The question title should be pretty self explanatory. I have a 2002 Nissan Maxima which began idling and accelerating really poorly (seemingly out of nowhere) a few days ago while I was driving home from work. Plugged my OBD scan tool once I got home into its port and got back the code P0306 for a misfire in cylinder six.

I’ve tried to remedy the problem myself, thus far to little success; I have:

  1. Replaced the spark plug in the faulty cylinder. Really glad that cylinder six isn’t behind the intake manifold.
  2. Added fuel injector cleaner into my gasoline - maybe the problem is a dirty fuel injector?

I’m going to replace the ignition coil on the sixth cylinder soon since it seems like neither changing the spark plugs nor adding fuel injector cleaner has done anything - still getting poor idle and acceleration, and the gas mileage is tanking; hopefully it does. If not, I’ll be at the end of my DIY ability, and off to the mechanic it’ll go.

As in the title - is it possible for a timing chain problem to cause only one cylinder to misfire? My vague - and admittedly not great - intuition of how the timing chain synchronizes the camshaft and crankshaft tells me that I’d probably be experiencing problems in more than just one cylinder if I do have a timing chain problem.

  • 2
    @Moab Just now (~20 minutes ago) swapped in a new ignition coil and took the car for a spin - cylinder misfires are gone and every other effect of it as well. Commented Sep 20, 2020 at 3:14
  • 3
    @Moab write an answer mate, it needs voting for!
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 20, 2020 at 5:51
  • The camshaft is solid, so any timing drive issues would appear on all cylinders (except on a V engine with two or four camshafts). Other candidates (and I have had them all): worn camshaft lobe, broken valve spring, burnt valve seat, head gasket giving water ingress, piston ring broke up, cracked distributor cap. Commented Sep 20, 2020 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


"Can a bad timing chain result in only a single cylinder misfiring?" No it cannot.

It could be a Bad ignition coil on that cylinder, if there is a coil for each cylinder swap it from another cylinder and see if the miss moves to that cylinder, if it does the coil is bad.

It can also be a bad injector, do the swap thing and see if the misfire moves to that cylinder, if it does it is a bad injector.

Other than that run a compression check on the cylinder that is misfiring.

  • And voted! Ttfn
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 20, 2020 at 12:22

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