Service ESC, cylinder four misfire?

Tiny
SARAHTHEGREEN
  • MEMBER
  • 2009 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 160,878 MILES
I've been struggling with my car for the last 7 months.

I sometimes get the service light 'Servce ESC - Service traction control' pop up after my car kind of has a gentle shaking coming from the engine. It's not running smoothly. This generally only happens if the car is sitting idle for maybe 10 minutes or so. When I'm driving, it runs fine. Now it's starting to get to the point where it feels like it's running rough even at stop lights. I've taken my car into the shop several times because after it does this the engine light comes on and says cylinder 4 misfire.

Now i've already had the ignition coil & spark plug wires replaced since all this started. It slowed down the misfires greatly but it's still acting funny when it sits idle for longer than a few minutes. I talked to a mechanic in town, and he suggested putting Cheron fuel cleaner in my tank and switching to a higher grade of gas like BP. I did some of that. I switched from Casey's premium gas to Break Time's premium gas and started to put fuel cleaner in but the problem still persists.

I know if I take it into a shop, they'll just say nothing's wrong with it. I don't really want to ignore the problem, but it's not severe enough for a shop to really notice. Maybe if I knew what to tell them? Help.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 AT 10:55 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • MECHANIC
  • 108,477 POSTS
Hi:

The ESC is likely the result of a wheel speed sensor that is failing. If the speed indicated on one wheel is different than the others, there is a good chance it will set a code. Have there been any codes related to the ESC/traction control system?

Next, keep in mind there are more things than a coil or spark plug that can cause a misfire. I have to ask. Does the same code always return? If it does, the next thing I would try is to switch the fuel injector from cylinder 4 to a different one to see if the misfire changes cylinders.

On the other hand, if you also get a random misfire code, I would start by checking for engine vacuum leaks. If unmetered air gets into the engine, it can cause a misfire and a rough idle. Take a look at this link and let me know if you are comfortable performing it.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-an-engine-vacuum-gauge

Let me know.

Joe
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Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 AT 6:47 PM
Tiny
SARAHTHEGREEN
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Thank you for responding Joe. To my knowledge the only codes that have repeatedly popped up was the Servce ESC - Service traction control followed by a Cylinder 4 Misfire. I hope that answers, if anything was related question.

I had a friend mention it might be something with the car's airflow, but I'm not a mechanic. Is this something you think Walmart or Firestone can fix? I looked at the link, but I don't really work on cars, so I'm not familiar with what things are supposed to look like.
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Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 AT 11:22 AM
Tiny
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  • 3 POSTS
Also do you think it could be a problem of the carbon buildup? One mechanic told me to just change the type of gas I was putting in it. So far it hasn't worked. Do you think the carbon thing could be the cause of the Service ESC code popping up. Have you heard of that causing the rough idle?
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Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 AT 11:26 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • MECHANIC
  • 108,477 POSTS
Hi:

Carbon doesn't have anything to do with the ESC. Also, different fuel usually doesn't change anything.

To answer your question, any shop is okay to use as long as they have qualified people working there. In this case, you would want someone that is familiar with GM vehicles.

Also, if there is a build up of carbon on the valves, that could allow air to bypass, lowering compression. That can cause a misfire. However, the idea of an air leak is also unlikely because it would affect more than one cylinder. We may simply have lower compression on that cylinder. You may want to have that checked as well. Also, I would try switching the fuel injector from cylinder 4 to a different location to see if the misfire changes cylinders.

Let me know what I can do to help.

Joe
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Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 AT 8:11 PM

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