Things to Know About Major Engine Damage - Subaru Service Questions in Olympia, WA

Engine Overheating: The Quickest Way to Damage your Engine | Hanson Subaru Auto Care Tips

Have you ever looked closely at your vehicle's tachometer, and thought about what it was actually saying? Think about it: It's showing you the rotation speed of the engine in thousands of revolutions per minute. That's an incredibly fast speed for metal parts to be moving and grinding against one another! Naturally, this creates a tremendous amount of heat. That's why engine oil and coolant are so important. They help to reduce friction and transfer heat away from the engine so it can operate at a safe temperature, even under extreme conditions.

But, if your engine were to overheat? Your Subaru would likely suffer massive damage. Find below some of the most common problems that can arise from an overheated engine. If you find your engine is starting to overheat, pull the car over and allow it to cool as soon as it is safe to do so. Stopping the car in time just might prevent the damage we'll describe on this page!

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Severe Engine Damage from Engine Overheating: Failed Head Gasket

The head gasket forms a watertight seal between the engine block and the cylinder head. It's designed to keep coolant in its proper channels throughout the engine, oil in the oil gallery and gasoline in the combustion chambers.

As an engine overheats, the aluminium material can begin to warp, swell, expand and even crack. A warped cylinder head could separate from the engine block, creating a leak in the head gasket. A leaky head gasket will cause your engine to start burning oil and coolant. Once the head gasket has failed, your car will be unsafe to drive until a new head gasket is in place. This can be a costly procedure, so be sure to monitor the temperature level of your engine carefully.

Severe Engine Damage from Engine Overheating: Cracked Engine Block

Just like the cylinder head can warp from excess heat, so can the engine block. As superheated areas of the engine block expand and contract, it can form cracks leading to significant oil leaks, loss of performance and further overheating. A cracked engine block can be extremely difficult and time-consuming to fix. Indeed, it's often better to have a new engine installed (or replace the car altogether) than to attempt to fix a cracked engine block. Consult with a professional technician about your options if you suspect your overheating engine has a crack in the engine block.

Severe Engine Damage from Engine Overheating: Warped Cylinders and Pistons

Inside every cylinder of your engine, a piston travels up and down to create the combustion that powers your car. Oil lubricates the piston, but the inside of the chamber must remain totally clean and free of anything other than air and fuel. The piston rings and a precise fit ensure that no engine oil seeps past the piston and into the combustion chamber.

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That said, a severely overheating engine can cause the cylinder walls or the pistons themselves to warp, bend and deform. This will cause the perfect seal between the piston and the rest of the engine to lose integrity. Oil could be forced past the piston rings and into the engine, where it will burn the oil. The pistons could scrape against the cylinder walls, causing knocking, grinding and other horrible noises. The engine will also lose pressure and perform very poorly. In short order, the warped pistons will completely break or the engine will seize up entirely.

So, What do I Do when my Engine Overheats?

Remember: These are the results of an overheating engine. If you're able to turn the engine off and allow it to cool down as soon as you notice the temperature needle creeping into the red, you can likely prevent these kinds of things from happening to your car. Most engines overheat due to a problem with the cooling system or engine oil that needs badly to be changed. Stay on top of regular maintenance and keep an eye on that temperature dial and your engine should be able to easily avoid these issues.

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Hanson Subaru

2300 Carriage Loop SW
Directions Olympia, WA 98502

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  1. Hanson Subaru

    2300 Carriage Loop SW
    Olympia, WA 98502

    • Sales : (888) 490-9863

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