Signs Of A Blown Engine

Signs Of A Blown Engine: How Serious Can This Get?

An engine is a sophisticated machine built to convert heat into force that turns the wheels from burning fuel. A vehicle’s engine has two key parts, that is the engine block which is also known as the lower section and is the heaviest, and the detachable cylinder head which contains the valve-controlled passages through which the air-to-fuel mixture come through the cylinder. This vehicle component can sometimes be blown up and exhibit the signs of a blown engine.

Your vehicle can’t probably do without this single most important part of the machinery, the engine. The engine is the heartbeat of your vehicle’s movement; it offers life to your vehicle, and the engine also controls your car’s functionality. If the engine is blown or is not working properly, it can be very destructive and this calls for alarm.

Contents of this article entail;

What Is A Blown Engine

A blown engine is an engine that has been badly damaged and needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Blown engines are never easy to deal with. It signifies several problems, but it mostly means that there has been a major failure within the engine.

A blown engine occurs when a broken valve hits a hole through the top of a piston. If this happens, the pressurized oil will escape out through the top of the piston and gets out through an exhaust valve. It also occurs when a connecting rod, a part that connects a piston punches a hole and leaves substantial damage to your car’s engine.

It is one of the most expensive repairs one can deal with as a car owner. In most occurrences, the entire engine may have to be replaced in case the engine is blown. This can be costly and with a used vehicle, the expense can exceed its value. A blown engine can be a nightmare. The repair cost can leave you out of pocket and also render your vehicle unable to function.

Signs Of A Blown Engine

It is important to note the symptoms your car exhibits when engine problems start unfolding. Many issues can cause similar problems and because your vehicle may have one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean that the engine is blown but you should still check out these signs when they land your way.

Whenever you are driving your vehicle, you should always be on the look for trouble symptoms mostly if it has been a while since your last had your vehicle checked. If something seems off with your vehicle whenever you are driving, stop in a safe place and figure out what might be wrong.

It is always important to consult a professional mechanic as soon as you notice the early signs and symptoms of a blown engine. The signs of a blown engine may be excessive smoke, low oil pressure, uncommon engine noises, or your engine failing start, etc, and if you notice that your vehicle has any of these symptoms then your car needs immediate checkups.

Excessive Smoke

Clear smoke coming from your car’s tailpipe may not be a big deal. But if your vehicle starts oozing out white, black, and blue smoke, then it is one of the signs of a blown engine. You need to get this fixed as soon as possible.

Blue Smoke

Blue exhaust smoke is a sign that natural engine oil is being released into the combustion chamber. If you notice that blue smoke is coming out of your vehicle’s tailpipe, it might be a sign that your engine has blown up. Spotting the blue smoke from your car’s tailpipe early can help prevent and stop your engine from blowing up.

White Exhaust Smoke

If you discover that your engine is oozing white smoke from your car’s exhaust pipe, then it could be a sign that water or engine coolant is entering the combustion chamber. Dissimilar to the normal exhaust smoke, the white exhaust looks dense and will always linger in the air, this is a sure sign that the engine has been blown.

Black Smoke

When you see black smoke that lingers in the air coming out of your car’s tailpipe when the engine warms up, then maybe the air filter is clogged up. The air filter should be replaced before it gets worse.

Engine Won’t Start

If your car’s engine won’t start, then it could be anything from overheating to a physical deficiency in the engine that can lead to your car’s engine blowing.

Signs Of A Blown Engine

Overheating and mechanical defects can cause this, and starting your vehicle without addressing this issue can lead to severe damage to your vehicle.

Coolant In The Engine

The engine oil and the coolant are kept separately and sealed inside the engine. If you discover that the engine oil is in the coolant and the two mixes, since they are not supposed to, then it is a sign that there is a serious problem that may lead to engine blowing.

Suspicious Noises

An enthusiast who spends much time with his vehicle will probably be attuned to the noise his car makes and will surely know when his vehicle sounds different. These noises will alarm you when your engine is blown. Noises from your engine are never good signs. They are often a sign of a damaged engine.

Rattling Or Knocking Noise

Inward engine noises when the car is running are good symptoms that something is wrong with your engine. Broken, loose, torn, and worn bearings commonly cause the rattling sound.

Squealing Noise

If your engine is giving out some squealing and squeaking sounds, then the fan belt may be loose and worn down. If you realize that the fan belt has stopped moving then you should check your car’s manual for any repairs before your engine is blown.

Grinding Noise

When you hear a grinding noise coming out of your car, then it might be one of the signs of a blown engine.

Check Engine Light

Check engine light also known as a warning light will always be triggered by your vehicle’s electronic control unit in case there is an issue involving the engine. Though, it may point out many issues in your car and should not be ignored. It can also be one of the signs of a blown engine.

Loss Of Engine Power

Sometimes your car may feel different to drive, then it may mean that there is a slight problem with your engine and you should immediately check your car’s engine for any possible malfunction.

Loss Of Mileage And Poor Performance

A car loses its fuel economy and power because of wear and tear over time. If your car loses power drastically or its fuel economy significantly drops, then your car’s engine needs attention and should be checked immediately.

Oil Puddle Under Parked Car

If you at all notice a pitch-black oil reservoir on the concrete where you parked up your car, it may be a disastrous sign that something is wrong with your car and it needs to be attended to by a qualified service mechanic.

While this shows something serious that only needs an experienced mechanic to examine, there are several steps you can take to help identify the problem and to eliminate a few easy-to-solve problems before spending a lot on repairs.

Oil Pressure

A fall in oil pressure is one sign showing that something is wrong with the engine. It always signifies that there is silt that is blocking the oil pump pickup or that there is a leak.

If you notice a large pool of oil under the front of your car, no oil in the dipstick, and you hear metal mincing on metal when you try to move the vehicle, then these are sure signs of a broken block.

Rough Idle

Rough idling is a sign that something big is going on with your car’s engine performance. It’s normally influenced by a problem in the system that is accountable for maintaining the right combination of air and fuel inside the engine. Rough idling is difficult to deduce because it can be caused by a wide variety of issues including;

Crankcase Breather

On different engines, the crankcase breather is released to the air-box. Oil proliferation in the air box or observance of an enormous amount of oil vapor puffing out the breather when the engine is stimulated is a reasonable concern and should cause further analysis.

Generally, higher pressure in the crankcase is always the reason for oil blowing out of the breather. Higher pressure can be the outcome of poorly sealed piston rings which allow combustion pressure into the crankcase.

Engine Modifications

If you modify your car’s engine with a supercharger or a turbocharger that is not compatible with the engine, your engine can blow up. The increased power produces additional heat than the coolant system is formulated for. The excess heat can make the block break.

Engine Oil

The composition of the engine oil can give a lot of hints as to what is going on within the engine. The oil that appears out milky is a good indication that moisture is entering into the oil system. The most common suspect is oil seeping inside the water pump seal.

Black oil may be because of poor maintenance practices on account of the owner or through combustion byproduct entering the oil stream. Worn piston rings can also be held accountable for allowing combustion gases and byproducts.

Coolant Weepage

Splashes of coolant exiting the engine around the coolant pump are indications of a faulty water pump seal. If this is left without taken care of, the entire cooling system will finally become empty, resulting in overheating and a tremendous amount of damage.

Engine Is Shaking Violently

If your car just turns over finely then starts shaking while running, then there could be something unusual with it. Maybe it is caused by worn or dirty spark plugs, the spark plugs are the cheapest to fix, so try changing them and see if your vehicle runs as usual.

Loose or damaged hoses may also be the cause of your car’s engine shaking, they are slightly worse, but they are inexpensive to fix, so try fixing them before they worsen the state of your engine.

You should always check to make sure all the vacuum and air hoses are appropriately connected and there is no damage to them. For the shaking of the engine to stop, you should fasten the loose hoses and repair cracked ones.

The more expensive to repair are your car’s timing belts, and the motor mounts. They will possibly require the help of a professional mechanic to fix. You should have a qualified mechanic to repair these problems unless you know what you are doing.

Causes Of A Blown Engine

Several issues can cause your car’s engine to fail. You should always provide your car with proper maintenance to prevent these issues from happening. By ignoring fixing these problems early enough then you are putting your engine in great danger of stalling completely.


Overheating means that your car’s engine heats up too much and causes parts to fail. It happens because of the coolant leak coming from the radiator or hose connected to the coolant system. A bad thermostat, a bad water pump, and a faulty electric cooling fan can also cause it.

However, it is always important to have your cooling system flushed to ensure that the system is properly keeping your car’s engine cool and in good shape always.

Improper Lubrication

Not ensuring that the engine is getting oil as required is one of the most common causes of a blown engine. You will end up replacing your car’s engine even if you change the oil regularly but you don’t check other wear and tear parts.

Oil starvation may also be caused by high mileage wear and tear. This usually occurs between the main bearing and the rod bearing.

Timing Belt Snap or Timing Chain Break

A car’s engine timing is maintained with a rubber belt or a steel chain that ties the crankshafts to the camshafts. If the timing chain breaks, it causes severe damage to your car’s valves in the cylinder head of the pistons.

The damage can cause piston parts to get into the oil pan which damages the internal components of the engine. Here, repairs can be too extensive so replacement is usually recommended.

Blown Rod

If your car’s engine throws a rod, it will not break through the block but your car will have internal damage. A broken rod can be a result of over-revving of the engine.

A Seized Engine

Lack of lubrication mainly causes the engine to seize. Moving metal surfaces and oil starvation on bearings which generates massive friction besides much heat can also cause a seized engine. Your car’s engine cannot rotate with a seized engine.

Engine Block With A Hole

A hole in your car’s engine block? This can mean catastrophic damage to your engine internally or externally. An engine block with a hole in it is usually common in high-performance engines. A connecting rod breaking in the engine block and being propelled through the engine block can cause it.

Lack Of Maintenance

Slime buildups in the oil galleries can prevent lubrication if the engine oil and filter are not changed regularly as recommended.

Blown Piston

Most causes of a blown engine are piston problems. A blown piston that has melted or has partially cracked. Low compression in the cylinder may result from a blown engine.

How To Prevent A Blown Engine

The only best way to prevent your engine from blowing is to ensure proper maintenance of your car. Always operate your car within its recommended ranges and avoid high RPM revving and increased periods of high-speed driving.

Signs Of A Blown Engine

Servicing your car regularly and replacing your car’s engine oil, oil filter, air filter, coolant, and plugs are also key to your car’s engine longevity.

Check Your Engine Oil Often

Your car’s lifeblood is the engine oil. You should always take care of your car and get your car’s engine oil checked regularly because it is important to your car especially if you own an old car.

Get Regular Tune Ups

If your car’s engine feels as if it is lacking power and it is acting sluggishly and slow then be ready to get your car tuned up. Tuning up your vehicle’s engine involves changing the air filter, the spark plugs, and cleaning the engine throttle body.

Replace Worn Out Belts

A car’s drive belts wear out over time. The squeaking noises coming out of your car’s engine indicate that it is time to replace the belts. To ensure your engine’s health, make sure to tend to these issues.

Keep Your Engine from Overheating

You should always check the coolant levels in your engine regularly. You also have to make sure that the temperature of your engine is in check since the burned fuel inside your engine generates much heat that may lead to your engine overheating.

What To Do If Your Car’s Engine Blows

Your car can lose engine power. Either running out of gas or having a faulty fuel pump can cause this. Other forms of failures can also cause this.

If your engine blows while driving and the ignition keys move to the accessory position accidentally, try putting the gear lever into the neutral and restart the engine, and find a safe place to park your car and if your car’s engine quits when you are on the highway, your car might lose power steering and the brakes but you will still be able to control and guide your car and stop it. Apply the brakes and steer gradually to the roadside if your car engine won’t restart.

How To Fix A Blown Engine

Because of its complex and vital importance to the vehicle, your car’s engine should be kept in a good condition. If you have confirmed that your car’s engine is certainly blown up, the next thing that will come to your mind is whether it will be possible to fix it, and how to do it if it is possible. To get to the root cause of the problem, you should consider dissembling your car’s engine. Here are some steps to follow when fixing a blown engine.

Establish What’s To Be Fixed

When dissembling your engine, make an effort to diagnose it. You should always be organized and slow in your approach since it is important. You should then remove the valve covers and the intake manifold, keep checking for the debris in the oil and the valve train components.

Check The Engine Thoroughly

You should again check for any crack in many parts of the engine and don’t just assume your car’s engine is fine if you don’t see any broken parts. A professional mechanic in a workshop may be able to see the invisible cracks.


Remove the rods, crankshaft, and pistons from the engine. It is important to pay attention to the bearing surfaces and check for any visible signs of carving and adjust your technique accordingly when you are removing the components of the engine.

Install The Piston Rings

You should then install the new piston ring on the pistons. Also install the crankshaft bearings into the block, after that, install the crankshaft, the rod bearing then the pistons on the connecting rods. You should then fill the oil pump with petroleum jelly then install it and the oil pan.

Filling The Engine

You should insert the new head gasket and latch the head on the block. Slide the current camshaft lifter in place. You should then install the camshaft into the cylinder heads then install the valve train onto the head compartment.

In this stage, you should also install the exhaust manifold gasket, intake manifold, valve cover gasket, and be convinced that everything is in place. Then fill the engine with oil using a drill and priming shaft to pump the oil.

Maintain Your Car’s Engine

To prevent your engine from blowing up, you should always take good care of it. Check the oil frequently since it is really important. You should also replace worn-out belts, get them tuned up regularly. Always ensure that the coolant works appropriately to avoid issues like overheating that can cause severe damage to your engine.

Facts: 10 Ways to Recognise the Signs of Car Engine Damage

  1. It’s important to take care of your car’s engine and recognize potential warning signs of engine damage before it’s too late.
  2. Seek out a professional mechanic if your car is experiencing any engine problems for easier and cheaper repairs.
  3. Suspicious noises are one of the signs of engine damage. Drivers should be concerned about knocking, squealing, and grinding noises.
  4. A knocking or thumping type of noise may indicate worn-out rod bearings that could fail soon.
  5. Squeaking and squealing noises could mean a loose and worn-out fan belt that needs tightening or replacement.
  6. A grinding noise may indicate front brake pads getting shaved away every time you hit the road, significantly reducing the car’s braking effectiveness.
  7. Excessive smoke from the tailpipe could indicate blue, black, or white smoke problems that need fixing as soon as possible.
  8. Blue smoke means that oil is escaping from the engine and being burned alongside the fuel, and the car needs repairing.
  9. White smoke is a sign that water condensation or antifreeze has combined with the fuel supply, and a professional check-up is necessary.
  10. Black smoke may indicate a clogged air filter, a bad fuel pressure regulator, or a leaky fuel injector that needs replacing. Other signs of engine damage include the check engine light, patches of oil under the car, using more fuel than normal, and loss of engine power.

Signs Of A Blown Engine; Final Thoughts

If you are dealing with engine problems, the best thing you can do is to take your car for checkups as soon as possible before you can start seeing the signs of a blown engine. If you wait for long before taking your car for checkups then more destruction can happen to your engine. Always be keen on the signs your car is giving away and don’t just assume that everything is totally fine.

The more you wait for more signs, the more your engine is in trouble. Proper maintenance of a vehicle determines its longevity so maintain your engine and check it out regularly. Always remember that your car can’t run without an engine. Running a car with a blown engine may endanger not only your life but that of other drivers too.

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