Niagara Gazette

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July 11, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Possible causes of a failed engine

Niagara Gazette — BARBARA FROM PHILADELPHIA: I drove my 2005 Toyota Camry to the oil change place for a simple oil change. I left needing a water pump. I couldn’t drive the vehicle so I had it towed to my home and then to a local garage. The local garage said I needed a whole new engine! What happened? You might ask if I maintain service on my car and the answer is yes, every six months.

TOM: I would go through my maintenance records to see what exactly has been done in recent months to determine what could have happened. Sounds to me like the vehicle might have had a bad water pump and all the coolant leaked out causing the engine to overheat and thus blowing the head gasket. This, in turn, resulted in engine coolant mixing with the engine oil, causing the bearings to fail necessitating engine replacement. Another possibility is that the oil in the engine gelled, resulting in a lack of lubrication. Toyota extended engine warranties on their engines for this problem a few years back. Ask your dealer about this possibility.

•••

JANE FROM HAUGEN, WISC.: I own an ‘02 Mercury Villager. Recently, the rear set of fuel injectors was replaced. Afterwards there was a smell of gas fumes coming out of the air vents inside the car. I could also smell it outside in the front of the car. The smell stopped for a few days then started again. There is no sign of anything leaking. What could be wrong?

TOM: Have the engine scanned for codes. It sounds like the vehicle could have a faulty coolant temperature sensor dumping raw fuel into the engine, a faulty injector driver, or a bad PCM (Power Control Module). Please don’t start replacing parts. Have the proper diagnostics performed to identify the problem first, then proceed with the repairs. Otherwise, you could waste a lot time and money. Success to you.

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