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Toyota Fortuner

Top Reasons for Rough Idling of Your Toyota

by Mechanics Direct February 21, 2021

Idling is the process of a vehicle’s engine running while the car is not in motion. So if your car is in park or if you’re just waiting at a stoplight, you are idling. Idling keeps your vehicle prepared for when you need to resume motion, without the demand of your vehicle’s other components running.

Rough idling is characterized by a bouncing or shaking motion while your vehicle is idling. However, depending on your car’s specific case, there can be a variety of other problems as well, such as fluctuation in RPM, strange noises, and even smoke emanating from your vehicle.

Reasons your vehicle might be rough idling

There are a few reasons your vehicle might be rough idling. Some are more common than others, and it is crucial you consult with a mechanic to determine the specific cause for your vehicle’s rough idling.

  • Bad spark plugs: A problem with your vehicle’s spark plugs or spark plug wires could be the reason behind your rough idling. The spark plug does two things: ignite the combustion chamber’s fuel mixture and remove excess heat from the combustion chamber. Because it functions as a heat exchange component, a lack of function could result in a rough idle and loss of power.
  • Leak: A leak in any of the hoses that conduct fuel and air to your vehicle’s engine could be the cause of rough idling. A leak in any of these locations will cause your car to rough idle. This is in an attempt to draw more fuel into the engine to compensate for the leak.
  • Dirty fuel injector: The fuel injector controls how much fuel is released into each of the fuel cylinders, and how often. They ensure the engine receives the amount of fuel it needs to run optimally. If these injectors are excessively dirty, they can potentially release the improper amount of fuel into the cylinders and cause a rough idling engine.

Alternatively, if you drive an older Toyota model, your vehicle might have a problem with the carburetor used in cars before fuel injectors. If you drive an old enough model to make this a potential problem, using a carburetor cleaner is a great way to determine if this is the problem causing your vehicle to be rough idling.

  • Clogged air filter: Once your air filter is excessively clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris, those particles can potentially move to other areas of your vehicle. One place they can potentially move is the engine compartment, which can impact how your car starts and runs.
  • Worn oxygen sensor: This sensor is a part of the emissions system designed to ensure that your vehicle’s oxygen-to-fuel ratio is correct. If the sensor is malfunctioning, this ratio will be thrown off. This will not only cause a rough idle, but it can also impact your fuel economy. If you notice both of these problems simultaneously, it is a clear indication something is wrong with the oxygen sensor.

These are some of the most common reasons for rough idling. Various other components can cause the problem, such as problems with the head gasket, fuel pump, mass air flow sensor, engine coolant temperature sensor, idle air control valve, throttle position sensor, and evaporative emissions control system.

We Will Fix Your Rough Idling

Because there are a plethora of origins for rough idling, it is best to contact a Toyota expert to properly inspect and diagnose your vehicle and determine the correct source of the problem. Let the professionals at Mechanics Direct find the problem for you.

Toyota Spark Plug Inspection

As a family-owned and operated business for 23 years, we’ve gained the experience to service your Toyota to make it the best it can be on the roads.

Located in Lowell, MA, we also service vehicles in the North Chelmsford, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tyngsborough, and Westford areas. Not only will we find and service the problem causing your Toyota to rough idle, but we also offer a courtesy 110-point inspection conducted on every vehicle that enters our shop. With our 3-year warranty, you will feel confident that we guarantee our work and labor, as we will always put your safety and happiness as our top priority. Call us today for an appointment.

* Toyota Fortuner image credit goes to: DarthArt.