NYC's Premier Tire Dealer


So You Say Your Car's Running Rough?

Check Engine Light

Your car used to be running great, and all the sudden it’s running rough, doesn’t have a lot of power and is using more gas. Why is this happening?

Truth is, there are all kinds of reasons for a rough running condition. The smart play is to start with the simplest stuff, then work your way from there. Here’s a brief rundown of a few of the culprits for a rough-running condition:

--A dirty air filter can literally smother the engine by restricting air flow through the fuel system. This is a quick and easy fix; just locate the air box, take out the old air filter, toss it and replace it.

--Newer vehicles no longer have a coil, distributor and plug wires. Instead, they’re designed with a coil-on-plug setup that delivers spark at the spark plug itself. If these COP units start to fail, it can cause the vehicle to buck and run horribly.

--A dirty fuel filter can cause a lot of problems. Fuel filters are located in the fuel line on newer vehicles, or possibly in the fuel tank by the pickup for the fuel pump (not something for the shade tree mechanic to take on).

--The engine has numerous vacuum lines to help govern certain engine functions. A cracked, disconnected or leaking vacuum line can be enough for the engine computer to detect a bad reading and can throw off ignition timing, fuel metering, and fuel delivery.

--The oxygen sensor is mounted in the exhaust stream (many vehicles have more than one) and reads the composition of exhaust gasses. This information is sent to the engine computer to help regulate fuel delivery and emissions. A failed O2 sensor can definitely cause a rough running condition.

--The mass airflow sensor (MAF sensor) reads the volume of air that’s making its way into the fuel system and helps the computer determine the right strategies for air/fuel ratio. A dirty or failing MAF sensor will usually cause a rough idle at first, then eventually sluggish, rough running.

The moral? If your vehicle’s running rough, it’s not cause for panic because it might be something relatively minor. Make an appointment with us at 106 St Tire & Wheel and we’ll check it out!


Auto Repair 101