3 Common Engine Problems and their Cause

3 Common Engine Problems and their Cause


It’s perhaps one of the most nerve-racking and common issues, nearly every driver has experienced that sinking feeling of turning the key and the engine failing to start as normal. You can usually conclude it’s a battery problem if the engine is clicking but there’s no crank. When there’s a crank, but still not start, you are looking at a fuel or ignition problem.

Some other typical reasons engines fail to start include:

  • Low or discharged battery
  • Corroded or loose battery cables
  • Starter motor relay failure
  • Ignition switch failure
  • Faulty fuel pump
  • Clogged or dirty fuel filter
  • Neglecting oil and filter changes
  • Catalytic converter failure

Your motor oil has a big responsibility. The oil lubricates the engine, cools engine parts, keeps the engine clean and prevents deposit buildup. Unfortunately, even the best oil eventually degrades. When the oil becomes old, it will begin to fill with sludge and debris. This has a negative effect on your engine. When you change the oil, the contaminates are removed along with the old oil and filter. Your manufacturer will have a recommended oil change schedule, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil and filter changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles.

The catalytic converter is a vital part of your car’s exhaust system. The catalytic converter breaks down dangerous chemical emissions from the engine and routes them away from the driver. Regular wear and tear will happen, but driving habits, road conditions and vehicle type can also affect the catalytic convertor. If you notice rattling during acceleration or braking, or any loud noises during the drive, it’s time schedule an exhaust system check. The catalytic convertor can fail due to a leak caused by rust or corrosion, or as a result of internal plugging caused by excessive carbon buildup. Regularly scheduled maintenance checks will ensure the entire exhaust system is functioning properly.

Service Engine Soon Light

These are frequent reasons your “Service Engine Soon” light would have turned on:Your vehicle is equipped with a “Service Engine Soon” light to let you know if any fault has been detected by one of the sensors connected to the emission, engine or powertrain controls. Our professional technicians at Christian Brothers Automotive Concord are ASE-certified and are trained to analyze the trouble codes from your car’s onboard electronic control module to narrow the clues down to the specific cause.

  • Loose or missing gas cap
  • Worn out and damaged spark plugs or wires
  • Electronic control module failure
  • Defective distributor or coil packs
  • Emissions control fault – such as the oxygen sensor
  • Poor Fuel Quality

Engine Overheating

While overheating engines are most common during the hot summer months, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the winter. Most cars come with some kind of temperature gauges or warning lights to tell the driver if the engine is in danger of overheating. To prevent engine overheating, the best thing you can do is keep the engine’s coolant in good condition and have it regularly serviced.

Overheating is most frequently caused by the following problems:

  • Damaged or broken thermostat
  • Dirty or low coolant level
  • Non-functioning cooling fan
  • Failed radiator hose
  • Internal or external coolant leaks
  • Defective radiator cap

If you find yourself dealing with any of these common engine problems, don’t hesitate to schedule an engine diagnostic with our trusted auto repair shop. Call Christian Brothers Automotive in Concord, North Carolina to see the nice difference. We’ll get your engine fixed up so you can be on your way!