Maybe this morning you had a difficult time starting your car. Eventually you got it to start and while you are drove to work in the morning, you tried to catch up on the daily news via radio. However, you kept hearing an unceasing knocking sound emanating from your hood. You looked into the rearview mirror, and trailing behind you was a stream of smoke, and the check engine light kept beeping.
You got out, popped the hood, and put the dipstick in, and the oil was below par again. This was the second time in two weeks that you had changed the oil. Maybe it is time you dropped by the auto repair shop, because this are classic signs of engine problems, that will only get worse if unattended to.
All of a vehicle’s power comes from its engine. A smoothly functioning engine can get you from point A to point B with no problems. On the other hand, a faulty engine can make travel a living nightmare, not to mention no one wants their car to break down in an unexpected place at an inconvenient time.
An engine like any other machine will have a day when it cannot function optimally. Sometimes this is the natural course of things, due to wear and tear as a result of regular use. Other times, the degradation in engine function can be attributed to poor maintenance or situations that predispose the engine to damage.
What follows is a list of things that are usually the culprit in engine failures.
1. Wear and Tear
As engines run over periods of time, no matter how well they are maintained, they eventually succumb to wear and tear. This is because they are composed of parts that rub against each other, and also because constant use degrades the materials used in the construction of the engine.
2. Inadequate Maintenance
The engine needs to be well cared for to keep it running efficiently. Poor maintenance allows deposits to collect, friction between parts to develop and the oil to go unchecked. Proper maintenance saves costs in terms of massive repairs.
To perform maintenance, always check on the belts. Both the timing and serpentine belt should be intact. Any damage to these belts, and damage could occur to other parts of the engine. Check if there are any breaks in the body of the engine, or if it is rusty as all this could compromise the function of the engine.
3. Oil Problems
Oil keeps the engine running. Without oil the engine would cease to function within minutes of being turned on. Oil lubricates the metallic components of the engine, and keeps them from wearing each other down. Oil also acts as a coolant, it carries heat away from the engine, allowing it to operate efficiently.
If the levels of oil go down then parts begin to wear down, and eventually the engine is non-functional. This tends to happen when you ignore the change oil lights, or if there are oil leaks. Thus you should regularly change oil, and if you noticed any leaks on the floor get it checked by a professional.
Overheating can be caused by multiple things. Usually the most common reason is loss of coolant or simply low levels. This can be due to leakage. To prevent or remedy this, get the engine checked to see if the radiator and engine are intact.
Another reason could be a failing thermostat. As the thermostat is the component that regulate the engine’s temperature, if it fails, then the engine is bound to overheat as it works. A common tendency of faulty thermostats, is to stop functioning in the off position, thus leaving the engine temperature unregulated.
Sometimes the reason is that the cooling fans are non-functional. Whatever the cause, do not use a vehicle with an overheating engine as this ruins it and will ultimately force you to replace the engine, which can cost thousands of dollars.
For people who live in areas that are prone to rainstorms or flooding, sometimes vehicles remain in the water too long. This water finds its way into the engine. Water in the engine could lead to spark plugs bending or worse it could make contact with spark plugs.
Thus it is advisable to protect your car from an influx of water. If you do not have to, do not drive in a massive downpour or through flooded water. The consequences could spell doom for your engine.
Now that you know the common causes of engine problems, it is time to take better care of your engine to prevent the avoidable causes of engine failure. A regular tune up at an auto shop like Pep Boys can save you future costs.