Engine Repair: 5 Signs Something’s Wrong

Here in Gainesville and North Central Florida, we don’t have an extensive public transportation system like they do in larger urban areas. As a result, we depend on our personal vehicles to get to and from work, school, the store, and anywhere else we need to go. But, owning a vehicle comes with unique challenges. Many of us dread having car maintenance issues because they’re inconvenient, and we worry about costly repairs. If you’re concerned your car is having engine trouble, here are common signs to look out for when deciding if your car requires some type of engine repair.

Common Signs Your Car Needs Engine Repair

Many issues can require engine repair, so this list isn’t exhaustive. However, the following are 5 of the most common signs you need to bring your vehicle in to be seen by an auto repair professional.

1. Knocking Sound

Is your vehicle making a “knocking” sound? There can be multiple causes for this. However, two potential causes include:

  • Using improper octane fuel
  • Worn rod bearings

Some vehicles require higher octane fuel (91-octane or higher). You want to check your fuel cap or owner’s manual to ensure you’re using the minimum octane rating requirement for your particular vehicle. Failure to use the proper octane can damage your engine over time.

Your vehicle has cylinders that contain pistons inside them. Pistons move up and down inside the cylinders as the fuel and air mixture ignite. This up and down motion turns your vehicle’s crankshaft and distributes energy to your wheels, so the car moves.

There are parts inside the cylinders called rod bearings that allow the pistons to move fluidly. As cars age, these bearings can slowly wear out–causing the pistons to rattle against the crankshaft. Although replacing the bearings can be involved, failure to address the issue can eventually lead to more extensive and costly repairs.

2. Black Exhaust

Another red flag to look out for is either black smoke or excessive smoke coming from your exhaust pipe. Black smoke can indicate that your car is getting too much fuel into the engine. If your exhaust is more of a bluish color, it could mean that your engine is burning oil.

Experiencing either issue means you need to immediately take your vehicle to a professional auto repair mechanic. Again, leaving a problem like this unchecked will lead to worse issues down the road (pun intended).

3. Check Engine Light

This one seems obvious, but any time you experience an unexpected check engine light, you want to bring your car to an auto repair shop as soon as possible. Check engine lights can come on for several reasons, such as failure to tighten your gas cap properly.

However, even if you suspect it’s something simple or is just the result of a bad sensor, it’s best to bring your vehicle into a repair shop to have a diagnostics test run. Continuously driving with your check engine light illuminated can lead to a costly, unnecessary engine repair or leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Engine Repair - Picture of a car's dashboard display illuminated during nighttime driving conditions.

4. Stalling or Sputtering

If your car’s engine stalls while idling or driving, you should take it to an auto mechanic immediately. If your engine sputters while accelerating, it’s another sign there’s a significant issue. Driving your vehicle in this condition creates unsafe driving conditions for you and other motorists since you could stall unexpectedly in an intersection or be unable to maintain a proper speed.

Additionally, continuously driving a car with a sputtering engine can turn a problem into a bigger one.

5. Leaking Fluids

If you notice a puddle of fluid underneath your vehicle or stains on your driveway, it’s a sign you need some type of engine repair. The only fluid that should ever leak from your car is condensed water from your air conditioning system. Potential fluid leaks include antifreeze, transmission fluid, steering fluid, oil, or gasoline. Don’t leave a fluid leak unchecked.

City Auto Repair Has Your Car’s Engine Repair Needs Covered

It’s important to address engine repair needs promptly. It’s even more important to keep up with regular maintenance through oil changes and take care of your car’s other mechanical parts like the transmission, brakes, and tires.

At City Auto Repair, we can help you with your auto maintenance through regular checkups and tune-ups. If you live in Gainesville, FL, or the surrounding areas, reach out to us today to schedule an appointment for engine repair or routine auto maintenance to keep your car on the road!