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7 Serious Signs Your Car Might Need a New Engine

When your car engine experiences problems, you have to immediately act on it. When your car experiences issues, how do you know it's your engine and not a different part of your car?

When your engine is damaged, your car will show unique signs that it's enduring engine failure. When you experience these signs, you should immediately take your car to a mechanic.

Identifying these signs will help you prepare for engine replacement -- and will prevent any untimely incidents or accidents.

Here are the top 7 signs you need a new engine.

1. Your Check Engine Light is On

There's a reason it's called the "check engine" light. When this light turns on, immediately take your car to your mechanic. This is the first sign you're experiencing any engine trouble.

What does the check engine light mean? When your car detects a loss of power from the engine, the light will illuminate.

But don't fear when the light turns on -- there could be a minor or temporary engine issue that's easy to resolve. The issues range from simple to severe.

Still, it's best to be safe than sorry and call your mechanic when the check engine light illuminates.

2. Power Loss

Gas-powered vehicles, including your car, have an internal combustion engine.

This means your engine uses four-strokes to convert gasoline into power. These strokes include:

  • Intake
  • Compression
  • Combustion
  • Exhaust

But what if your car has a full tank of gas and still isn't moving? This means there's something wrong with one or more of the four strokes.

The severity of the issue depends on the stroke affected.

A problematic compression stroke can be severe, such as a hole in the cylinder or a leak. There could also be an issue in the combustion, such as too much or too little fuel during this process.

A mechanic can take a look at your engine and can easily identify any problems.

3. Gas Mileage Drop-Off

You can easily identify any engine issues even before the check engine light flashes on.

Pay attention to your gas mileage. Do you notice you need to refuel more frequently, even while cruising around town? Or do you generally notice you need to fuel for shorter mileage periods?

This is the first sign of engine problems. Going back to the four-strokes, a certain amount of gas should last a certain amount of miles. When a full tank of gas doesn't last, this means there's an issue in the compression stroke.

You may only need a minor service, such as a fuel clean-up. But if this doesn't help, you could need a new engine.

4. Your Engine Makes More Noise

If you have had your car for years, you will memorize every noise the car makes.

That's why a new noise is alarming. If you turn on the ignition and hear unfamiliar noise coming out of the engine, your gut instinct should tell you there's something wrong.

What are some examples of bad engine noises? Knocking, popping, backfiring, hissing, and spitting are all sounds you never want to hear. These noises mean there's an issue in the combustion flow.

These noises could point to a minor issue, such as a misaligned shaft belt. Other noises point to a severe issue, such as a worn part.

5. A Stalling Engine

The minute you try to accelerate and your car stalls, you should tow your car to a mechanic. But this symptom is difficult to diagnose for some cars; for example, if your car is a manual transmission.

But if you drive an automatic transmission, your engine shouldn't stall. This is inconvenient while you're in traffic or can't restart your car while stopped at a traffic light.

Once you get your car up and running, stop what you're doing and go to your mechanic.

What does a stalled engine mean? It can mean a variety of different things. This usually occurs in the intake stroke; your engine isn't receiving a spark or the right air/fuel mixture.

Even if the issue is minor, it could eventually lead to greater damage.

6. Odors

While driving your vehicle, you shouldn't have to smell any strong odor. But a strong scent is more than just unpleasant -- it's a guarantee there's something wrong with your engine. This odor is typically from the exhaust.

You probably drove in someone's car or smelled a stinky exhaust from a driver nearby. When the exhaust stroke is failing, it will give off that classic odor. This is the first sign your engine needs servicing.

There are other common smells. If you smell a burnt oil smell, this means your gasket or seal is failing. A constant gas smell (like the smell of gas stations) means there's a gas leak.

7. Engine Runs After Ignition is Off

You shouldn't notice this symptom unless you drive a high-powered vehicle. Also called "run-on" or "dieseling," this means your engine is stalling even after you turn off the ignition.

You can tell the engine is still running because you'll hear a sputtering noise.

The most common answer is the gas octane is incorrect. This is also a common issue when the weather is warm or the engine is hot. But this could point to severe issues, such as a failing solenoid or an over-active carburetor.

If your high-powered vehicle experiences run-on, definitely service the vehicle.

Do You Need a New Engine?

Your engine depends on the performance of your vehicle. If your engine is failing, that means your car as a whole is failing. These 7 engine failure signs can tell you there's an engine issue.

When you experience these symptoms, take your car to a mechanic. Some symptoms may point to a minor issue. But this will still prevent greater damage from occurring. Worst come to worst, you'll need a new engine.

Do you live in the Richardson, Texas area? We can take a look at your engine.