Auto servicing for mums

How to Work Out What Your Engine Is Trying to Tell You

Are you struggling to get the expected amount of performance from your car these days? You may have suspected for some time that the vehicle was down on power, but recently you've noticed some significant issues and know that you need to take action. How can you decipher some of the messages that your car is trying to send you, so you can warn your mechanic when you go for car motor repair?

Problems at Rest

Sometimes, your engine will play up when it's not under any load at all. This could be evident when sitting at a stoplight, where the whole vehicle seems to shake due to an engine misfire. In this situation, the motor could be low on compression, and this could be due to faulty spark plugs or distributor cap, or if you have a fully electronic vehicle, then one of the sensors may be to blame. It's also possible that the engine has been damaged due to overheating and the head gasket may be on its way out. This is an urgent issue and could lead to complete failure if not addressed.

Acceleration Issues

Sometimes, the problem will only manifest itself when the engine is under load. For example, if you're trying to accelerate past a slower car you may notice some resistance. This could be due to a faulty fuel injector, leaking fuel lines or a dodgy pump. It's usually a result of some issue with the fuel system specifically and it may be that you just need to get it cleaned out.

Maintaining Speed

This type of issue could also come to the fore when you're trying to maintain a set speed on a motorway. Once again, it could be due to fuel issues like a clogged petrol filter, or some of the sediment within the tank could have made its way into the system.


Maybe your vehicle is giving you some visual clues as well. If you notice a misfire accompanied by a smoky exhaust, then this tells you that the fuel and air mixture is not correct. It's likely that too much fuel is present during the combustion phase and this can contaminate the spark plugs. Any excess fuel will burn off through the exhaust system and this will lead to smoke at the rear of the vehicle.

Figuring It out

If you have a relatively new vehicle, then you may be able to check the root cause of the issue by translating a diagnostic code using the proper scanner. Either way, you should visit your mechanic so they can rectify any of these issues before they get worse.