Car Engine Troubleshooting

Jean Scheid
So Your Car Won't Start?

Everyone has had a time where their car engine won't start, makes funny noises or just shuts down. Engine problems are distressing, especially when you need to get to work, school or an appointment. The next time this happens to you, be ready with these tips on car engine troubleshooting.

Top Five Tips On Car Engine Troubleshooting

  1. The Engine Won't Start - If your engine won't start at all, first check and make sure that you're not out of gas. You may be surprised at how often this happens. If you hear no sound when you turn the ignition key on, check your battery. You can tell if your battery is getting low if your lights are unusually dim, you can barely hear your horn, or your windshield wipers are moving slow. If it's not the battery, it could be your starter. If it is the ignition starter, you'll need to have that replaced before your engine will turn over.
  2. The Overheating Engine - An engine that constantly overheats could have a thermostat problem. The thermostat helps to regulate the engine's temperature and is an easy fix at the auto center if this is your problem. Check your engine coolant fluid as well. If it's low, this could be another reason your engine is overheating. Engine overheating is also caused by head gasket failure and drive belts that are broken, or ones that need to be tightened or replaced.
  3. The Backfire Engine - If your engine sounds like fireworks on the fourth of July, you have an engine backfiring problem. Engine backfires can be detrimental to the engine. Causes could be the camshaft or your ignition timing may need to be adjusted. It could also be the timing chain or belt, or the wiring of your spark plugs may not be correct.
  4. The Slow-Accelerating Engine - If your vehicle isn't revving up like it usually does, it cold be due to dirty air or fuel filters. There could also be water in your gas tank or your catalytic converter needs to be replaced.
  5. The No-Go Engine - If your vehicle starts but once you press on the accelerator, you go nowhere, it could be the transmission. Check your transmission fluid first and if that's not the problem, see your mechanic.

Where to Find Help on Engine Troubleshooting

  • 2CarPros - This website does require that you register but it's free to post a question and get an answer. You can also browse questions and topics already submitted by other members.
  • Free Online Auto Repair - This website offers free tips and answers to common problems including car engine troubleshooting tips.
  • Car Junky - Here you'll find a forum-related website where posts are answered by technicians. You can browse for a topic or start a new thread post.
  • Just Answer Car - This website allows you to post a question and set a price, and have one of their online technicians answer. While there is a fee for this service, you can name your own price.

Keep in mind that it is often hard for online websites to diagnose your car's problem. If you are not a do-it-yourself mechanic, it's best to take your vehicle into a service shop to have it looked at and repaired professionally.

Engines are complicated and often-computerized machines that require a bit of knowledge to fix and diagnose. If you are experiencing problems, car engine troubleshooting can help you determine what may be wrong with your engine in some cases. If your engine has a severe problem, you may need someone with experience to help you determine the problem and repair it.

Car Engine Troubleshooting