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Driving With Low Compression in One Cylinder? Here’s How to Fix It

Driving With Low Compression in One Cylinder? Here’s How to Fix It

In order for you to drive around in your car without experiencing any issues, you obviously need it to be firing on all cylinders so to speak. But if there is an issue with the compression in your car’s engine, there is a chance that you might find yourself driving with low compression in one cylinder. You might also find that more than one cylinder in your engine could go through compression problems over time. It’s important for you to have this problem fixed sooner rather than later so that your engine can get back to doing its job. Continue reading to learn more about car engine compression and why it’s important not to go around driving with low compression on one cylinder of your engine.


What Is Car Engine Compression?

Before you can start talking about why it’s bad for people to be driving with low compression in one cylinder in their car engines, it’s important for you to fully understand what car engine compression is. In the simplest terms possible, car engine compression is the process that allows for your car to mix air and gas together within the cylinders of your engine. By combining air and gas, your cylinders are able to provide the engine with everything it needs to power your car forward.

 

Under normal circumstances, you’re not going to have to worry about your car engine compression when you’re behind the wheel of your car. But there are times when you might find yourself driving with low compression in one cylinder of your engine, which can cause any number of issues with your engine and your car as a whole. It’s going to be important for you to find the cause of the low car engine compression so that you can fix it and get things back to normal again.

Why Is Maintaining Normal Car Engine Compression Important?

Now that you know more about what car engine compression is, you should have some idea of why it’s so important. But just in case you need us to spell it out clearer, normal car engine compression is what’s going to allow the cylinders in your engine to properly process air and fuel and mix them together. By doing this, your cylinders will allow your engine to function in the way it should so that it can produce plenty of power for your car and keep it moving forward.

 

This is not going to be the case if you find yourself driving with low compression in one cylinder or, worse, driving with low compression in multiple cylinders. If you ever attempt to get behind the wheel when you’re having car engine compression issues, you might find that your car will backfire on you every so often. Or worse, you might find that it won’t start up for you at all. Either way, you’re not going to be able to continue driving with low compression in one cylinder or multiple cylinders.

What Are the Most Common Low Compression Problems in a Car’s Engine?

More often than not, the average car owner isn’t going to have to spend any time worrying about dealing with car engine compression issues. But there is a small chance that you might find that you have a low compression problem with your car’s engine. It’ll be important for you to figure out how bad the problem is so that you can fix it.

 

Driving with low compression in one cylinder in your engine is the most common problem. But since most cars have anywhere from four to eight cylinders in them, it’s also not uncommon for people to experience compression problems with more than one cylinder. You might find that several cylinders have low compression, or you might even discover that all of your cylinders have low compression. That is going to be a worst-case scenario for you and could force you to get rid of your car rather than making costly engine repairs to it.

What Are the Signs of a Low Compression Problem in a Car’s Engine?

Did you know that you could be driving with low compression in one cylinder right now and not even know it? It’s not always something that’s going to be painfully obvious if you don’t look out for signs of it. It’s why you need to keep your eyes peeled and look for any symptoms that could show that you have car engine compression problems.

 

So, what are some of these symptoms? They vary from very minor to very serious, but you should be able to spot at least one of them if you are indeed driving with low compression in one cylinder or several cylinders. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Your car’s engine backfires on you when you first go to start your car
  • Your car’s engine doesn’t deliver its usual performance when you’re driving it down the street
  • Your car’s engine misfires every now and then and runs rougher than it does normally
  • Your car won’t start at all when you put your car key into your ignition and turn it

If you suspect that you might have car engine compression issues, it’s important for you to spot the signs of them as early on as you can. It could prevent a relatively small problem from turning into a much bigger issue down the line.

What Causes Low Compression in a Car’s Engine?

If you do, in fact, have low compression in one or more cylinders in your car’s engine, it’s going to be important for you to figure out what’s causing the compression issues quickly. This can prove to be very challenging since there are many underlying issues that can cause you to drive with low compression in one cylinder in your car, much less multiple cylinders.

 

Check out a few of the common causes of low compression in a car’s engine below:

  • You have holes in one or more of the pistons that move through your engine’s cylinders
  • You have leaky intake valves and/or exhaust valves at the top of your engine’s cylinders
  • You have a timing belt that has completely worn out and prevented your camshaft from opening and closing your intake valves and exhaust valves
  • You have a head gasket that has failed on you
  • You have piston rings that have either been damaged or broken

As you can see, there are so many things that could be the culprit that is causing low compression in your car’s engine. Finding out which of these things is the problem is going to be imperative as far as fixing your engine and getting it back out on the road is concerned.

Is Driving With Low Compression in One Cylinder in a Car’s Engine Possible?

If you have low compression in all of the cylinders in your car’s engine, there is pretty much no way you’re going to be able to drive it. You’ll have no choice but to get your car towed to a mechanic to have them take a look at it. But if you only have compression problems in one cylinder, you’re going to find that driving with low compression in one cylinder is possible. Your car should still start up for you and run.

 

That being said, driving with low compression in one cylinder in your car’s engine isn’t necessarily advisable. We would actually caution you against it since you’re going to find that your car will backfire every now and again if you get into the habit of driving with low compression in one cylinder. It’ll also run rougher than it should and fail to deliver the performance that you’re looking for from it. With all of these things in mind, you’ll want to abstain from driving with low compression in one cylinder if you can.

What Should You Do If You Are Currently Driving With Low Compression in One Cylinder?

If you’re driving with low compression in one cylinder in your car’s engine right now, you should take the time to drive it right down to an ASE-certified mechanic so that they can check it out. In a perfect world, it would be best for you to obtain the services of a mechanic who specializes in working mostly on engines.

 

From there, the mechanic should be able to use a compression gauge to test your car out to see if you’re really driving with low compression in one cylinder or multiple cylinders. This test will usually take about 45 minutes and will reveal whether or not you have a compression issue on your hands. If you do, your mechanic will then inspect all of the different parts of your engine, including your cylinders, your pistons, your intake valves, your exhaust valves, and more to see if they can find anything that has been broken or damaged.

 

If you do have something wrong with the compression in your car’s engine, there is a good chance that your mechanic should be able to identify the cause of it in no time at all. They can then remove your engine from your car and start working on it to fix the issue.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Low Compression Problem in a Car’s Engine?

As we’ve mentioned a few times now, driving with low compression in one cylinder in your engine isn’t really an option. You can get away with doing it for a little while, but you’re eventually going to need to fix the underlying issue that’s causing trouble for you. And unfortunately, it’s usually not going to be cheap to do it.

 

There are some relatively minor repairs that you can make to fix a low compression problem in a car’s engine. For instance, replacing bad piston rings will usually only cost somewhere between $40 to $200 per piston ring. But that’s going to be among the most affordable repairs for those with low car engine compression. Other repairs like timing belt replacement (right around $700) and head gasket replacement (over $4,000 in many cases) are going to put a hurting on your bank account.

 

You could very well be forced to make a difficult decision in the end. You might have to decide whether or not to even keep your car based on the reasoning behind your car engine compression problems.

Is the Cost of Fixing a Low Compression Problem in One Cylinder in a Car’s Engine Worth It?

Way back at the beginning, you might have been under the impression that a car engine compression problem isn’t a big deal. After all, how bad could it be if driving with low compression in one cylinder is still possible? But as you’ve seen now, you could be looking at paying thousands of dollars to bring your car engine compression back up to a normal level again. It’s enough to make you ask, “Is it worth it?”

 

If you’re planning on keeping your car for a few more years, driving with low compression in one cylinder isn’t going to be an option, so it will be worth fixing your engine. But if you have an older car that’s not worth more than $1,000 at this point, paying to have a low compression problem fixed might not be in the cards. At the end of the day, you should make your decision based on the current condition of your car and your plans for the immediate future.

Is It Possible to Sell a Car With Low Compression in One Cylinder in Its Engine?

Tired of driving with low compression in one cylinder in your car engine and worried about what might happen if you continue to do it? Stop worrying by selling your car. You might be surprised to find out that you can still sell a car even if you have a bad piston in it, a worn-out timing belt, a failing head gasket, or another problem.

 

You might not have much success selling a car with a low compression problem in the engine to a private seller. But the junk car buyers from Cash Cars Buyer would be happy to take it off your hands for you. We would be willing to pay you cash for your car even if you’ve been driving with low compression in one cylinder for a while now. We invite you to contact us today to get an offer for it. Touch base with us now to discover what your old car could potentially be worth.