Does Your Scooter Sputter When Accelerating? Best Tips


Updated on October 17, 2021

Issues with your motorcycle engine and other components are unfortunately a common occurrence. The older your motorcycle is, the more often they’ll occur.

Generally speaking, it can be incredibly frustrating if the problem not only persists but actually prevents you from riding the vehicle itself.

One such problem that can disturb your driving routine is a sputtering engine.

We’ll take a detailed look at why this happens in the first place and what you can do to fix it.

Why does your scooter sputter when accelerating?

While a sputtering engine is a common issue that bikers will face once or twice, it can be quite bothersome to deal with.

Because the engine is so sensitive and has numerous components inside, there can be several reasons why your scooter sputters while accelerating.

A common culprit could include a mixture of carburetor issues or it could be something else entirely such as a corroded spark plug, faulty filters, and other fuel system issues.

The first step you must do is to identify why the problem is happening.

One helpful way you can do that is by breaking down which scooter mechanics of the engine could result in sputtering.

This includes three major areas that you should look at that includes Air, Fuel, and Spark.

The common culprits

There are mostly four issues that could result in a motorcycle sputtering.

You can go through each of the issues one by one to determine the underlying cause of the fault from the most common to the least. After that, you can take the appropriate steps to fix the problem.

The following are some common reasons why a scooter might sputter when you accelerate.

  • Carburetor: The carburetor in a motorcycle is responsible for maintaining a balance between air fuel mixture to power the engine. Any fault in this delicate balance and you’ll face issues such as sputtering.
  • Ignition system: The ignition system in your motorcycle is a fundamental component without which your bike wouldn’t be able to perform. A faulty component such as a rusty spark plug or corroded wiring can cause several issues including sputtering.
  • Filter: An air filter is responsible for keeping dust, debris, and other elements out of the engine. Over time it can become clogged and cause sputtering.
  • Timing: Timing allows you to control and synchronize the movement of the crankshaft, camshaft, and engine valves. If the timing isn’t properly adjusted, it can destroy your engine entirely. Sputtering will be the least of your concerns.

Best ways to fix motorcycle sputtering

Now that you’ve identified why your bike is sputtering, you can read the following information which details the possible steps you can take to fix this problem.

Carburetor Issue

A faulty carburetor is the most common reason why your scooter sputters as you accelerate.

It’s also the easiest to fix. Basically, a carburetor is responsible for providing the right air and fuel mixture to provide the engine with enough power to run.

As you can imagine, there’s a wide room for problems and issues to pop up if even a small component is out of place.

One way that a carburetor issue can result in a sputtering engine is if there’s a vacuum leak.

A vacuum leak occurs when the balanced mixture of air and fuel has too much of the latter and too little of the former. Usually, a vacuum is compromised due to cracks and brittle intake boots.

It can even be caused by something as simple as a loose clamp.

Despite how serious the problem sounds, it’s easy to solve. Replacing intake boots or finding vacuum port plugs are both cheap and easy fixes you can do by yourself to fix the engine.

Similarly, if the issue is caused by a gas leak in a carburetor, you can take care of the problem easily. A gas leak is the opposite of a vacuum leak. Meaning that there’s too much air and not enough fuel in the engine.

You don’t even need to have any sort of technical expertise to identify this issue as you can simply smell the leak and visually identify any sort of cracks in the gasket.

Once that’s done, simply replace the gasket and you’ll be able to enjoy a smooth ride on your motorcycle.

Finally, your motorcycle might sputter during acceleration due to a faulty tuning of the carburetor. You’ll simply need to take your motorcycle to your local technician, and the carburetor can be readjusted in a single visit.

Ignition issue

If you’ve thoroughly checked your carburetor and haven’t been able to identify any fault then perhaps the problem lies in your motorcycle ignition system.

You start by checking off the most obvious possibility: the spark plugs.

If you haven’t kept up with your motorcycle maintenance, there may be a buildup on the spark plugs or corrosion that could be interfering with the engine mechanics causing poor performance and motorcycle sputtering.

If that’s not the case, then look at the spark plug wires.

The older the motorcycle is, the more likely it is that your spark plug wire threads have eroded over time. The wires can become rusty and develop cracks leaving your engine exposed to issues.

Like the previously mentioned problems, this one also has an easy fix. Simply take the wires out and check for buildup. Either clean the wires or replace them.

Finally, your motorcycle might be facing ignition issues due to the ignition coil. If the coil fails to create and send enough spark to the plugs, it will cause a misfire in the engine leading to performance issues including sputter.

It’s best to leave this problem to the professionals.

Not only is an issue within the ignition coil unlikely to happen, but if you suspect it to be the case, it can become dangerous for you to check without proper training and knowledge.

Filter Issue

Another issue can be a clogged air filter. A dirty and clogged air filter would disturb the balance of air and fuel resulting in your engine becoming unable to properly power the motorcycle.

The best way to avoid a clogged air filter is to arrange regular maintenance for your vehicle and to pay attention to the performance of the bike.

Fixing your air filter or replacing it entirely is a cheap fix. You can either do it yourself or reach out to a local technician if you’re unsure about how to proceed.

Timing Issue

If you’ve gone through all the possible issues mentioned that could result in a sputtering engine, you should finally move on to check whether your bike has a timing issue.

The likelihood of this issue popping up isn’t high but if you can’t find any other reason, there’s a possibility that a timing issue could be the root cause of why your bike’s performance isn’t up to par.

You’ll most likely face a timing issue if you’ve recently rebuilt your engine or have tried to fix the timing before unsuccessfully.

Having a timing issue means either the exhaust valve or the intake valve is open leaving the mechanics of the engine compromised. This will result in poor performance and sputters in a motorcycle.

The best advice for you would be to take the motorcycle to your local mechanic to fix it.

The timing is a sensitive part of the motorcycle and unless you’re sure about what needs to be done, you’ll likely end up creating more expensive problems to fix.

Conclusion

Having a sputtering problem with your motorcycle can be incredibly frustrating. But rest assured, the problem is a common occurrence and doesn’t usually act as a harbinger of doom.

Instead, you can easily fix the problem by determining the underlying cause of it and focusing on the 3 main functions within a motorcycle.

This includes checking components dealing with air, fuel, and spark.

Usually, the problem can be caused by something as small as tightening a loose bolt while other times it may dictate a visit to your local mechanic for diagnosis and repairs.

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