Your car's engine is perhaps its most vital part. It's also among the most expensive parts of your car to have to repair or replace, which is why taking care of your engine with regular oil changes and tune-ups is so important. Still, even with a rigorous care and preventative maintenance plan, there will eventually come a time when your engine needs a total overhaul or even needs to be completely replaced.
By being able to identify these telltale signs, you can better prepare yourself (and your bank account) for such a situation.
A Distinct "Knocking" Sound
Even a new engine will make some interesting sounds from time to time. However, your car's engine should never emit a "knocking" sound. All too often, this is a sign that your engine's cylinders and pistons aren't firing properly. If left as-is, the problem will only become worse over time, as this will cause further damage to your car's pistons. Furthermore, be on the lookout for a strange grinding sound when you first start your car, as this could be a sign of a bad starter motor.
Okay, so your car doesn't typically smell very good while it's running. It smells like exhaust. However, you should know what kinds of odors are common for your vehicle versus which are potentially troubling. Specifically, watch out for a burning rubber smell.
Unless you've just peeled out (in which case, burning rubber is a smell to be expected), this could be your car telling you that your drive belt or serpentine belt has either snapped or is about to snap, which could cause major damage to your engine.
You're Seeing Smoke
It's not uncommon to see a small amount of white smoke coming from your car's muffler on colder days, but watch out for any white smoke coming from the front end of your car. This could be a sign of engine overheating.
Furthermore, if you see smoke with a blue tint coming from the hood of your car, this is often a telltale sign of an oil leak--something you'll want to have taken care of as soon as possible, as your engine needs oil to keep its many moving parts well lubricated.
As you can see, there are many signs of engine trouble you should be on the lookout for as a car owner. By doing so, you can get engine problems taken care of before they become more serious. If you have other questions, contact a company like Leading Edge Automotive to learn more.