Here are the 10 most common car engine problems:
- Issues with the engine misfiring
- problems with a dirty engine coolant
- Troubles with a coolant leak
- Problems with damaged combustion parts
- Troubles with a damaged oxygen sensor
- The combustion pressure
- Consequences of a delayed oil change
- Troubles with oil starvation
- Issues with lack of lubrication
- Problems with the air-fuel mixture
The engine is the heart of your vehicle without a perfectly running engine. Over time of use, the engine is expected to have problems ranging from minor to very major. Despite the problem type, you’ll have to take care of it immediately before it develops and becomes more complicated.
There is a long list of potential problems your engine might face. Some of these problems might be associated with certain vehicles types. However, you should focus on the common car engine problems that you’ll see in most cars.
This article provides you with a list of the 10 most common engine problems. Of course, whenever you notice any of these problems, you have to resolve the issue immediately.
Keep in mind that many engine problems might require very high repair costs. That’s when automotive experts recommend selling the car rather than wasting money and effort.
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10 Most common car engine problems & their repair costs
Learning one or two things about your car helps you prevent surprises in sudden breakdowns. One of the critical components you need to focus on is the engine. Let’s take a closer look at the 10 most common car engine problems along with their repair costs:
Issues with the engine misfiring
Engine misfiring is one of the most common car engine problems that you might experience. This problem happens when one of the components involved in the combustion process goes bad.
For example, the engine expects a specific air to fuel mixture and a spark plug at the right time with the right frequency. If any of the mentioned elements had an issue, you’d deal with engine misfiring.
The most common cause for engine misfiring is a bad spark plug. If you refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you’ll get an idea about how often you should replace the spark plugs. Typically, you’ll have to change them around 30,000 miles. However, this mileage threshold differs significantly depending on your vehicle’s type and the spark plug quality.
Repair costs: fixing engine misfiring should cost between $100 and $300. However, ignoring the problem or waiting too long before getting it resolved leads to significantly higher repairs that might approach the cost of a whole engine.
Thus, you should take the issue seriously and reach out to the mechanic whenever you deal with minor symptoms indicating misfiring.
problems with a dirty engine coolant
The coolant is responsible for bringing the engine’s temperature down to the operable needed temperature. Unfortunately, this coolant collects debris and contaminants over time of use, making it ineffective in cooling the engine down.
That’s why you’ll have to flush out the coolant and replace it with a fresh one once every 100,000 miles.
Failing to change the coolant is never recommended. Instead, you must follow what’s specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual if you don’t want to deal with significant engine problems.
Repair costs: Flushing your engine’s coolant depends on your vehicle’s type and the location where you get the coolant flush. However, it shouldn’t cost you more than $200. If you think about what could go wrong when ignoring a coolant flush, you’ll never hesitate about flushing the coolant, and you’ll flush it immediately.
Troubles with a coolant leak
While you’ll need to change the coolant as it becomes lower quality, some instances where coolant might leak underneath the car. If your engine doesn’t receive the right amount of coolant, you’ll still deal with engine overheating.
Engine overheating leads to significant problems that cost you thousands of dollars on repair, especially if you need to replace the engine.
Repair costs: It might be a little challenging to predict how much you’ll pay for fixing a coolant leak. This is because repair costs depend heavily on the severity of the leak and the location of the cracks that result in the coolant leak.
Typically, expect to pay as low as $50 to as high as $900.
Problems with damaged combustion parts
Although the engine components are designed from durable material, extreme conditions lead to damaging them at some point in time. For example, the cylinders might wear out, causing a hole in the walls.
Therefore, don’t be surprised if your mechanic mentioned you’re dealing with damages within the combustion system components.
Repair costs: Unfortunately, fixing worn-out cylinders is one of the most expensive repairs you’d ever deal with. Costs can climb easily up to $4,000 on average. Thus, evaluate the situation carefully before moving forward with fixing this car.
Troubles with a damaged oxygen sensor
The oxygen sensor is one of the very critical sensors in your engine compartment. It is responsible for checking how much oxygen is left in the combustion process. This way, your vehicles' internal computer gets an idea about how effective the combustion system is abd it can also tell about how good your catalytic converter is working.
The oxygen sensor is expected to fail over time, and it's one of the most common reasons for failing the emission test. That's why you'll have to fix the oxygen sensor immediately whenever you deal with a problem.
A bad oxygen sensor typically triggers a check engine light. That's why it should be very obvious or you when there is a problem with this sensor. However, the check engine light might also illuminate for many reasons, and that's why you should perform a thorough inspection before confirming that you're dealing with a bad oxygen sensor.
Repair costs: Fixing a bad oxygen sensor differ significantly depending on your vehicle type. However, it should cost somewhere between $120 to $500. This repair cost also depends on labor cost, and that's why if you have the right skills and can replace the sensor yourself, you don't have to worry about labor costs.
The combustion pressure
Your engine requires specific amounts of oxygen and fuels to operate properly, there must be the right pressure level all the time. Unfortunately, over time of use, this pressure might get impacted for various reasons and you’ll deal with what's known as engine knock.
It is never a fun situation and when it happens, it might impact your vehicle's drivability. It can also impact the fuel economy, which happens when you go to the gas station more frequently than before.
Repair costs: Fixing problems with the combustion pressure is one of the most expensive problems you could deal with during the lifetime of your engine. Unfortunately, their costs can easily climb up to $3,000, if not more.
Check with your mechanic and see how much you have to pay for this repair. As we indicated before sending the money, you should evaluate the situation and confirm that your vehicle is worth the repair.
Consequences of a delayed oil change
As you might already know, your vehicle needs an oil change once in a while. This depends heavily on your vehicle size and the type of oil you are using. Failing to change the engine oil leads to significant problems that start with engine overheating and might up with damaging the entire engine.
Therefore, it is essential that every driver never ignore oil changes considering what could go wrong. As the oil gets older, a lot of deposits and debris build up in the engine. As a result, the engine will not perform as it should, and you'll notice a significant reduction in the overall engine performance and fuel economy.
Repair costs: Oil change costs should range from as low as $35 to probably as high as $75. Again, this depends on what type of engine oil you are using and if you decide to go with. For example, if you’re using synthetic oil, expect to be at the high end of oil change cost. However, going with a lower quality oil like a conventional oil does not require as high as what you will need for synthetic oil.
There's a lot of background information about the difference between choosing synthetic versus conventional oil which is beyond the scope of this article. However, we highly encourage you to go through the main pros and cons of choosing synthetic vs. conventional oil.
Troubles with oil starvation
Oil starvation sounds like your engine is not receiving the right amount of oil. This happens because of two important things: either you have a failing oil pump, or probably you have a leak that allows oil to leave and escape the system.
Despite the cause of oil starvation, you'll have to get the problem resolved as fast as possible. Otherwise, it's not surprising to deal with issues related to engine overheating and other troubles that you might not be prepared for.
A good solution for this problem is to monitor the oil level and probably the oil pressure because it indicates whether your engine is receiving the right amount of oil or not. If you notice a sign of a low oil level, you should take the issue seriously and consult your mechanic to detect what's going on and fix the problem.
Repair costs: Fixing oil starvation problems is not cheap, and it might start with $600 that can easily climb up to as high as $1,000 in some instances.
Issues with lack of lubrication
While lack of lubrication can happen due to one of the aforementioned problems, it is considered a separate topic to focus on.
The engine requires continuous lubrication to operate properly. Otherwise, there will be a lot of friction between the internal moving components in the engine, leading to significant engine overheating.
Maintaining proper oil changes helps you prevent dealing with such a situation. Otherwise, it can become an ongoing problem dealing with a lack of lubrication. Remember that you'll also have to use the proper type of oil indicated in your vehicle's owner's manual. If you decide to save money and go with lower quality oil, lack of lubrication becomes an immediate Consequence.
Repair costs: The good news is that lack of lubrication is a solvable problem where I can add the required amount of oil or take care of any internal or external leak. However, it should cost you somewhere between $150 to as high as $1,200 in some instances.
Problems with the air-fuel mixture
Every vehicle equipped with a combustion system should receive a specific amount of air and fuel. Any bias in this amount can easily leave your vehicle running either lean or rich.
When the engine runs lean and indicates that it's not receiving the right amount of fuel or getting too much air. However, when the engine runs rich, and indicates that the engine is receiving too much fuel or not receiving a sufficient amount of air.
Repair costs: Fixing problems with engine running lean or Rich should cost you close to $200 in most scenarios. However, if the issue is related to expensive culprits, repair costs can easily climb up and get to a point where your vehicle might not be worth repairing.
Understanding some details about your engine’s problem saves you thousands of dollars on repair, especially if you detect the problem early.
This article highlighted 10 of the most common car engine problems. These problems are extremely critical, and whenever you deal with them, you’ll have to resolve the problems immediately. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay thousands of dollars on repairs.
Experts recommend evaluating the situation carefully before spending any money fixing major engine problems. Therefore, you’ll need to compare repair costs to your vehicle’s value and confirm it’s worth the repair. Otherwise, it might be a good time to think about selling your car.
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