Poor engine performance can mean serious and expensive problems for your vehicle. It is essential to catch and address engine issues early, before they result in devastating consequences. Fortunately, today’s vehicles are equipped with warning lights, including a check engine light, to let you know if there is a problem. When the check engine light illuminates, you should schedule diagnostic services to identify the problem. If the light flashes, this indicates a more serious issue that should get immediate attention.
Aside from your check engine light, here are some additional signs that your engine performance might be in trouble:
- Power loss
Internal combustion engines convert fuel into the power required to move a vehicle. The combustion engine operation involves a four stroke cycle – intake stroke, compression stroke, combustion stroke, and exhaust stroke. Failure during any one of these strokes could result in a lack of power to the engine and compromised engine performance.
- Unusual or excessive noise
Problems in the combustion flow can result in a wide variety of strange sounds such as knocking, hissing, popping or backfiring. Any time you hear weird noises when you start up your vehicle, consider it a warning sign and schedule a service call.
- Poor gas mileage
Having to fill your gas tank more often than usual, could mean more than a hit to your budget. It might mean there is a problem with the compression stroke of your engine. Fixing it may be as simple as having the fuel system cleaned or getting a tune-up. Your best course of action is to have a diagnostic performed to make sure it is not a more serious issue.
- Engine Stalling
When it comes to automatic transmission vehicles, engine stalling is highly unusual, and probably means there is a problem with the engine. Most commonly the problem is that the intake stroke is not getting the spark or air/fuel mixture it needs. Here, too, the problem may be fixed by a tune up, but it could also be more serious, and should not go unchecked.
- Odd smells
Like sounds, anything persistent and unusual should not be ignored with odors. Problems with the exhaust stroke could lead to strange exhaust smells to be noticeable in the vehicle.
- Engine run-on
If your car continues to run after you turn it off, you should have it checked out. This sign of troubled engine performance is most common in high-performance vehicles. Causes of the problem might include incorrect octane gas for the vehicle, a failing solenoid, or carburetor issues.
- Engine runs rough
Clogs in the system or old spark plugs can cause a rough running engine, as can improper octane in the gasoline or a low battery. Like the other issues mentioned, a simple tune up could be all it takes to remedy a rough running engine.
As with any vehicle problems you may encounter, the important thing is to have engine performance problems or signs addressed as soon as possible to avoid more expense and complications.