What is Engine Knocking and How Can I Fix It?

If you consistently notice a pinging or knocking sound when you’re driving down the road, chances are the problem can be traced to your engine. Engine knocking can cause expensive damage to your car if left ignored. 

What is engine knocking?

When the mixture of fuel and air inside your car’s cylinder isn’t functioning correctly, the fuel can’t burn evenly. The result: knocking noises in your engine.

Why the engine knock is a problem

When the engine is working as it should, the engine burns fuel evenly in pockets. However, when these pockets burn unevenly for whatever reason, a shock wave occurs. This shock wave occurs sporadically, and often at the wrong times. This produces the knocking sound you hear, which could be causing serious damage to the vehicle’s cylinder wall and engine piston.

How can I fix engine knocking?

Fuel can burn at uneven rates for a variety of reasons, all of which are relatively simple to repair and easy to pinpoint. If the problem persists and you continue to hear engine knocking, however, schedule an appointment for engine repair with your local auto mechanic at Christian Brothers Automotive. Let them take a professional look.

  1. Check your fuel octane level. Low octane can cause engine knocking. Your owner’s manual should list the manufacturer recommended fuel and octane level that is best for your car’s make and model. The next time you visit the pump, try a different fuel with higher octane, too.
  2. Use a detergent. Your car’s cylinder walls can collect carbon deposits, and while most fuels include some amount of detergent to prevent these buildups, adding additional detergent to keep the cylinders clean can’t hurt. Ask your local mechanic what detergent is best for your car’s engine.
  3. Check your spark plugs. If your vehicle doesn’t have the correct spark plugs installed, engine knocking can occur. Look in your owner’s manual to see what your manufacturer recommends or ask your local technician at Christian Brothers Automotive.