Engine Service & Repair
It’s no secret that the internal combustion engine is the heart of your vehicle. Converting heat (generated from burning fuel) into mechanical energy, your engine makes it possible for your car to accelerate and take you where you need to go. Because the engine is crucial to your vehicle’s functionality, it should be checked on regularly. If you’re seeing a check engine warning indicator or sensing that something is wrong with your engine’s operation, make sure to get your car to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.
Whether the check engine light just popped up on your beloved family minivan, your company truck is showing telltale signs of engine trouble, or you’ve put a ton of miles on your classic cruiser and are due for a regular oil change, professional engine repair and maintenance is crucial to keeping you safely on the road and preserving the longevity of your vehicle.
At Kennedy Transmission, we want to ensure all Minnesotans have a reliable ride, which is why our staff of auto technicians are professionally trained and certified in every aspect of auto engine repair and maintenance. From overhauls to tune-ups, we can ensure your vehicle gets to and from where you need to go safely and efficiently – just contact your local shop for help!
It can be extra intimidating to experience car problems if you’re not familiar with the inner workings of your vehicle. When it comes to engines, there are a number of main parts that all work together, and several signs that may point to problems with these parts.
Understanding Your Car or Truck’s Engine
Your engine is made up of six main parts, including:
- Engine block – Often made of iron or aluminum, the block is the main housing of the engine. Featuring several slots, the engine block holds the pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, cylinders, oil pump, and many other parts. It also holds several external components—such as the cylinder head—that are crucial to your engine’s functionality.
- Pistons – Cylindrical in shape with a flat top, pistons transfer energy created via combustion to the crankshaft. Traveling up and down within the cylinder twice during each rotation of the crankshaft, pistons allow your vehicle to propel forward.
- Crankshaft – Located in the lower section of your engine block, the crankshaft is connected to the pistons via a connecting rod. The crankshaft converts the linear energy created by the up-and-down motion of the pistons into rotational energy, thus allowing the rotation of your wheels.
- Camshaft – Located either within the engine block or cylinder head, the camshaft regulates the timing of the intake and exhaust valves opening and closing in each cylinder. The spinning of the camshaft is supported by a series of lubricated ball bearings.
- Cylinder head – Bolted to the engine block and sealed with a head gasket, the cylinder head houses the valve springs, valves, lifters, pushrods, rockers, and camshafts. The cylinder head controls passageways that allow the flow of intake air into the cylinders during the intake stroke, as well as exhaust passages that remove exhaust gasses during the exhaust stroke. Sparkplugs, a common, but small culprit of engine problems, are also attached to cylinder heads.
- Timing belt or chain – The timing belt of your car ensures that the camshaft and crankshaft are synchronized so the engine runs properly. Attached to the camshaft and crankshaft sprockets, the timing belt is made of solid rubber with cogs built-in to connect to the teeth on the sprockets.
These six components are dependent upon one another and critical to your engine’s performance. When one of these elements, or their parts, malfunction, your car’s other components and systems can be damaged. This is how moderate-sized repairs snowball into major issues and big repair bills, a familiar problem for those trying to cost-effectively maintain an older vehicle. Knowing the signs of engine problems can help you identify and fix problems quickly before they get worse.
How to Tell if Your Engine is in Trouble
Since your engine is essentially the heart of your vehicle, it’s important to pay attention to any signs that it may be failing. Seeing your ‘Check Engine’ light come on or noticing the following problems are indicators that your engine may be in trouble:
- Car not accelerating normally
- Engine knocking, backfiring, popping or spitting
- Vehicle getting unusually poor gas mileage
- Stalling automatic transmission
- Abnormal exhaust fume smells
- Rough idling or driving
If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to take your car to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. Kennedy Transmission’s auto repair shops in Minnesota can run quick diagnostics and do the repairs needed to get you back on the road in no time.
Engine Repair Services
Here at Kennedy Transmission, we specialize in advanced engine repair and services, including:
- Camshaft repair
- Connecting rod bearings
- Crankshaft repair
- Engine replacement
- Front crankshaft oil seal
- Head gaskets
- Oil pan gaskets
- Oil pan replacement
- Oil pump replacement
- Piston rings
- Rear main seal replacement
- Spark plug replacement
- Timing belt replacement
- Timing chain
- Timing cover
- Timing gears
- Valve adjustments
- Valve cover gaskets
- Coolant, oil, and oil filter replacement
Get Your Engine Repaired or Serviced at Kennedy Today
We’re here to help you keep your car running smoothly and performing its best, no matter if you drive a top-of-the-line sports car or are trying to keep an older car happy. Whether you end up needing engine troubleshooting, engine timing adjustments, diesel auto repair, an engine rebuild or replacement, or just need new spark plugs, we’ll handle it! We handle all automotive engine repairs – find one of our auto repair shops in Minnesota, or call your local Kennedy Transmission shop to get started!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Engines
How often do I need to replace my spark plugs?
How long your car can go on one pair of spark plugs will depend on your car, and the type of spark plugs you have (there are both standard and long-lasting ones). Depending on these factors, you might need new spark plugs at anywhere between 30,000-100,000+ miles. A fairly simple process, changing spark plugs can be done as regular maintenance based on the recommendations of your car’s manufacturer.
If your spark plugs go bad early, or you just don’t get them replaced in time, they can cause very noticeable problems. Trouble starting or accelerating your car, poor gas mileage, engine misfires, rough idling, and the appearance of the check engine light can all be caused by bad spark plugs. If you end up needing new spark plugs, don’t stress – this is a relatively quick job for your mechanic!
Can an oil leak damage my engine?
Yes, oil leaks can damage your engine, so you’ll want to take even small oil leaks seriously. Oil buildup can cause serious damage to your car’s rubber seals or hoses. Plus, if you’re losing oil quickly and/or not putting enough oil in your car to replace the lost oil, you could stall your engine, which can cause serious or total engine damage.
Aside from the costly car damages related to oil leaks, having a car that leaves oil behind wherever it goes is generally bad for the environment. Additionally, since oil is flammable, there is some risk of an oil leak causing your car to ignite.
I know the check engine light is serious, but what does ‘Service Engine Soon’ mean?
Depending on your car, the service engine soon light (or maintenance required light) may indicate that your engine is running abnormally, or may be a odometer-based reminder to let you know that you’ve racked up a certain number of miles and are due for another oil change – checking your car’s owner’s manual can help you trouble-shoot what the service engine soon indicator means for your car, and differentiate its meaning from the generally more immediate check engine light. If you’re seeing the service engine light soon, you don’t necessarily have to panic, but should get your car to a mechanic for either an oil change or to investigate the problem as soon as you reasonably can.
If your car’s service engine light is tracking miles between oil changes and you just got one, it’s possible that you or your mechanic forgot to reset the mileage tracker. If you know this is the issue, you can usually follow steps in your car’s manual to reset the mileage tracked and the light will turn off; just make sure to keep a separate record of your mileage so you know when to get your next oil change.