For most people, diagnosing engine problems, is not always easy and can be scary, to even think about.
That’s why, our fear of the unknown, is what makes engine problems, so terrifying.
So, if you own a car, there are a few common engine problems; that every driver runs into sooner or later.
There are different types of engine problems your car can face. Consequently, some problems are just uncomfortable, while others, can prevent the vehicle from moving.
So, It turns out, there are a few common engine problems that seem to affect engines on a regular basis. Not all drivers have the ability to diagnose and properly fix whatever engine problems that might come up. Consequently, Knowing the signs and symptoms of some of the most common engine problems; can save you time and money. Not all engine problems are serious and some can be remedied relatively quickly.
Here’s A Look At Some Of The Most Common, Engine Problems:
Oxygen (O2) Sensors
So, oxygen (O2) sensors, are one of the most important components on a modern vehicle’s, engine management system. They are responsible for monitoring the, air/fuel mixture of the engine. Oxygen (O2) sensor readings affect important engine functions, such as timing and air/fuel mixture. Over time, with normal use, oxygen (O2) sensors can begin to function with a delayed response; and they will eventually fail.
Typical symptoms, of a faulty oxygen (O2) sensor are:
- Decreased engine performance
- Decreased fuel efficiency
- Rough idle
- Engine misfires
Usually a faulty oxygen (O2) sensor, will set off a check engine light; specifying which sensor on what bank has failed. Replacing an oxygen (O2) sensor, is an extremely common repair in older cars. So, your oxygen (O2) sensor is a vital component, of your exhaust system.
It’s job is, to detect unburned oxygen in your exhaust. So, as your car ages, your oxygen (O2) sensor becomes worn, and is often due for replacement; after 100,000 to 150,000 kilometers. Furthermore, early failure can brought about by other failures, like blown head gaskets.
So, the catalytic converter is, an emissions related component, that is part of the exhaust system. As the engine runs, the catalytic converter heats up, to an operating temperature of 500-1200 °F.
Because, at this temperature the particles in the ‘dirty’ exhaust are; burned and converted into, water vapor and carbon dioxide.
The catalyst inside the catalytic converter, is nearly always comprised of precious metals, such as platinum, rhodium, or palladium. Consequently, when the catalyst isn’t able to burn off the unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust; an unpleasant odor can occur. Furthermore, a rough running engine or misfire may be felt, or the Check Engine light may illuminate.
Your ignition coil transforms low voltage electrical power 12 volts D.C. to; high voltage current 50,000 volts D.C. or higher. So, your vehicle’s ignition coil sends an electrical signal, to your spark plugs. As a result, the spark generated by the coil; ignites the air/fuel mixture in the engine, that enables the car to start.
A failing coil, can result in a number of problems. Such as, a stalled vehicle or, a rough idling engine. Also, if an ignition coil is not working properly; no spark will ignite the air/fuel mixture, causing a misfire. Finally, a bad ignition coil can, severely damage the engine or catalytic converter.
Failing spark plugs can have several distinct signs, which can, help you diagnose this problem.
Most often, the recommendations for spark plug replacement intervals, tend to be overly optimistic.
For example, if you’ve already got 80,000 miles on a set of 100,000-mile plugs; they’re 80 percent worn and beginning to take a toll, on engine performance and gas mileage.
Worse yet, after that many miles, spark plugs have a tendency, to seize in the cylinder head. Furthermore, on some vehicles, spark plug replacement may be labor intensive and involve, removal of the intake plenum.
Fuel Or Gas Caps
Most fuel or gas caps have threads, which are fixed to the tank pipe with matching threads. A rubber gasket at the top, is compressed when the cap is fixed so it stops; fuel and fuel vapor leaks. The fuel filler cap also has air vents; that allow the air to enter into the tank and maintain pressure.
Other caps have locks within them, requiring a key to open them. The emission control system, monitors the fuel vapors and illuminates an engine light, when there is leakage. If the seal is damaged or if the fuel filler cap does not seal the tank properly; the engine light will be illuminated, along with the fuel door light.
If this light comes on, check the fuel filler cap and see, if it is screwed on properly. Most of the time, the problem may be solved, by replacing the defective gasket.
However, cleaning the cap and/or greasing the gasket, may also help in a few cases. A loose fuel cap is a frequent and inexpensive cause, of a check engine light. A loose fuel cap can change aspects of the fuel tank, that can cause, low performance within the engine. So, if your check engine light is on, always check your gas cap first.
A thermostat is part of the cooling system that, regulates the temperature of the coolant, in the engine. The thermostat is a metal valve, that has a temperature sensor built in. It can either be open or closed. So, when the thermostat is closed, it keeps the coolant, in the engine. But, when the engine gets to a predetermined temperature, the thermostat opens, allowing coolant to circulate.
So, the circulation of coolant, prevents the engine from overheating. But, if the thermostat fails to open, the engine will overheat. If the thermostat fails to close, the engine may never reach the optimal operating temperature (~220F). The thermostat opens and closes many times, when the car engine is running. It is the most common component in the cooling system to fail, causing the car, to overheat.
Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor
The mass airflow (MAF) sensor helps the engine, maintain optimal combustion. Signs of failure include, a rough engine idle and the engine running rich. So, the mass airflow (MAF) sensor is an electronic device that runs; between your vehicle’s air box and intake manifold. It measures the amount of air that passes through it and sends this information to the; engine’s computer, or (ECU).
Consequently, the (ECU) takes this information and combines it with; air intake temperature data, to help determine the proper amount of fuel necessary, for an optimal combustion. If your vehicle’s (MAF) sensor is failing, you will notice rough idling and the vehicle running rich. So, your (MAF) sensor reads the amount of air, entering your engine, for your car’s computer to use; when determining the optimal air/fuel ratio in the combustion chamber. Finally, (MAF) sensor failure can happen in cars, of any age.
(EVAP) Purge Control Valve And Solenoid
So, the purge valve is part of the vehicle’s, evaporative emission control (EVAP) system. The (EVAP system) prevents fuel vapors in the fuel tank, from escaping into the atmosphere. The (EVAP) system, traps fuel vapors from the fuel tank and temporarily stores them, in the charcoal canister.
So, the most common problem, with the purge valve is, when it sticks or does not close fully. This may cause the “Check Engine” warning light to come on. In some cars, a stuck-open purge valve, can cause difficulty starting, right after refueling. Also, for the first few seconds the engine may, run rough and stumble.
So, regardless of the vehicle make and model you drive, engine problems are always around the corner. Consequently, even with proper maintenance like oil change services, problems can still happen.
Regular maintenance might seem pricey but, it’s also critical to keeping your car, in good working condition. Finally, if you want to get the most use out of your vehicle; be sure to keep up with maintenance.
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