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How Much Does It Cost to Fix Engine Knocking?

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If you're looking for “how much does it cost to fix engine knocking?” Expect to pay somewhere between $500 and $1000.

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Learning one or two things about your engine's health can help you prevent paying a lot of money on repairs. Weird noises can come from the engine on many different occasions, and when this happens, the noises can be linked to major problems that you should never ignore.

The engine knocking noise is a very common problem that has to do with how the combustion process is happening. Unfortunately, this noise is never a simple problem. It requires immediate attention from your mechanic to resolve the issue before it gets more complicated and damages the entire engine.

This article provides you with a general overview about “how much does it cost to fix engine knocking?” if it's repairable, and it also highlights the whole concept behind the knocking noise and how it happens in the first place. Finally, it provides you with some recommendations on preventing engine knocking to avoid paying high repair costs.

What is engine knocking?

Before we dig into the details about “how much does it cost to fix engine knocking?” it is essential to understand what engine is knocking in the first place.

Typically, any weird noise coming from the engine should not be ignored because these noises might be linked to internal problems. Engine knocking refers to the sound that is more like a pinging sound coming from the engine as it runs.

Engine knocking happens due to a problem with uneven combustion inside every engine cylinder. Engine knocking is not a new problem, and it was first observed when investigating some failures in aircraft engines back in the 20th century.

To get a better idea about what's engine knocking, it is critical to understand the normal combustion process that doesn't have any problem. During the combustion process, the engine sucks fuel and air to the cylinder, and this airfield mixture then gets compressed. Once it reaches a specific pressure, the spark plug sends a spark to cause the combustion and generate the energy.

If the air-fuel mixture gets exposed to extreme pressures or extreme temperatures before getting inside the cylinder, it reaches the maximum ignition temperature before the cylinder is ready and before the sparkplug sends the required spark to create the combustion. By the time the rest of the air-fuel mixture gets ignited through the spark plug, both flames collide and cause shock waves, and you will realize it in the pinging noise coming from the engine.

How much does it cost to fix engine knocking?

To fix engine knocking, it should cost you somewhere between $500 and $1000. Obviously, depending on the root of the problem, you might not be able to fix the problem at all, and in some scenarios, you might need to install a new engine. That's why experts recommend evaluating the situation and checking the total costs compared to the vehicle's value before making a final decision.

What does a knocking motor sound like?

Some inexperienced drivers might find it a little challenging to detect the knocking noise. However, it's not that hard to tell that your motor is knocking or not. Usually, the sound will be very similar to the sound you'll hear when you shake a couple of metal balls in a tin can. Some experts describe it as pinging noises.

Is engine knocking easy to fix?

One might wonder why is it that expensive to fix engine knocking? Engine knocking fixing is not the easiest repair you might encounter, and it requires certain mechanical skill sets to be implemented. Obviously, depending on the root of the problem, you can perform simple repairs like switching to a better higher quality fuel. However, there are some instances where you will need to consult a mechanic with advanced mechanical skill sets to resolve engine knocking like the following instances:

1-    Engine crank replacement

If your engine knocking is happening from problems with the engine crankshaft, you must involve a professional mechanic to fix a broken engine crank. The process might involve fixing problematic Pistons or replacing bearings, which is an advanced mechanical repair.

2-    Engine bearing replacement

Sometimes the engine knocking might be happening from a bad engine bearing. Engine bearing replacement is a very labor-intensive repair, and it's not about having the right mechanical skill sets. Still, it's about who can get access to the bearing, which is very time-consuming.

3-    Timing belt replacement

Finally, the broken timing belt might lead to an uneven combustion process, which you will notice in the form of engine knocking. Therefore, once the rubber component of your timing belt gets broken or damaged, you must replace it, and it's something you will most likely require a mechanic to get resolved.

However, you must keep an eye on the timing belt and replace it as indicated in your vehicle owner’s manual before it breaks. In other words, when the timing belt breaks, it leads to major mechanical problems in the engine in no time. That's why depending on what's specified in the manual, you must replace the timing belt before it has any problem just in case and prevents major issues from happening.

How to prevent engine knocking?

Since knocking is a major problem and costs a lot of money, it is important to learn what we need to do to prevent engine knocking from happening in the first place.

1-    Choose the right fuel

Choosing the right fuel is the first and most important thing that you can implement to prevent engine knocking. It is recommended that you follow the recommendations in your vehicle's owner’s manual and select the right type of fuel with the right octane rating. Many drivers prefer to save money on fuel, and they would go with non-refutable gas stations. However, that money saving is never worth it because it leads to major problems that could cost you thousands of dollars on repairs.

2-    Check the spark plugs

Engine knocking might happen due to issues with the spark plugs themselves. For instance, if spark plugs do not send the right spot at the right time to ignite the entire air-fuel mixture, you might deal with heated or pressurized air fuel before the optimum point. Therefore, you must follow your manual's recommendations on how often you should check the spark plugs.

Sometimes the spark plugs might fail prematurely. Therefore, keep an eye on symptoms indicating a failing spark plug before it even happens.

3-    Never ignore the pinging noises

You must never ignore this sound whenever you realize any minor pinging or knocking noise coming from the engine. Sometimes detecting the problem early can help you resolve the issue without needing to install major components. Thus, repair costs can be much cheaper than what you think.

In general, automotive experts recommend never ignoring any noise, whether it's coming from the engine or any other component in your car. The earlier you detect the problems, the cheaper repair costs are, and the less complicated the problems are.

4-    Prevent carbon buildups

During the lifetime of your engine, there's a very high chance that carbon can build up and create sludge across the internal engine components. When carbon builds up to a certain point, it can increase the engine temperature and impact the air-fuel mixture temperature. Therefore, it is very likely that you might deal with engine knocking because of carbon buildup.

Thus, automotive experts recommend using a quality fuel additive that works for your engine and can't clean the entire engine. In addition, some experts recommend performing engine flush or engine washing using a certain procedure indicated near the vehicle's owner’s manual, which is not something you can do by yourself unless you have the right mechanical skill sets.

How long can you drive with a knocking engine?

There's no specific threshold where it's OK to continue driving with a knocking engine. Sometimes engine knock might lead to significant engine damage is in no time or as soon as the next time you start your car. On the other hand, some engine knocking problems might stay up to six months without major issues.

Therefore, to stay on the safe side and to prevent dealing with sudden major breakdowns, it is critical that whatever you notice engine knocking that you take your car to the nearest mechanic shop and have the mechanic resolved immediately.

No matter what's the reason preventing you from checking your car, it won't be as important as dealing with major repairs that will cost you thousands of dollars in no time. Also, when engine knocking gets complicated, it leads to major breakdowns without any warning, which means that it might not be the most convenient time for engine breakdown to happen, especially if you're in areas where there's no close help. Finally, we're tolling service might cost a lot of money.

Does engine knocking mean you need a new engine?

It all depends on the root problem. For example, if all your engine knocking must deal with a minor issue around the intake valve, you can easily repair it by replacing the faulty components. However, in some instances, and most specifically, if there is a problem with the rod bearing, you will have to install a new engine. You certainly need to purchase a brand-new engine because of plenty of Used engines in the used car market.

Keep in mind that going with a used engine doesn't guarantee that you won't deal with major engine problems because there might be some issues that you are not aware of. That's why we recommend that you consult your mechanic to confirm whether the used engine is worth it or not. Depending on your situation and the problem severity, you might end up giving up on the entire vehicle and purchasing a better car.

Can spark plugs cause engine knock?

Yes, bad spark plugs are one of the very common causes for engine AC after using the wrong fuel. Therefore, you must inspect the spark plugs regularly and replace them when necessary. The good news is that if your engine knocking is happening due to a spark plug issue, the problems are very easy to fix, and they shouldn't cost you a lot of money.


Engine knocking is one of the common noises that you might experience as your engine gets older. This knocking noise is related to the uneven combustion process due to troubles with the air-fuel mixture as they reached the optimum temperature before the designated time.

Depending on the severity of engine knocking and how long it has been happening, you might be able to resolve the issue, but repair costs can range from as low as $500 to as high as $1000. In some instances, you might need to pay much more money, and in very common scenarios, drivers give up on their cars because their costs are beyond their budget.

Whenever you realize that repair costs are getting close to 75% or more from your vehicle's value, experts recommend selling this vehicle and using its value towards a better car that doesn't have any engine problem.

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  • Describe your car’s type and condition
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