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Engine Failure: 10 Warning Signs You Must NEVER Ignore

Engine failure is a scary thing. You might be going someplace important and failure of the engine can ruin everything. The good thing is almost every time the engine is about to fail it will have some minor and major warning signs that it is not working correctly.

In this article, we will look at ten such signs that can help you detect engine fault before it can occur thus saving time and money.

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  1. Check Engine Light

    Check Engine Light
    Check Engine Light

    It was obvious with the name that this would make an appearance. The check engine light can mean a lot of things. From a loose fuel cap to a major fault, this engine failure warning can help diagnose other issues with the engine. When you see it glowing its best to get your car checked.

  2. Smoke From Exhaust

    Modern cars are built for cleaner emission and if you find out that your car is leaving a trail of smoke from the exhaust it can point towards an engine problem. Black smoke points towards too much fuel being burnt while blue smoke means oil is burning. White on the other hand can mean a cold start but if the smoke is still white after the car has warmed up it could mean coolant is leaking into the cylinders.

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  3. Frequent Overheating

    If your engine is prone to overheating a lot, its time to get it checked. Running an overheated engine can cause multiple problems, for example, a warped cylinder which can cause coolant to leak and thus create white exhaust smoke that we discussed earlier.

  4. Engine Knocking

    Piston head damage from knocking
    Piston head damage from knocking

    Engine knocking occurs when pockets of air-fuel mixture burn on their own instead of being ignited by a spark plug. It is identified by a frequent knocking sound coming out of the engine. If left unchecked, it can cause a lot of damage and would require costly repairs.

  5. Decreased Fuel Economy

    Bad fuel economy can mean an engine problem
    Bad fuel economy can mean an engine problem

    A sudden increase in fuel consumption can point to a faulty engine. It could have other reasons as well but if you find the check engine light on and a drop in fuel economy its probably going to be an engine fault. When you get this possible engine failure warning it might be a good idea to get it checked.

  6. Engine Stall At Idle

    If your engine is stalling at idle it points towards a probable engine failure. Stalling at idle usually means there is an issue with fuel delivery. It is a good idea to get your engine checked if this turns into a frequent problem.

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  7. Rough Idle

    When an engine is not consistent with its RPM while in idle its called a rough idle. You may notice it having different RPM even without accelerating. This is a major issue and you need to get your engine checked whenever you can.

  8. Oil Patches 

    Oil patches
    Oil patches

    If you have your car parked and notice oil patches on the ground it might be due to a gasket or an oil pan leak. This can and will cause damage to the engine as it won’t have enough oil thus increasing friction in the combustion chamber which will cause damage to components.

  9. Engine Stalling At High RPM

    Engine stalling at high RPM
    Engine stalling at high RPM can be a major issue

    Probable cause for this can be a faulty fuel pump. The fuel pump is probably clogged or it simply is broken and not working anymore. In any case, if you experience frequent engine stalling, it is recommended that you get your engine checked.

  10. Excessive Vibration Or Noise

    The main reason for an engine to vibrate is a faulty sparkplug. This faulty sparkplug will cause the engine to misfire and thus cause vibrations and noise. The noise mentioned here is what we have discussed earlier, the knocking sound. This can be corrected by changing the sparkplug but if you let this engine failure warning unchecked it may cause damages that will be costly to repair.

There are more ways your engine might tell you that it needs some attention but these are the ten major ones that can help you avoid an engine failure by acting on them before they cause serious damage.

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Kartik Rangam
Kartik Rangam
Content Writer at GoMechanic | Loves Writing | Loves Cars | You know where this is heading | Level 12 Meme Lord | EVolution


  1. The combustion that goes on inside gasoline engines can create enough heat to melt and warp metal. Fortunately, the cooling system keeps this from happening by moving excess heat from the engine block and dissipating it. If your cooling system has been damaged, or if the head gasket has blown, your engine may quickly begin to overheat. Learn more


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