What Causes A Car To Sputter While Driving?

What Causes A Car To Sputter While Driving

It’s no secret that cars can sometimes have a difficult time keeping up with your foot. If you’re driving on the highway, it might be because the potholes are too many or the road surface is too smooth. Or perhaps you just take the car in extra aggressive during hill-climbing sessions. There was a time when most people didn’t even know why their car could sputter when they drove. But these days, most of us know to check our speedometer and keep an eye out for potholes when we’re behind the wheel. Unfortunately, there are also times when our trusty automobiles suffer from one of the commonest defects known as “sputtering.” This is due to foreign objects getting trapped in the intake system, which can result in sparks and a hissing sound from the engine bay. It doesn’t happen often enough to report statistics about, but it’s definitely something worth watching out for if you drive a Prius or another Japanese model.

What Causes A Car To Sputter While Driving?

The answer is a little bit complicated, but generally speaking, the root of a car sputtering problem can be a number of different things. The first and most obvious is the condition of the engine itself. Whether it’s old, dirty, or rusted, it’s important to maintain it properly to ensure that it remains healthy and operates efficiently. The second most common cause of car sputtering is bad transmission fluid. If you’re regularly having issues with your car’s shifting and/or transmission, it may be time to have it serviced as soon as possible. The final common cause of car sputtering is worn-out clutch or gear cables. 

What Causes Sputtering?

Brake Fluid

If you’ve ever had to replace your brake pads because they were worn down, you may have noticed that the brake fluid was a blackish-brown color. This is because the chemical compounds in brake fluid tend to absorb some of the colors of the air you’re breathing. Brake fluid is generally made from a combination of water and anti-freeze. It’s designed to keep your brakes working properly and not freeze solid at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). This means that brake fluid will eventually get old and start absorbing some of the oxygen in your car’s atmosphere. When this happens, it can turn into a solid, preventing proper braking action on your car’s wheels. If this happens,


Rust is one of those things that’s hard to spot until it gets really bad – like when you can see every single grain of sand on a beach or when you can see your breath getting caught in a cold winter windstorm when walking outside with no coat on! Rust is another problem caused by exposure to oxygen-rich environments such as roadways during rain or snowfall – especially if there are potholes or other imperfections in them which make them inhospitable for oxygen-rich gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). When this happens, rust becomes more likely since iron tends to oxidize faster than other metals such as aluminum or copper.

Exhaust Gases

Exhaust gases are another possible culprit behind sputtering. If you’re driving a vehicle with an exhaust system that’s been modified in any way – such as with an aftermarket cat-back exhaust system or a turbocharger – it’s possible for the gases coming out of your tailpipe to get stuck somewhere in your engine’s structure and feed into the engine’s cooling system instead of being expelled through the tailpipe.

Bad Intake System

If there is a problem with your intake system causing sputtering, it could either be that there is a vacuum leak where air leaks into your intake manifold or it could be that there is a restriction somewhere along its pathway from where it enters into where it gets routed into your cylinders. A vacuum leak can cause sputtering due to excess air entering the engine and preventing proper combustion since there is no place for that air to go other than being forced back out through the tailpipe (or worse, back into the atmosphere).

Why Does My Car Sputter?

1. Bad Spark Plugs

Spark plugs can become fouled with carbon deposits, which is the main reason they have to be changed. When you’re changing spark plugs, inspect them for wear and damage. If you see any signs of wear or damage, replace them immediately. Also, keep in mind that the heads of spark plugs get hotter than the rest of your engine during operation and this can cause the electrodes to fail over time due to heat-related fatigue.

2. Bad Idle Control Valve

The idle control valve is a component that’s located in your engine’s intake tract that regulates the amount of air that enters the cylinders when you’re idling and it can malfunction, causing sputtering. Common symptoms include a rough idle or misfiring due to stalling or surging.

3. Bad Fuel Pump

If you have problems with your fuel pump, it can cause sputtering due to a lack of fuel getting to the cylinders when you’re operating at a high speed such as driving on the highway or at higher RPMs (if it’s an automatic). This is because the pump only pumps fuel through its line when there’s enough pressure in the line and this is determined by how much vacuum exists in your intake tract. If there’s a vacuum leak in the line, it can cause an intermittent problem where your fuel pump won’t meet your vehicle’s fuel demand.

4. Bad Fuel Pressure Regulator

A faulty fuel pressure regulator can cause sputtering due to a lack of fuel getting to the cylinders when you’re operating at higher speeds such as driving on the highway or at higher RPMs (if it’s an automatic). This is because the pressure regulator only works when there’s enough pressure in your intake tract. If there is a vacuum leak in the line, it can cause an intermittent problem where your fuel pump will not meet your vehicle’s fuel demand.

Simple Ways to Prevent Sputtering:

1. Naturally, Optimize Your Engine’s Carburetor and Filters Many people think that simply hooking up an aftermarket cold air intake unit to their engine ports may decrease their vehicle’s engine performance but they actually cause more problems than they beat. Most carburetors are set up perfectly when gas is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit but with an added cold air intake it usually ends up running in low 20†which Gilles to produce a lean condition and you will never get maximum power from your engine. This also lowers fuel octane levels which also leads to surge problems, possibly plug, and loss of power versus improper timing.

2. Properly Intercool Your Engine & Fitting A Larger Exhaust System Tuned Racecar-style engines are built to make more power than their stock counterparts but usually with poor means. Timing, fuel octane levels, and the compression ratio can all impact your engine’s performance and I highly urge you to always do the following considering how much power your engine produces because resets of 14,800 to 16,000 rpm (13 major degrees) can generate an in excess 80 percent of growth.

3. Lubricate your Transmission Properly There is no doubt that a properly greased transmission will always keep you in good running condition so pay extra attention if your car doesn’t feel as smooth or silent in regards to your transmission. Pay special attention at the points of this unit because of environmental changes, seasonal sticks, and stones, corrosion, contact with foreign objects – plus partial loss of lost fluid can cause failure in crankshaft hydrodynamic drive unit manganese 15mm inner and outer cold-formed steel carrier bearing seals assembly.

4. Replace Thru Shaft Oil Seal when a Timken oil-bearing fails to be properly lubricated. It’s a relatively easy procedure to suit my experience as a 20-year-old person who possessed no experience in anything automobile & trusted I was capable of assembling oil well enough to change myself. To me?..it looks complicated and intimidating but you know I am more at ease with removing air vent caps off cars when the weather is wonderful. It’s much easier this way because in the end, it will go back together making it look ever so great or your new one or replacement used car or just the proper equipment inside of the car you wish to put on your repair history list.

Final Words

As you can see, there are lots of reasons your car can sputter. It’s usually harmless and happens when your car runs out of fuel or the engine needs to be restarted. The good news is that it’s easy to fix. We list a few reasons why your car may sputter below, and we give you some tips on how to prevent it in the future.