The engine is one of the most important parts of your car. That means it can be a real pain when something goes wrong with it. Whether you have a clogged fuel filter or a faulty thermostat, there are some common problems that you might run into. You might not be an expert in car repairs, but you can still fix some of the common engine problems.
You can fix these five problems yourself with a little knowledge and a few tools.
1. Dirty Air Filter
The air filter is important because it captures dirt particles before they get into your engine. If it gets too dirty, replace it. A clean air filter will help your car run more smoothly. Whether you have a diesel engine or a gasoline engine, a dirty air filter can lead to an inefficient engine, stalling, or other issues. A dirty air filter is easy for you to spot because it will be black and dirty looking instead of clean and white.
If your car stalls frequently when idling, this may indicate a clogged air filter that needs attention. Replacing the air filter is an easy task that you can do yourself. All you need is a new air filter and some basic tools. The process of replacing the air filter should take less than 30 minutes. If you’re not sure how to replace the air filter on your car, consult your owner’s manual.
2. Hose Leak
A hose leak is a common engine problem that can easily be fixed at home. Simply locate the leak and replace the hose. It’s a good idea to have spare hoses on hand in case of a leak. Some of the most common hose problems in your engine are a cracked or split hose, leaking radiator hoses, which generally need to be replaced with new ones, or a hose that’s not secure enough and needs tightening.
One of the most common causes for these types of problems is heat cycling, so if you find a leak in your engine, it’s important to replace the part quickly. With a simple hose repair kit, you can fix the problem and get back on the road or get your car to a mechanic for further repairs. Never fix any hoses when your engine is still hot.
3. Faulty Car Battery
The battery is the heart of your car. It stores electrical energy that is used to start the engine. If your battery is not holding a charge, then you may have a problem with your alternator. The alternator charges and maintains the battery while the engine is running. If you think you might have a bad battery, take a test by disconnecting the battery cables and measuring the voltage between them.
If there is a difference in the reading, then you probably have a bad alternator that needs to be replaced. Your battery could also have corrosion on the terminals that should be cleaned. That might solve your problem. If your battery is old, it might need to be replaced. You should also have a battery jump starter kit for your car as part of your car emergency kit.
4. Worn Spark Plugs
One of the most common engine problems you can fix yourself is worn spark plugs. A bad or old spark plug can cause your engine to misfire, which will result in decreased performance and fuel economy. In order to replace your spark plugs, you’ll need a socket wrench set, a new set of spark plugs, and a gasket sealant. First, locate the spark plugs on your engine. They will be in the cylinder head and are usually easy to spot.
Next, use the socket wrench set to remove the old plugs. Be sure to keep track of which plug goes where, as they are not all interchangeable. Apply a light coating of gasket sealant to the new plugs and insert them into the head. Tighten them down with the wrench set, making sure not to over-tighten. Once you’ve replaced your spark plugs, start up your engine and check for any signs of misfiring. If all goes well, you should be good to go.
5. Engine Will Not Start
If your engine will not start, you may have a dead battery, a broken starter, or a clogged fuel filter. You can usually test your battery by trying to start your engine with the headlights on. If the engine starts, your battery is good. If it does not, you may need a new battery. To test your starter, try starting your engine with the key in the “on” position but without turning the key all the way. If the engine turns over, your starter is good. If it does not, you need to replace it.
If you try these things and still cannot get your engine started after several tries, it probably has another problem that requires professional help. While at it, keep in mind these driving habits to protect your car.
Follow Your Car’s Maintenance Schedule
To avoid common engine problems, it’s important to follow your car’s maintenance schedule. This will ensure that all of the necessary inspections and tune-ups are performed on a regular basis. Failing to do so can lead to more expensive repairs down the road. If you’re not sure what your car’s maintenance schedule is, consult your owner’s manual or talk to your local mechanic.