Engine Symptoms that Indicate it's time for Service


Your car's motor is responsible for generating the power that carries you from A to B. With routine maintenance it is likely that your car's motor will last multiple hundreds of thousands of miles with little extra service. However, this isn't always the case. Even well cared for engines may end up needing the occasional repair. If you notice any of the following signs of engine failure be sure to visit a local auto shop for further testing and repairs.

Decreased Performance

A common sign of engine malfunction is a change in performance. This might feel like a rough idle or the car may stall out. Sometimes performance decreases with fuel economy or how long it takes to get the car up to speed. These symptoms usually indicate a simple maintenance service is necessary. However, if you leave these symptoms too long, you can do irreparable damage to your engine. If you ever notice your car is having performance issues, get it to a trusted shop as soon as you can.

Fall in MPGs

Another symptom that car owners experience is an increase of fuel ups with the same miles driven. A fall in miles per gallons (MPGs) can represent problems both big and small. If it is a drastic drop, your car may have an exhaust leak. A minor decrease in fuel economy could indicate something like worn spark plugs or a clogged air filter. There are many facets of the fuel system, emissions, air intake system, and exhaust system that can impact your miles per gallon. A good mechanic can help you pinpoint the problem by testing systems and analyzing the results.


Further indicators of upcoming engine trouble are engine leaks. Nothing should ever be leaking from your car. Some leaks at the top of the engine may not be evident to you until after it has caused damage to other areas. Leaks at the bottom of the engine can be noticed early on with drips on the ground where you park. If you have drip pans under the car, this will not be a good way to judge - because you won't see the fluid. A good shop will always do a complete vehicle scan and let you know if there are leaks forming. If you notice a leak, be sure to let a technician take a look at it to determine the best course of action. Common leaks include oil leaks and coolant leaks.

Knocking Noise from Under the Hood

Additional symptoms of engine damage are knocking noises. A knocking noise that rises and falls with the engine RPMs is often a sign of worn engine bearings. There are other noises that can indicate worn pulleys, belts, tensioners, etc. Anytime you hear a noise, it would be in your best interest to take a drive with a trained technician to confirm the noise. Many times we can hear things you do not, because our ears are trained. We want to be sure to focus on the concern you have!

Check Engine Light

Perhaps one of the more obvious signs of engine trouble is also one of the most ignored. The check engine light usually turns on when a small problem is detected, but if left unchecked that problem will grow much worse and much more expensive. You've heard the song "The Little Light of Mine, I'm Gonna Let It Shine." We implore you to NOT let this little check engine light shine too long.

Increased Exhaust

Finally, an increase in exhaust fumes could indicate fairly serious engine trouble. The color of the smoke often provides a clue as to what the trouble is. Blue smoke indicates oil is burning with the gas, white smoke may mean there is a coolant leak inside the engine and black smoke is an indication that too much fuel is being burnt.

The sooner you get to an auto repair shop to address these issues, the better chance the problem can be fixed before a complete rebuild is necessary. For expert engine repair in Lowell, AR or the surrounding area head to NWA Car Clinic. We service all makes and models! Give us a call to schedule!


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