Save Money by Learning to Spot Early Signs of Engine Problems

Car engine

One of the most expensive car parts to replace is your car's engine. For instance, a full, serious, blown-out engine will require you to shell out the following expenses:

  • Standard repair service charge: P20,000+
  • Piston rings: P900 to 2000 per piece (four pieces are needed here)
  • Pistons: P2,500 to P4,600 per piece
  • Cylinder liner: P1,500 to P4,00 per piece
  • Rod and main bearings: P4,500 to P8,000 per set
  • Inspection by a machine shop specialist: P5,000 to P30,000 per engine

So as you can see, a damaged engine can wreak a lot of havoc on your budget.

And just because it's "tough" doesn't mean it doesn't get worn out eventually. In fact, those small "wear and tears" are the the common causes of big problems later on.

So the best thing you can do is to spot signs of these "wear and tears" on your car's engine beforehand. Why? Because it's easier--and much cheaper--to repair these minor inconveniences when they're first starting to come out.  Luckily, they leave small clues behind to show you that things aren't as good as they look. Here are the warning signs:

1. Blue, black, or white smoke are coming out from the car

Smoke can be seen from the car's front or back side. Unfortunately, finding them there isn't a good sign.

Blue smoke tells you that your oil is seeping within the engine, and is burning alongside your fuel. The probable cause is worn-out piston rings, valves, or other engine parts.

If it's white, then it's probable that water has condensed and mixed in with your fuel reservoir. The probable causes are worn-out piston rings or a blown head gasket.

Black smoke indicates an incomplete combustion that may result in excessive burned-out fuel. There are many possible causes for this, such as a clogged fuel return line, malfunctioning fuel injectors, sensors or even a clogged air filter. It's also possible that your ignition timing is off, or your emission system is damaged.

Whatever the color, it's always best to have your car checked by a professional mechanic.

2. You hear loud, knocking sounds

If you hear some knocking noises in your car, then it's probably because of worn-out engine bearings. And this sound intensifies the more they're falling apart.

If that's the case, then you may have to reassemble the lower (bottom) half of the engine.

3. You feel your engine shaking or stalling

Does your car shake while it's running? Damaged engines will not run at their usual level if there's a problem somewhere. So when you're at high speeds or climbing on an incline, then it will work twice as hard and may shake or even stall completely.

There are probable reasons for this, such as bad spark plugs, damaged or unfitted hoses, or worse--fuel intake or timing belt.

Inside the hood - car engine

4. You're guzzling up on gas

Is your vehicle always running on empty even without heavy use? Then there's something wrong with the way your vehicle's engine is processing fuel. This becomes even worse if you can see a check engine light somewhere.

Note that a check engine indicator can also mean that you just need to disconnect and reconnect again your car's battery. It can also indicate your battery is nearing the end of its life. Whatever the case, don't just ignore it and push it under the rug.

5. You find oil leaks

Puddles of oil under the car might mean that your engine is leaking. The problem may be caused by the sump or plug washers, or engine oil seals.

Don't let this problem continue for a long time, and have it checked by a good mechanic as soon as possible.


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