An engine.

Signs that you need a new engine

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The engine is one of the most vital parts of a vehicle. How long it lasts can range from a couple of years to the lifetime of the vehicle.

This component reached its limit on a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In addition to its check engine light turning on, the vehicle hesitated when accelerating. A tapping sound could be heard from inside the engine, as well.

Checking the spark plugs was the first step for the technician. During a diagnostic test, there was a misfire on one of the cylinders.

Misfires can happen when there’s an excessive amount or not enough air or fuel. They may be caused by bad spark plugs, ignition coils, timing belt or fuel injectors.

The Jeep was also in need of an oil change. When he was removing the oil, the technician noticed metal shavings that resembled glitter. This led him to believe that the issue laid deeper.

Sometimes, metal shavings in oil mean that there’s a design flaw. It can also be a sign that certain components – like the timing chain or intake or exhaust valves – are experiencing wear or that maintenance is needed.

Metal shavings in oil.
Metal shavings in oil

Other signs that a new engine is needed

Misfires and a car that seems to be struggling to accelerate aren’t the only symptoms you may notice when it’s time for engine replacement.

Knocking noises can be heard if you need a new engine. Certain codes could appear, too.

There’s no code that tells you that you have a bad engine, but codes can serve as a starting point and indicate related problems. These include knock sensor codes, codes associated with timing and cam position, misfire codes and cam and crank correlation codes.

Shuddering, a car that won’t start, and smoke coming from the exhaust are other possible signs that engine replacement might be required.

A flashing check engine light is another indicator you should be watchful for. When this happens, the vehicle could be telling you that there’s an engine problem. You shouldn’t drive it if the check engine light is flashing.

What can cause engine problems?

Some engine problems can’t be prevented or resolved.

For example, we found a hole in the engine block of a Hyundai Santa Fe when removing the starter. It appeared that the hole was caused by something breaking. This led to the motor locking up.

A hole in the engine block of Hyundai Santa Fe.
A hole in the engine block of Hyundai Santa Fe

Engine replacement extends to problems with other components, too.

If the timing chain or timing belt breaks on an interference engine, the valves can come in contact with the pistons, causing the valves to bend.

Investing in a new engine could also be in your best interest if there are cylinder head problems or common variable valve timing (VVT) issues, such as sludge buildup.

Taking care of your car

The lifespan of an engine can be extended through proper maintenance. This includes regular oil changes – typically every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. 

There are also oil additives, such as BG MOA, that keep sludge from collecting and offer additional protection.

You should also make sure that air filters are replaced and fluid exchanges and tune ups are performed.

Taking care of your car doesn’t just keep the engine running correctly. It could also prevent problems and expensive repairs in the future.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.