When Is an Engine Beyond Repair?

close up of an engine in a car, with a hand twisting a wrench in the corner

Real car aficionados love getting under the hood and tinkering with their machines, not just remaining behind the wheel. To be sure, enjoying the feel of the wind through your hair while you take country turns on nice, gently curving roads is a delight. Still, tinkering with a car’s guts remains the best way to feel connected and bonded to a vehicle.

However, there are limits when it comes to fixing an engine. Knowing when tinkering with it will benefit the car when you need to turn it over to a pro and when you need to replace it altogether can save you time, money, and stress. Please read on to learn more.

What You Can Fix from Home

Sometimes the problems with an engine are small and can be tackled at home without needing specialized equipment or knowledge. Most car owners don’t have a hydraulic lift or other specialized equipment mechanics possess to access the entire car or the smaller tools and products needed for repairs.

There are a few examples of repairs you can tackle from home, like lubricating the engine parts or cleaning oil deposits and debris. Fixing a valve cover gasket leak is a pretty low-stakes problem without costly missteps. The repair may be involved, but you can do it from home.

This type of leak isn’t such a big deal on typical V-type engines. It mostly just results in drips on your driveway or on the street. But if you have a four-cylinder engine, the drips can leak into the plug tubes and cause them to misfire.

How to Fix It

If the gasket itself is broken, hand it over to the professional engine services at AutoOne Service! That’s more involved and not the type of repair casual drivers should take on. However, you can replace the cover at home.

You’ll need a plastic putty knife, rubber mallet, socket wrench, and torque wrench. As for materials, you need brake cleaner, a valve cover gasket kit, and vulcanizing sealer (RTV). First, remove the cover by unfastening the bolts and gently tapping on it with the mallet to loosen it. Carefully remove any hoses, cables, and electrical components, and take care to label them so you can return them easily. Then, remove the spark plugs and clean any gunky oil out with a rag.

a male mechanic fixes an engine

Replace the spark plugs with new ones, then remove the valve cover hold-down bolts, noting each bolt’s location and length, then break the cover loose and lift it off the engine.

Then, peel off the old gasket and use brake cleaner and rags to clean the valve cover. Using a plastic putty knife that won’t damage any metal surfaces, remove any traces of old RTV from the timing belt cover-to-cylinder head.

Catch the old RTV using a rag so it doesn’t fall into the engine. Finally, replace the old RTV with a new RTV and install the new gasket. Valve cover gaskets are designed to seal “dry” so don’t apply a sealant to the gasket’s face.

Finally, ensure the valve cover bolts are tightened according to your shop manual’s specifications and reinstall the hoses, cables, ignition components and electrical connectors.

If the above seems like more trouble than it’s worth, leave it to the pros at our auto repair shop! Most people who do their own engine repairs take pleasure from it and see it as a hobby. If you’re curious about car repair, by all means, give it a go!

But for most people, they’ll save money and get much better engine repair when they leave it with the experienced technicians at AutoOne Service.

What Engine Problems Shouldn’t You Fix?

Some engine problems are beyond the scope of the average driver and even gearheads. Don’t try to fix a failing oil pump alone. You can use engine oil of a genuine viscosity, so it’s light enough to flow quickly through the pump, but the repair is involved and complex.

If your engine isn’t getting enough coolant or there’s not enough fuel and air compression, visit AutoOne Service. Obviously, the engine is the heart of your car, and its health determines how smoothly your car will drive and how long it lasts on the road.

Problems like prolonged engine detonation may cause long-term damage to the pistons, head gaskets, and piston rings. If you hear your engine making a knocking noise, there could be too much heat within the combustion chamber which leads to high pressure and overheating.

You may think that winter driving in Canada through ice and slush isn’t the time for overheating problems, but you’d be wrong! If you have reservations about how your engine is running and feel too timid to take on the repair yourself, leave it to us.

In fact, let AutoOne Service handle the problem even if, or maybe especially if, you feel like this is the time to begin learning a new hobby! Engine repair isn’t the first type of car maintenance you should dip into.

Online Bookings

Whether you need to schedule regular vehicle maintenance or get your engine repaired or replaced, you can make the appointment easily from your own home using our online booking system. AutoOne Service is proud to have all the latest equipment inside our body shop to service vintage vehicles and brand-new hybrid and electric vehicles.

As a modern and cutting-edge body shop, we believe scheduling appointments should be easy and streamlined too. Simply visit our website, describe what needs fixing, and fill out some basic contact information.

Let us know if you’d like to wait on-site for the repair to get finished or if you’ll leave the vehicle with us for a bit. We do every type of engine replacement, performance check, belt and hose replacement, cooling system repair, water pump repair and replacement, and more.

Winter driving isn’t always pleasant in Canada. If your engine isn’t working properly, it can be downright dangerous. Tackle common car issues if you’re so inclined, but if you have any reservations about what’s going on under the hood, bring your car to AutoOne Service.