7 Reasons Car Sputters When Starting + How To Fix It

Drivers have experienced their car sputtering when it is starting. This can be frustrating to most drivers, and it would take time, especially if you have somewhere you have to be. 

So today, you must not worry anymore because we will be talking all about the reasons why your car is sputtering. So let us get started.

7 Reasons Car Sputters When Starting

Why Is My Car Sputtering When I Start It?

There are many possible reasons why your car is sputtering. To know each of them, we have listed them below for your enlightenment. Keep reading.

1. You Might Have A Weak Battery

You might have a problem with your weak battery. If your battery is not in its one hundred percent good condition, it might sputter when starting the engine. On the other hand, if the engine’s already running, it will need less power from the battery. 

It will also require less power because, at some point, running the car will charge it slightly. So this is why the sputtering is occurring if the engine is starting. If you have a weak battery, you have to charge it to a full charge. 

You have to check, though, if running the engine is not curing it. This is because the battery will slightly charge if the engine is running.

2. You Can Have Faulty Spark Plugs, Dirty Spark Plugs, Or Dirty Fuel Injectors

You can also check for any faulty spark plugs. First, check if your spark plugs need replacement. Second, check if it is defective and it has damage on it. 

You also have to check if your spark plugs are dirty. Your engine needs your spark plug to be in its best condition, and getting it dirty is not a good thing. It might not cause enough spark if it is filthy. 

You might have also had dirty fuel injectors. Unfortunately, your engine and your vehicle’s components are not immune to dirt and filth. 

They are very exposed to dirt. And that is why you need to clean them as much as you can and as often as possible.

3. You Can Have Faulty Sensors, Dirty Sensors, Or Your Air Filter Is Clogged

In starting your vehicle, you need to have all the sensors. For example, you have a mass airflow sensor, fuel injection sensor, and oxygen sensor. You need all these sensors to start your car correctly. 

If one of these sensors is not correctly working, then you will have a sputtering in your car when you are starting it. In addition, if any of these sensors are also very dirty, you need to clean them to perform adequately. 

If you also have a dirty sensor, you need to clean it too. You have to check if your air filter is clogged too. Remove the clog by cleaning it.

4. You Might Have A Bad Fuel Pump

You also have to check if you have a bad fuel pump. Your fuel pump is the one that is moving the gas that is coming from the tank and into the cylinders. 

If the fuel pump is failing and is not in its best condition, it might not be transferring the gas properly. You may also experience sputtering if your gas is low.

5. You Might Have An Exhaust Leak, Or Your Gaskets Might Be Leaking

If your car is sputtering, there may be a leak in the exhaust. The leak in the exhaust can be anywhere. 

You can find it anywhere. It can be under the car or somewhere else.

6. Your Catalytic Converter Might Be Failing

You might also have to check the catalytic converter. If your catalytic conversion fails, it will cause a sputter in your engine when you start the car. You have to replace your catalytic converter as soon as you can.

7. Your Ignition Switch Might Be Malfunctioning

You also have to check if you have a failing ignition switch. If you have a failing ignition switch, it will not send the proper signal to your engine. Your engine will then be sputtering.

How Do I Fix My Car From Sputtering?

If your car is sputtering, here are some steps that you can do to prevent your car from sputtering anymore. First, refer to the steps below.

1. First Step

Check the components in your secondary ignition system. First, you have to check for any damaged insulation and if the insulation on the wires of the spark plug is burned or damaged. Next, you can inspect each wire and then look if any wire conductors are cut or damaged.

2. Second Step

Using an ohmmeter, you have to check for the resistance of the ignition coil. You have to replace the oil if it is out of the specifications of the manufacturer.

3. Third Step

Inspect your fuel injectors and check their condition. Start your engine. By using a mechanical stethoscope, listen carefully to the fuel injectors if the engine is idle. 

If the fuel injector opens and closes, you must hear a clicking sound. If you do not hear any clicking sound, you need to check if your fuel injector is faulty. Have them replaced.

4. Fourth Step

Start your engine. Next is you have to check for the fuel spray pattern found in your throttle body injectors.

5. Fifth Step

Find the vacuum hoses that are connecting the components to the engine and then check their condition. First, you have to check for any damaged hoses. 

If there is a leak in the vacuum, it will affect the performance of your car. So you have to change it as soon as you can.

6. Sixth Step

Have your fuel and air filters replaced as what is recommended by your manufacturer. Look for your owner’s manual and have it replaced.

Car Sputters When Starting Then Dies: What To Do?

If you are experiencing that your car is sputtering and then starts to die, you should immediately check for your engine. But, first, you need to rectify the problem at hand so that there will be no significant damages to your vehicle. Here are the things you can do if your car is sputtering and starting to die.

1. You Need To Replace Your Spark Plugs

If you have damaged spark plugs, you might have an engine stall. Your spark plug is generating a spark to power your engine. If the spark plug is not having enough spark, you have to change your spark plug.

2. You Need To Replace Your Fuel Injector Or Your Sensor

If you have a damaged fuel injector or a defective sensor, you need to replace it as soon as you can.

3. You Need To Check For Any Leak In Your Fuel Pump

If you leak into your fuel pump, there will be changes in your air-fuel mixture. If there is an imbalance mixture, there will be a combustion issue. So check for any leaks in your fuel pump.

Car Sputters When Starting And Idling: What To Do?

You have to check for your spark plugs. Inspect if they are in good condition and if they are working correctly. There can be problems with your spark plugs, and you might be burning the fuel, or some fuel injectors are leaking.


In summary, you will experience when your car is sputtering. If your car is sputtering when you turn them on and then dies, there can be some possible reasons. You have to check immediately what the issue is. 

It can be that there is something wrong with your spark plugs. However, you might also have some other problems with your components.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more