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5 Faulty Engine Parts That Can Lead To Engine Failure
Although an engine is a complex system, if you know what to look for and how to fix it, you can learn to prevent many engine problems yourself. However, it's always best to have a qualified mechanic to blame when the time comes!
1. Faulty spark plugs - gaps too small
The spark plug is one of the most important parts of your car as it ignites the fuel mixture in your combustion chamber and achieves maximum power at each explosion. If this doesn't happen properly, the entire system will be compromised. Although obvious symptoms such as lack of horsepower or bad gas mileage can point towards faulty spark plugs ? there are tell-tale signs that may not be so apparent to spot if you don't take a close look at your car. Here are a couple of indicators that spark plugs aren't working properly:
Excessive black smoke from the exhaust ? especially during acceleration
If your engine shakes when accelerating, this is also a sign that your spark plugs may need attention as they're not correctly distributing the amount of fuel to each cylinder.
2. Faulty air filter - too much pressure
The air filter is one of the first lines of defence for the entire engine and acts like an extra skin preventing debris and other heavy particles from entering into your combustion chamber or carburettor. Although it's not always easy to see if the air filter is at fault (especially if you don't know what you should be looking out for), there are some tell-tale signs that the air filter has been compromised:
If your car takes longer than usual to "warm up" when weather conditions are cold, this may be because of a faulty air filter. It's able to regulate itself better in warmer temperatures, so it might have restricted air flow during colder times.
If you notice that the engine sounds different or louder than usual, especially after an oil change or if you've just replaced the air filter, this could also point towards a defective air filter. It usually means there is dust accumulating on the fins inside your intake manifold which can cause overheating and damage to other engine parts
3. Faulty belts - cracks in belt material
Belts are wrapped around many components of an engine. Although they're not a critical part of the engine ? they're important as they enable your alternator, power steering and air conditioning compressor to work as intended. Small cracks in belts can lead to major damages to your car causing you sudden expenses. Here are some symptoms that your belts may be faulty:
If your battery is draining faster than usual or if it fails to charge
A worn belt will make squeaking sounds whenever you start the vehicle and this sound will increase as you accelerate (due to increased load on belt)
Having warped brake rotors which need replacement due to excessive heat build-up caused by a defective fan blade. This can also cause other components such as the alternator, power steering and air conditioning compressor to fail prematurely.
4. Faulty oil filter - causes engine damage
Just as the name implies, everyone should change their own oil ? but it's not a bad idea to check your oil filter every so often. After time, an old filter accumulates debris and sludge which can lead to a number of problems for your car. Although there is no obvious standard when it comes to checking the condition of your oil filter ? usually a visual inspection will be enough to determine if it needs replacing or not:
If you notice that your car starts easily in cold weather but struggles during hot conditions this could point towards a faulty oil filter as it gets too hot causing pressure within the system to decrease. This means you may end up with low oil pressure as well as detonation caused by the lack of fuel.
5. Faulty catalytic converter - causes your car to fail emissions tests
As most cars are not actually designed to run on unleaded petrol, lead is added to fuel as it helps protect the engine valves and the catalytic converter which is located inside your exhaust system. Although this component is made from durable metal material, its job of converting toxic gases into less harmful emissions can cause problems over time leading to premature failure. Here are some tell-tale signs that you have a faulty catalytic converter:
Your car has failed an emissions test or if you find out you've been fined for not having an up-to-date roadworthy certificate, your catalytic converter be at fault ? especially if you can't remember if you've made any recent changes to the engine. This is because your catalytic converter needs replacing or at least a "re-bedding" as it's been contaminated with residue from the combustible engine fumes.
In some instances, a car might produce black smoke from its exhaust which could be caused by a faulty turbocharger ? especially if it does this when accelerating rapidly and under load. Although turbos are fairly reliable they do have moving parts that need servicing just like any other part of an engine. If you notice that your car tends to struggle on steep hills or has trouble accelerating after gear shifts, there is a possibility that one of its most important components isn't working properly.