How Long Can You Drive a Car with Misfire?

When one of the cylinders in your car starts misfiring, you can still drive thousands of miles. But it is unsafe to drive a car with misfire! Most of the time, misfiring does not require you to tow your vehicle. Some people even go 50,000 miles without getting it fixed. But is it a good idea to drive a car that misfire?

In this article, we will be answering the most common questions about engine misfires. In addition, you can learn about the issues with driving without treating a misfiring engine.

Can You Keep Driving with Misfire?

Technically, you can still drive with an engine misfire in most cases. In fact, some cars can even go 50,000 miles with one cylinder misfiring. However, it is not safe or ideal to do so.

Some cars may not be drivable when a misfire happens. First, we must consider how many cylinders a car has and how many of them are misfiring. When only one cylinder misfires, your vehicle will still be able to operate.

Some newer models have a built-in mode that will turn on when the engine misfires. This mode makes your vehicles slower to prevent accidents during a misfire.

To summarize, you can still drive with a cylinder misfiring. However, instead of keep using your vehicle in that condition, get it fixed by going to a nearby repair shop.

Reasons behind Cylinder Misfiring

Misfiring occurs when the spark plugs do not work correctly. A spark plug’s purpose is to ignite the gas inside the cylinder. When it fails to ignite, you are faced with misfiring. Usually, spark plugs stop working because of damaged wires or wear.

Along with spark plug issues, misfiring can happen for other reasons, too. For example:

  • Leaking exhaust valves causing loss of the air/fuel mix.
  • Blown head gasket causing loss of the air/fuel mix.
  • Fuel pressure or fuel injector issues causing the air/fuel mix to be lean.

Fixing Misfire (Step-by-Step)

Fixing a misfiring engine can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. If you are not good with tools and the mechanical aspects of a car, it’s better to leave it up to experts. However, if you still want to try to fix the issue yourself, here’s a guide. Remember that you can damage your engine more if you make mistakes during this process!


A scanning tool such as the OBD2 can be excellent for finding the reasons behind why your engine is misfiring. Moreover, it will check and deliver codes about the fuel delivery system.

Detecting Leaks

If you see any leaks on the fuel system or vacuum lines, you need to seal them. Leaks cause air to get in the fuel system and mess up the air/fuel mixture. Sometimes, fixing this will solve a misfiring issue. However, keep checking for more diagnoses.

Examining Spark Plug

When a spark plug does not ignite, it causes engine misfiring. Check the spark plugs for damage. Replace them if needed.

Fuel System Test

Use a fuel pressure gauge to do this test. If the fuel reading is under 5-psi or not stable, you may need to replace the fuel pump or the filter.

Coil Pack Test

You can use a digital multimeter to do this test. Spark plugs have coil packs, and a multimeter can detect the coil’s resistance. While checking the resistance, it should be consistent and the same across the spark plug wires. If there’s inconsistency, you will have to change the coil.

Final Note

You should not get into the habit of driving your car with a misfiring engine. When a cylinder misfires, it can cause an array of problems and cause further damage to the engine. As a result, it’s best to get the misfiring fixed as soon as you encounter it.

Remember that if you continue driving with a misfire, it can increase the cost of repair as damages build up.

Leave a Comment