Causes of Engine Failure
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As you put more miles on your engine, it is important to pay attention to the visible and audible signals that predict engine failure. A “Check Engine” light should never be ignored. It can be something as insignificant as a loose gas cap or dirty air filter, but it can just as easily be something serious.
If you’ve past the “Check Engine” stage and your engine has failed, what does it sound like when you try the ignition? If you hear a clicking noise when you turn the key but the engine doesn’t crank, it may be that the battery has died. Remedying this can be as easy as replacing the battery (a tow service may even be able to bring you one for an additional surcharge). If the engine cranks but does not start, the problem may lay in the fuel or ignition system.
If your engine is smoking, it may be a coolant issue. If your coolant is low, you need more. If your coolant is full it may not be circulating properly or there may be an issue with the thermostat. Improper cooling can be the result of multiple issues not limited to a broken cooling fan, pinched radiator hose, or blown gasket.
If your engine is not overheating but it will not start, your fuel filter may be clogged, the onboard computer may be compromised, or the battery cables may be loose or corroded.
As you can see, an unresponsive engine can have several causes. The only way to be absolutely sure is to take it to your mechanic and have them run a full diagnostic. A car is a machine built to withstand the elements, but time will inevitably take its toll. Regular tune-ups will ensure that your car has a long, healthy life and help you avoid inconvenient engine failure.