Engine Failure: 10 warning signs you must NEVER, ever ignore

The engine of any automobile is the most important part of the vehicle. A healthy engine will prolong the life of your vehicle and will also ensure that you get the most out of your vehicle. While taking the car regularly to the service centre and doing a proper diagnostic will reveal a lot about the health of the engine, it is always a good idea to pay close attention to the engine by understanding the signs. You can save an engine by recognising early warning signs. Here are 10 such warning signs that you should never ignore.

Making irregular sounds

Gypsy Engine Swap

Any new sound coming out of the mechanical parts of the vehicle can be a big sign of something abnormal happening under the hood. Weird sounds can happen due to backfire or knocking. There are different reasons for both. Backfire happen when the air and fuel do not combust completely in the chamber and unburnt residue comes out of the exhaust manifold. Knocking happens when the air-fuel mixture before than the optimal time. Both these situations can be troublesome for the engine and should be addressed immediately.


Modern cars have become much cleaner and minimal residue now comes out of the exhaust pipes. If you see the smoke of any colour coming out of the exhaust, you should know that there is a problem. You can determine the problem by checking for the colour of the smoke. Black smoke coming out may indicate that the car is running a rich air-fuel mixture. Also, it can a sign of fuel pump delivering more fuel than required. Smoke can also cause by faulty spark plugs in petrol cars. If you see blue smoke, it can indicate that the engine is burning the engine oil and there can be a leak somewhere.


If you feel excessive vibrations while driving over a smooth road, it can be an indicator of faulty engine mounts. If the mounts are worn out, it can cause vibrations even when the car is idling. Also, misfiring in the engine can cause vibrations and you can make it out by listening to the sound of the engine carefully.

Engine check lamp

Check Engine Light

Modern cars offer an array of warning lamps that will show you the exact reason for the fault in your vehicle. Engine check lamp is one such important warning that you should not ignore. If you restart the vehicle and the lamp is still glowing, it is time to visit the service centre as soon as possible. Engine check lamp can glow for various reasons but the real reason can be identified only after proper diagnostics.



Most modern cars offer an engine temperature gauge that will indicate if the engine is operating at an optimum temperature. The ideal temperature of the car is when the needle stays in the middle. If you see the needle moving towards the hotter range, you should know that the cooling system of the engine might be malfunctioning and you will need to get it fixed. Driving around with overheated engine can seize it.

Engine oil level

Low Oil Pressure light

The engine oil provides lubrication to the engine and ensures proper, smooth working. Over time, the engine oil level may go down due to various reasons. Since low engine-level means that there will not be proper lubrication, you should always keep an eye on the oil level. Also, if the vehicle is losing engine oil too quickly, you should get the engine checked for leaks.

Loss of power


If you experience loss of power while accelerating or failing to reach the top speed of the car can mean major engine problems. The most basic reason can be the engine not getting enough fuel and air. Also, the fuel filter can get clogged, suppressing the flow of the fuel. If you’re driving a vehicle with a turbocharger, there might be a problem with the turbocharger unit as well.



Engine misfiring can be detected by an unusual sounding engine. Since modern engines are controlling by ECUs, there can be a problem with the electricals of the vehicle. Also, bigger problems can involve ECU. In most cases, faulty spark plugs is the reason behind misfiring while in extreme cases, loss of compression can also be the cause.

Oil in spark plug


This problem can happen to only petrol cars since diesel vehicles do not use spark plugs. If you see oil on the spark plugs, it definitely means that the engine oil has somehow reached them. There can be a leak in the oil chamber.

Weak engine braking

Engine braking is the opposite of accelerating. You can engage engine braking by releasing the accelerator and clutch. Engine braking is a healthy practice and prolongs the life of the brake pads. It is also very common in the hilly roads where engine braking is used to control the speed during downhills. If you experience loss of engine braking, it means there is not enough compression in the chamber and it can lead to some problems.