Engine troubles are many drivers’ worst nightmares. Whether they occur out on the road or they prevent drivers from leaving their driveways in the morning, engine troubles can quickly derail plans and cost drivers substantial amounts of money.
Thankfully, engine troubles are often noticeable long before cars break down. Drivers who learn to recognize the signs that suggest engines might be in need of work can avoid being stranded on the road or at home.
- Vehicle shaking: One telltale sign of engine trouble is when a vehicle shakes while it’s moving. Drivers of old cars and trucks may not expect the smoothest of rides, but cars that shake, sometimes violently, could be experiencing problems. Sometimes a car might shake if its spark plugs need replacing. That’s an easy, inexpensive fix that drivers can do on their own in a matter of minutes. A more serious cause of the vehicle shaking could be problems with its timing belt or fuel intake system. Drivers who inspect and/or replace their spark plugs but notice their vehicles are still shaking should take their cars into their mechanics immediately.
- Sudden gas mileage reduction: Drivers who notice they’re not getting as much bang for their gas bucks as they used to might have engine troubles to blame. According to Pep Boys, a dropoff in gas mileage might be indicative of an issue in the compression stroke of the engine. Such an issue can typically be fixed by having the fuel system serviced, which will clean the fuel system and can help restore the vehicle’s performance and reduce emissions.
- Noises: If driving has become as noisy as a rock concert, drivers should take heed that this could be indicative of engine trouble. Pep Boys notes that noises typically indicate abnormalities in the combustion flow. Such noises may include knocking, hissing and popping. Vehicles making these noises should be taken to a mechanic immediately.
- Stalling: Vehicles that jerk or stall also may be experiencing engine troubles. While old spark plugs might be the culprit, stalling or jerking may indicate clogged fuel lines or fuel filters. Such issues may also be traced to issues with the vehicle’s computer system. Bring such issues to the attention of a mechanic, and reduce their frequency with regular oil changes.