They call an engine the heart of the vehicle, and rightly so. Engine failures are caused due to many reasons, the most common of which are blocked engine radiators, inadequate fuel/air compression, failing oil pump, poor lubrication, etc.
All these can usually be avoided with timely maintenance and proper maintenance practices. However, sometimes an engine problem that started as small may become quite significant if not looked into at the right time.
To help you understand these problems for timely action, we’ve listed eight signs of a possible engine breakdown that you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Engine Doesn’t Start
It is the most common problem a car owner faces. Sometimes, the engine makes a ‘click’ sound but doesn’t start, and sometimes you’ll hear the ignition crank, but the engine won’t start. The former could be due to a discharged battery while the latter on account of fuel or ignition problems.
Other reasons could be that battery cables are corroded, the fuel pump is malfunctioning, the fuel filter is blocked, etc. It’s best to get your car checked if it doesn’t start or takes more than three attempts to start.
2. Engine Overheating
If your engine is heating, your car may stop, emit steam, or the effect of the internal A.C. of the vehicle will be significantly reduced. It is caused due to a low coolant level. Other reasons for overheating could be that the radiator is burnt, the hoses are clogged, the engine’s thermostat or any other plug is broken, the coolant is leaking through the engine, etc.
Overheating can damage the engine significantly, so avoid driving the vehicle and call a mechanic immediately.
3. Car Suddenly Stops While You’re Driving
It's known as stalling and can be caused if the fuel line or fuel filters are malfunctioning. Problems with the spark plug can also be the reason. Stalling is very risky since your vehicle can stop in the middle of a busy road and cause accidents on the street.
4. Emitting Smoke
It can be a very risky situation for you. In most cases, if your engine is overheating, the vehicle will stop midway and emit white smoke from the bonnet. Even if it doesn’t stop, and you see smoke coming out, immediately drive the car to a mechanic.
Smoke emissions could be caused due to ring-damages, gasket weariness, or if you use the wrong grade of oil.
5. Weird Noises
Noises from inside the vehicle are never a good sign for your engine. In case you notice vibrations, knocking, taps, or weird sounds that you’ve never heard before, it could be due to weak starters, timing belt damage, or similar engine problems.
6. Driving is no Longer Smooth
Especially if you use diesel fuels, you’re used to a smooth ride with minimal aberrations. However, if you mismanage your oil changing schedule or choose the wrong grade oil, or mix up two oil types, it can prove fatal for your engine.
Irregular oil changes cause a loss of efficiency in the engine, and ultimately your engine will fail. Remember to use the right oil, change the oil regularly, and use synthetic oil for better results to avoid this.
7. Missing out on Regular Coolant Flushes
Cooling systems are crucial to your engine as they avoid many problems and are instrumental in prolonging your vehicle's overall life. Normally, it is recommended to flush out all the coolant from the cooling system after every three years or 300K miles, whichever comes first.
This practice not only ensures a healthier engine but also helps in the maintenance of other components that depend on coolants.
8. Water Entering the Engine
If it has been a particularly rainy day or you’ve waded through a road filled with water, there are chances of water seeping into the engine. Water in the engine bends the piston rods, which is like the engine’s death sentence. Also, if water seeps through to the combustion chamber where your spark plug is fitted, it will cause a variety of problems, most of them already listed in the above signs.
These signs show that your engine is not healthy, and ignoring them may lead to a complete engine failure. You must consult a professional mechanic immediately if you observe one or more of the signs mentioned above.
Understand that the above signs are generic and that if you happen to drive for example a diesel truck, you should also make sure to give it special maintenance it requires. If you need to exchange some part of your truck, you always can visit specialized diesel warehouse or just order online as many of them ship across the country. That being said, good maintenance is always the key.