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Auto Repair Troubleshooting Charts - Engines
Get ideas about what your auto is needing to run it's best



Problem Possible Cause Remedy/Repair
External oil leaks
  1. Cylinder head cover RTV sealant broken or improperly seated
  2. Oil filler cap leaking or missing
  3. Oil filter gasket broken or improperly seated
  4. Oil pan side gasket broken, improperly seated or opening in RTV sealant
  5. Oil pan front oil seal broken or improperly seated
  6. Oil pan rear oil seal broken or improperly seated
  7. Timing case cover oil seal broken or improperly seated
  8. Excess oil pressure because of restricted PCV valve
  9. Oil pan drain plug loose or has stripped threads
  10. Rear oil gallery plug loose
  11. Rear camshaft plug loose or improperly seated
  1. Replace sealant; inspect cylinder head cover sealant flange and cylinder head sealant surface for distortion and cracks
  2. Replace cap
  3. Replace oil filter
  4. Replace gasket or repair opening in sealant; inspect oil pan gasket flange for distortion
  5. Replace seal; inspect timing case cover and oil pan seal flange for distortion
  6. Replace seal; inspect oil pan rear oil seal flange; inspect rear main bearing cap for cracks, plugged oil return channels, or distortion in seal groove
  7. Replace seal
  8. Replace PCV valve
  9. Repair as necessary and tighten
  10. Use appropriate sealant on gallery plug and tighten
  11. Seat camshaft plug or replace and seal, as necessary
Excessive oil consumption
  1. Oil level too high
  2. Oil with wrong viscosity being used
  3. PCV valve stuck closed
  4. Valve stem oil deflectors (or seals) are damaged, missing, or incorrect type
  5. Valve stems or valve guides worn
  6. Poorly fitted or missing valve cover baffles
  7. Piston rings broken or missing
  8. Scuffed piston
  9. Incorrect piston ring gap
  10. Piston rings sticking or excessively loose in grooves
  11. Compression rings installed upside down
  12. Cylinder walls worn, scored, or glazed
  13. Piston ring gaps not properly staggered
  14. Excessive main or connecting rod bearing clearance
  1. Drain oil to specified level
  2. Replace with specified oil
  3. Replace PCV valve
  4. Replace valve stem oil deflectors
  5. Measure stem-to-guide clearance and repair as necessary
  6. Replace valve cover
  7. Replace broken or missing rings
  8. Replace piston
  9. Measure ring gap, repair as necessary
  10. Measure ring side clearance, repair as necessary
  11. Repair as necessary
  12. Repair as necessary
  13. Repair as necessary
  14. Measure bearing clearance, repair as necessary
No oil pressure
  1. Low oil level
  2. Oil pressure gauge, warning lamp or sending unit inaccurate
  3. Oil pump malfunction
  4. Oil pressure relief valve sticking
  5. Oil passages on pressure side of pump obstructed
  6. Oil pickup screen or tube obstructed
  7. Loose oil inlet tube
  1. Add oil to correct level
  2. Replace oil pressure gauge or warning lamp
  3. Replace oil pump
  4. Remove and inspect oil pressure relief valve assembly
  5. Inspect oil passages for obstruction
  6. Inspect oil pickup for obstruction
  7. Tighten or seal inlet tube
Low oil pressure
  1. Low oil level
  2. Inaccurate gauge, warning lamp or sending unit
  3. Oil excessively thin because of dilution, poor quality, or improper grade
  4. Excessive oil temperature
  5. Oil pressure relief spring weak or sticking
  6. Oil inlet tube and screen assembly has restriction or air leak
  7. Excessive oil pump clearance
  8. Excessive main, rod, or camshaft bearing clearance
  1. Add oil to correct level
  2. Replace oil pressure gauge or warning lamp
  3. Drain and refill crankcase with recommended oil
  4. Correct cause of overheating engine
  5. Remove and inspect oil pressure relief valve assembly
  6. Remove and inspect oil inlet tube and screen assembly. (Fill inlet tube with lacquer thinner to locate leaks.)
  7. Measure clearances
  8. Measure bearing clearances, repair as necessary
High oil pressure
  1. Improper oil viscosity
  2. Oil pressure gauge or sending unit inaccurate
  3. Oil pressure relief valve sticking closed
  1. Drain and refill crankcase with correct viscosity oil
  2. Replace oil pressure gauge
  3. Remove and inspect oil pressure relief valve assembly
Main bearing noise
  1. Insufficient oil supply
  2. Main bearing clearance excessive
  3. Bearing insert missing
  4. Crankshaft end-play excessive
  5. Improperly tightened main bearing cap bolts
  6. Loose flywheel or drive plate
  7. Loose or damaged vibration damper
  1. Inspect for low oil level and low oil pressure
  2. Measure main bearing clearance, repair as necessary
  3. Replace missing insert
  4. Measure end-play, repair as necessary
  5. Tighten bolts with specified torque
  6. Tighten flywheel or drive plate attaching bolts
  7. Repair as necessary
Connecting rod bearing noise
  1. Insufficient oil supply
  2. Carbon build-up on piston
  3. Bearing clearance excessive or bearing missing
  4. Crankshaft connecting rod journal out-of-round
  5. Misaligned connecting rod or cap
  6. Connecting rod bolts tightened improperly
  1. Inspect for low oil level and low oil pressure
  2. Remove carbon from piston crown
  3. Measure clearance, repair as necessary
  4. Measure journal dimensions, repair or replace as necessary
  5. Repair as necessary
  6. Tighten bolts with specified torque
Piston noise
  1. Piston-to-cylinder wall clearance excessive (scuffed piston)
  2. Cylinder walls excessively tapered or out-of-round
  3. Piston ring broken
  4. Loose or seized piston pin
  5. Connecting rods misaligned
  6. Piston ring side clearance excessively loose or tight
  7. Carbon build-up on piston is excessive
  1. Measure clearance and examine piston
  2. Measure cylinder wall dimensions re-bore cylinder
  3. Replace all rings on piston
  4. Measure piston-to-pin clearance, repair as necessary
  5. Measure rod alignment, straighten or replace
  6. Measure ring side clearance, repair as necessary
  7. Remove carbon from piston
Valve actuating component noise
  1. Insufficient oil supply
  2. Rocker arms or pivots worn
  3. Foreign objects or chips in hydraulic tappets
  4. Excessive tappet leak-down
  5. Tappet face worn
  6. Broken or cocked valve springs
  7. Stem-to-guide clearance excessive
  8. Valve bent
  9. Loose rocker arms
  10. Valve seat run-out excessive
  11. Missing valve lock
  12. Excessive engine oil
  1. Check for:
    (a) Low oil level
    (b) Low oil pressure
    (c) Wrong hydraulic tappets
    (d) Restricted oil gallery
    (e) Excessive tappet to bore clearance
  2. Replace worn rocker arms or pivots
  3. Clean tappets
  4. Replace valve tappet
  5. Replace tappet; inspect corresponding cam lobe for wear
  6. Properly seat cocked springs; replace broken springs
  7. Measure stem-to-guide clearance, repair as required
  8. Replace valve
  9. Check and repair as necessary
  10. Regrind valve seat/valves
  11. Install valve lock
  12. Correct oil level




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