Ten Common Car Engine Problems and What Causes Them

Avoid engine trouble with preventative maintenance. Sticking to your car’s factory-scheduled service plan keeps the engine running as if it were brand new even if you have a lot of miles on it. There are 10 common engine problems that vehicle maintenance prevents. Mark’s Auto Service lists them below.

1. Engine Is Misfiring

A misfiring engine is usually caused by worn spark plugs, although the issue could also be with the engine control unit, as well. Spark plugs should be changed every 30,000 miles to every 100,000 miles depending on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.

2. Dirty Engine Coolant

If you’ve driven over 100,000 miles or your car is five years old and you’ve never had your radiator flushed and refilled, you probably have dirty coolant. The sediment in the dirty coolant will clog your radiator and this will cause your automobile to overheat.

3. Leaking Cooling System Parts

Another reason why your vehicle will overheat is leaking coolant. As the coolant leaks out of the radiator, radiator hoses, gaskets, seals, overflow reservoir, water pump, or another cooling system part, the level gets too low for the coolant to be effective.

4. Worn Combustion Parts

If there is a leak in your combustion system, such as a hole in the cylinders, your vehicle will lose compression, i.e. power. This can also be caused by worn piston rings or valves that have lost their seal. You’ll feel the lost compression in your vehicle’s performance.

5. Malfunctioning Oxygen Sensor

Another thing that can affect your engine’s performance, turn on the check engine light, and/or make your vehicle fail an emissions test is the oxygen sensor. This part will fail after about 80,000 miles to 100,000 miles of driving on average.

6. Excess Combustion Pressure

Too much heat and pressure in the combustion chamber can make your vehicle’s engine knock. We call this “spark knock,” and it sounds like pinging or knocking metal. Minor noise is bad but not devastating. Loud engine knocking can signal catastrophic detonation problems.

7. Motor Oil Buildup

The reason why your oil and filter should be changed every 3,000 miles is that as they age, they can leave sludge buildup throughout your engine. This sludge is deposited on the intake valves, and even on the spark plugs among other crucial engine parts.

8. Oil Starvation

Two things cause oil starvation: no motor oil or a failing oil pump. If either of these things happens in your engine, the parts will wear against each other and fail. Oil pump failure is more common in vehicles equipped with overhead cam engines.

9. No Engine Lubrication

Oil starvation causes this problem. If your engine’s parts are not being lubricated at all or are getting dirty because your motor oil is old and oxidized, you’ll be in a world of hurt very quickly. An unlubricated engine seizes because the parts get too hot and fail.

10. Lean or Rich Air/Fuel Mixture

To start, your car engine needs air and fuel in the combustion chamber so the spark plugs can ignite it. Too much air in the mixture creates a lean mixture that reduces your engine’s power. Too much fuel in the mixture makes it rich, and this can flood your engine.

With two shops in Illinois, one in Rockford and the other in Loves Park, you needn’t look any further than Mark’s Auto Service for your engine repair needs.

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