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Auto Repair Tips: Engine Failure

See an Automotive Technician Immediately if You Detect These Warning Signs

Of all the reasons that you might find yourself in need of auto repair, engine failure is by far the worst. Fixing a damaged windshield wiper or a broken air conditioner is one thing. But waiting anxiously for an automotive technician to diagnose your engine, not knowing whether it’s going to be a small bill for a single fault component or if the car will ever be driveable again is a fate you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies (we assume). Unfortunately, sometimes the worst happens, and you have to deal with it from there. Here we’ll discuss common causes of engine failure, warning signs to watch out for, and what you can do about it.

What Causes an Engine to Fail?

There are a lot of potential causes for an engine to fail, but some—like overheating, detonation, and poor lubrication—are more common than others. Because an engine runs incredibly hot, it relies on a complex system to cool it, keeping it from damaging itself through overheating. However, these systems themselves may fail without your realizing, allowing the engine’s condition to deteriorate. Coolant leaks and malfunctioning fans are common contributing factors. Lubrication issues arise from not changing the oil often enough, regular wear and tear, and faulty delivery systems. Detonation—which produces the telltale knocking sound coming from under the hood—results from failures in the exhaust recirculation system, causing gas to combust in places it shouldn’t, wreaking havoc on your engine.

Warning Signs

The best way to watch out for engine failure and avoid a massive auto repair bill is to use your senses. Look for warning lights to flicker on; listen for popping, knocking, or other unnatural sounds coming from your engine; smell for your engine producing foul scents or the distinct smell of burning or melting rubber (it could be your drive belt wearing out); feel for sudden jerks and shaking, especially in otherwise ideal driving conditions; and if your car starts smoking, you’ll detect that with all of your senses! Never ignore or brush these symptoms off.

My Engine Died. Now What?

You may consider scrapping your car and buying a new one, but you should wait before jumping into that kind of commitment. An automotive technician may instead recommend installing a remanufactured engine. These engines are rebuilt using high-quality parts, and are subjected to rigorous testing before installed—more rigorous in fact than the original engine! Getting a remanufactured engine isn’t the cheapest auto repair bill you’ll ever get, but for an otherwise healthy car or truck with a dead engine, it’s a whole lot cheaper than buying a new car. Talk to your automotive technician about whether or not a remanufactured engine is right for you.

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