Containing all of the major components of the bottom end of an engine, the engine block is one of the most important parts of any car. Holding the combustion chambers and various interior parts of the engine, it plays an integral role in the day-to-day functioning of your vehicle.
Faulty or cracked engine blocks are rare, as they are designed to last the lifetime of a car. However, it can happen for a number of reasons, usually an excess of heat that is caused by an issue with the coolant. This causes the overheated areas to expand while the cooler parts stay in place, forming cracks in the engine over time. It can have potentially disastrous results if not taken care of swiftly and efficiently, costing you valuable time and money. Here are 5 signs that you have a cracked engine block that may need an urgent engine rebuild or replacement.
- Visible engine smoke
Smoke coming out from under your hood can mean many things, none of them being good. If the smoke is a dark grey or black colour, it might be due to a crack in the engine block, caused by the crack allowing for emission fumes to leak through. In most cases, this smoke will be accompanied by many other performance issues, such as a lack of engine power or a rough idle.
- Antifreeze and oil mixing together
If there’s a deep crack in your engine block, it can allow oil and antifreeze to mix together. The antifreeze fluid will seep in through the crack, circulating with the oil and creating a cloudy white liquid that should release a strange smell and cause excessive smoke coming out from the exhaust. This is a surefire sign that a crack in the engine block has formed, located in the passages where the oil and coolant travel through.
- Engine overheating
As discussed above, a crack in your engine block can cause the antifreeze fluid to leak. This lack of a proper coolant can cause your engine to overheat, potentially causing internal damage if you continue driving for too long. You can spot an overheated engine by a rising temperature gauge and smoke being released from under the hood.
- Low compression
The internal combustion process takes part inside the engine block, allowing for engine compression to occur. If your engine block is cracked, air compression will be reduced due to the air escaping. This will greatly impact the performance of your engine, decreasing its power, fuel efficiency and overall performance.
- Visible cracks
If it’s not obvious from your engine performance alone, visible cracks in the engine block can help you confirm the issue. A visual inspection will help you to properly diagnose the problem, although this is more complicated than simply opening the hood and having a quick look. Click here to know some of the common engine problems and their causes.
This process requires mechanical experience, so if you don’t feel confident enough to inspect your engine on your own, employ the services of a trusted mechanic instead.