When it comes to cars and the problems that they encounter, it can feel quite overwhelming. There are so many potential issues that can occur, some more often than others.
While it is daunting, even if you are not a car expert, it is important to be aware of the issues that you may encounter. An issue in particular that you may be familiar with is a seized or locked engine.
Though this issue is a rather large one, it is something that does not happen very often. It is still something you should be aware of. It is useful to know what causes a seized of locked engine and how this can be fixed.
What Causes A Seized Or Locked Engine?
There are a few different causes for a seized or locked engine and this issue can crop up for a number of different reasons.
Lack of Use
The main reason behind a seized or locked engine after a long period of time when the car has not been used is down to rust and corrosion. The parts are not being used enough, and instead they become stuck and are difficult to move.
A sure sign that lack of use is the problem will occur when you try to start the engine. If the ignition does not start, while it is not the only cause, it is likely the engine has seized and locked.
Fixing this Issue
To help prevent this issue from occurring, you will want to ensure that you are taking your car out regularly to keep all the components, and the engine, ticking over.
If you are using your car fairly regularly, but the engine still does not start, then this could be caused by an electrical problem. The engine should turn over correctly, and if it does not, smoke may appear as the starter has an issue.
Fixing This Issue
To ensure this does not happen, you should always try to run your car’s engine a few times a month. You will need to take the car to a garage if this occurs.
Limited Circulation from the Oil Pump
The oil that is present in the engine of your car is essential in the running of it. It is important to regularly check the engine oil to ensure that there is enough present and that it is working as intended.
One of the most important jobs the oil does is to circulate around the engine. The oil pump is responsible for providing oil to the engine and other important components. Without this oil, the engine can not function as it should and will begin to seize up.
While the seized and locked engine is caused by a lack of circulation of the oil, you need to get to the root of the problem, which is usually a faulty oil pump. There is an oil pressure indicator you can use to determine this.
There will be other hints present if your oil pump is faulty too, such as the engine making a tapping sound, and increasing in temperature.
If there are no issues with your oil pump, the problem could be caused by your oil filter. If there is contamination, blockages, or dust present and the filter is dirty, this can slow the circulation too.
Fixing the Issue
Lack of circulation is a significant problem, and it is not cheap to resolve, especially if the seizing or locking occurred mid-journey. Depending on the damage, if you need a new or rebuilt engine, this can cost up to $8,000 if many components need to be replaced.
This is why it is essential to keep an eye on the warning signs to try and resolve this issue before the damage becomes severe.
Lack of Oil
If there is a lack of oil present, this will cause the engine to seize or lock. There needs to be oil present in the engine in order for it to work correctly.
The oil helps to prevent friction with the different engine components, and stops them from rubbing against each other and wearing down. It also prevents the components from creating too much friction and becoming dangerously warm.
If the rods become one with the crank as a result of this, it is very costly to replace.
There are a few tell-tale signs to look out for, such as the smell of burning oil, your oil pressure indicator, a drop in your car’s performance, and your engine becoming overheated.
Fixing the Issue
This issue is fairly easy to resolve at the beginning and should be fixed quickly to prevent any further damage from occurring. However, if this occurred as you were driving, or has been going on for some time, it will be costly.
Depending on the damage caused, you may need one or multiple different components to be replaced. If the engine itself needs to be rebuilt this can cost up to $4,500. If the engine is seized and needs to be replaced, this can be as expensive as $8,000.
This is why it is essential to ensure that you are constantly checking your oil levels to make sure that they are correct.
Hydro lock is not overly common, but it can occur if you have driven through a good amount of water, or if there are frequent adverse weather conditions. This occurs if a significant amount of water enters the engine’s piston.
The engine is not designed to be filled with water, and as a result this can cause severe damage to it, causing the engine to potentially seize up. When a car hydro locks, the engine will cut out very quickly, and it will need to be rectified as soon as possible.
If you leave water in the engine, it can cause lasting damage and rusting to occur.
Fixing this Issue
The answer to this varies depending on the amount of water and damage that has occurred. You will need to take your car to a professional, so they can assess the damage.
The fixing process typically involves removing the water from the engine and wiping the cylinder walls. This does not completely prevent rusting and corrosion from occurring, however.
Depending on the extent of the damage caused, this can cost between $4000 – $8000 to rectify.
Vapor lock is far less common in comparison to a hydro locking problem, however, it is still something that you will need to be aware of.
Vapor locking is caused by the fuel and liquid within your car to become too warm. Not only is this dangerous, but it can cause damage to the different engine components too.
This is typically caused by an internal issue, as the vapor becomes gas, and the engine cannot deal with this, similarly to how it cannot deal with water.
If you are driving and the engine cuts out quickly or slowly loses power, if there is no water present, this could be due to vapor lock. You should have the check over as soon as possible.
It is worth noting that this can be caused in cars that are not protected from the sun, especially if the car is dated as the heat will increase the temperature of the liquid inside the engine.
Fixing This Issue
To resolve this issue, you will need to ensure that the car engine is left to cool. This will help to turn the vapor that has been created back into a liquid.
After it has cooled, you should have the engine checked over to ensure that there has been no lasting damage that has occurred.
We hope that you have found this article useful, as you can see, there are a number of different causes behind engine locking and seizing. While some are not as damaging as others, they are all fairly expensive to fix.
This is why it is so important to regularly check things such as your car oil levels to ensure everything is working as it should. You should always consult a professional if any issues arise as soon as possible to help prevent any further damage from occurring.
While the majority of seized or locked engines can be fixed at a high cost, often the insurance will not cover this, which is worth keeping in mind.