrical pulses play a key role in igniting the fuel as a result of sparks from the spark plugs. When the distribution cap is damaged, it allows leakage of the mixture to cause spark from one cylinder to another by causing backfire due to lack of coordination among the spark plugs.


You need to check your distribution cap to avoid car backfire

  • Incorrect engine timing

Precisely, a delayed timing can be solely responsible for car backfire. It is regarded as retarded timing in more mechanical sense. This simply means there is coordination between the cylinder block and fuel compression ignition exhaust, also known as the head of the cylinder. as a result of the delay in synchronization in the ignition cycle and lateness in the combustion chamber. It ignites the fuel as exhaust valve opens.

  • Excess supply of fuel

This happens when there is too much fuel to the engine. In this air-fuel mixture, the engine finds it hard to burn it efficiently. In some cases, dirty air filter may be responsible. When there is excess fuel in the engine while it is running, it raises the possibility of an explosion. This makes the fuel to burn slowly and fails to complete before the exhaust part of the engine cycle. At the point when the valve opens, there is an inflow of additional air which makes the unburned fuel residue to make a popping sound and burn explosively. This situation signifies back fire for your car.

  • When your spark plug wires are exposed to carbon tracking

Carbon tracking is a substantial mechanical issue that has no preference for any model of vehicle you are using. Whether your car uses distribution cap or ignition coil, your car may be a victim of carbon tracking. If your car is an old model with a distribution cap, it means all spark plug wires are connected to the apex of the distribution cap. That can result in backfire if there is a disruption with the spark plug wire due to environmental activities.

Once it persists, it will cause car backfire as a result of the short cut role of the carbon to the spark. In a newer model of cars that use ignition coil, the existence of carbon track is possible when there is incorrect path in the spark which makes the available supply of spark to be insufficient in igniting the fuel, hereby abandoning some in the cylinder. With that extra fuel in the cylinder, the next ignition may try to fire the spark plug but it will not make the flame to burn explosively, which is needed and does not complete before the valve opens. This lack of coordination of burning while the exhaust valve opens will definitely lead to car backfire.


This is your spark plug if exposed to carbon 

  • When the air gulp valve is worn out

Newer models of vehicle are built with air injector that comes with an air gulp valve. The job of the air gulp is to allow air to gain access to the system when the engine is running. This means in case of any malfunction with the air valve, it will release wrongly into the combustion chamber. The presence of unburnt fuel when ignited can also lead to car backfire.

2. How to avoid cases of car backfire

  • Make sure you check the engine warning light. Pay attention to the warning sign to avoid car backfiring.
  • You need to inspect the upstream exhaust leak to clear the air of any suspect.
  • Do a proper check on the air gulp valve. This implies you should blow the air gulp valve after removing them to clear passage for air. When the valve blows from both sides, it means the valve is faulty and needs replacement. You may require the help of a trained mechanic.
  • Check your spark plug by changing them regularly.
  • Always inspect your air sensor. This is by removing and cleaning the air flow sensor. If the sensor is broken, you will need to buy another one.

Video: Causes of car back firing

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Oluwaseun Adeniji
Oluwaseun Adeniji

Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Oluwaseun Adeniji is a passionate writer and a poet with special interest in writing about cars. He is a master degree holder in international conflict and management. He enjoys feeding the public with the latest auto gist and well researched car reviews. He is also a strong football lover. So, if Oluwaseun is not writing, expect him to be reading about sports.

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