5 "Health" Warning Signals Automotive Engine

- 5 Car Engine "Health" Warning Signals
Latest update date: February 28, 06

Engine is the heart of your car, and maintaining its health is essential to ensure its performance and longevity. According to statistics from the Vietnam Automobile Association (VAA), about 70% of car incidents are related to engine problems. This article will help you recognize 5 important signs that your car engine is having problems, so you can take timely measures.

Difficulty accelerating

One of the most recognizable signs of a weakening engine is poor acceleration. According to a survey by Vietnam Automobile Magazine in 2023, up to 45% of car owners encounter this condition after 3-5 years of use.

- 5 Car Engine "Health" Warning Signals
The car has difficulty accelerating

Main reason:

  • Clogged fuel injector
  • Air filter is dirty
  • Fuel pipe leak


  • Check and clean the nozzle periodically (every 6 months)
  • Replace the air filter according to the manufacturer's recommendations (usually every 15,000-30,000 km)
  • Check fuel lines for leaks

Note: Regular maintenance can help reduce the risk of acceleration problems by up to 80%.

Abnormal signs from exhaust gas

Exhaust is the "voice" of the engine, and abnormalities from here can warn of many serious problems. According to statistics from the Vietnam Register, about 30% of vehicles do not meet emission standards in the first inspection.

Signs to pay attention to:

  • Thick black smoke
  • Milky white smoke
  • Light blue smoke
  • Unusual banging sound from the exhaust pipe
Smoke color  The reason may be
Black Incomplete fuel combustion
White Water entered the combustion chamber
Blue Engine oil is burned


  • Check and replace spark plugs if necessary
  • Maintain fuel injection system
  • Check tightness of piston and piston rings

Note: If you see fire coming out of the exhaust pipe, stop the vehicle immediately and contact a specialist.

The steering wheel vibrates abnormally

Vibration in the steering wheel not only affects the driving experience but is also a sign of many potential problems. According to a study by the Mechanical Research Institute (NARIME), up to 60% of steering wheel vibration cases are related to engine problems.

- 5 Car Engine "Health" Warning Signals
The steering wheel vibrates abnormally

Common causes:

  • Spark plug does not work
  • Loss of engine pressure
  • Air mixture ratio is incorrect

Severity assessment table:

Vibration level Rating Necessary action
Light Early warning Check at the garage
Fit Need attention Schedule urgent maintenance
Heavy Hazardous Stop the car and rescue


  • Check and replace spark plugs (usually after 60,000-100,000 km)
  • Check cylinder pressure
  • Adjusting the carburetor ratio (for vehicles using carburetor)

Note: Steering wheel vibration can also be caused by suspension or tire problems. A comprehensive examination is needed to determine the exact cause.

Difficulty climbing uphill

Decreased climbing ability is a clear sign that the engine is losing power. According to a survey by the Vietnam Society of Automotive Engineers (VSAE), 35% of car owners encounter this problem after 50,000 km of use.

Main reason:

  • Fuel filter clogged
  • Weak fuel pump
  • Ignition system is ineffective


  • Replace fuel filters periodically (usually every 20,000-40,000 km)
  • Check and maintain fuel pump
  • Maintain the ignition system, including spark plugs and high-voltage wires

Tip: Using high-quality fuel and fuel system cleaning additives can help improve climbing performance.

Check Engine light is on

The Check Engine light is an important warning system on modern vehicles. According to statistics from the Vietnam Motor Vehicle Inspection Center, up to 40% of vehicles turn on the Check Engine light within the first 3 years of use.

- 5 Car Engine "Health" Warning Signals
Check Engine light is on

Common causes:

  • Oxygen sensor error
  • Problem with catalyst
  • Broken air intake sensor (MAF sensor)
  • EVAP system error

Common OBD-II error codes table:

Error code Describe Severity
P0300 Random ignition error High
P0171 The fuel mixture is too lean Medium
P0420 Low catalyst efficiency High
P0442 Slight leak in EVAP system Low


  • Use an OBD-II code reader to pinpoint the exact problem
  • Check and replace faulty sensor
  • Maintain or replace the catalyst if necessary
  • Check and repair leaks in the EVAP system

Note: Do not ignore the Check Engine light, even if the vehicle is still running normally. This can lead to serious and costly damage later.

Recognizing early signs of engine health deterioration is key to maintaining performance and extending the life of your vehicle. By paying attention to the 5 signs above and performing regular maintenance, you can save a significant amount of money in the long term.

According to a report by the Vietnam Automobile Maintenance Association (VAMA), regular maintenance can help reduce major repair costs by up to 70% and increase engine life by 25-30%.

Remember, a healthy car not only saves money but also ensures safety for you and your family on every journey.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

1. How long does a car engine usually last?

The average lifespan of a modern car engine is about 150.000 to 200.000 km. However, with proper maintenance, many engines can last up to 300.000 km or more. Influencing factors include engine type, fuel quality, operating conditions and maintenance schedule.

2. What is the optimal frequency of changing engine oil?

For modern vehicles, oil should be changed every 7.500 to 10.000 km or 6-12 months, whichever comes first. Older vehicles may need an oil change sooner, around 5.000 km. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations in the user manual.

3. How to distinguish abnormal engine sounds?

Unusual noises to pay attention to:

  • "Clicking" sound: Could be due to worn engine valves
  • “Clack” sound: Usually related to the piston or crankshaft
  • “Screeching” sound: Could be due to loose or worn belts
  • “Buzzing” sound: Usually caused by a problem with the ball bearing or bearing

If you hear any strange sounds, take the car to a garage for inspection immediately. See more articles: Instructions How to fix noise coming from the engine & exhaust system Fast, safe, most effective.

4. How to optimize engine fuel efficiency?

To optimize fuel efficiency:

  • Regular maintenance, especially changing engine oil and air filter
  • Maintain proper tire pressure (can increase performance by 3%)
  • Use engine oil with appropriate viscosity (can improve performance by 1-2%)
  • Avoid overloading (each 45kg of extra weight can reduce performance by 1-2%)
  • Use high quality fuel and suitable additives

Implementing the above measures synchronously can improve fuel efficiency by up to 10-15%.

5. Why do diesel engines usually have a longer lifespan than gasoline engines?

Diesel engines usually have a 20-30% longer lifespan than gasoline engines due to:

  • Higher compression ratio (15:1 to 25:1 compared to 8:1 to 13:1 of gasoline engines)
  • The construction material is more durable to withstand high pressure
  • Lower rotation speed, reduces friction and wear
  • Diesel oil has better lubricating properties than gasoline

A well-maintained diesel engine can last up to 500.000 km or more.

6. How to recognize signs of turbocharger failure?

Signs of a problem with the turbocharger:

  • Reduced engine power (can be up to 20%)
  • Hissing or whistling sound when accelerating
  • Blue or gray smoke from the exhaust
  • Increased engine oil consumption (can increase by 30-50%)
  • Check engine light is on

If you suspect there is a problem with the turbocharger, it should be checked immediately to avoid more serious damage to the engine.

7. Why does frequent starting and stopping affect engine life?

Frequent restarts and shutdowns can:

  • Increased wear of parts due to lack of lubrication at start-up (50-70% of wear occurs in the first 20 seconds)
  • Causes thermal shock to components
  • Increased fuel consumption (starting can take the equivalent of 30 seconds of steady running)

To reduce impact, let the engine run for at least 30 seconds before moving and avoid turning off the engine if stopped for less than 1 minute.

8. How to accurately evaluate engine performance?

To evaluate engine performance:

  • Use dynamometer to measure power and torque
  • Check the compression pressure of the cylinders (should be between 125-175 psi for gasoline engines)
  • Analyze exhaust gases using an exhaust gas meter
  • Measure actual fuel consumption and compare with manufacturer specifications
  • Use an OBD-II scanner to check operating parameters

Combining the above methods will give you a comprehensive picture of engine performance.

9. How to minimize carbon buildup in gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines?

To reduce carbon buildup in GDI engines:

  • Use high quality fuel that contains detergents
  • Change engine oil on time (every 5.000-7.500 km)
  • Use fuel system cleaning additives periodically (every 15.000-20.000 km)
  • Avoid running the engine at low speed for long periods of time
  • Consider cleaning the combustion chamber with walnut blasting after 60.000-80.000 km

Applying the above measures can reduce up to 70-80% of carbon accumulation, maintaining engine performance.

10. Why is using correct engine oil important to engine life?

Engine oil plays an important role:

  • Lubricates moving parts, reducing friction and wear
  • Cools internal engine components
  • Cleans and prevents dirt build-up
  • Protects against rust and corrosion

Using engine oil properly can:

  • Increase engine life by 20-30%
  • Improve fuel efficiency by 2-3%
  • Reduce harmful gas emissions by 10-15%

Always use the oil type and viscosity recommended by the manufacturer. Read the article now: Causes car engines to quickly consume oil: the safest and most effective way to recognize and handle it, applied by many garages today.

11. How to detect problems with the engine cooling system early?

Early signs of cooling system problems:

  • Abnormally high engine temperature (>100°C)
  • Coolant level drops rapidly (>10% in 1000 km)
  • There is a sweet smell in the engine compartment (due to coolant leak)
  • White smoke from the exhaust pipe (coolant gets into the combustion chamber)
  • Engine oil has a milky color (coolant mixed with oil)

Regularly checking coolant levels and system tightness can help detect 90% of problems before they become serious.

12. Why is engine balancing important for engine performance and longevity?

Dynamic balancing helps:

  • Reduce vibration and noise (can reduce up to 50%)
  • Increases the life of components such as bearings and gaskets (15-20%)
  • Improved fuel efficiency (2-3%)
  • Increase engine power (3-5%)

This process involves balancing the crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons to ensure they operate smoothly at all speeds. A well-balanced motor can operate stably at speeds 10-15% higher than an unbalanced motor.

13. How to optimize the combustion process in the engine?

To optimize combustion:

  • Ensure correct air/fuel ratio (ideally 14.7:1 for gasoline engines)
  • Use high quality spark plugs and replace them periodically (every 30.000-50.000 km)
  • Maintains optimal compression pressure in each cylinder
  • Adjust the ignition timing correctly
  • Use high quality fuel with the correct octane rating

Optimizing the combustion process can improve power by 5-10%, reduce fuel consumption by 3-5% and reduce emissions by 10-15%.

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