Common Engine Problems

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At some point you will encounter an engine problem. After all a problem now and again is part and parcel of the car ownership experience. No amount of engine maintenance and TLC will be able to prevent some problems but spending time looking out for your motor will help eliminate others.

As with anything more problems tend to arise the older something is. Therefore, if your engine has lots of digits on the clock it is at greater risk of encountering a problem. That being said, younger cars aren't immune from engine problems either.

If you suspect you have an engine problem don't despair! Often a problem can be attributed to something simple that is a quick fix as opposed to a  replacement engine. For anything more serious you may need to replace one of your  engine parts.

Engine Doesn't Start

You've turned the key or pushed start but you aren't going anywhere fast. An engine failing to start is one of the most common engine problems and something that almost everybody has encountered at least once. If you are trying to get the engine to start but only hear a clicking sound and nothing more this is often attributed to a battery issue. If the engine cranks but still does not start this may be due to a fuel or ignition problem.

Frequent causes of alerts from your engine management system:
  • Low battery or battery disconnected
  • Battery cable issue - excessive cable wear or loose connections
  • Starter motor failure
  • Ignition switch failure
  • Defective fuel pump
  • Clogged fuel filter

Engine Management System Fault Displayed

Your engine management system is designed to alert you of any potential engine problems that require attention and potential repair. A message is displayed on the dash / centre console area when a sensor is triggered due to a fault with the engine, emissions or power controls. If your car displays a message that you can't resolve or don't understand take it to a trained mechanic who will be able to hook it up to a diagnostics kit, obtain the engine codes and get to the heart of the issue.

Frequent causes of alerts from your engine management system:
  • Loose or missing fuel cap
  • Worn spark plugs
  • Worn or damaged engine wiring
  • Engine Control Unit (ECU) failure
  • Defective distributor or coil packs
  • Emissions fault - oxygen sensor etc
  • Fuel quality issue

Engine Overheating

As your engine heats up additional strain is placed upon it which can lead to many engine problems. To try and prevent your engine from overheating check your coolant levels to ensure that there's sufficient coolant in the reservoir and also that no leaks or defects in the reservoir are present. Failure to resolve an overheating issue will ultimately lead to extensive damage and expensive engine repairs. Other popular causes of engine overheating are a cracked or blown head gasket which are often expensive to resolve.

Common reasons for engine overheating:
  • Faulty thermostat
  • Low coolant level
  • Coolant leak
  • Defective cooling motor
  • Damaged radiator hose
  • Defective radiator cap
  • Dirty air filter

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