What causes engine sputtering?

0
1

 There are a lot of components that make up the engine. There are even more moving and running parts inside these components. This is why it’s normal for the engine to make engine purring noises and soft noises. The rotating shafts and always running pistons produce sound as they work.

But sometimes, you might hear unusual sounds from the engine, such as stuttering or clicking noises. Unusual sounds like these should be a reason of concern for any car owner as they indicate a problem in the engine.

However sometimes, not all stuttering sounds indicate issues with the engine. For instance, cars with fuel injected engines make a stuttering noise when the injector is firing. This is why it’s important to know the causes and signs to look out for to know whether there is engine problem.

Causes of stuttering noise

Stuttering or clicking noises can be caused by a variety of reasons. It could be low oil levels, loose component somewhere in the chassis, and wear and tear in the components, a rod knock, bad spark plugs, faulty engine fan or valves which are out of adjustment.

Low oil Level:

Low levels of oil can cause the engine to tick. In fact, it’s the most common reason for engine stuttering noise. The noise is produced when the oil level does not reach the upper part of the engine.

A stuttering or clicking or sharp shrill sound is produced when this happens. If you do not fix this problem soon enough, other components such as the valve trains, rockers, and camshafts develop serious issues. Check oil levels regularly, like once a month, using a dipstick to ensure you have enough.

Check oil pressure with special gauges designed for this purpose. Recommended pressure is between 15 and 20 PSI. Also remember that oil should be checked when the engine is warm at idle.

Valves without adjustment:

This is a very common cause of stuttering noise. The valves work by opening and closing once per tow engine spins. As they work, normal wear occurs that causes the valves to fall out of line and variable distances between each other.

This produces a stuttering noise as the valves move around when the engine is running. The silver lining to this problem is that it is the easiest and cheapest to fix.

You can fix the problem by replacing the old shims with new ones and adjusting the rocker arms. If you have a pushrod engine, ensure the lifters are clean as oil deposits tend to accumulate on them over time causing the stuttering noise.

Rod knock:

The rod is the part that connects the pistons and crankshafts. A rod knock is a problem that occurs when the bearing that connect the rod and the shaft fail. This produces a knocking or tapping sound from the engine.

In more serious cases, the rod itself knocks against the crank shaft. The noise gradually reduces as you accelerate and when the temperature is very cold but gets louder when there isn’t enough fuel in the tank. Oil knock is caused by a number of reasons including:

  1. Oil that isn’t sufficiently viscous
  2. Low oil pressure
  3. High oil temperature
  4. Excess revving
  5. Excess inertia force on the pistons
  6. You can fix a rod knock problem by following the steps below:
  7. Drain the oil out
  8. Replace the oil filter with a new one. Install and close tightly using wrench
  9. Put in new fresh oil, about five quarts. Check the rod bearings while at it and ensure they are shut tightly
  10. Clean the fuel injector to prevent debris from getting into the engine.

Faulty spark plugs:

Bad plugs means the plugs are either loose or cracked or both. If you hear a stuttering noise coming from the engine, make sure to visually inspect the plugs. Pull them out and examine them for cracks.

Also check whether they are loosely connected in the first place by wiggling them to see if they move. Replace any bad spark plugs to fix this problem.

Faulty engine fan:

This is a common cause of engine stuttering noise. A damaged fan can be due to a number of reasons such as debris entering the fan from the moving air as you drive.

A visual inspection should be enough to reveal any fan problems. Check for any loose bolts or shredded radiator. Tighten anything loose and replace the damaged radiator to fix this issue.

Wear and tear:

There are a lot of components that make up the engine. Some of them include: pistons, valves, shafts and pushrods. If any of these components experience wear and tear, you will hear stuttering a tapping noise in your engine.

To prevent further damage, ensure you replace the components fast or they might develop into clunking noises which are known to be much more serious.

Exhaust Leak:

An exhaust manifold leak causes stuttering when the engine is idle or accelerating. It occurs when exhaust gases leak from the gaskets at high pressure. It is not a serious problem and you can still drive around with it but should be fixed quickly enough so it does not develop into a worse and expensive issue.

Worn off valve train:

Another very common cause of stuttering noise is worn out valve train components. Worn off valve trains are caused by wear and tear over time. This problem can be easily and cheaply fixed by installing new shims.

How to fix stuttering noise

Depending on what the cause of the noise is, stuttering noise have different fixes and prevention measures. They include:

  1. Check oil levels regularly, like once a month, using a dipstick to ensure you have enough. Check oil pressure with special gauges designed for this purpose. Recommended pressure is between 15 and 20 PSI. Also remember that oil should be checked when the engine is warm at idle.
  2. To fix valves that are worn out or out of adjustment, you need to replace the old shims with new ones and adjusting the rocker arms. If you have a pushrod engine, ensure the lifters are clean as oil deposits tend to accumulate on them over time causing the stuttering noise. The silver lining to this problem is that it is the easiest and cheapest to fix.
  3. A rod knock problem can be fixed using the following steps:
  • Drain out all the oil
  • Replace the oil filter with a new one. Install and close tightly using wrench
  • Clean the fuel injector to prevent debris from getting into the engine.
  • Put in new fresh oil, about five quarts. Check the rod bearings while at it and ensure they are shut tightly
  1. Replace any worn out or damaged spark plugs
  2. For fan problems, Check for any loose bolts or shredded radiator. Tighten anything loose and replace the damaged radiator to fix this issue
  3. Replace any worn out engine components such as pistons and shafts with new ones

Conclusion

Stuttering noises are a common problem for any driver. Most of the causes for stuttering noises are simple and easy to fix. However, if left unattended for long, they develop into much more serious issues that will dent your bank account. Ensure you follow all preventive measures such as regular servicing to avoid these problems entirely.

 

Previous articleWater in Radiator – Can you put water in the radiator?
Next articleWhat does engine knocking mean?
Steven Reilly
Steven Reilly is a qualified mechanic and his passion for cars goes beyond just the technical aspects. He is also an amateur racer and all round car enthusiast. When he is not driving them, he can often be found in his garage under the hood of a rare model. Steven Reilly has lost track of the number of hours he has spent setting up his fine collection of rebuilt models. He believes that cars can provide a constructive and fun opportunity to teach the youth important life skills. In line with this, he is developing a community outreach program, potentially dubbed ‘Cars for change'.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here