Backfiring is extremely dangerous because your car’s engine creates a toxic mixture of gasoline vapors and exhaust fumes. Because these gases are being forced into the exhaust system rather than exiting through the tailpipe, they must find another outlet.
Unfortunately, in most cases, they find their way back into the engine, contaminating the air-fuel mixture so significantly that it ignites spontaneously. This is a terrifying experience for any driver and can cause extensive damage to your vehicle’s exhaust system – not to mention your shock and stress levels!
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent a backfire from occurring in the first place. That’s why we’ve compiled this master list of tips from leading car experts on How to Backfire Your Car: 8 Expert Tips . . .
Don’t try to accelerate after a stall.
It can cause extensive engine damage, but accelerating after a stall can also cause a backfire. If the engine is still cranking, but the fuel is cut off, the cylinder can’t burn the fuel properly, and it will ignite inside the cylinder. This will force the fuel into the exhaust system, causing the backfiring that is so dangerous.
When you stall, the best thing to do is to turn off the engine and wait a minute or two. This will allow the residual fuel to burn off and the cylinder to cool down. If you’re still worried about stalling, you can also pop the hood and let out some of the pressure in the system by letting off the gas pedal. This is a great method for preventing a backfire.
Check your air filter.
Air filters get clogged with dirt and grime, which prevents air from flowing through the system properly. This can cause your car to misfire, run the rough, stall, or backfire – not to mention greatly damaging the engine. It has been estimated that air filter failure causes damage worth $94 billion every year!
So if you notice your car misfiring or hesitating when you accelerate, check your filter immediately to avoid more serious damage. Of course, purchasing a new filter every few months will get expensive fast. Instead, try cleaning the filter with a hose or vacuuming it with a leaf blower. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow the dust out of the filter.
Check your fuel filter.
Like the air filter, a clogged fuel filter can cause misfires and other problems – including backfiring. To check your fuel filter, open your hood and look for a canister or cylindrical-shaped component. If you see a wire mesh inside, it’s a fuel filter, probably clogged with dirt and debris.
You can solve this problem by replacing your fuel filter. But since the process of replacing the filter is rather complicated, we recommend you visit an auto repair shop instead. Your mechanic will be able to clean your fuel filter and replace it properly, leaving you with a car that runs smoothly.
Don’t idle for long periods.
Don’t just sit there idling the engine when you’re waiting at a stoplight. Instead, put the car in park and set the parking brake. If you absolutely must idle, turn off your air conditioner and put your windows up – closing off the path that the fumes would normally use to enter the cabin.
Similarly, don’t idle when the weather is very cold. Engines take a long time to warm up, and cold air is less dense than warm air. This means that the fuel and air mix must be more concentrated to combust properly. If you idle your engine in sub-freezing weather, you risk causing a backfire because the air and fuel won’t be adequately mixed.
Listen for strange sounds during acceleration.
If you hear a loud popping sound while accelerating, it could signal that you have a vacuum leak. Vacuum leaks occur when there is a hole in the system or when the airflow is restricted. This is a leading cause of backfiring, so if you hear a loud pop while accelerating, stop driving your car immediately and bring it to an auto repair shop.
You may think a loud pop is normal, but you could be letting dangerous fumes into the cabin without realizing it. A vacuum leak can be dangerous because the air isn’t used to create power for your car. Instead, it’s escaping into a space that it shouldn’t be in.
Don’t mix oil types
An improperly mixed oil type can cause misfires and backfire. If you’re trying to save money by buying a less expensive grade of oil, you risk causing damage to your engine. This can cause misfires, backfiring, and poor engine performance. Before changing your oil, make sure you’re buying the correct type. Similarly, if you’re buying used oil, ensure it’s in good condition. Used oil may be cheaper than new oil, but it’s not worth damaging your engine.
Don’t abuse your car – and don’t rev too fast when you do
We drive our cars every day, sometimes more than once. Over time, this can cause damage to the engine and exhaust system. You may have broken something if you notice a change in your car’s performance or hear a new sound while driving. If you rev your engine too quickly or drive it too hard, you can cause serious damage.
Similarly, you risk breaking something if you let your car sit idle for long periods or drive it with a clogged air filter. Driving hard or idling too long can cause a vacuum leak. Air pressure builds up in your system and starts escaping through tiny holes. This pressure loss creates extra work for your engine, which may cause damage if you drive too hard.
Backfiring can be a terrifying experience, but it can be prevented with proper maintenance. When you change your oil, keep an eye out for signs of damage. Similarly, you should regularly check the air filter, fuel filter, and oil level. If you notice any damage or unusual wear, bring your car in for a checkup as soon as possible.
Whether you’re driving hard or trying to accelerate after a stall, be aware of the damage you could be doing to your car. If a loud pop or strange sound comes from your engine, stop driving and bring your vehicle in for service as soon as possible.