15 Common Car Engine Problems

Audi Car Engine

Owning a vehicle comes with many responsibilities including taking care of it with regular maintenance and understanding all the mechanisms that operate the car. Car engine problems are just one of the many things to keep an eye out for whilst using your car.

A car’s engine is the core of its ability to function. The engine is one component that should never go without paying attention to its performance and seeing to it that regular maintenance is performed. Most people do not know if something is wrong with the engine or how to repair it when something goes wrong. In many cases, you need your mechanic to help you understand the warning signs and help you to realise why good maintenance is critical. Having a good understanding of your engine is important.

If you feel your engine is not operating properly, we present the 15 most common engine problems that can cause engine failure. Not all problems are serious and can be dealt with quickly, but other problems can lead to the engine breaking down. In the worst-case, you will need a new engine.

Your Engine Won’t Start

The most common issue is a dead battery. If you try to start the engine but only get a clicking sound, chances are it’s your battery. Other issues can include fuel or ignition causing the engine not to start. Some issues why your engine won’t start include a dead battery, corroded battery cables, problems with your fuel pump, a blocked fuel filter, your ignition switch is not working properly or failure of the starter motor relay.

Your Engine Is Overheating

If your coolant level is low, you will experience overheating. A burnt-out radiator, broken engine thermostat, a blown-out cracked head gasket, loose or broken plugs or a leaking coolant system, can lead to overheating issues. If you experience repeated overheating it can lead to serious engine damage.

Your Car Is Stalling

If your car stalls when driving, it could be an engine problem. If you are driving along and suddenly your car stalls in the middle of the road, this can be a serious safety hazard. Any form of hesitation can cause an accident, especially on a busy road. This is usually something to do with the fuel line, fuel filter, or spark plugs. That said, it can be caused by the engine so you need to get your car to your mechanic and get it checked out as soon as possible.

A Smoking Or Steaming Engine

If you experience smoking or steaming from your engine, this is not a good sign. If this happens, you must take your car to a mechanic quickly. The issue can be from worn gaskets, a bad cylinder, damaged rings, a failed crankcase or using a poor grade oil. Your mechanic will find the problem and let you know what needs to be done.

Poor Lubrication

It’s imperative your engine has enough oil between the moving parts to operate properly. A lack of lubrication will lead to unnecessary friction inside your engine which will cause overheating or make your engine seize up. Make sure your vehicle is serviced regularly including regular oil changes to ensure you have the correct amount of oil in your engine.

Low Levels Of Coolant

A professional mechanic will advise you to have the engine’s coolant flushed every 30,000 miles or every 3 years. This practice beats replacing parts! Too often car owners only have the coolant flushed when a maintenance service advises them to do so. The areas where the coolant is needed will start to degrade over time.

Keeping an eye for an overheating engine is something you should do on a regular basis. You could have clogged hoses, a broken thermostat, a radiator that is burnt-out, a cracked head gasket, or a damaged radiator that will cause overheating. If you continue to drive your vehicle with any of these problems, there is a good chance it can permanently damage the engine.

There are other internal problems that can cause overheating including malfunctioning coolant fans or a clogged cooling system. You can prevent replacing or rebuilding the engine when you stay on top of these possible issues.

Leaking Engine Coolant

Car Engine Leaking

When evaluating your engine, one of the easiest failures to diagnose is leaking engine coolant. Constantly having a low level of coolant that has been topped up is a sign there is a problem with the system. Keep in mind, the coolant should be free of any debris or deposits to ensure a safe operating temperature within your engine at all times.

The Oil Pump Is Failing

If your oil pump is failing, this is a serious problem for the life of your engine. Your engine will not have the needed oil for lubrication. You need to ensure the oil being used is high-quality and light enough to easily flow through the pump. If you have not had the oil pump checked by a mechanic, it’s time to bring your vehicle in and have it done.

Water Has Entered The Engine

If you experience high waters or heavy rain that has entered into the engine, this can be a very bad sign. When water enters the engine, it can bend the piston rods, leaving your engine in really bad shape. In many cases, water passes through the intake manifold where the spark plugs are located, another bad sign. Water issues can cause major problems if not addressed in a timely manner.

Oil Deposits And Debris

Old, dirty oil can leave deposits and debris on the engine fittings such as the intake valves and spark plugs along with the combustion chambers. When you have a periodic service from your local garage, they will clean your engine’s oil filters to remove debris that can get lodged in your car’s bearings.

If You Have Insufficient Fuel And Air Compression

If you have inadequate air and fuel inside the car’s engine this is a recipe for disaster. The most common reasons for insufficient engine combustion are a broken valve seal, holes in the cylinders or overworked piston rings which will force air to leak out.

You Have Blocked Engine Radiators

If you have not kept your engine coolant clean, eventually this will result in filling your engine’s radiators with sediments and deposits. This is another reason for overheating. You should stay away from using hard water as a coolant replacement because you can cause the radiators to corrode due to the buildup of limescale.

A Prolonged Engine Explosion

If your engine has started making knocking noises it’s very possible there is too much heat in the combustion chamber. The combination of overheating and high pressure can create an engine explosion which is commonly referred to as a spark knock which over time will damage the pistons, head gaskets, and piston rings.

Oxygen Sensor Damage

An oxygen sensor that is not up to par can be very dangerous to your engine as well as the entire vehicle. If the sensor cannot give your car the correct information about how much oxygen is in the exhaust or how much fuel is in the petrol or diesel tank, you will run the risk of not being able to drive the car and it will cost a great deal of money correcting the problem.

Old Spark Plugs

Old spark plugs are often a problem with older vehicles. Spark plugs are designed to ignite the compressed fuel in the engine. An old spark plug sends off a weak ignition which can prevent the engine from turning over. This is a problem that can result in poor fuel consumption as well as causing damage to your engine.

If you believe you are having engine problems book a check up online today and receive a free vehicle service check or for further information on our services you can browse the site or get in touch with us by calling 019253 30468 or alternatively, you can email us at service@lowtonmotorcompany.co.uk.

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