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What to do when your car backfires

Published on: 21 November 2017

What to do when your car backfires

Cars have gone from being a luxury, to being a necessity over the years. The slightest problem could lead to great inconveniences that can leave you stranded. One such problem is an unpleasant noise, followed by a jolt to the senses while driving. The last thing you’re looking forward to dealing with this festive season, is a car that backfires – it can be pricy. If your car is backfiring, then it’s important to understand why this happens and what the implications could be.

What could be the problem?

One of the most common causes for cars backfiring is the unbalanced ratio between air and fuel. In cases where unburnt fuel is ignited in your car’s internal combustion engine, it causes external firing that can be seen outside the engine. This would be the “fire” or “smoke” that you see coming from the exhaust pipe.

Where to start looking when fixing a backfiring car:

  • Check your spark plugs
    Spark plugs are responsible for firing an internal combustion engine; dirty or worn out plugs run the risk of malfunctioning and casing a backfire. Check these for any issues or if they are correctly fitted, and if necessary, remove the faulty plugs with a spark plug spanner.
  • Check your carburettor
    Your carburettor plays a crucial role in the regulation of your engine and should be checked regularly. If you hear funny sounds coming from your car, accompanied by an uncomfortable jolt while driving, it basically means that there is an incorrect mix of air in the fuel causing it to act up and thus needs fixing.
  • Check your distributor cap.
    Your car’s distributor cap is an important part of the ignition system; and a small crack or a broken distributor cap will most likely cause your car to backfire. With the correct tools in hand, you can save yourself in service and replacement costs by doing a quick DIY job.
  • Check your fuel pump
    Last, but certainly not least – check your fuel pump. A faulty fuel pump can lead to having insufficient fuel for engine acceleration. If this is the cause for the backfire, a new fuel filter is due.

Just like with other maintenance jobs, fixing a backfiring car can be on the costly side. You may be able to save some extra cash for the festive season with some DIY fixing, but why not take it a step further with comprehensive car insurance and ensure that your car is covered should you not be able to do it yourself.