Cracked engine block symptoms refer to the unusual signs you would notice when your car’s engine block is cracked or physically damaged. These symptoms are quite common in every vehicle and should be paid much attention to.
One of the commonest signs of a cracked engine block is coolant leaks from the region. Other notable signs include overheating and white exhaust steams/smoke coming out from the tailpipe when you drive.
A cracked engine block can significantly reduce performance, and if not fixed on time, it could lead to other issues, such as a fatal engine breakdown.
Here’s everything you should know about engine blocks getting cracked or physically damaged.
What is a Cracked Engine Block?
Just as it sounds, a cracked engine block refers to a physically damaged engine block. Every motor engine has a large block, depending on the number of cylinders. The engine block is usually constructed using aluminum or cast iron, and it’s the bottom-end part of an engine.
The engine’s cylinder heads – which are considered the top-end of an engine-, the crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, and other important components of an engine are all housed by the engine’s block. So, a crack in the engine block can affect quite a lot of components.
But the engine block doesn’t crack easily because it is sturdily built, and somehow, it doesn’t perform as much function as the cylinder head(s). In most cases, when an engine block cracks, check well – the cylinder head had cracked but wasn’t fixed.
Note: Sometimes, when people say “cracked engine block,” they’re actually referring to a cracked engine cylinder wall. The cylinder head and engine block are somehow used interchangeably by some drivers and mechanics.
Cracked Engine Block Symptoms
Some of these symptoms are synonymous with signs you may experience when some other components fail or crack; hence, when you start noticing them, it is important that you first troubleshoot to find out the exact component that needs to be repaired.
1. Coolant or Motor Oil Leaks
When the engine block cracks, one of the foremost signs you’d see is coolant leaks dropping from beneath the engine bay. Depending on the crack location, you may also notice engine oil leaks from beneath the engine bay.
That said, when you start seeing leaks drop from under the hood, it is probably time to check on the head gasket, engine block, and cylinder heads.
2. Oil and Coolant Mixes Together
The engine block – through the head gasket – provides distinctive channels for coolant and engine oil to flow separately without mixing together.
But then, when the block is cracked, the oil may flow into the crack and can get to the coolant path where the two liquids would mix and continue flowing into the engine, which is not good. The moment you notice this, check and fix the cracked spot(s).
3. Whitish Steams Coming From The Exhaust Pipe
Another notable symptom of a cracked engine block is whitish steams coming out from the exhaust’s tailpipe. This whitish smoke is often a result of coolant liquid getting into the combustion chamber and then getting burned with other elements like air and fuel.
To further confirm this, the white smoke from the exhaust would have a nice scent – different from the typical exhaust fumes you know.
4. Engine Overheating
Excessive overheating can cause the engine block to crack; if it doesn’t, and the block gets cracked due to other reasons, the cracked block can cause the engine to overheat. Got that?
This means engine overheating can be a sign of a cracked block, or it could be the reason why your car’s engine block got a crack. Whichever, when your car’s engine overheats constantly, have the block and its components checked well.
5. Hot Steams Escaping From The Hood
You’re driving, and suddenly it appears like whitish smoke/steams coming out from the hood? That’s a sign that coolant is leaking out, and the smoke is the evaporative result of the leaking coolant coming in contact with a heated (hot) engine component.
In some cases, if you stop the car and open the hood, you’d notice it is filled with thick whitish smoke.
6. Poor Engine Performance
What else to expect? An engine that overheats leaks coolant and oil would certainly not be delivering the best performance as supposed.
A cracked engine block can drastically affect the engine’s performance depending on the length and severity of the crack. The engine may even go into limp mode or throw up the check engine light.
Cracked Engine Block Repair Cost
The actual cost varies based on the severity of the crack, the location, and if other components had been affected too.
However, repairing a cracked engine block is estimated to cost between $1,500 and $4,000 for parts and labor. It may take a professional mechanic up to 48 hours to perfectly fix the crack(s) and give you back your car.
Some DIYers may purchase an aluminum sealing compound and apply it to the cracked region(s) instead of going to a mechanic workshop. This method is cheaper and saves more time, but it’s often a temporary fix because the seal may someday crack due to excessive heat and high temperatures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Fix a Cracked Engine Block?
Yes, you can fix the crack by applying a sealing compound to the region. Other ways to repair a cracked engine by yourself include welding the affected region or stitching it up. Some people braze the area to stop the leak. But all these DIY methods require the use of specific tools.
What Can Cause The Engine Block To Crack?
One of the commonest causes of the cracked engine block is thermal stress due to excessive overheating. The block can also crack as a result of freezing temperatures during the winter season, especially if the car is not winterized. Other possible causes include excessive wear due to aging and hard impact from accidents or collisions.
Can K-Seal Fix My Engine Block?
Instead of splashing thousands of dollars to repair your cracked car engine block at a mechanic workshop, you could purchase the K-Seal HD compound and apply it to the cracked region. This compound has proven to fix most engine block cracks and lasts for quite a long time.
Conclusion: Signs Of a Cracked Engine Block
So, explained above are the common cracked engine block symptoms to watch out for. As mentioned earlier, these signs are similar to that of a cracked cylinder head.
Hence, when you notice any of them, check both the engine block and cylinder head(s). You can save a huge sum and much time using stop-leak products to repair the cracked engine block instead of going to a mechanic.