Car Sputtering Problem | Causes and Fixes

fix the engine sputtering

You must have observed your car sputtering especially when you forget to refill its gas. It’s not hard to tell if your car is sputtering or not. You can easily guess it by checking the vehicle engine. However, sometimes you may observe your car sputtering even when there is no need to refill it with gas or any other fuel it’s using. It may be a serious problem. You cannot drive your vehicle when it’s sputtering and can stop anywhere. It may ruin some of your most memorable road trips.

Therefore, you need to fix the engine sputtering immediately so it cannot ruin your beautiful journeys. However, you cannot just jump toward fixes without knowing “why is the car sputtering?” You need to figure out the signs and reasons for it. Don’t worry! You don’t have to search for them, we are here to guide you in this regard. Let’s move forward.

Signs of Car Sputtering:

It’s not difficult to tell if your vehicle is sputtering or not. There are some simple signs you can focus on and find it. These signs are very clear and can be guessed from the beginning. The following are the most common signs of it.

  • You can hear the sound of soft or incomplete combustion. The sound is more clear when you start your car’s engine. These sounds are different from typical engine sounds.
  • You may observe difficulty while driving. When the car struggles to accelerate and shakes during driving it means its engine is sputtering.
  • You can observe shaking and weird noises when idling a car at lower than normal idling rpm. This too is due to sputtering.

Why is Car Sputtering-Know All Possible Reasons?

Knowing the causes of any problem is required to fix it. Sometimes only avoiding causes can lead to the solution of the problem and inhibit its comeback in the near future. The following are the key causes of engine sputtering. Let’s have a look at them.

Low Gas Level

It is one of the most common causes of car sputtering. You must have heard the weird sounds the vehicle makes when you start it without refilling its gas. However, sputtering due to this reason is not very alarming. It can simply get fixed soon after you drive your car to a gas station and refill it.

It can simply get fixed soon after you drive your car to a gas station and refill it

Non-functional Spark Plugs

Sputtering is mainly due to incomplete combustion of fuel in the car’s engine. Spark plugs are the part of the engine that initiates the burning or combustion process and makes your vehicle drive smoothly. However, non-functional or defective plugs cannot produce enough spark to ignite the fuel. You can face the vehicle starting problem due to incomplete combustion of the engine’s fuel. You observe sputtering due to the same reason as well.

Car Spark Plug
Photo: Nazly Ahmed

Clogged Fuel Injectors

The fuel Injectors are used for the transport of gas to the engine. They maintain a steady flow according to acceleration. However, they can get dirty or clogged. It hinders the flow of gas into the combustion chamber. As a result, there is not enough gas in the chamber to drive your vehicle smoothly. Your car struggles to accelerate and eventually stops in such conditions.

Inactive Fuel Filters

Fuel filters are present in your car’s engine to filter out all the dust particles and other debris from your car’s fuel. However, when they get defective, they fail to do their job properly. As a result, it can get harder for the combustion chamber to burn this contaminated fuel. It results in soft combustion and your vehicle starts sputtering.

A filter is present in your vehicle to filter out impurities present in the petrol.

Bad Gas

Bad gas in cars is one of the major causes. If you observe sputtering the most after gas refill, it means it’s due to the bad quality of the gas. Low-grade fuels don’t burn effectively in the vehicle. They fail to run the engine smoothly and you face a lot of sputtering. Try to find a reputable gas station that has high-quality gas for your vehicle.

If you observe sputtering the most after gas refill, it means it’s due to bad quality of gas.

Failed Catalytic Converter

Advanced cars are now coming with catalytic converters. These converters tend to change harmful combustion gases released from your car’s engine into less harmful ones. The main purpose is to avoid air pollution. However, it also impacts the overall health of automobiles. However, a damaged catalytic converter that is not doing its job perfectly can lead to sputtering. If your car is sputtering while driving then there are chances that it’s due to a failed catalytic converter.

catalytic converter
Photo: Mr ATM

Fixes for Car Sputtering:

Engine sputter can lead to several problems in your car. You need to fix it as soon as possible to avoid irreversible damage to the engine. The following are the most effective fixes.

Changing Gas Station

The first thing you can do is to change your gas station. If you observe sputtering after every refill, it means your vehicle is not receiving good fuel. Therefore, you need to change the gas station and choose a reliable one this time. Never opt for low-grade fuel to save a few bucks.

Replacing Fuel Filters

The next thing you have to do is to replace your car’s fuel filters. Replacing damaged fuel filters with new ones can solve the issue. Apart from that, it is effective against other relative issues as well. Most car acceleration problems can also get solved by just replacing the filters.

Replacing Fuel System Components

Car sputtering when driving can get fixed by using this method. Mostly it is due to the problems in the combustion system. You need to examine the combustion chamber closely and check if there is any default in it. It’s hard to fix the small parts of combustion engines. Therefore, the best way is to replace them with new ones that work decently and are more durable.

Checking for Electric Parts

Ignition plugs and ignition coils are the electric parts in your vehicle. They are responsible for starting the ignition. However, they may fail to conduct current from the battery upon starting the car and may not produce enough spark. It causes soft combustion and sputtering. Therefore, you need to check these parts after regular intervals and get them replaced in case of any damage.

Visit to Mechanic

It is probably the best solution to fix this. Mechanics are highly experienced and qualified to deal with all these problems. Engine sputtering during acceleration, at low rpm, or due to any other reason can be fixed by mechanics. Make sure to take your car for regular maintenance. It is the key to increasing its durability.


What is sputtering in a car?

Sputtering is usually a feeling of backfiring in your car’s engine. This is incomplete combustion that leads to weird sounds and doesn’t let your car run smoothly.

Why does my vehicle sputter?

There are several reasons behind car sputtering. It may be due to low-grade fuels, damaged filters, non-functional sparking plugs, and several other reasons.

Is the car sputtering bad?

It can lead to several serious problems including damage to the engine. So yeah! It’s bad for your car.

Final Words

Sputtering is not just about some noises from the engine and vibrations during driving. It can lead to irreversible engine damage. So, try to get it fixed ASAP. Avoid reasons that cause engine sputtering. It’s time to get rid of backfiring noises and vibrations!

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