Your car is an important machine. It gets you to places, and helps you make a living. When your “check engine” light comes on, it can be very frustrating. You can get a basic understanding of usual car engine problems, giving you some ease of mind when they occur.
Engine problems are some of the more frequent challenges your car can face. Due to the fact that the engine is usually seen as a mysterious part of the car, understood only by auto mechanics, the typical response from car owners to most engine mishaps is a helpless staring at the engine, while thinking who to call. This doesn’t have to be the case though; here are some fairly serious everyday snags that can afflict your car engine:
1. Your Car Won’t Start
This is a reoccurring car engine problem. A number of reasons can cause a non-starter in your engine. They include:
Flat or weak battery (make sure your alternator is working well because this charges the battery on the go).
Battery cable heads that are not making good contact.
Lack of fuel, or, if you have fuel, a bad fuel pump can result in poor fuel supply.
Ignition failure can also occur because your ignition switch itself is bad.
2. Leaking Coolant
This is an issue you must take care of immediately, as your internal combustion engine gets very hot and needs to be cooled constantly when it is working. Leaking coolants may mean the engine is not getting cooled fast enough, or cooled at all. This can cause overheating in your engine leading to some very serious consequences. Your radiator is your chief coolant reservoir, and you need to make sure it is not leaking or clogged. A broken radiator if not managed properly will quickly cause overheating, which can damage components in your engine badly.
3. Spark Plug Misfire
Your spark plugs perform a critical function in your engine. Spark plugs ignite the compressed gas in your combustion chamber, providing the energy your engine needs to move the car. When your plugs are faulty, or otherwise affected, they misfire, or do so too weakly to cause the desired effect. In newer cars, rusted plugs might not be enough reason to keep the car from functioning, but it is always a good thing to have excellent plugs. Make certain you change and inspect spark plugs regularly.
4. Oil and Lubrication Issues
There is a good reason you need to check your oil fairly frequently. Most Auto-manuals and experts advise that you check your lubrication once daily, optimally before you switch on the engine for the first time. Your car engine has many moving parts, which work together to provide locomotion. These components need constant lubrication to provide a frictionless and precise flow. Lack of lubrication is a very serious condition for any engine and can result in a cracked engine block, and/or other problems. A cracked block can permanently damage your car engine.
Apart from its lubricating function, Engine Oil also acts as a coolant of sorts. You must guard against a leaking oil valve, and take it seriously when you see an oil spill or patch below the position you parked your car.
5. Worn Belts
In the car engine, there are accessory belts sometimes also called v-belts, which help to power the power steering, radiator fan, air conditioner, water pump, and alternator. A timing belt is also an important accessory belt. If your car is a relatively new car, i.e. from 1990, a single multi-accessory serpentine belt performs those functions. Belts are known as “wear parts” and not “hard parts” because they wear out from time to time through constant use once the engine is running. When a timing belt is too frayed, it can snap or crack, resulting in severely reduced engine performances.
A broken belt in mid-drive can be extremely unsafe, and can cause alternator failure, power steering lock, or even cause the vehicle to halt. This is especially true if it is a serpentine belt, as it is linked to everything. You need to replace your belt(s) periodically, depending on the belt. This can be done anywhere from 6 monthly to approximately every 5 years. A high pitched screech when your engine starts is an early warning signal you need to pay attention to immediately.
6. Stalling Engine
An engine that stalls in mid-drive is a serious issue that demands your urgent attention. This is because a stalled engine means your car loses all power, and becomes just a dead lump of metal in the middle of a busy road. Causes of stalling include but are not limited to dirty fuel filters, a clogged fuel line, or misfiring spark plugs. Whatever the cause, this problem presents an extremely dangerous situation, which you need to fix at once.