Tag Archives: car engines

Dismantle the Engine

Replacing a Faulty Head Gasket Part II: How to Dismantle the Engine

Once you have all the essentials and the manuals in place you can start the process of dismantling the engine of your car. Remember, it is best to seek professional help as this procedure involves many complexities and skipping of even the smallest of steps can land you in a mine of trouble.  Additionally, to avoid hefty car repair costs, employ these car hacks to make your life easier.

Seek professional help from In Town Automotive’s car technicians for a successful and safe replacement of faulty head gaskets.

Engine 1

To complete the project yourself, read along to know more!

Step 1 of Part 2 – Disengage the battery

It is of very important that you disengage the car batteries whilst performing chief repairs like replacing car head gasket as it is very easy to accidentally activate the starter assembly on some vehicles.

Note: Do not forget to detach the negative or black cable on the battery first.

Word of Caution: Loose-fitting wire connections have the imminent risk of short circuits and can damage very sensitive and costly equipment or emit fire-inducing sparks. This is extremely dangerous so ensure that you disconnect the battery before you do anything else.

Step 2 of Part 2 – Drain engine oil and engine coolant

Engine Fluid

Make sure that you drain out the engine oil and engine oil drain port completely.

Position the drip pan below the engine to collect the old oil and open the oil drain plug. This way, if the engine coolant trickles on top of the crankcase, it will flow out instead of settling in the engine.

Note: Remember to get rid of the old engine oil in the oil pan so that you do not add new oil on top or else you will have to mend the entire engine assembly right from the start.

Drain the coolant from the radiator drain port or by removing or unfastening the lower radiator hose. Ensure that you remove the cap of the radiator.

Tip: In some cases, the lower intake manifold or the cylinder head will have a coolant drain port of its own.


Step 3 of Part 2 – Eliminate all the components from the cylinder head

All the elements attached to the cylinder head have to be eliminated.

  • You may lose track of things as several nuts, clamps, bolts, sleeves and fittings entail the completion of this step and it is very likely hat you may lose track of things. Try clicking pictures or pen down a description of each part to help you remember where everything goes once all the elements are ready to reassemble the engine.
  • Bag and put a label on everything. It will rather be a good idea for you to keep some components and their respective fasteners in the same bag. One part may have fasteners that are of varying lengths. Mark these as these would go back exactly where they came from to keep any kind of engine problems and damage at bay.
  • A number of bolts involved in the tear down are known as “torque to yield”. These are usually stretched upon installation and will require replacing once they are taken out. Keep an eye on these bolts and remember to switch them with new ones.

Word of Caution: In case of being reused, the ‘torque to yield’ fasteners have very good chances of breaking off into the engine block or cylinder head. The broken parts will have to be hooked out and if the hole is damaged, it needs to be repaired.

Step 4 of Part 2 – Take out the fasteners in sequence


Quite a lot of car parts such as the cylinder head, valve cover, exhaust manifolds, and intake require the elimination of the fasteners in a certain sequence to avoid warping and cracking. This information is usually explained in detail in the vehicle service manual.

Some vehicles are provided with overhead camshafts which may either be dual overhead camshaft DOHC) or single overhead camshafts (SOHC). This essentially means that the camshafts are located in the cylinder head. With these types of engines, the crankshaft and camshaft may be connected with a timing belt or chain.

Note: The timing belt or timing chain assembly needs the following of a set of procedures for being taken out in order to shield the internal elements of the engine. Pay keen attention to the procedures and timing marks as these are vital to the functioning of the engine. The assembly may suffer quite a bit as a result of significant damage if mistakes are committed.

Some vehicles may have an exceptional engine design referred to as the overhead valve (OHV). Many OHV engine designs have the camshaft housed within the engine block and make use of pushrods, rocker arms and lifters in order to set off the valves in the cylinder head.

Generally, the engine timing elements were kept out from the removal of the cylinder head, but if these parts are removed; they have to be fitted in exactly the same order.

Note: Different types of engine designs employ different lengths of pushrods for the intake and exhaust valves. If these elements are mixed up in any manner, engine damage is quite probable.

Several timing belt kits come with a marked belt for easy installation. The markings on the belt may differ for every type of timing belt kit and will be perfectly aligned with the markings on the components of the engine.

The cylinder head gasket or seal lies under the cylinder head assembly. The material used for this can either be metal or any material that can get crushed after the installation of cylinder head bolts and torque. From time to time, both materials are used in the production of the cylinder head gasket.

This gasket must be capable of resisting pressures and temperatures of combustion. Frequently you may look for breaks amidst two cylinders or a break an oil or coolant port seal has cracked open.

In case you have to undertake the repair and replacement of head gasket on an urgent basis, you can take advantage of In Town Automotive’s finance option.

Get in touch with us today to know more!

Identifying Most Common Car Engine Problems

The inevitable part of car ownership irrespective of the age, make, mileage or model is occasional engine problems. Engine failure is never good news as it has the potential to put your car out of commission for an indefinite amount of time. It is very tricky to diagnose and the repair work involved can be complicated. While regular car servicing and maintenance may help reduce the need of car repairs, it does not guarantee that a car will not break down.

As the car amasses more miles, the likelihood of engine troubles also increases. However, not all engine issues will be so serious. The majority of the time the cause is something very simple, for instance – a dirty air filter. Whether the engine of your car is facing overheating issue or is emanating strange noises or misfiring, the reason could be arising from a multitude of issues.

How The Engine of Your Car Works?

How The Engine of Your Car Works

  • The blinking ‘check engine’ light can make any driver anxious. It could indicate anything from blockage, which is generally quick to diagnose, to the need for a major repair that is going to burn a big hole in your pocket.
  • The engine works from the inside of your car and that’s why its referred to as the internal combustion engine. The engine’s core job is to convert gasoline into energy which helps your car propel forward. In case of hybrid cars, the source of energy is different but that does not make the outcome any different. The same is applicable to diesel engines. It’s the universal truth that everyone swears by – without a working engine, your car is nothing but a useless and heavy heap of metal.

Getting To The Bottom of the Problem

Getting To The Bottom of the Problem

Consider the ‘check engine’ light not as the final nail in the coffin but rather as a sign that some component needs to be fixed. At In Town, our expert vehicular technicians commonly come across one of the following issues.

  • Inadequate Lubrication The moving parts of your vehicle need oil as this will not only reduce friction but will also eliminate heat. Therefore, getting a regular oil change is essential to the overall functioning of a vehicle. If proper lubrication isn’t ensured, it can result in overheating of the car and its component are likely to seize up. So, it is best to maintain the oil at an appropriate level as low levels can indicate burning or leakage.
  • Oil Pump Failure – Failure of the oil pump can result in what’s commonly known as oil starvation which is almost always lethal to any engine. Overhead cam engines are more at risk as the cam and the valve train are situated beyond the pump which means that it needs to be light enough to move quickly.
  • Dirty Oil – The build-up of oil tends to leave behind deposits on spark plugs, combustion chambers and intake valves. It can disintegrate a car’s bearings by leaving behind debris which embed in the surface. In case you come across a clogged oil filter, this is certainly the root of the problem.
  • Spark Knock – The type of combustion caused by the accumulation of too much heat and pressure in the engine’s combustion chamber is what is known as a spark knock or detonation. When this happens, you should be able to hear a metallic knocking or pinging noise. A small detonation will generally not cause major damage, but heavy knocks or prolonged detonation can pave way for serious damage to the car components. It has the potential to punch holes in your pistons, blow head gaskets, crush rod bearings, crack rings and pound piston ring grooves. Pinging noise at a stretch are a definite cause of concern.
  • Broken or Defective Oxygen Sensor – The sensor is entitled to measure the amount of oxygen that hasn’t been consumed by the exhaust. It then communicates to the data system of the car regarding the amount of fuel available in the gas tank. Any problem with the oxygen sensor means communication of incorrect information by the car’s system. This often results in lower gas mileage.
  • Poor Compression The combustion process of the car’s engine will be interrupted if the fuel and air aren’t compressed properly. If the valves fail to seal properly, the cylinder of your vehicle has a hole in it or probably the piston rings are worn which results in leakage of air which results in lack of compression.
  • Loss of Coolant – The most common cause for overheating is through loss of coolant. A quick glance on the coolant overflow reservoir will indicate if the coolant is leaking or not. If your engine repeatedly overheats, the constant high temperature can result in irreparable damage that can be troublesome to fix. Most cars are now equipped with temperature gauges or warning lights that will notify the driver of the overheating issue. Repeated overheating can potentially cause serious, not to mention expensive damage to the engine. Being cautious beforehand is the best option so make sure that you avoid this kind of damage by ensuring that the coolant is clean and the cooling system is in good operating condition. Additionally, overheating can be caused as a result of a cracked head or a blown gasket. Coolant loss and white exhaust smoke may indicate the dire need of getting your car engine repaired.

Common reasons for overheating are:

  • Defective radiator cap
  • Non-functioning cooling fan
  • Faulty thermostat
  • Dirty air filter
  • Low or dirty coolant level
  • Kinked or broken down radiator hose
  • Internal or external coolant leak
  • Clogged Radiator – Dirty coolant is a source of multiple problems. If the radiator fills with sediment from a dirty coolant, it will lead to overheating of the engine. There is also a possibility of the radiator becoming corroded if hard water is used.
  • Worn Spark Plug – Although a spark plug is small, it is one of the most important components that make a car move. A worn spark plug will give out a weak spark. It may event prevent ignition entirely or cause ignition at the wrong time. A misfire will affect the power of the engine and fuel economy and thus result in massive amounts of potential damage.
  • Loose or Missing Gas Cap – One of the cheapest and easiest fixes your car will ever need over the course of its lifetime is the tightening or replacing of the gas cap. However, it is also an important one. A gas cap that is either loose or missing will result in evaporation of the gas from the car, reducing its gas mileage and potentially costing you hundreds of pounds.

Regular maintenance might seem costly but it is also important to keep your car in good working condition. If you want to make the most of your vehicle, ensure that you keep up with regular oil, tyre, clutch repairs and other maintenance that may crop up. Be sure to address any issue as and when they crop up.

Car Engine Study – How Reliable Are The Engines Of Your Car

Everyone is well aware of the most popular cars on roads today. It will be impossible for you to step out of your house without spotting a Ford Focus or a Vauxhall Corsa. As engines are at the core of a vehicle’s performance, we have to take a sneak a peek on cars that have the most reliable engines.

The Situation

The Situation

The engine is arguably the most vital component of any car and also the most expensive part to replace. Hundreds of requests for second-hand car engines is received by garages on a weekly basis. Upon closely analysing these requests it can be deduced which cars on the country’s roads have the most trustworthy and reliable engines, under the premises that the more reliable the car’s engine is, the fewer requests will be received for a replacement.

How Did We Work It Out?

By analysing a data set covering a certain period, the most frequently requested engines in the UK were perused with special emphasis on the make and model of the vehicle.

By simply looking at the number of requests received for each make and model’s engines does not give an accurate estimation of the whole picture. It involved a lot of work wherein a number of requests had to be compared against the number of cars to find out the genuine reliability rating. For example, if there are a million cars of the same type on the road and a thousand requests pertaining to the car’s engine are received, it can be said to be more reliable than a make and model that receives two requests, but only has a hundred vehicles on the road.

Final Analysis

A number of positive assumptions can be made about the cars that are rated most efficient. These vehicles may have the most lucrative engines making it possible for the vehicle to run for several years. It is a fact that cars with computerized engines and high-performance systems are more likely to need dealer assistance and a completely new unit. It is really important to ensure that your car is road worthy and thus going for regular MOT is suggested.

The hunt for the best and most reliable car engine reveals that only a fraction of a percentage of all cars require replacement engine and that there is enough supply in the market to cope up with the demand for second hand car engines, which helps keep the motoring prices down, making car repairs more available for anyone on a budget. Speaking of budget, In Town Automotive has finance options available for unexpected car repairs that cannot be delayed.

Diligently following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule is vital for proper car maintenance. Regular services such as oil changes, fuel and oil filter replacement and tune ups are necessary to keep the car’s performance at its peak. Maintenance components such as the air filter are frequently overlooked but can have considerable impact on a car’s drivability and overall performance. Irrespective of the car’s age, proper upkeep and maintenance will help keep potential engine problems and breakdowns at bay.

Auto Repair Service From In Town Automotive

Auto Repair Service From In Town Automotive

There could be numerous explanations for all these issues but the solution is the same for all of them. You have to schedule an appointment with repair specialists for diagnostic and maintenance services. When it comes to car repair, you can recieve comprehensive solutions from In Town Automotive at prices that you can afford.

Get in touch with us today and our experts will be happy to help you figure out the appropriate steps. At In Town Automotive we promise to provide the care and attention your car needs to get back on the track.

Top 6 Signs of Car Engine Trouble

Top 6 Signs of Car Engine Trouble

A healthy engine is clearly the most important component in any car for it to run smoothly without any issues, and when engine problems do arise, it can be a daunting prospect to even acknowledge these problems. What’s more, you may not even recognise the signs of a car having engine trouble. The best way to ensure engine problems are recognised quickly is to get your car regularly serviced by professionals.

However, it is important to know the signs of a dodgy engine so that you are equipped to replace it or fix the problem, and this will also ensure your safety when driving.

If you are worried about your car and you suspect that the engine may be the main culprit, read on to find out more about the top signs of engine trouble with your car.

Trouble starting the engine

Trouble starting the engine

Many cars have trouble starting up in cold winter months, and sometimes you may even have to turn it over a few times before it revs into life. However, if this problem is prevailing to the extent where the car is not switching on at all, or if it is happening throughout the year regardless of weather, this may indicate that you are having problems with the engine.

If this is the case, your cylinder casing may be cracked, which can be caused by changes in temperature.

If you are experiencing any of these problems, it could be a sign of engine trouble and it’s best to get it sorted out as quickly as possible.

Oil leak

Another sign that your engine may currently not be in the best shape is that it is leaking oil. If you have seen your car leave a puddle of oil behind when parked, this could signify an oil leak in the engine.

An oil leak is a major issue and will need to be dealt with as soon as possible, otherwise, it could end up seizing up completely, causing hazards and potentially leaving you stranded.

Knocking sound

Knocking sound

This is one of the most common and well-known signs that your engine may be in trouble and is known to be one of the most impending problems with a car. If you have been hearing a suspicious knocking sound coming from your car, this could mean imminent problems for the engine.

The knocking sound can mean that the camshaft is no longer working in time with the pistons, and there is very little you can do about this than to replace the engine completely, so if this sign sounds at all familiar to you, you will need to start saving up to replace your engine completely or even your car if financially viable.

Smoking from the engine

Smoking from the engine

Perhaps one of the scariest signs that your engine might be in trouble is when the car starts blowing out smoke from the exhaust. This is often a sign that there is a bad mix of petrol and air in the engine.

There are a few options as to what this symptom could be caused by. Possibly the best this sign could be is that there is a problem with one of the tappets, however, it could mean a problem with the piston rings, which could mean a much more expensive full replacement of the engine.

If you start seeing a lot of smoke coming out of your car, it is best not to ignore this problem. In fact, you need to get it seen to as soon as possible before your engine cuts out on you completely. Take the car to the garage as soon as possible to get professional help.

Steam coming from the engine

Another fairly shocking symptom of a faulty engine is steam coming from it, which will appear to be coming from under the bonnet and signifies an overheating engine. Most commonly this is to do with a lack of fluid in the engine’s coolant system, however, it could mean a number of other things, including a problem with your engine.

Steam coming from the engine could be a sign that the engine’s gasket, radiator or pipes are leaking, and your engine could seize up fairly quickly.

If steam is coming from under your bonnet, it is highly advisable to get it seen to straight away, by a professional who will advise you on the problem and how it can be fixed.



Let’s face it, no one likes to see their engine catch fire, in fact, it can be one of the most horrifying moments of your driving life. If your engine catches fire, act immediately with a fire extinguisher, or if one is not available, move away from the vehicle immediately and call the emergency services.

An engine catching fire can be caused by several different factors, such as a fuel leakage, a short circuit, overheating, and accidents. However shocking it may seem at first, if you’re quick to put the fire out, it might not actually mean a new engine needs to be installed.

If left to burn though, the engine fire could damage fuel pumps and pipes and could lead to an explosion. It goes without saying that the issue needs to be sorted instantly.

So, those are the top 6 signs of engine problems, all of which need to be dealt with by a professional as quickly as possible once they are identified. If you are having difficulties and suspect that your engine might need some TLC, contact us at In Town Automotive for help and advice.

To prevent any major engine issues occurring, there are a few ways in which you can help to maintain your car’s engine. Changing the oil on a regular basis, using a good brand of oil, ensuring there is enough fluid in the coolant system and having regular services can mean the difference between a healthy and unhealthy engine and can save you a packet!

Engine Size Used Car Sales Northampton

Used Car Sales: Buying The Right Engine Size

Picture the scene. You’re on a cold, wet used cars sales forecourt and there’s a high energy salesman reeling off facts and figures.

In your head you already know what you like and want. You like the wheels on the Scirocco, the windows on the X5, the heated leather seats in the Qashqai, the wing mirrors on the Golf, and the engine in the Twingo…

Hang on a second, the engine in the Twingo?

For many people buying a car, the only reason that engine size affects their purchasing decision is because it can swing their insurance policy premium one way or the other. When it comes to used car sales, engine size should not just been seen for it’s effects on insurance, but for the way it will help or hinder your driving habits and routines.

Do you live in a built up area and drive a fairly short distance to work, stopping and starting at traffic lights, zebra crossings and in traffic? What do you need an SUV or sports car for then? SUVs generally have larger engines which are designed to drive comfortably at high speeds, often over 60mph. Take the Audi A8 4.0l for example; this car would be wasted as an inner city commuter car, as it does all of its best work and gets the most efficiency out of the 4.0 litre engine on country roads and motorways.

Why did we mention the engine of the Twingo? Well, at 1.2l it’s small, yes, but it only needs to be small if it’s going to be driven at low speeds. Once this bad boy gets up to 70mph or over, it’s going to be slightly straining the engine, which can be damaging in the long run. This car, along with other small engine cars like the Up!, 107, Smart Car, Mini, Citigo and Aygo are not only friendly for city driving, they also have smaller chassis that are easier to park and navigate through tight gaps.

used car sales

What you may not know is that with the improvements in engines over the last decade, you’ll find that a 1.4l engine in 2015 holds about the same power as a 2.0l engine from 2005. So even though you might feel your smaller engine car pulling a bit at high speeds, it wouldn’t be pulling anywhere near as much as it would have a decade ago. Car experts agree that most people with mixed driving habits of city, country and motorway driving would not struggle with a modern car that has an engine anywhere between 1.0l and 1.6l.

Large engines burn a lot more fuel than small engines, so unless you’re driving at high speeds for long distances, like a travelling salesman perhaps, you might only need a small engine car. Large engine cars may be more suitable for those who often have a full car of passengers, or a heavy load of goods being carried around. The same goes for vans, the larger the load, the larger the engine. If you tow a trailer or a caravan, it’s also advised to used a car with a large engine. Small engine cars will provide a better miles per gallon ratio when used for low rev and low speed driving, which is common in cities and towns.

So, when visiting a used car sales showroom or forecourt, bear in mind to consider the size of engine you need, rather than a size too big or too small for you. This will help you out in the long run, as it will maintain your car better, putting less stress on the parts, and will help reduce your fuel bill!

Used Car Sales Northampton

Visit In Town Automotive’s used car sales showroom and we will give you honest, expert advice about the size of engine best suited for your driving habits. We are often credited for our honesty and integrity and this is carried through into our used car sales preparation. Every used car or van we have for sale has been serviced, MOT’d & valeted and had any necessary remedial work completed, giving you peace of mind that you will not get down the road and start having problems.

For extra peace of mind and credibility all our cars come with a minimum 6 months warranty so in the unlikely event you do have an unforeseen problem we will endeavour to resolve it immediately, and not forgetting that most car sales will qualify for 3 Years FREE SERVICING too.

If you see a vehicle you like in our car sales showroom you can either pre-book a test drive by calling on 01604 666700 or pop down to our showroom at Rothersthorpe Road Industrial Estate, Far Cotton, Northampton NN4 8ES. We have access to various vehicle finance options for car sales which we are happy to offer.