What Causes Engine Surge
Car engine surge can cause the engine to lose the RPMs for a moment and suddenly regain it at normal speed. This is usually caused due to an issue in the car’s computer system. Besides, there can be several reasons behind engine surges, depending on the vehicle’s specifications.
If your car’s engine is stalling, there are several car components that you need to examine first:
- Vacuum hoses or vacuum leaks in the intake manifold
- The bowl vent valve stuck open on a carburettor
- Clogged air filter
- Leaked fuel injectors
- Bad fuel pump
- A faulty emission control system and fuel pressure regulator
In the following guide, we will explore all about engine surge, what it is and what causes engine surge. Let’s find out.
What is an Engine Surge
The engine stall meaning is, when an engine revs up, you notice your car getting speed and slows down immediately while you’re holding the throttle steady. You may also notice fluctuations in the tachometer.
The problem may arise due to a faulty sensor that causes the car computer to deliver too much or too little fuel and then try to correct the fault by overcompensating.
Diagnosing the Engine Surge Causes
Finding the cause of an engine surge problem can be time-consuming. However, some strategies can help you get to the root of the problem.
- Pay special attention to systems that need maintenance, such as the ignition, fuel, PCV, and air cleaner systems. Sometimes a simple maintenance procedure can help you in avoiding both major and minor car repairs.
- Also, several components in emission systems can cause an engine compressor stall when there is a fault. Hence, be sure to check the car diagnostic codes, even if you don’t see the check engine light on.
The following sections will help you implement this type of strategy and will focus on the most common systems or components associated with engine overheating problems. There could be various causes of engine overheating, hence keep a check on symptoms.
Maintenance of engine systems
An engine with a performance problem may not give you a clue where to start with your diagnosis. In this case, pay attention to the systems that need maintenance and check when was the last time you changed the following components:
Also, consider your car’s owner’s manual to check the maintenance schedule. Many maintenance tasks are simple procedures and need no time if taken care of properly. Besides, many of these tasks can be done at home with basic car tools.
Diagnostic Trouble Code Lookup
In addition to your car’s maintenance schedule, you must check your car’s computer when trying to find out the engine surge problems. The computer keeps a check on emission control systems through sensors.
For example, multiple sensors or actuators can cause an engine surge when there is a fault in the following components:
- The EGR valve
- An oxygen sensor
- Throttle position sensor (TPS)
- Manifold overpressure sensor (MAP)
- Vehicle speed sensor (VSS)
- The air load sensor (ACS)
- Idle air control (IAC)
- Throttle position sensor (TPS)
- Mass airflow (MAF) sensor
A failure in any of these components or systems can activate the check engine light. Besides, you must also not ignore the signs of car engine failure to avoid major issues.
Vacuum Leak Check
Vacuum leaks are quite common and can lead to many driving problems such as engine stalls. This is especially true on vehicles equipped with a Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) or sometimes a MAF sensor.
When looking for vacuum leaks, you must check:
- vacuum hose Routing
- Proper connections
- Cracks and cuts in the vacuum hose
- Broken tees
Also, check the hose condition and vacuum connections in the following components:
- Purge valve
- Fuel pressure regulator
- Brake booster
- Oil and coolant contamination signs
Also, check for loose and damaged air intake boot connections.
Problems with idle speed control
In some car models, a faulty or dirty idle air control (IAC) motor can cause the engine to race at idle or low speeds. This issue caused due to carbon buildup. Carbon buildup stops air from passing through the throttle plate as per the car’s computer.
Ignition system check
In some models, problems with the ignition system can cause engine surges. For example, a faulty pickup coil on some vehicles can make an engine stall.
Consult your vehicle’s repair manual to help you check the ignition system and walk through the different components during your diagnosis.
Restricted PCV valve or system
A faulty PCV valve or system can display a variety of symptoms:
- Engine sludge buildup
- Oil leaks
- Misfire at idle
- Hard start condition
- Car engine idle
- Engine surge
An automatic or manual car transmission failure can also cause a problem with your car engine.
In an automatic transmission:
Sometimes doing a simple test can help you in diagnosing a bad torque converter. You can perform it to park a vehicle on a safe road with no or little traffic.
- While driving, and at a speed just before the surge occurs
- Depress the brake pedal far enough to activate the brake lights
- Throttle to make the engine throttle as usual
- If the surge goes away, the problem is likely with the torque converter, internal clutch (if equipped), or the electronic control module
In a manual transmission:
A worn-out clutch can make the transmission slip and not engage properly. However, a simple test can help you to check if your vehicle has a slipping clutch.
- Park your vehicle on a section of the road where there are no vehicles or other obstacles in front of you
- Put on the parking brake
- Depress the clutch pedal
- Start the engine
- Shift the transmission into the third gear
- Increase engine speed to 2000 rpm.
- Slowly release the clutch pedal to engage the clutch
- The engine should stop
The clutch is slipping if the engine doesn’t stop on time clutch slippage is usually caused by a worn clutch disc. You can also consult your vehicle’s repair manual, if necessary.
That’s the wrap of our guide on the causes of engine surges in your vehicle. Make sure you check all the signs and find the issue as soon as possible. Hence, if your face engine stalls frequently then there is a chance of misfiring. Engine misfiring happens when any cylinder of your car’s combustion cycle fails.
In case your engine needs major repair, then consider buying a used car for sale in the UAE at market competitive rates.
If you find this guide helpful, stay in touch with the UAE’s leading car blog.