What causes engine misfire at low RPM?

Lately, my Mini Cooper misfires when the engine is idling, or when I slow down below 250 RPM. I bought the car three years ago and it has been great. This is the first real issue I’ve had. What makes the engine misfire at low RPM? Is it worth a trip to the mechanic?

Lynell Spencer · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
I’m sorry to hear you’re having car trouble! There are a few different reasons your engine might misfire at low RPM, so unless you know your way around your engine, a trip to the mechanic is definitely in order.
An engine misfire happens when one (or more) of the cylinders in your engine don’t create combustion the way they are supposed to. This happens when there isn’t the right mix of air, fuel, and spark in the engine. Here are some of the most common causes of engine misfire at low RPM:
  • No spark: Bad spark plugs, a faulty distributor cap, or bad wiring can all cause spark plugs to fail, meaning they will not ignite the gas/air mixture in the cylinder, causing a misfire.
  • Lean fuel: When the air-to-fuel ratio has less fuel than needed, this will cause the engine to misfire. This can happen because of a dirty fuel filter, bad fuel pump, or clogged fuel line.
  • Loss of compression: If there are leaky seals, bad valves, or blown gaskets, the cylinder will not be able to hold the compression it needs to ignite the air/gas mixture, causing engine misfire.
Because of the range of possibilities, you will need to have an inspection done to determine the cost and the
time needed
for this repair. You won’t want to wait, as the problem will get worse until the engine stalls out completely.
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