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Troubleshooting Engine Performance Problems Part 3

Find possible causes of engine problems by the symptoms your car is displaying.
» Part 1: Hesitation...
» Part 2: Hissing...
» Part 3: Tapping...
» Part 4: Rattling...
» Part 5: Smoking...
» Part 6: Overheats...
» Part 7: Fuel Usage...
» Part 8: Smells...
» Part 9: Surges...
» Part 10: Stalls...

  • Engine hesitates, and a popping is heard from the engine:
    When you step on the gas, the engine seems to bog down or takes a second to respond. You may notice a general lack of power. You may notice the problem when the engine is hot or cold or when you are low on fuel. The popping noise really tells you something is not right.

    Possible causes:
    1. You may have a dirty air filter: Replace the air filter.

    2. The ignition wires may be bad: Replace ignition wires.

    3. There may be some other type of ignition problem: Check distributor cap or rotor. Ignition module may be bad.

    4. The engine may have mechanical problems: Check compression to determine engine condition


  • Engine makes a tapping noise when idling:
    As the engine is idling, you hear a tapping noise coming from the engine. You don't notice the tap when you are moving or when you increase the speed of the engine. The problem seems to get worse (noisier) when the engine is warm. The tapping is also getting more noticeable every day.

    Possible causes:
    1. Your valves need adjusting: Check and adjust valves.

    2. The engine is low on oil: Check oil level and fill as required.

    3. The engine's oil pressure is low: Check oil pressure. replace oil pump. (Generally not a DIY job)

    4. Hydraulic valve lifters bad: Replace valve lifters.

    5. Push rods bent or worn out: Replace push rods.


  • Popping noise from exhaust:
    Whenever you press on the gas, you hear a popping from the exhaust. It may or may not be very loud and the engine seems to run okay. You may notice a drop in gas milage.

    Possible causes:
    1. Muffler or exhaust pipe worn out: Replace muffler and/or pipes as required.

    2. Exhaust manifold cracked or broken: Replace exhaust manifold.


  • Engine makes a ticking noise:
    As soon as you start the engine, you hear a ticking noise. It sounds like a pencil tapping. The speed of the noise increases with an increase in engine speed.

    Possible causes:
    1. The valves need to be adjusted: Adjust valves.

    2. There is sludge in the engine which is restricting oil flow: Flush engine, replace oil filter and fill with new oil.

    3. Hydraulic valve lifters bad: Replace valve lifters.

    4. One or more of the engine's valves are stuck: Check valves and repair. (Generally not a DIY job)

    5. Push rods bent or worn out: Replace push rods.

    Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
    Part 5       » Part 6       » Part 7       » Part 8
    Part 9       » Part 10
    Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
    © 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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