Car crash appears to be the leading cause of death within the first 30 years of an American’s life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of the reasons most vehicular accidents happen is mechanical problems, including engine-related issues.
A driver needs to know the signs of a failing engine to act on it immediately, prevent further damage to the car, and remain safe while driving on the road.
This article will share four major engine issues that require professional assistance. We’ll also talk about the signs you need to watch out for and whether or not you’ll need an engine repair or replacement.
A car’s engine comprises several moving parts working together to provide enough power to run the vehicle. When one of these components fails, the entire engine shuts down and seizes. The engine could seize while you’re trying to start the car or driving.
Here are the primary symptoms of a seized engine:
- Engine not starting: If an engine seizes, the car will not start. It’s still possible to turn on the car electronics, like the lights and radio, but starting the engine will not produce any action. On some occasions, the engine might stop working while driving and will not start no matter what you do.
- Engine noises: When you’re driving and notice a tapping or knocking sound from the car, it indicates that the engine is about to seize. Engine noises are signs that some of the components are starting to fail. Drivers usually hear one big knock right before the engine stops. In many cases, drivers also noticed smoke and the smell of burning wires right after the engine seized.
When the engine finally stops working, it’s best to take the car to an auto care professional. If the engine while you were driving, safely guide your vehicle to the side of the road and contact a towing service.
Depending on the damage, it’s possible to have the engine repaired. But replacing the engine is recommended in most cases. Whether the engine is replaced or repaired, the cost can reach over $3000.
The combustion process that happens inside the engine generates enough heat to warp or melt metal. If the car’s cooling system fails, the engine will quickly overheat. Some of the signs of engine overheating includes:
- Check engine light flashing: The first way to notice an overheating engine is by checking the warning lights found on your dashboard. If it’s turned on or blinking, it’s a sign that something is wrong with the engine, even if you are still driving normally.
- Hood is hot, and steam is present: Whether you’re driving or starting up the engine, steam coming out of the engine means it’s overheating. A burning odor is present if you pull over and your hood is hot to the touch.
Even when an engine overheats, it usually provides enough power to drive the car for a short distance. That should be enough time to pull over or drive to the nearest auto care center. However, if possible, it is recommended not to continue driving; doing so can damage the engine.
Professional engine repair can cost between $500 and $1500. This service usually includes replacing the radiator, water pumps, and head gasket. If there’s damage to the engine, you have to pay extra for a replacement.
It is recommended to send your car to a service station as soon as you notice any signs of a broken timing belt.
Faulty Timing Belt
In most modern engines, pistons and valves are found in the same space within the cylinders, but not simultaneously. If the timing belt breaks, the piston can hit the valves when they’re open and cause massive damage to the engine.
Symptoms of a faulty timing belt include:
- Engine not igniting: A broken timing belt will not allow you to ignite the engine. You can hear the starter motor engaging, but the engine will not ignite. It’s also possible for the engine to stop during the drive. The broken timing belt will then prevent you from restarting the engine.
- Oil leaks and exhaust issues: If you’ve noticed frequent oil leaks near the motor and the exhaust expelling more smoke than usual, it’s likely caused by timing belt issues. The timing belt cover that’s starting to loosen may be causing the oil leak. Too much smoke is an indication that the engine is working harder than it should due to the loose timing belt.
Sending your car to a service station as soon as you notice signs of a broken timing belt is recommended. Doing so will help avoid further damage to the engine.
If you have your engine serviced before the timing belt breaks, it could cost you between $500 and $1000. If the timing belt is already broken, replacement may cost more than $2000.
If water and other fluids enter the combustion chamber, it can cause severe damage to the engine and stop the pistons from moving. The primary sign of a hydrolocked engine is the noise it produces.
When water gets into the engine, you’ll hear violent crashing and knocking accompanied by slight vibrations. The noise will continue until you hear one big thud, which indicates engine failure.
If a hydrolock occurred while driving at fast speeds, it is recommended to slow down and stop to prevent further damage to the engine. If the hydrolocking happened after starting the car, turn the vehicle off immediately.
If the engine hydrolocked when the car is not moving, it is still possible for car care professionals to locate the issue and repair it. However, when hydrolocking occurred during a drive, it almost always needs a replacement.
Whether it’s a labor-intensive repair or a complete engine replacement, the average cost will be anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000.
If you start noticing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, it would be best to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic or auto care center for further assistance. Ignoring these engine issues will not only damage your car but also put you in potential danger.
Auto Works of Brandon is committed to providing you the highest professional car repair and maintenance service available. If you notice any engine problems, contact us today to set an appointment, and our experts will be happy to look into your car issues.