How to Make Your Car Backfire?

On an older car, you’d have to manually operate them to make them backfire. However, a modern car comes with the equipment that enables backfiring. In a nutshell, backfiring works by disrupting the way your engine works. So, you can make any car backfire by messing with the air-fuel mixture. Also, you can re-adjust the combustion timing and tweak your car by adding parts that modify the sound of the exhaust pipe. Let’s dive in; here is how to make your car backfire without much hassle.

How to Make Older Car Models Backfire

Before all else, make sure you understand the process of backfiring and its related dangers. Backfiring is the result of a misplaced spark and an unexpected burst of fuel mixed with air. This combination creates a loud burst from the engine. Note that newer models are equipped with regulating systems in the engine control. In turn, this eliminates the potential damage that backfiring can pose to the engine. However, you won’t find such equipment on models older than 1990. Hence, you’ll need to install them later.

How to Make Older Car Models Backfire

Step 1: Safety Checks

If you’re trying to backfire, it’s essential to conduct safety checks. For example, look for signs of dripping oil. If all seems in order, start your engine and go to a remote location to practice backfiring. Next, set your gear at a steady rev.

Step 2: Turn Off the Engine, and Keep Your Foot on the Gas Pedal

This step prepares your vehicle for backfiring. Turn the engine off and slowly keep the pressure on the gas pedal. Doing this keeps the vehicle primed for this maneuver.

Step 3: Wait Briefly and Restart the Engine

Remember to keep pressure on the gas pedal as your restart the engine. Once the car starts up, apply pressure on the accelerator as hard as you can, and this should result in some backfiring!

Backfiring in Modern Cars

Modern cars have this ability built-in, and some even backfire by design when decelerating. Modern cars can backfire after hitting 60mph and then decelerating.

Backfiring in Modern Cars

Step 1: Ready Your Car for Backfiring

However, there are several safety tweaks you should complete before backfiring. The engine control unit (ECU) acts as a safeguard to prevent backfiring. Additionally, the chassis of your car is not designed to withstand backfiring. Luckily, there are solutions, such as using a solid exhaust port to minimize damage to the car’s exhaust pipe.

In addition to changing your car’s exhaust port, you can need to change or modify the ECU software. Note that the ECU modding parts and program can get quite expensive, amounting to over $1000. Furthermore, the ECU modding software and hardware is model-specific; therefore, you will have to do some digging before finding one compatible with your car.

Step 2: Assess the ECU and Change the Frequency of the Fuel Injection

First, define the engine RPM when you want your vehicle to perform backfiring. If you desire the backfire to have the roar and pop sound, then you can select an RPM that won’t require fuel for this task. If you want a backfire with flames, choose a higher RPM that includes fuel. However, this can prove dangerous, therefore try experimenting with the safer methods first.

To make your car begin popping, you should assess the ECU input program. Next, reduce the fuel intake at the RPM where you want your car to backfire. If you are using a flash tune kit as the method to modify the ECU software, enter the RPM intake rate as the most negative integer in the system. For instance, input -15 to cover the range for several hundred RPMs. Once you input these conditions, you’ve essentially tricked your car into popping after it covers a certain distance.

However, making your car pop by intentionally modifying the system may cause harm to your car. Backfiring is not advisable for household cars. Actually, only professional drivers should contemplate trying this.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes backfires in cars?

A backfire occurs when there is an explosion of the unburnt fuel, and air in the exhaust pipe gets ignited. Some cars produce flames as they backfire, indicating more fuel usage. Often, there’ll be loud popping sounds, loss of power, and forward motion following a successful backfiring.

There has to be an incorrect fuel to air ratio to make the engine backfire. Also, the engine has to be running on excess fuel and too little air, therefore slowing down ignition. When the ignition does not occur normally, the exhaust valve opens mid-combustion. Hence, this prompts the flames to spill out of the cylinder making loud pop noises due to fuel-air combustion. On the other hand, an engine that is running on less fuel and excess air also cause delays in combustion. Again, this results in backfires.

Backfires also occur when there is bad timing of opening the exhaust valves in the combustion engine. If the valves close and open at the wrong time, the spark might ignite too early or too late. Then, any such delay in the fuel-air explosion can result in a backfire.

2. Why do cars lose power after a backfire?

Backfires are caused when an incorrect fuel to air ratio is sparked up, resulting in explosions. The small explosions can cause a loss of power during acceleration, accompanied by a loud pop or bang. The car loses power because the fuel-air mixture did not fully burn in the combustion chamber. Instead, it went off in the exhaust system.

3. Why does my car backfire when shifting?

Sometimes one hears a loud pop sound when shifting. Though some deem it as a backfire, it is actually an after fire. After fires mostly occur in manual transmissions, which use the clutch to shift the gear. When changing the gear to the next using the clutch, fuel travels into the cylinders.  This is happening faster analog to the gear we’re switching into. In other words, the unburned fuel in the exhaust bursts when you release the clutch. Fortunately, after-fires are not detrimental to your car but can reduce its fuel efficiency.

4. What causes the car to backfire when accelerating?

An engine backfires essentially occurs every time fuel burns somewhere outside your car’s engine. If your car backfires when you accelerate, it might be time to take it for repair. Repeated backfires might cause damage to the vehicle. In addition, if your car backfires during acceleration, it means that the engine is not handling the power it’s supposed to and is wasting lots of fuel.

5. Can you make the exhaust louder without changing it?

There are ways to make the backfire sound pop but also protect your vehicle. For example, some components can increase the exhaust output while not dampening the sound. The first step is to replace the muffler with one that amplifies the exhaust sound. Alternatively, you can invest in a sound-amplifying exhaust tip.


As stated in this guide, there are methods to make both old and new models backfire. For older cars (older than 1990), you should start by tweaking your car to withstand the heat that comes from backfiring. To make an old model backfire, begin by turning on the engine, wait a few seconds, then turn it off again. The trick is to leave your foot on the gas pedal when doing so. Wait before turning the car back on with your foot gently pressed on the accelerator. Practice this method to make your backfire on command.

For a modern car, you need to modify the car’s ECU software and set the RPM at which you want your car to start backfiring. Input the most negative number available on the engine control unit. This will automate the frequency of the backfiring, making it a recurring process. So, be prepared for the change before doing these tweaks.

Backfiring might excite you, but it comes with the costs of damaging your car. Excessive backfiring may result in decreased fuel efficiency and also damage the engine and exhaust system. Hence, try to not turn backfiring into an expensive habit.

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