The responsibility of maintenance and care is something that comes along with owning a vehicle. And what’s a more critical component than the engine itself? The engine is the heart of your vehicle that provides the power and propulsion. Naturally, it needs more upkeep and closer inspections than most other parts. Engines are mechanical systems, and as such, can deteriorate over time. This leads to serious issues and expensive repairs. In this article, we explore the warning signs that indicate your car engine may be going bad and whether or not it might be time to repair the engine before it gets worse.

Car Repair: How do I Know if my Engine is Going Bad?

The goal of this article is to enable you to take proactive measures and address problems with your engine before they worsen and completely disable your car. Let’s begin with the most common sign of an engine issue.

Strange Noises & Vibrations

Knocking, tapping, and grinding noises, as well as excessive vibrations are all anomalies. These abnormal sounds and vibrations typically indicate a problem with the engine. The usual suspects for these issues are worn-out bearings, damaged pistons, or loose components under the hood.

The implications of these issues can be serious for your engine health. It’s recommended to check the engine thoroughly to identify and differentiate between normal engine sounds and those that warrant concern.

If the sounds are too abnormal then take the vehicle to a local mechanic as soon as possible as many issues, such as loose components, can cause significant engine damage if left unchecked for days.

Decreased Performance & Efficiency

Many performance-related indicators suggest engine trouble. These include reduced acceleration, sluggishness during acceleration, and power loss. Some problems are more subtle whereas a few are more in-your-face.

If you spot any red flags then it might already be too late. Your best bet is to get your engine checked by an auto mechanic near you.

Decreased fuel efficiency and a noticeable drop in mileage are both common issues that spell engine problems. A sudden change in gas consumption is also a red flag.

There can be many underlying reasons behind these performance and efficiency declines. For example, clogged-up fuel injectors and other problems related to the fuel system are common culprits.

There’s also the case of malfunctioning sensors which can cause more trouble down the line.

Warning Lights & Smoke

Sure, we don’t always take it too seriously when the check engine light is on. But for best care, make sure you pay attention to all warning lights on the dashboard. This includes the check engine light, oil pressure light, and temperature warning light.

Issues with the ignition system, overheating, and low oil pressure trigger these warning lights and they should not be ignored if you wish to avoid serious damage.

Different types of smoke coming out of the exhaust can also mean problems with the engine. For example, white smoke, black smoke, and blue smoke could indicate coolant leaks, fuel system problems, or oil burning.

None of these issues are insignificant and should be checked thoroughly by a professional auto mechanic.

Unusual Smells & Fluid Leaks

If you’re smelling strange odors such as a burnt smell or a sweet smell, this can indicate engine troubles as well. Overheating, coolant leaks, and problems with the exhaust system can cause these smells. A sulfur-like smell is also something to look out for.

It’s critical to inspect the engine bay and the ground beneath the vehicle for signs of fluid leaks. The fluid doesn’t just have to be oil. Coolants and transmission fluid can also leak.

Avoid Costly Repair Bills: Pay Attention to Your Car Engine

Keeping your engine operational and efficient is very important. But it’s not always an easy task. Though some engine trouble warning signs are very prominent, such as leaking fuel or the check engine light is on, many are more subtle such as a sulfur-like smell that car owners are likely to ignore.

Keep all of these points in mind and you will be able to keep serious damage from ruining your engine.

Additional Information: How Do Gasoline Cars Work? (U.S. Department of Energy)

Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE

Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.

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