Car Maintenance 101: Troubleshooting Your Engine for Problems (Part 2)

October 28, 2008

Note to Reader 3: Sometimes engine problems can be quite subtle when they start showing symptoms. The sooner you catch these symptoms, the better. There are moments when the symptoms appear to be so minor that it makes it so easy for you to simply ignore them, but that could be a big mistake. It’s better to be careful than to have to pay thousands of dollars replacing numerous engine system components simply because you chose to ignore a deviation from your engine’s normal performance. So my advice to you is that the moment you feel that there’s something wrong with your engine, go with your gut feel and conduct an auto tune-up or troubleshoot your engine for signs of problems as soon as possible.

If you Notice Fluctuating Engine Power See, this is one of the examples of a very subtle symptom. While you won’t experience stalling and even a complete engine breakdown, if you notice that your engine’s performance has dipped slightly or is steadily starting to decline, then act on this problem as soon as possible. In this scenario, you won’t feel excessive vibrations and you won’t hear whining noises coming from your engine, but what you will notice is how your engine is having difficulties maintaining its performance. This may come in the form of an engine that has trouble revving, or slows down even as you push on your gas pedal. Either way, the following factors may be the culprit/s behind your “less-than-great” engine performance…

Possible Cause: Dirty Spark Plugs. Prop up your hood and inspect your spark plugs for signs of dirt buildup. Naturally, when grime coats your spark plugs, you can expect these plugs to have difficulties firing up your engine cylinders. While it may not automatically lead to a misfiring engine cylinder, dirty spark plugs can mean less power to start and warm up your engine properly.

Possible Solution: Regap your spark plugs and clean each one using a small, fine brush.

Possible Cause: A Filthy Air Filter. It’s recommended that you replace your air filter each time you notice a buildup of debris on its netting. If your filter is reusable and you’ve tried washing and reusing it several times, inspect your filter for signs of damage. Remember, while it’s crucial to let in the right amount of airflow for more efficient fuel combustion, it’s equally vital that you prevent fuel contamination by keeping your air filter in mint condition.

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