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Mechanics Reveal the Top Issues That Can Cause Engine Failure

May 6, 2022

When properly maintained by an experienced mechanic, some engines are capable of lasting for more than 500,000 miles. On the other hand, poor upkeep can lead to premature failure. Here are the top problems that can destroy an engine.

Top Issues That Can Cause Engine Failure

A Lack of Oil
It’s important to never allow your vehicle’s oil level to get too low. When there’s an insufficient amount of motor oil circulating throughout the engine, the internal parts can begin to scrape against each other. This could ultimately cause the engine to seize. At this point, you’ll either need to have your engine professionally rebuilt by a mechanic or buy a new one. Neither of these options is inexpensive.

To prevent this problem from ever occurring, develop a habit of checking your car’s oil level at least once a month. Simply topping off the oil when needed can save you a lot of frustration and money in the long run.

When you notice your car’s temperature gauge rising or see steam escaping from underneath the hood, be sure to pull over as soon as possible. There’s a good chance your engine is beginning to overheat. If you aren’t careful, temperatures can become hot enough to cause a blown head gasket or a cracked piston.

The biggest cause of overheating is a low level of coolant. Before the summer kicks into full gear, have a mechanic inspect your vehicle’s cooling system. When driving around on a hot day, the last thing you want is for an old coolant hose to spring a leak.

Broken Timing Belt
Many vehicles built during the 1990s and early 2000s were engineered with a timing belt, which was designed to harmonize the engine’s crankshaft and camshaft rotation. Unlike a timing chain, a rubber timing belt needs to be periodically replaced. It gradually begins to wear out over time.

If the timing belt suddenly breaks on a non-interference engine, no damage will occur. The engine will simply stop running. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with an interference engine. Several critical parts can be destroyed, including the valves and pistons. The best approach is to have the vehicle’s timing belt changed at the recommended interval by an experienced mechanic.

After an intense rainstorm passes through, it’s not uncommon for certain streets to flood. Think twice before attempting to drive your car through large puddles. The vehicle’s air intake system could suck in water, thus putting the engine at risk of hydrolocking.

If you’re lucky, a mechanic will be able to flush out the excess water by removing the spark plugs and cranking over the engine. On the other hand, the excess water may have damaged the engine’s connecting rods. Expect your bank account to take a big hit.

Detonation occurs when an erratic form of combustion occurs inside the engine. In most instances, you will begin to hear a distinct knocking sound. While even light detonation can cause an engine to experience extra wear and tear, prolonged heavy detonation can damage the cylinder heads and pistons.

There are quite a few issues that can lead to detonation. Severely worn spark plugs and bad knock sensors can definitely cause trouble. Using a gasoline octane lower than what your engine requires can also result in detonation.