What are 5 Typical Indicators of an Engine Going Bad?

May 4th, 2022 by


We all know how vital it is to maintain your car’s engine, but it may be easy to overlook, ignore, or reject any warning signals as ‘just a blip’ or something that can wait until later. But, before it’s too late and you risk significantly harming the engine, it’s worth recognizing and contemplating the indicators that your engine may be in trouble.

So, to help you detect engine damage, we’re going to look at some of the indications and symptoms that indicate when anything is amiss beneath the hood. From strange noises and smoke to other visual symptoms, knowing what to look for can put you in a better position to manage your automobile and prevent costly repair bills.

Here are 5 Warning Signs of an Engine Going Bad:

1. Check Engine Light is On

This light generally illuminates when detecting engine problems. It is wise to ask your mechanic to run a car diagnostic test to “read the code” that is being read by the sensor, indicating potential car trouble.  

2. Strange Odours Inside the Car

The odour of a car’s exhaust should never be noticeable from within the vehicle. If you notice a strong exhaust smell, engine fumes, or any other unusual odours, it might be a symptom of engine problems. Don’t ignore unusual engine odours and expect them to go away. Take your car to the service area immediately to get it diagnosed and fixed up.

3. Sudden Loss of Power

In interference engines, a broken timing belt can cause valve damage. The valve collides with the piston, forcing it to bend. As a result, there is little compression. However, if an engine is non-interference, there will be no valve damage, and the timing system will need to be replaced. Normal wear, a faulty timing belt tensioner, a faulty water pump, and a faulty idler pulley can all cause a timing belt to snap.

4. Loud Ticking Noise

If your engine makes a ticking noise, it clearly indicates that certain parts are worn and need to be replaced. If the ticking noise is coming from the engine’s right side, where there are no belts, it might indicate an issue with the valves or even how the engine interfaces to the gearbox. It’s also possible that one of the bolts on the flexplate connecting the engine to the transmission became loose and is now contacting the engine.

It might be a worn-out timing belt if the ticking sound is coming from the left side of the engine, where a belt would normally be found.

A valve adjustment may be required to eliminate the ticking sounds. A lack of lubrication can also lead to ticking noises caused by low engine oil. A worn camshaft lobe or lifter might be the culprit if adjusting the valves or adding additional oil does not solve the problem.

5. Rough Running Engine

If your engine is idling or running rough, a tune-up may be all that is required. Clogs in the system or outdated spark plugs are the most prevalent causes of a rough running engine. Other problems might include a low battery or improper octane in the fuel.


A failing engine should be addressed and repaired as quickly as possible to avoid further damage. While you may have to spend some money and time on repairs, it is better than having a major breakdown of your vehicle on the road.

Are you looking for a Nissan service center in Morningside? Morningside Nissan is here to take care of your car, no matter what it needs. Give us a call today to learn more!

Posted in Tips