Signs of Car Engine Trouble

Is Your Engine Going Bad: Signs Of Engine Trouble

Is Your Engine Going Bad: Signs Of Engine Trouble

Owning a car affords many conveniences. But car ownership, understandably, also comes with a price. A car is not exactly cheap. If you are like most car owners, you do your best to maintain your vehicle to keep it running safely and in good condition so you maximize use of your investment.


In a perfect world, your car would keep running smoothly so long as you maintain it in good condition. But there are external forces that can affect the car’s engine. And normal wear and tear can take its toll. How do you spot symptoms of engine trouble early so you are able to address them before complications occur?

Common Signs to Watch Out For


1. Check Engine Light. Cars are now equipped with an ECU (Engine Control Unit). This functions as the main computer for many of the vehicle’s engine performance and drivability functions. Using information from the engine’s sensors, it calculates and tunes engine spark and fuel for efficient engine power. Many functions of the car are controlled by the ECU and any problems with it signal potential issue with the engine.


The Check Engine Light comes on when the computer detects a problem with any of its sensors. While this could mean a lot of things, from something as simple as not having the gas cap screwed on correctly, to serious issues with the car’s engine pistons, it is best to investigate the cause as soon as possible.  


The easiest way to determine any problem is to hook up your engine to a scan tool. It essentially “speaks” to your car’s computer to find out what is making the check engine light come on.


If you have noticed your Check Engine Light come on, you can bring your car into American Auto Care and our skilled technicians will use a scan tool to pinpoint the trouble, at no charge.


2. Jerking, Surging, Hesitation or Misfiring. When your engine is in good condition, driving should be smooth and free from jerking, surging or stalling. When your car misfires or surges, it could be that your engine is running too hot.


If you press on your gas pedal and the engine does not respond immediately, your car might be experiencing problems that are affecting your engine. Possible causes are fouled spark plugs, clogged fuel lines, dirty air filter, ignition problems or perhaps the main computer is reading the driving situation wrong.  


Another situation that falls under this category of symptoms is high revving at idle or sudden acceleration.


Should you notice these symptoms in your car, it is best to take it to a reputable car repair shop to address the problem. American Auto Care has qualified technicians who will investigate the problem and repair your vehicle. We provide high quality work at an affordable price.


3. Strange Noises. Tapping or popping noises are not something you want to hear when driving your car. Hearing these could indicate detonation occurring within the engine’s cylinders.


What does this mean exactly? It indicates that gasoline is igniting prematurely in the combustion chamber of the cylinders. If not checked and corrected early, it could result in expensive piston damage.


You also need to listen for grinding noises. Grinding noises when you start your car indicate a problem with the starter motor. It might need to be adjusted or replaced.


Grinding sounds while shifting between gears, on the other hand, indicate a problem with transmission.


It is good practice to listen to your car and find out what it is trying to tell you. It helps to tone down the car stereo once in while so you catch these all important tell tale signs of engine trouble.


If you hear strange sounds in your car, listen intently to track down the general area where the noise is coming from so you can better explain it in more detail to a qualified service professional.


4. Unexplained Smells. Any automotive smells that make it to the car’s interior spell trouble. Strange smells may indicate oil or coolant leaks from a normally closed loop system.


Exhaust smells are not only alarming, they can potentially be fatal due to carbon monoxide poisoning. When this happens, roll down your windows and take your car to a qualified repair shop as soon as possible.


The smell of rubber on the other hand, may indicate worn or damaged drive or accessory belts. It could mean a rubber hose carrying vital fluids such as brake fluid or coolant has been knocked out of place and is touching something hot and is melting.


Rule of thumb with these smells - better to take care of them sooner rather than later because they may be indicators of serious and if ignored, potentially expensive problems.


5. Smoke. Smoke in any form cannot be good. Here’s what to look out for and the possible causes:


  • Blue Smoke. This means that there is an oil leak and oil is escaping from the usual passageways within the engine and is being burned along with fuel. It is best to take your car in to have worn or damaged oil seals repaired.


  • White Smoke. White smoke from the tailpipe on the other hand indicates water condensation or antifreeze is mixing with the fuel supply. If you want to prevent overheating, it is best to have the problem checked immediately.


  • Smoke from the Hood. This is an indication of overheating.


6. Excessive Oil Consumption. If you keep needing to top off oil each time you check the levels, it indicates that your car is consuming oil excessively. If you can’t spot leaking oil, then this could indicate a more serious engine problem. Some possible reasons for low oil level are worn piston rings, worn out gaskets or a need to replace the head gasket.


Having enumerated possible symptoms, preventive maintenance is always the best guard against problems. Regular oil changes and belt replacements at intervals recommended in your car manual go a long way in keeping your engine in good condition.


Early Intervention is Important


Having your car engine go bad is certainly a big headache, not to mention a drain on your wallet. Your best protection against even bigger expenses is to address car engine symptoms as soon as you detect them.


Car engine components work in synergy so that if one component is defective, it can affect the other engine parts. Addressing one problem immediately can go a long way in preventing more serious problems from occurring in the future.


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, or you feel your car is not performing at its peak, our highly trained technicians at American Auto Care will be able to diagnose any problems.


American Auto Care, located in Murrieta, serves customers throughout Riverside County, including Lake Elsinore, Corona, Murrieta, Temecula, Menifee, Hemet, and Chino. We have loyal clients that come from as far as Orange County and the San Fernando Valley. We value our loyal customers and offer them unique care in working with their cars.


Call us at 951-461-2507 to schedule an appointment, or Schedule An Appointment Online.


Tags: Engine Trouble, check engine light, smoke, smoking engine, engine noises, engine problems, car repair, engine diagnosis, car engine, problems