What Are Some Common Car Engine Problems?

Common car engine problems include the engine failing to start, the Service Engine light appearing as a result of a fault detected in the emission, and overheating as a result of low levels of coolant. Other common causes of overheating include a faulty thermostat, a dirty air filter, a broken cooling fan, or a kinked or broken radiator hose. White exhaust smoke and coolant loss may mean a blown head gasket or cracked head.

If there is a clicking noise when you attempt to start the engine and the engine does not crank, it typically means there is something wrong with the battery, such as a low or discharged battery or corroded or loose battery cables. If the engine cranks when you attempt to start the car, but fails to turn over, this may mean there is a problem with the fuel or ignition. Other common reasons an engine may fail to start include a failure of the starter motor relay, a clogged fuel filter, a defective fuel pump or an ignition switch failure.

If the Service Engine light appears on a vehicle, and the vehicle is also emitting blue exhaust smoke, this may mean an engine oil leak is causing an issue in the fuel system. Other common problems that cause a Service Engine light to appear include worn-out or damaged spark plugs, a defective distributor or coil pack, a loose or missing gas cap, and issues with the quality of fuel. A certified mechanic can determine the exact cause by interpreting codes from the vehicle's electronic control module.