Audis are well-known for high-performance engines that provide amazing driving experiences with great handling. Without the right care and maintenance standards, however, parts will start to deteriorate and lose their effectiveness, meaning that your Audi’s engine can start to develop problems that lead to misfire.
Let’s first take a quick look at how misfires occur. All combustion engines follow a four-step cyclical set of processes which repeat continuously as you drive. These steps or strokes are known as intake, compression, power, and exhaust. When there is a problem with any of these four steps, misfires can occur.
Misfires are broken down into 3 different types: lean misfire, ignition misfire, and mechanical misfire. These terms are used to describe the nature of the problem and the parts that may be causing the problem. Lean misfire, for example, occurs when the ratio of air and fuel is out of balance. Conversely, ignition misfire denotes a problem with one or more of the parts in charge of igniting the fuel, such as the ignition coils or the spark plugs. Lastly, mechanical misfire happens when any of the moving mechanical parts such as the pistons develop issues.
A variety of parts can contribute to engine misfires, with some parts being more likely than others. Let’s explore the most common culprits:
Spark plug failure results in ignition misfires. Spark plugs get worn out over time because they take a beating each time you drive your Audi. The role of the spark plugs is to transfer an electrical spark from one plug to another over a set gap, which is enough to light the compressed air and fuel in the combustion chamber. The spark that is used is high-voltage electricity that has been powered-up by the ignition coil. This means that each time a spark passed between the plugs, it damages their metal-coated tips, breaking off microscopic pieces of the surface. Over time, this reduces the conductivity of the plugs, but more crucially, this degradation extends the gap between each pair. The widening of the gap makes it harder to successfully carry a spark across to the other plug, resulting in misfires.
Fuel injector failure causes lean misfires. The fuel injectors of your Audi are responsible for injecting fuel into your engine at a specific rate, angle, and spray pattern. However, no matter the grade of fuel you use, no gas is perfectly clean. Microscopic particles of debris and sediment can slip through filters and settle in the injectors. Over time, the sediment can build up and block the injectors, impeding the amount of fuel that is added to the engine resulting in a discrepancy between the air and fuel inside the engine, causing lean misfire.
Piston rings are used to regulate the oil pressure inside the engine of your Audi. As they contain a large amount of pressure, they can become worn over time. When this happens, the pistons inside the engine can lose their timing and become misplaced. The piston rings can also contribute to ignition misfires as they can spark plugs to fire and inopportune times.
Head gaskets can develop leaks or even blow given the right scenarios. When they start to leak, they affect the compression of the cylinders. This reduces the overall compression in the combustion chamber, resulting in fuel becoming more difficult to ignite leading to frequent misfires and rough idling.
Fixing engine misfires in your Audi should only be undertaken by experienced hands. This is because there can be such a wide range of causes for engine misfire. So knowing where to look and being able to systematically work methodically through common causes is essential. Remember, your engine is the most important and most expensive part of your car, and without it functioning correctly, your Audi is going nowhere. Therefore, trying to attempt repairs yourself without the correct knowledge is a recipe for disaster and could only cost you more time and money and seeking a specialist solution.
Drivers in Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Sausalito, and Tiburon, CA should visit Masters European and Japanese Auto Repair for a swift resolution to their Audi’s misfiring issues. Call us today to schedule your first appointment.