While you’re more likely to see a Land Rover tackling suburban life than you are off-roading, it’s important to remember the utilitarian history of these four-by-four giants. Designed to ‘tough it out’ over many miles and varying terrains and challenges, Land Rovers are typically well-made, resilient, and reliable cars. However, no vehicle is perfect and Land Rovers are known to experience unstable, rough, or erratic idling. Let’s take a closer look at the causes of this issue.
Rough idling isn’t exactly a subtle thing, and you’ll likely notice it pretty quickly. When your Land Rover is idling, say at an intersection or in traffic, you’ll likely notice it starts to shake, shudder, or bounce. Along with this you might notice strange sounds and find your RPM counts become unpredictable. An idling vehicle should have a consistent RPM near 1,000. A vehicle that rises above or below this or jerks between figures will almost certainly have an idling issue.
There are 4 key reasons which may be causing your Land Rover to be unstable when idling:
To operate properly your Land Rover requires the use of vacuums to carry air and fuel. Vintage cars use an additional vacuum to provide the engine with fuel. The vacuum hoses that are constantly working while you operate your vehicle can start to become worn over time. When this happens the first sign of failure is usually a leak. Vacuum leaks cause too much air to enter into the engine, creating a lean ratio of air and fuel, causing rough idling and potentially misfires.
Your Land Rover’s spark plugs take a beating every time you drive. Responsible for passing a spark between them, each time this happens a little more of the surface of the plug gets worn away. A worn spark plug or a faulty spark plug can cause inconsistent fuel ignition, resulting in micro-misfires that causes unstable idling.
Fuel injectors are responsible for providing your Land Rover with the correct ratio of fuel to air. Over time the injectors can become dirty and clogged from debris and contaminants naturally found inside the fuel. When they are clogged this can lead to lean misfires and a rougher idle, as well as increased fuel consumption.
As Land Rovers are so hardy and long-lasting there are a large number of vintage models still on the roads. Older models of Land Rover use a carburetor in place of modern fuel injectors, and this part can also develop issues which contribute to unstable idling. Carburetor issues are most commonly identified by black exhaust emissions. Emissions should always be clear, and therefore any colored smoke should be seen as a warning sign. The black smoke is caused by carbon deposits, and so can be viewed as similar to how the fuel injectors become impeded by debris. In minor cases this problem can be resolved by using a carburetor cleaner which is able to dissolve the deposits and clean up the carburetor. More severe issues will need to be dealt with by an experienced Land Rover mechanic.
A perfectly running Land Rover should idle smoothly with no noise other than the soft hum of the engine. As unstable idling points to a potentially significant issue with your engine, it is important never to ignore this phenomenon even if for the time being it seems minor. Rough idling does not fix itself and will only get worse given time.
Our dedicated team of experts at European Service Center can get to the heart of your Land Rover’s unstable idling issues. We have 8 locations spanning Texas (Dallas, Houston, and Plano) and Georgia (Alpharetta, Chamblee, Cumming, Norcross, Dunwoody, Buckhead, Roswell, and Atlanta). We’re the largest European auto repair and service company in the USA, meaning no problem is outside of our sphere of knowledge. We’re also still proudly family owned and operated, meaning you’ll always be treated like one of our own with our comprehensive five-star service. If your Land Rover isn’t running as it should, contact our friendly customer service team today!
* Land Rover Car image credit goes to: Alexey Bykov.