Beginner’s Guide to Troubleshooting Car Engines

Beginner’s Guide to Troubleshooting Car Engines

Engine failure can be eliminated through a methodical approach to the cause. There are many components to an automobile engine, and the following suggestions will provide a framework for determining the probable cause of an engine malfunction.

Engine Warning Light
If the engine warning light is on, this indicates that the electronic engine management system has recorded a fault with a corresponding code. The code will identify the engine fault and you will need a code scanner to download the code readings, scanners are available from car stores.


Engine starting problems
The battery may be discharged, if this is the case you will only hear a ticking sound when trying to start the engine. If the battery is old, it is worth considering replacing it. If the battery is new, it can be recharged by starting the car and driving through the crossover and driving for about half an hour. Before starting the car, you should refer to the owner’s manual to ensure that you don’t damage electrical components by doing it incorrectly. If the battery is working properly but the car still won’t start, you should check the starter motor.

Make sure there is fuel in the tank, as the tank level indicator may be faulty. After troubleshooting the fuel problem, check that the spark plugs are securely attached to the distributor cap, that the spark plugs are not damaged, and that the wiring shows no visible signs of corrosion. Replace accordingly.

Engine overheating

A telltale sign of an overheating engine is smoke or steam coming from under the hood. The ignition timing may be set incorrectly and needs to be adjusted. If the drive belt looks loose when looking under the hood, it needs to be tightened or replaced altogether. If there is visible fluid under the car, this could be a sign of cylinder liner failure. This can be confirmed in the form of rolling smoke coming from the exhaust system. If this is the case, the thermometer on the dashboard will show the highest reading. Make sure that the engine coolant level is correct, as there may be a leak in the engine cooling system.


Engine backfires

If this is the case, you will hear a very loud noise, such as a “thump”, coming from the rear of the vehicle when accelerating. First check the carburetor to make sure the fuel and air combination is balanced. If it is set up correctly, then thoroughly check the distributor cap for cracks or minor splits as this can be counterproductive. Continue to check the spark plugs to make sure they are clean and undamaged, and check the engine gaskets for any signs of damage, as they are responsible for ensuring the correct exchange of gases within the engine. Ignition timing may also need to be checked at this point.

Engine does not accelerate

When accelerating, if the speed does not seem to increase, check that the air and fuel filters are clean and replace them if necessary. Completely replacing the fuel in the tank will ensure that water does not contaminate the mixture. The catalytic converter may be clogged and needs to be replaced if this occurs. Transmission fluid may have dropped below the proper level and needs to be topped off. If the level is normal, professional help is needed to check the engine.