Symptoms & Signs of a Blown Engine – How to Tell if Your Engine is Blown

The engines of the cars have a useful life that wears out with use and depending on the care taken by the driver, but sooner or later it is time to take it to the mechanic to have the engine checked.

After a time of use, you have to renew all the wear of this and make it useful.

An engine can last many years or a few months, everything will depend on the responsible use that is given.

In this article, we will talk about the care that must be taken with the car so that the engine lasts and you do not have to make a great investment that is to rebuild an engine.


You don’t have to wait for the smoke to come out of the lid to let you know it’s blown, and you have to call the tow truck for rescue.

These are some of the symptoms that you have to take into account in order for you to take the car to the workshop.

Warning lights

They are there for something, they are to announce that the car is failing. The engine light that stays on is a warning that something is wrong, even if no strange noises or engine smoke have appeared.

The lights connect to sensors that are monitoring the entire car.

You have to watch if these lights warn you that the oil level is low. No matter how old your engine is, if you leave it with little oil it will melt. Oil is the blood that circulates throughout its interior.

When the lights appear take the car to the mechanic.

Is erratic

The car should move smoothly, without being abrupt, or shaking, hesitating or accelerating suddenly, when it happens it is because there is a big problem cooking. There can be many reasons for this type of failure:

  • Worn spark plugs
  • Filter or clogged hoses

Preventive maintenance will help you identify all these types of failures on time.

Explosions, tapping, vibrates

When you have any of these symptoms it is because there are also possible failures growing in the engine.

A sound that something explodes, it may be that something happens in the engine’s cylinders, it happens when the gasoline ignites prematurely in the combustion chamber, this can damage the pistons and be very expensive.

An explosion or knocking can be engine mistuning and happens on old or heavily worn propellers.

When it squeaks when trying to turn it on it is a sign that the starter needs supervision and attention.

If there is knocking or vibration when trying to start it, it could be a motor or a transmission.

When you drive the car every day you begin to identify the sounds and know which ones are unusual when they appear to try to deduce them and if you don’t find them, the best thing is to go to the mechanic.

Unusual smells

When you drive and start to feel strange smells, like a mechanic’s shop, it is because something happens underneath, a broken hose, something overheated, a leak.

Burnt rubber smells is that you have worn out rubbers that require replacement.

The smell of gases, in addition to being toxic, is a symptom of engine failure.


When the engine starts to fail, it is starting to burn oil, the first smoke is white, but when the engine is already in the last ones, the smoke that is expelled is black and it is because the entire oil is passing.

In this case, immediate attention is required.


Frequently monitor the oil level and the place where you put it, look below if small black puddles form, when it happens it is because it is leaking oil and in addition to having to replace what has been lost you have to repair that leak.



These are some of the care you should have with the car:


You have to change the car’s spark plugs from time to time according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Changing them in time allows the current to circulate correctly. The same advice applies to cables.


The fuel filter requires attention and periodic change, it accumulates the waste that the fuel brings and in the end it begins to pass it to the machinery when it gets dirty, but if it is never changed in the end it clogs.

Changing it makes it easier for the engine to run and to burn.

Tank full auto contented

The gasoline has sediments that if they are allowed to accumulate and are handled with the minimum, we end up passing them to the engine and damaging it, on the other hand, when the tank is always full, clean gasoline is passed and the engine is not dirty.


When the belts begin to stretch, change them so that the motor does not overwork trying to fulfill the function, they will stretch over time and stop being so effective, just changing them saves you a good sum of money.


Ventilation is key in the combustion process. If you change the filter frequently the combustion will be done correctly and the car will not overwork.


Each type of oil has its indications of how often to change it, we recommend that you take this into account, but also, when you wash it and check it, pay special attention to the oil, its viscosity and color, changing it in time guarantees that the engine will not damage.

The oil thickens and a paste can be created inside that has the only solution to open the entire engine to make it run.

You don’t have to wait for your car to get stranded or smoke to start coming out of the hood, so you know there’s a problem with the engine.

To avoid a bad time and prevent the above, we give you 5 tips that indicate that you have a problem with your engine.

1.- Warning Lights

Every time we put the key in our car’s ignition switch and turn it, various lights on the instrument panel come on for a few seconds and then go off. However, if you notice that any of them lights up after a while or stays on, it may be an indication that you have an engine problem.

These dash lights are connected to sensors that monitor many systems in the car. When it comes to your vehicle’s engine, these are part of a prevention system that tells you that something important or potentially damaging is happening to your engine. Here we tell you the main three:

  • Check Oil / Oil Level Low
  • Oil Pressure Low
  • Check Engine

The first two refer to the oil level and pressure in your engine. The third can mean several things, so it is recommended to take it with a mechanic or specialist, so that he uses a scan tool and reveals the problem that the car’s on-board computer has encountered.

2. Erratic handling

Your motor should run smoothly, with predictable handling, and you shouldn’t have to shake, jerk, hesitate, accelerate, or stop at any time.

If you actually do, it is a strong sign that there is a problem. Such behaviors may be indications of clogged spark plugs, clogged filter or fuel hoses, among other things. In these cases, preventive maintenance such as tuning, oil change, or timing belt in regular periods can help prevent your engine from misbehaving.

If you’ve done the above regularly, then it’s best to take it to your trusted mechanic for review.

3. Explode, Hit, Vibrate and Squeak

An explosion sound may be an indication of a detonation within the engine’s cylinders. This happens when gasoline ignites prematurely in the combustion chamber and can result in costly piston damage.

In other cases, an explosion or knocking sound may be a lack of tuning to your motor. This usually happens on old or heavily worn propellers.

On the other hand, a grinding noise may arise when you try to start your car, this is a sign that the starting system needs attention or a possible change. Also, a knocking or vibrating noise when making gear changes may indicate a problem either in the engine or perhaps in the transmission.

With the above, it does not mean that your engine should behave completely quiet and silent. There are “natural” noises that can be perceived in your daily operation. However, if you ever hear something strange, do not hesitate to review it and give it immediate attention.

4. Unusual odors

If you are driving and you notice a strange smell inside the cabin, surely there is something wrong with your engine.

The essence you perceive can be oil or coolant, which may be leaking through a hose. It can also be a burnt rubber odor, this is an indication that the timing belt or others are damaged, lacking tension or worn.

Another odor that can be filtered in the passenger compartment is that of exhaust gases. These are really toxic. If you do not leave them for later and take to check your unit, since breathing this type of emissions, in addition to damaging your health, can suffocate you.

5. Smoke

If you notice that there is a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust or it has a strange color, you may have an engine problem. Large amounts of smoke can be caused by a pollutant that has infiltrated the air-fuel mixture and is burning along with gasoline.

On the other hand, if you notice that the smoke that is coming out of the exhaust is blue, it means that the oil is filtering into the combustion chamber and is being consumed along with the gasoline.

If you want to know more about the different types of smoke that can come out of the exhaust, we invite you to consult this topic in our tips section.


Small, timely repairs guarantee engine life.

A car that has a small oil leak is a problem that over time will accentuate and drip more oil until it is a waterfall.

You can replace it without a problem, but if you do not solve it, you overwork the engine.

That little noise, that fault, that strange movement, everything is a symptom that must be solved.

Cars are designed to work with everything together, an asymmetry that makes them work well if one thing fails everything fails and in the end, if one part is affected it will drag others.

People who do not repair the small damages end up with a cornered car because it has many small flaws.

Fixing them on time will save you a lot of money.

Types of Blown Engines

What causes a blown engine? Because the term itself is not explicit about the actual failure, there are several different failures that can be categorized as a blown engine. Although they are not exhaustive, they are more common.

Blown piston motor

Piston problems are one of the most common reasons for a blown engine. In most cases, it is not the piston itself that has failed, but rather the piston rings that have failed. These metal rings seal the piston against the cylinder wall and keep the engine oil in the crankcase, outside the combustion chamber. They also maintain combustion – when the fuel/air mixture burns – contained within the cylinder.

A blown piston can also mean that the piston itself has partially melted or cracked. Regardless of the problem, the result is low compression in that cylinder.

Hole in the engine block

Obviously, a hole in the engine block is catastrophic damage. It is a clear indicator of impact, either from inside the engine or from the outside. A hole in the engine block is quite common in high-performance engines where something breaks in the crankcase like a connecting rod, and the force drives the connecting rod through the engine block.

Blown rod

If a motor throws a rod, it rarely breaks through the block. However, it always causes internal damage. A broken or “blown” rod may be due to excessive engine speed or high resistance. Sometimes the wrist pin connecting the piston to the connecting rod breaks or falls off and the connecting rod falls into the engine, damaging everything it hits. Broken timing belt motor

Motor seized

Lack of lubrication is a major contributor to seized engines, although it is not the only cause. Lack of oil in the bearings and movable metal surfaces generates immense friction and a lot of heat, essentially welding the parts inside. The motor cannot rotate, and the motor is seized.

Broken strap or time chain

Engine timing is maintained with a rubber strap or steel chain, tying the crankshaft to the camshaft or axles. If the timing belt or chain breaks, the cylinder head valves move independently of the pistons attached to the crankshaft.

In some engines, the valves can impact the pistons if the timing belt breaks while the engine is running, causing damage to both the valves and the pistons.

About the Author: luis

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