Ask a Professor – Car trouble

Question: What could it mean if my car sputters and pulls after acceleration? What can I do to fix it?

Answer: David McNabb, Comprehensive Automotive Technology instructor: So many times words like “sputter” are used to describe such a variety of things that it becomes impossible to offer written explanations or even in-person repair attempts without further conversation and investigation.

An owner should be prepared to answer questions to the best of their ability prior to bringing their car to a service facility. Too many times the outcome of a repair attempt is compromised at the service drive due to poor communication.

This is when a good service adviser can help clarify the information from the owner so the technician has a chance at a proper repair.

This most likely is an engine misfire.  The most common causes are worn or open spark plug wires and boots, spark plugs or the ignition coil(s). The fact that it happens on a warm engine is indicative of a breakdown in the engine’s ignition system.

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