A cylinder is not working in a six cylindar car

My mechanic has told me that one of the cylinders is not working in my six cylindar car(1987 Nissan Maxima)and wants me to trade in my car for a car note(another car). Can I continue to drive my car with one cylinder not working? Will that cause more problems with the rest of the engine?

I’d try to fix the cylinder that’s not working. What’s the problem? Spark, fuel, or compression?

No, you should not continue to drive the vehicle like this as it can cause more severe problems.

Did your mechanic not tell you why this cylinder is not hitting? It may be something as simple as a bad spark plug or something more serious like a mechanical issue with the engine itself.

First thing that should be known is whether the compression on this bad cylinder is good or not. If it’s not, then it may be time to consider another car.

What is you basis for this dire scenario?**

I had a 22 yo beater (the OPs is 23 years old) with a weak engine and a dead cylinder that I drove for a year and a half until another cylinder gave out. Once I didn’t have enough power to climb the driveway, I had it junked.

But, if it runs, idles, and can still get around, you can limb this baby for a while. Just keep a good eye on all the fluids and start banking money to replace this car in the near future. Also, make sure you have AAA or some other means of emergency roadside assistance. Chances are you will need them.

** Please note: this comment was originally directed at a response that warned of tremendous risk of car fire or other dire action.


Well, if you’re certain, the next step would be a leak-down test, to see what is causing the lack of compression (rings, valves, etc). Is there massive amounts of blow-by?

Also have the plug read.

How about explaining what is meant by the use of the word “compression”.

How about filling in some detail about what has been done, if anything, and WHY the mechanic states what he does.

It’s impossible to help anyone when no info is being provided about the problem.
Maybe this dead cylinder is due to a lousy spark plug or something equally simple; and believe me, I’ve seen more than one vehicle that was diagnosed as having major engine problems when the actual cause was no more serious than a spark plug, vacuum hose, or whatever else falls in the Basics First category.

From personal experience I had a 94 mustang in which the computer “blew out” and caused one of the cylinders to blow the fuel injector out and the mechanic made it driveable by shutting that one off so gas wouldn’t be spewing out. The car ran for at least 6 months (rough and slower) before I found out that the computer could be bought used/rebuilt at Kragens for $120 and was relatively easy to put in. The injector needed to be replaced as well it was damaged.

Overall, the mechanic ex boyfriend of mine fixed a so called $800 dollar job (quoted by a CA shop which the going rate these days is $90/hr) for $200 in parts and about 45 minutes of work. Always use local guys my experience is they know as much as certified mechanics and cost WAY WAY less.

If the problem is indeed low compression in one cylinder of this 23 year old car, then low compression in the remaining five cylinders is probably just a matter of time. In this case, probably not much time. The book value of this car does not really warrant rebuilding the engine, so I think that the OP should seriously consider his/her future automotive needs, and perhaps begin exploring the used car market.

On the other hand, if the problem is not due to low compression, it is very possible that some basic maintenance or less-involved repairs will get it operating properly again. When was the last time that spark plugs and filters were replaced on this car? (No, new air and fuel filters will not help these symptoms, but if they are overdue, you should replace them them along with the spark plugs.)

My only other comments is in regard to:
“Have you discussed with your mechanic the possibility of replacing the cylinder?”

Ummm…Okay, sure.

We need a lot more information than you’ve provided.

If the cylinder is not working because of compression, the only conclusion I can draw is that either the compression is completely gone, due to a bent valve stem or something of the sort, or there’s a misunderstanding of the term “not working”. Perhaps by this term the mechanic means that the compression is simply low in that cylinder, causing rough operation? Perhaps he’s told you that you have a blown headgasket and it’s been drawing in coolant?

What, exactly, are your symptoms, and what exactly did he tell you?