Engine failure is the bane of every vehicle owner’s existence. Whether it breaks down coasting along the freeway or slowly putters out over time, engine failure is one of a few vehicular problems that may end a car’s reign of the road for good.
Conversely, an engine that is regularly tuned and well-maintained over the years will experience an extended lifespan. Regular vehicular maintenance can also decrease the risk of a sudden, catastrophic engine failure, so it’s important to see a mechanic for fluid changes and concerns as need may be.
Signs of Engine Failure
Some signs of engine failures aren’t obvious until they suddenly happen. Others can build over time. What may start as an occasional noise or small leak could have the potential to one day mean your engine won’t turn over. Before that happens, it’s good to know the signs of engine failure, what they could mean, and what to do if you’re ever unlucky enough to spot them.
The engine won’t start
One of the most common signs of engine failure is when nothing happens. This can be due to battery issues. If this is the case, the engine will click-click when the key is turned, but won’t turn over. Cars experiencing ignition or fuel problems will crank and groan, but won’t start fully. Some potential causes include:
- battery issues, such as corroded cables or discharge
- failure of the starter motor relay
- a faulty fuel pump
- a blocked fuel filter
- breakdown/failure of the ignition switch
Repeated overheating of the engine can cause permanent engine damage. So it’s important to get a too-hot engine inspected by a trained mechanic as soon as possible. Typically caused by low coolant levels, there are several mechanical causes of overheating:
- blown or cracked head gasket
- broken engine thermostat
- burnt-up radiator
- clogged hoses
- loose or broken plugs
A stalled engine can be a big problem, especially when it occurs in the middle of rush hour traffic. If your car stalls suddenly, the most likely culprits are problems with the fuel line, the fuel filter, or the spark plugs.
Smoke or steam is visible
Smoke or steam spewing from under the hood of your vehicle can be a frightening experience. The cause can be relatively minor or it can mean you need to vacate the vehicle immediately and call a tow truck. Either way, something is leaking. The root causes are typically worn gaskets, the wrong oil grade added to the engine, bad cylinders, or a poor crankcase.
- Blue smoke is indicative of oil escaping from the engine crankcase and mixing in with the fuel. If you see blue smoke rising from your engine, pull over, turn off the motor, and call a tow truck or mechanic immediately, as your vehicle is no longer safe to drive.
- White smoke is indicative or water condensation or antifreeze mixing with the fuel. This can be mitigated in the short-term by adding lost coolant fluids, but it should still be examined by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Any new noises
If your engine is making new sounds, especially loud knocking or dramatic vibrations, they should be checked by a mechanic immediately. Causes include a worn starter, worn out timing belt, and other serious engine issues.
If you start smelling new, unpleasant odors while you’re driving, such as burning rubber, hot oil, or exhaust fumes, these can be signs of serious problems such as a melting fuel hose or a complete failure of the exhaust system.
My Euro Pro Will Help
If you suspect engine trouble in your car, come to us without any delay to make sure you’re back on the road in style and speed with a guarantee that lets you follow where the road longs to take you.