75 five signs your engine needs replacing

five signs your engine needs replacing


By Jason Unrau on 2018-07-06 18:52:25

Your car is seriously sick. It’s not something you fancy dealing with because, as everyone knows, car repairs are quite costly. That’s especially so for the engine. Without a smooth-running engine, your car is completely useless to you.

For cars, sometimes you can get away with a repair to get back on track. Perhaps there’s a massive engine oil leak that leaves puddles wherever you go. It could be something as easy as an oil pan gasket, right? Or maybe your car isn’t starting when you turn the key. Is it a dead battery or a faulty starter motor, or is there something more sinister happening?

Sometimes, your car’s health can only be corrected by a major procedure. The engine might need to be changed. As much as you don’t want to think about it, that might be the case. So, if your car is about to flatline, here are five signs your engine needs replacing.

There’s a Hole in the Engine Block

If there’s a hole in the engine block, the car medic has already called a time of death. There’s no fixing a hole in the engine block. It’s what is known as catastrophic damage, and there’s certainly something more that’s caused it.

A hole through the engine block happens in two ways. It could have been impacted by an outside force – say, a large rock you’ve driven over or a collision with another car. It’s highly unlikely, though. In almost every case, a hole in the engine block is because something has impacted the cast engine block from the inside. Some component has failed inside your engine. A connecting rod between the piston and the crankshaft that has let loose can be attributed to most instances.

If there’s a hole in the engine block, your engine oil will dump out immediately. You’ll find a big puddle of brown-black oil on the ground along with small chunks of cast metal. Call the tow truck – this engine is finished.

It Knocks When It’s Running

Engine knock is a progressive noise typically. You might hear a tock-tock-tock noise when your car is idling. That’s when the engine oil pressure is lowest. Eventually, it gets worse until you hear TAPA-TAPA-TAPA all the time, whether you’re cruising on the highway or puttering around the city.

Engine knock usually begins from lack of maintenance. When the engine oil isn’t changed on time, deposits can block oil passages in the engine, partially or completely. It means that engine oil isn’t supplied to sections of the engine properly. You see, engine oil creates a thin protective barrier between metal components inside, preventing them from touching. When they’re starved of oil, they rub against each other, wearing down and causing gaps where there shouldn’t be any. That’s the knocking noise you hear – metal parts impacting each other.

You can sometimes string along an engine knock, quieting the noise with heavy synthetic oils. But eventually, that engine knock is going to need attention. The only remedy is a complete engine rebuild or replacement.

Your Engine Won’t Turn Over

If you turn the key and hear ‘CHUNK!’, but the engine doesn’t turn over, you might think it’s a dead battery or a bad starter motor. Are the lights on? Then it’s not a dead battery. That leaves a possible starter motor fault...or a seized engine.

The starter motor can be quickly diagnosed by a mechanic. If it’s not the issue, then your engine is probably seized. Like an engine knock, a seized motor is usually caused by lack of maintenance. Internal engine components need clean oil to keep them moving freely and to minimize friction and heat. Your engine also needs to be kept within optimal running temperatures to avoid overheating. If your engine is starved of oil, it will progress until the friction causes parts to fuse together. Naturally, when parts that should rotate are stuck to one another, the engine won’t turn. Hence, a seized engine. Your only option is to replace the engine.

There’s a Blue Cloud Behind Your Car

When you start your engine, you’ll usually get a puff of exhaust out the tailpipe that dissipates quickly into the atmosphere. If the exhaust cloud is thick, hangs in the air, and has a tinge of blue coloring to it, it’s not normal – that’s a clear sign that your engine needs work. Blue exhaust is the symptom of burning oil.

A motor that burns oil has one common denominator: oil seeping into the combustion chamber. Sometimes, that happens because there’s a leak high on the engine, from valve stem seals or a cylinder head gasket that’s leaking. Other times, the oil is churned up from the oil sump as the crankshaft rotates. That’s how the pistons and cylinder walls are lubricated. In either case, there’s a seal that’s not doing what it should. When oil enters the combustion chamber, it fouls the spark plug with oily residue. The air-fuel mixture in the cylinder can’t burn completely, or not at all, which can dump raw petrol into the exhaust system and cause damage to the catalytic converter. On top of it all, you’ll lose engine performance. When you’re burning oil, you might be able to get away with a repair. But in many situations with today’s cars, a replacement engine is the ticket.

Your Engine Has Overheated Often

As you drive, the temperature gauge climbs up into the red, steam puffs out from under the bonnet, and green coolant spits out onto the ground. One or all can be signs that your engine is overheating.

Engine overheating causes can be many. A blocked coolant passage in the radiator, a failing water pump, a stuck thermostat, a collapsed radiator hose, or an air pocket in the coolant system can all be causes of overheating, not to mention a blown head gasket. As your engine heats up beyond its normal running temperature, metals expand more than the should. It’s especially the case between the cylinder head and the engine block, where warpage is common. Inside the engine, overheating can cause engine oil to lose its viscosity too. If you run your engine while it’s overheating, or if you’ve allowed it to overheat frequently, it can go much further than just warping surfaces. Your engine can seize up, and you’ll have no choice but to replace the engine.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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