Car Maintenance 101: Troubleshooting Your Engine for Problems (Part 5)

Note to Reader 6: This is just a side note, but I’m a bit worried about the current crisis being faced by huge automakers in the country. Although I’m not selling new cars, more like repairing old ones really, it still kinda smarts to see the Detroit Big Three (Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors) take a stumble. Here’s to hoping those companies get the aid that they need to continue creating good cars.

That being said, onto our usual route. Troubleshooting your engine part 6. Bear with me, there’s just two or three more scenarios which I hope can help you guys sort things out when it comes to your rides. By the way, since most of the causes presented in this post have already been discussed in the previous entries, I’ll try to keep this post as short and sweet as possible.

***The picture shows a Scan Tool or DTI (Diagnostic Trouble Code) Reader

If your engine stalls while idling or can’t idle smoothly after running for a while… Your car may run fine at high speeds, sure. But what happens when your vehicle starts to crawl? Here’s one quick way to test if your vehicle truly is exhibiting this symptom. After traveling for a quarter of an hour or so, release your step on the gas pedal to see how your engine’s gong to run. If it bucks or it stalls then…

Possible Cause: You may have a vacuum leak.

Possible Solution: Conduct a full check on your vacuum lines and try to determine if there’s leakage somewhere. If there is, locate the faulty vacuum line/s and replace if necessary.

Possible Cause: If your ride is still sporting a carburetor (in short, if you don’t have a fuel injection system), then it’s possible that you have a faulty power circuit or accelerator pump.

Possible Solution: Locate your accelerator pump and check for damage. If the damage is extensive, replace the entire carburetor. If the damage is contained, meaning it’s found in the pump itself, then simply replace your accelerator pump.

Possible Cause: Your idle speeds are set incorrectly.

Possible Solution: Set things right by adjusting your idle speed according to your vehicle’s specifications.

Possible Cause: You may have problems with your actual computerized engine control system.

Possible Solution: Locate a shop that has a DTI reader (diagnostic trouble code reader) or invest in a scan tool to find out where your engine problems are coming from. Also test your engine computer’s circuits. Repair and replace auto parts if needed. (Warning: this is usually a job best left to a professional mechanic—not just because of how difficult it is to actually replace your engine computer’s components but because this job usually requires expensive tools and/or equipment.)

Possible Cause: Dirty or damaged fuel injectors.

Possible Solution: Check your fuel system to determine if there is a decrease in fuel flow. If the problem is a dirty fuel injector, either replace or clean your injectors as soon as possible.

Possible Cause: EGR valve failure.

Possible Solution: Locate and replace your damaged EGR valve if necessary.

Possible Cause: Ignition troubles.

Possible Solution: An ignition tune-up. Replace dirty or damaged spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap, and rotor.

Possible Cause: Engine mechanical woes.

Possible Solution: Determine if your engine compression is set to the right levels. This should give you an idea if any of your engine’s numerous components is malfunctioning. Replace or repair the damaged components.

Possible Cause: Too-low fuel pressure.

Possible Solution: Purchase a fuel pressure gauge and find out if you have problems with your fuel pump or fuel pressure regulator. Replace your fuel pressure regulator if needed. (Again, this is usually a job that’s best left to the pros.)


One Response to Car Maintenance 101: Troubleshooting Your Engine for Problems (Part 5)

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