5 Symptoms of Bad Piston Rings in Your Car

Internal combustion engines contain cylinders and pistons. When the combustion of air and fuel occurs inside the internal combustion chamber, gases emit from the chamber. These gases put pressure on the pistons inside the cylinders, causing the crankshaft to rotate because the pistons push against it. That is how the engine generates power to move the vehicle.

Piston rings are used to seal the piston heads so that combustion gases do not escape through any cracks in them. They also prevent air from escaping to ensure a successful combustion process without any setbacks or discrepancies. If the piston rings were ever to get worn down or malfunction, it would cause many problems for your car’s overall functionality.

Read also: Top 5 Best Piston Ring Compressor Tools for Car Engines

Bad Piston Rings Symptoms

Fortunately, it is easy to recognize the symptoms of lousy piston rings before the functionality gets worse.  Below are the top 5 symptoms of bad piston rings in your car.

1) Weak Engine Performance

The engine depends on the piston rings to sustain its performance. After all, the piston rings compress the air and fuel mixture in the internal combustion chamber. Without sufficient compression, the engine won’t generate enough power to satisfy the demands put on it.

If your piston rings get worn out or damaged, your engine won’t generate power sufficiently. Each time you step on the gas pedal, your vehicle will take a longer time to move faster.

2) Lots of Exhaust Smoke

Since piston rings are supposed to conceal exhaust smoke, any leaks or cracks in the rings would cause exhaust smoke to escape through them. Then you would see a lot of exhaust smoke coming out of the tailpipe. It is usually a thick and white cloudy smoke, but it could also appear blue and gray.

If you smell burnt oil as the smoke comes out, it could mean your engine oil has leaked into the internal combustion chamber. Blue and gray exhaust smoke will indicate that for sure.

3) Oil Goes Bad Faster

Most car manufacturers recommend that you get an oil change every 3,000 or 5,000 miles. But you might have to get an oil change a lot sooner if you have bad piston rings.

If engine oil leaks through the piston rings and into the internal combustion chamber, then your engine will need more oil. You’ll recognize the problem when your engine starts to get hotter due to a lack of lubrication.

Make sure you replace the piston rings before you replace the oil. That way, you won’t have to worry about the new oil leaking through the damaged piston rings.

4) Overheated Engine

The overheated engine symptom relates to the previous symptom mentioned on this list. As your weak piston rings cause oil leakage, less oil will flow through the moving components of your engine. That will cause those components to create more friction and more heat.

You’ll know that you have an overheated engine by simply looking at the temperature gauge positioned on your vehicle’s dashboard. If the needle on the gauge moves toward the red zone, you know your engine is in trouble.

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5) No Acceleration

If you experienced the weak performance symptom that caused your vehicle’s acceleration to diminish, then don’t be surprised if you eventually experience no acceleration at all. You’ll step on the gas pedal without being able to go past a specific speed. If it gets bad enough, your car will stop moving altogether.

Hopefully, you won’t let it get to this point. If you can recognize the less severe symptoms early on, then you can have your piston rings replaced before it gets to this point.

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