What causes a rough idle when warm
If your car starts fine when cold but has a hard time starting when warm or has a rough idle when warm, check out these possible causes
A Vacuum leak can cause rough idle when warm
Why would a vacuum leak cause a rough idle when warm but not cold? Simple. When you start a cold engine, the computer commands a rich mixture and a high idle, so a small vacuum leak has less effect on the engine. Once the engine warms up and the computer cuts back on fuel and idle RPMs, a vacuum leak becomes much more noticeable. A vacuum leak is really air entering the engine that hasn’t been noticed by the computer, so the computer commands the proper air/fuel mixture but the leak causes that mixture to become too lean. You wind up with a lean misfire that causes a rough idle when warm.
Also, some vacuum leaks are heat-related, especially with plastic components. So plastic parts may not leak when cold but leak when warm. Check all vacuum hoses, the intake air duct and the intake gasket for leaks
Engine coolant temperature sensor can cause a rough idle when warm
The computer computes air/fuel mixture based on engine temperature, ambient air temperature, and the throttle position sensor. An engine coolant temperature sensor can give faulty readings as it ages. You can check the operation of the coolant temp sensor using live data on your scan tool or by testing it with a digital multimeter. Compare the coolant temp sensor readings to the actual engine temperature using a non-contact infrared thermometer
A stuck EGR valve can cause a rough idle
Exhaust gas recirculation should only occur when the engine is at higher RPM. If the EGR valve is leaking, it will cause a rough idle, especially when the engine is warm. A leaking EGR might not affect cold idle because the fuel mixture is rich and the RPMs are high. Check the EGR valve to make sure the valve is closing properly.
Leaking fuel injectors can cause rough idle when warm
Leaking fuel injectors cause fuel to leak into the combustion chamber. That often doesn’t cause problems on a cold start because most of that fuel has evaporated between the last shut down and the cold start. But leaking fuel can cause an extended crank and hard start when hot and then a rough idle for a while when the engine is warm.
Faulty O2 sensor
The computer ignores data from the O2 sensor when the engine is started cold. That’s because O2 sensors don’t function properly until they’re at full operating temperature. All modern O2 sensors have a built-in heater to shorten the time between cold start and the time when they’re fully operational. Not only do the heaters decrease warm up time, but the heaters actually stay running the entire time the engine runs to prevent the sensors from cooling off when you’re idling. Normally, a heater fault would set a check engine light. But in rare cases, the heater can fail without setting a code. When that happens, the sensor reports faulty data to the computer resulting in the wrong air-fuel mixture.
This faulty data would show up in your short and long term fuel trim readings.
Worn spark plugs
Worn Spark plug has a much easier time firing when the air/fuel mixture is rich and the RPMs are high than when the air/fuel mixture is lean and the RPMs are low.
A Wonky fuel pressure regulator can cause rough idle when warm
Once again, this problem may not show up when cold because the computer commands a rich mixture and high idle when cold. Once warm, a bad fuel pressure regulator can cause a rough idle by leaning out the mixture due to low fuel pressure.
What wouldn’t cause a rough idle when warm
A Fuel filter would not cause a rough idle when warm. A clogged fuel filter would cause far more problems on a cold start when fuel demand is higher.
©, 2020 Rick MuscoplatPosted on by Rick Muscoplat