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The ultimate guide to car engine problems

Car repairs can drain a large amount of money from your wallet quickly, but nothing is worse than having a vehicle with a damaged engine or that can’t be run. And, when it comes to fixing an engine problem, it is never a simple task.

There are a variety of car engine problems like debilitating engine oil leaks, your engine cranks but won’t start or maybe smoke starts coming from under your vehicle’s bonnet. Here are some more common symptoms of Engine problems:-

  • Loud rattling sound from engine;
  • The engine cranks but doesn’t start;
  • Engine oil leaks on the ground;
  • The temperature gauge needle is on hot;
  • Bubbling sound after the engine is shut off;
  • Coolant leaks;
  • Black/Blue/White smoke from exhaust;
  • Engine stalls while driving.

Some of these issues can be easily fixed while another may leave your vehicle completely useless. If you have any of the car engine problems, check out what could cause it, what repairs you need, and how much a repair will cost you.

Rod Knock or Blown Rod in an Engine

While driving your vehicle if you observe a continuous hard sound like someone is struck with a hammer, then it is a sign of concern. This problem is often known as Rod knock or Blown road in an engine, which is one of the worst problems with car engines. It is caused when the one or more crankshaft, connecting the rod bearings severely fails.

Basically, when the engine is not fuelled sufficiently, it runs out of fuel and improper engine oil maintenance leads to knocking in an engine. It is very expensive to repair a rod knock because sometimes you may even need to replace the complete engine. On an average, it can cost you around $1,000-$4,000 to get a rod knock fixed.

Engine Overheating

If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the road with your vehicle’s hood up and steam waves coming out of your face, then you have an overheated engine. When you will check the temperature gauge it spikes in the red, your dashboard flashes warnings, check engine light turns on and a hot green coolant may barf all over the surface.

There are surprisingly various causes of engine overheating.  When the engine gets severely overheated it can damage thermostat and unable to regulate the temperature of the engine. Additionally, it can be also caused if the water and coolant level in the radiator is low. A blown head gasket also leads to engine overheating.

If the engine is quite overheated, it would be very expensive to repair it and sometimes you may even consider engine replacement. This is because you may need to replace the damaged head gasket and radiator hose.

Engine Oil Leaks

When a seal or gasket fails in the engine it makes engine oil to leak and you may observe black puddles on the ground under your engine bay. It has an awful smell and you might also observe a choking and putrid smell sometimes.  

The most common problems that lead to engine oil leas are: valve cover gaskets, oil pan gasket, cylinder head gaskets, engine oil cooler hoses, front/ rear crankshaft oil seal and PCV valve. When the gasket material develops cracks over the years, the oil ends up on the wrong side of the seal and starts to leak. The engine oil leak repair costs varies most of the time.  

The engine won’t crank or run

If your engine cranks or you notice any noise when you turn the key, your engine won’t start. There is a wide list of causes for this such as mechanical or electrical. There could be bad fuel or no fuel at all. Maybe some wiring might have broken down or blown fuses. Its repair costs depend on what is causing it not to run, but it usually cost anywhere from $300 -$1,800.

Check engine light is on

When the Check engine light is on, your vehicle may start burning more fuel, its engine might stop working smoothly or you may notice smoke from your tailpipe. The emissions system is the main cause of an illuminated Check Engine Light. As it burns the oxygen sensor, the catalytic converter stop operating efficiently, or you will have a stuck-open purge valve. If your check engine light is always on, you may need to spend hundreds of dollars to fix it. Basically, it can cost you around $2,000.

Timing belt snaps

When your timing belts snaps, your engine will get turned off and won’t run again. The condition of timing belt depends on your vehicle’s maintenance. So, if you replace your timing chain at proper intervals as instructed in the owner’s manual, you won’t have any trouble. But when the timing belt gets older, its rubber deteriorates and develops cracks. If your engine oil is leaking on it, it can make the situation even more badly. Its replacement can cost you between $300 – $500.

Blown or damaged Head Gasket

When head gasket leaks or blows out, it can cause various problems such as overheating issues, poor engine cooling performance, oil or coolant leaks onto the ground and mixing of coolant and oil inside the engine.

Generally, it is caused because of severe failure of the gasket. But when you have an overheating engine and warped cylinder head it can also lead to a blown head gasket. Blown head gasket is one of the most expensive issue you can have with your automobile. A head gasket job on your automobile can cost you between $1200 to $1600 dollars.

Turbocharger Failure

It is important to lubricate and cool the turbocharger on a regular basis. Bad or improper level of engine oil can lead to turbocharger failure. This is because its heat levels rise and decreases the efficiency of the turbocharger. The cost of turbocharger failure repair may vary based on its application. If you have a small performance vehicle or diesel truck, the replacement of the turbocharger will cost around $1,000-$4,000.

Cracked Engine Block

It can be really difficult to identify a cracked block engine as small cracks develop in most cases. You will also observe a channel of oil or coolant running down the engine. Other than this, you will notice disgusting spark plugs or you will have coolant mixed with your engine oil. If you include the cost of a good anti-depressant to repair a cracked engine block, it can be very expensive. However, if you decide to buy a new engine, you can expect to pay around $4,000 to $8,000 based on your vehicle’s model.