3 common engine problems and how to avoid them


At the heart of any car is the cylinder, which is responsible for causing combustion within the engine. This is done by compressing and igniting gas using a piston within the cylinder. The gases are then pushed out through the exhaust, causing the wheels to rotate and your car to move. The cylinder head closes the components inside and is sealed by a head gasket.

This article will look at some common problems for the main cylinder components and how to prevent those trips to the mechanic.

Cylinder head

The signs:

Every driver has at some point been behind a car emitting grey smoke. This smoke is a sign that the engine is overheating. As the cylinder is responsible for running the engine, it is common for the cylinder head to be at the centre of an overheating car problem.

The cause:

The cylinder head is a common place to find damage and holes, which are usually related to head gasket damage, and these can cause the overheating. Cracking or holes in the cylinder head can cause terminal damage to your engine so it's important to watch out for the signs and take your car to a mechanic if you think there is a problem.


Check your engine regularly for signs of wear and tear or leaks, and ensure your radiator is filled. If your car does overheat, simply pull over, turn off the engine and wait for it to cool. Avoid pouring cold water straight into the radiator during overheating, as the sudden change in temperature will add to the stress on the cylinder head and cause further damage.

Head gasket

The signs:

If you spot pools of liquid on the ground when you move your car, you might have a cracked and leaking head gasket. There may also be a strong, sweet smell in the car, which is a sign that your coolant is leaking from the head gasket.

The cause:

The spark plugs misfiring, changing the pressure within the cylinder chambers, or the engine overheating can cause cracks in the head gasket, which in turn allows coolant to leak out. Putting the wrong fuel into the car can also cause problems with engine ignition, again altering the pressure levels and causing cracks.


Getting regular car service means that any problems with spark plugs can be caught before they do damage. Also, check your coolant levels at regular intervals to ensure there are no leaks and to prevent overheating.

Spark plug

The signs:

If you're having trouble starting your car, suffer poor acceleration when driving or find yourself refuelling the car more often than normal, you may have a problem with your spark plugs. These are the components which create the spark to ignite the engine.

The cause:

Worn wires, or old or incorrectly fitted plugs can cause weak sparks and blow out or lead to a mistimed ignition, which can in turn cause further damage to the cylinder components. Spark plugs are one of the components that you can fit yourself, but screwing them in too tightly or loosely can cause them not work properly, as described above.

Spark plugs often deteriorate in pairs, and often it will be two that need replacing at a time. A car can continue working if the majority of spark plugs work. Many standard, economical cars have four spark plugs so the loss of two can mean that you will need to seek out a mechanic at the first sign of problems.


Unless you're experienced, have a mechanic fit and maintain your spark plugs. Regular servicing can ensure that old spark plugs are replaced on time.

For more information, contact a specialist, such as Reconditioning Services.


29 October 2014

Critical Auto Service Tips for Business Travellers

If you drive a lot for business, you probably put a lot of kilometres on your vehicle. Whether you are driving from client to client in the same city or driving across the country, your vehicle needs to be well prepared for the journey. You don't want to miss out on a great opportunity because your car has broken down on the way to the meeting. Hi, my name is Carla, and I've been stranded on the side of the road, desperately trying to reach a client to reschedule. After that experience, however, I decided that I needed to pay more attention to auto service, and recently I decided to create this blog to help others in similar situations. Thanks for reading! I hope my tips help you!