How Long Can I Drive With Bad Piston Rings

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When your engine is running, one of the first things you will notice are the sounds it makes. The sound that engines make is determined by three main components: the pistons, the rings, and the valves. These three pieces work together to create an explosion every time the piston goes up or down in the chamber, and this process happens very quickly hundreds of times per minute.

The size and shape of these three parts determine how much power the engine produces and what type of performance you get. As engineers design new cars, they spend lots of time experimenting with different sizes and shapes for the pistons, the rings, and the valves to see which produce the most powerful explosions.

That’s why there are not always the best quality engines out there- we as consumers just don’t know who designed them! Luckily, people talk about their experiences changing engine parts, so we have some ideas.

However, no matter who made the part, you should never use used engine parts unless specifically told how to install them. Using old or non-matching parts can do more harm than good, and even cost you money if you have to buy new ones. An experienced mechanic would be able to tell if something was wrong, but trying to figure out whether those parts were off the shelf or not? Probably not.

Fortunately, you won’t often find bad engine part sellers online, at least not ones that offer really clear pictures and descriptions.

Replace the engine oil

how long can i drive with bad piston rings

The next thing to do is replace the engine oil, which will be determined by how much engine fluid you are able to access. If you can pull out the dipstick, then that would work!

If you cannot access the drain plug or if it does not easily come out, then you may need to take the car into a shop where they can help with that.

However, even if you manage to remove your own oil cap, there is still no guarantee that you will get all of the old oil out. Some engines have built in filters that trap most of the debris, but others do not.

Check the compression

how long can i drive with bad piston rings

The best way to check if your engine has bad piston rings is by taking a look at how much pressure there is when you are trying to compress the pistons.

If there is not enough pressure, then you will know that the rings are defective and need replacing.

You can also compare the thickness of the ring to see if they have thinned out over time, but this would only happen if the engine was never run after it was installed.

It is very important to make sure that you do not use any oil in these tests as too much oil could cause false results.

Change the rings and the pistons

how long can i drive with bad piston rings

Changing your car’s piston rings is not something that should be done unless you have no other choice. Doing so can cause serious damage to your engine, and will most definitely cost you more money!

Old worn out rings work away from your mechanic shop, but when they are replaced it must be in a professional environment with professionals doing the job.

There are many types of aftermarket replacement rings for different makes and models of cars. Make sure you know what type of ring fits your vehicle before buying them.

Check the engine coolant

how long can i drive with bad piston rings

Make sure your car does not look like it has low fluid levels. If it does, then you know what to do next!

If the check engine light is on, but the mechanic cannot find anything wrong, then they will tell you that you need new piston rings. This is an expensive fix, so make sure you are aware of how many miles away your vehicle is from having these replaced.

It is very important to never use recycled or fake engine oil in your engine. Only use genuine olive oil! Recycled oils can contain additives such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) which can cause serious health issues.

PCBs come off the motor when burnt, leaving small pieces of debris in the engine. These can block out key sensors and even damage the valves and pistons.

Run a diagnostic test

how long can i drive with bad piston rings

The next thing to do is determine if your vehicle already has a good gauge of whether or not your engine needs replaced are the pistion rings. There are several ways to do this, most being with either an inexpensive tool or one that costs slightly more.

To run a piston ring test, you’ll need to pull out all of the spark plugs! This is because each cylinder has two rings, one for the top half and another for the bottom half. By pulling out both sets, we can tell if there are any bad rings present.

If you feel something hard when you remove a plug, it may be a worn down ring causing your car trouble. If so, get new ones immediately!

You can also check by looking at the shape of the gap between the top and bottom rings. It should be nearly even and smooth, not rounded or squished in like someone pressed them together too much.

When buying new rings, make sure they fit properly and are of a high quality material. You want to avoid cheap plastic rings that could break down and cost extra money in repairs.

Hopefully you’ve learned some things about how to fix bad pistons here! Stay safe on the roads and keep your car in tip-top condition using these tips.

Replace the engine

The next step is to determine if this warning flag is for your vehicle or not, and if it is, then what kind of replacement you will need!

If you are reading this article, then there is a good chance that you own a car that has bad pistion rings. This could be due to corrosion, excessive wear, or both. Either way, these parts of the engine work together to get the gas pumped out of the cylinder.

When they do not function properly, it can cause issues like poor fuel injection, loss of power, and even incomplete combustion which can result in damaged cylinders and engines.

It is important to address this issue as soon as possible as longer exposure can lead to more severe damage. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution except to have the engine replaced.

Fortunately, we know some tips here on how to check the piston rings yourself so that you do not have to take your car into a shop to have them done.

Check the brakes

how long can i drive with bad piston rings

The first thing you will want to do is check your brake pads and shoes. If they are no longer sticking, or have worn down where there’s not much friction between them and the drum, then those need replacing!

If the pedal gets heavier as you apply pressure, it could be because the pistons aren’t retracting fully due to weak rings. This also means that the brake fluid isn’t properly pushing up against the cylinders which would normally push back.

You can test this by pulling off a small amount of hydraulic fluid – about 2 drops at most- and pressing the pedal down. If the car decelerates quickly, chances are good that something is wrong with the pistons.

Removing some dust from around the ring might also reveal if it has gone bad due to corrosion.

Replace the brake pads and the brake fluid

how long can i drive with bad piston rings

The next thing to do is replace the brake pad material and check your brake fluid level! If you notice that the color of the fluid has changed or if it does not look quite right, then it’s time to change it.

Most people recommend changing the fluid yourself but there are some companies that offer brake fluid replacements so make sure to research those before doing it yourself!

Once everything is ready, simply pull out the old fluid, rinse off the car as needed, and put in the new fluid.

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