8 Warning Signs Of A Bad Engine

Noticing something is off with your engine is a terrible realization – not to mention scary.

Car engines are complex machines with a myriad of components. There are many, many signs of a bad engine to watch for while you’re driving.

If your vehicle starts acting up to the point where you don’t feel safe, you need to get it checked out as soon as possible. Assuming the warranty is still in effect, the manufacturer could be responsible to repair it free of charge. If the engine problem persists after multiple repair attempts, you may have a lemon.

What is a Lemon?

The Moss-Magnuson Consumer Warranty Act – known as lemon law – is a nationwide regulation that holds automakers accountable for selling defective vehicles. While this law exists across the country, each state has unique guidelines as to what constitutes a lemon. Under lemon law California:

  • The vehicle must be covered under the original manufacturer or dealer warranty when the defect is reported to the automaker; and
  • The defect must be “substantial” – meaning it impairs the vehicle’s safety, functionality, and/or value; and
  • The manufacturer’s certified repair facility has made a reasonable number of repair attempts to fix the defect (usually at least two); or
  • The vehicle has been out of service for warranty-covered repairs for 30 cumulative days; and
  • The defect was not caused by driver neglect or abuse.

If your car engine problems meet the criteria above, you may be eligible for compensation with the help of a California lemon law lawyer.

Now, what are some of the most common signs of engine problems to watch out for?

Let’s get into it.

1. The Check Engine Light

We’ll start with the most obvious indicator you’re facing car engine problems. The check engine light can mean many different things – from a loose gas cap all the way to total failure. Regardless, the light cannot be ignored.

If the vehicle is still under warranty, take it to the manufacturer’s facility to look for signs of engine problems. If not, take it to your trusted mechanic. A technician will run a diagnostic using an OBD II scanner to read the code from the vehicle’s computer system. This will identify the issue – and the remedy.

2. Foul Odors

Foul odors coming from inside the car indicate there is an issue with the emissions – which is one of the most prevalent signs of a bad engine. A strong exhaust smell or other strange odors could mean your engine is not functioning properly and needs to be examined immediately.

Moreover, you will not likely pass a smog test if the problem persists.

3. Unreasonable Fuel Consumption

An increase in fuel consumption generally means the engine is not processing fuel correctly. This is one of the more extreme signs of a bad engine – especially if the check engine light is on. If it is combined with other issues related to the vehicle’s functionality, the problem may be more severe.

Get in touch with the manufacturer as soon as possible to diagnose the signs of engine problems. Driving around with a faulty engine only puts you and other drivers at risk, not to mention the increased fuel consumption is costly.

4. Recurring Loss of Engine Power

Loss of engine power is arguably one of the most extreme signs of engine problems. Gas-powered cars convert fuel into power via a combustion cycle within the engine. This is a four-stroke process that enables the vehicle to move.

Experiencing a loss of power while the vehicle is running means there could be an interruption in one of the four strokes. Losing engine power is extremely dangerous on the road. Don’t waste any time in getting this car engine problem inspected by a professional.

5. Strange Sounds

Weird noises from under the hood indicate many different signs of a bad engine. You’ll need to listen for sounds like:

  • Knocking
  • Whining
  • Pinging
  • Grinding

Engine knocking is typically a telltale there is damage in the pistons, bearings, or other parts.

Keep in mind, ignoring this issue – then trying to file a lemon law claim later – could be difficult. The manufacturer may argue the defect was caused by neglect. Get the vehicle into the repair facility immediately.

6. Vibrations

Excessive vibration is one of the signs of a bad engine that needs to be addressed immediately. Usually, vibrations indicate an issue with a spark plug, causing the engine to misfire. Fortunately, the fix is usually easy – the repair facility will simply replace the spark plug and you should be on your way.

7. Engine Stalling

If your engine stalls out while you’re idling, you may be dealing with a more serious car engine problem. It could indicate an issue with fuel delivery – which will compromise the vehicle’s functionality and safety.

Get this issue sorted out at your earliest convenience, even if it only happens once.

8. Rough Idling

Rough idling is one of the more serious signs of a bad engine. If you are at a stop light and you feel the vehicle shake violently or vibrate excessively (without accelerating), it could mean your engine is running at an inconsistent RPM. This can lead to a number of other problems if left unchecked.

Talk to the repair facility as soon as you notice something is off.

Over to You

Car engine problems come in all shapes and sizes – and the signs of a bad engine are not always clear. Go with your gut. If something feels off, get the vehicle inspected by a professional.

If the vehicle is still under warranty, you could potentially have a lemon on your hands.

In this scenario, you will need to keep documentation of all repair attempts, including:

  • All repair orders (closed)
  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Dates
  • Mileage

If the repair facility cannot fix the signs of a bad engine, you may need the help of a California lemon law lawyer. It never hurts to schedule a consultation with an attorney to better understand your options. Most know you’re in this situation for the first time – and even if you don’t have a valid lemon law California claim, they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

For any questions regarding your vehicle or signs of engine problems, get in touch with the team at Cline APC. Call our office at 888-982-6915, send an email to info@clineapc.com, or fill out a free case evaluation.

Share this post
Table of Contents