Most Common Engine Problems and How to Spot Them

If you’re lucky, you won’t have to deal with car problems once you’re miles away from home and have no way of solving them. But when they happen, an experienced mechanic can spot the most common engine problems in advance if you know what to look for. Here are the most common engine problems, along with some tips on how to spot them before they cost you a ton of time, money, and stress.

The Check Engine Light

When a car’s check engine light turns on, it’s usually because of some kind of issue with the engine. This could be anything from a loose gas cap to faulty spark plugs or one of the many sensors that help keep your car running as it should. An active check engine light and other signs can sometimes help you understand what may be causing the trouble. However, the best way to know is to bring your car to a professional to get it checked out.

Smoke from Exhaust

If you notice a cloud of white or black smoke coming from your exhaust, this could be caused by the engine burning oil or coolant. Oil burning can indicate problems like worn valve seals or piston rings. An engine that is burning coolant can be caused by a head gasket leak.

Trouble Starting

If you’re having trouble starting your car, it might be caused by a few different factors, such as a clogged air filter, fuel system problems, worn spark plugs, or a malfunctioning starter. With so many potential causes, trouble starting your car should be checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.

Vibrations in the Car

Vibrations that occur while driving can be a sign of an engine problem. Vibrations coming from the engine can be caused by loose motor mounts, faulty or work spark plugs, problems with the fuel injection system, or timing-belt issues. Ignoring unusual vibrations from your car’s engine will only lead to bigger problems later.

Noise from Engine

A screeching or whining sound is usually caused by a problem with the serpentine belt, a faulty water pump, or an air conditioning compressor. It’s important to know the sound the engine is making because an experienced mechanic can usually pinpoint potential engine problems based on the engine’s noises.

Engine problems can often be detected by an experienced mechanic before they progress into major problems. See a professional if you notice any signs of engine trouble.

Photo by PongMoji from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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