Your car’s engine was designed to compress fuel and air and then ignite it to generate heat energy that results in mechanical motion within your vehicle. If your engine cannot compress the air and fuel properly, it won’t be able to produce the power required for normal functionality. Fortunately, a compression test can help determine what’s happening within your car’s engine and if the pressure created by the engine is exiting somewhere other than intended. If so, you will need engine repair.
If you notice your engine producing less power than usual or running rough, a compression test is a great way to determine how well your engine is running. But what is a compression test, and what happens during this process? Below, we’ll discuss what happens during a compression test and look at a few reasons why your vehicle may need one.
Keep reading below to learn more and find out how Whitlock Automotive’s team of auto repair specialists can help you with all of your engine repair needs in Dripping Springs, Texas.
What is a Compression Test?
The ability of your engine to produce power while also running smoothly and seamlessly is determined by four major variables: fuel/air mixture, spark (in a gas engine), timing, and compression. Compression is the ability of the engine’s pistons and valves to take the air and fuel being ingested and compress it.
There are some serious and complicated issues that can arise if your engine loses compression on one or more cylinders, ranging from a misfire to a massive reduction in power. Fortunately, a compression test is one of the most basic engine repair services and a good place to start when trying to figure out what’s wrong with your engine.
A compression test is used to determine the state of your engine’s valve train and piston rings and involves the use of a compression gauge to display the amount of compression generated inside each cylinder as the engine is turned on. While each engine and manufacturer is different and has different levels of recommended compression PSI, a compression of more than 100 PSI with less than a 10% variation between the lowest and highest reading is considered acceptable.
A compression test is normally recommended when your car exhibits the following symptoms of needing engine repair:
- When you accelerate or decelerate, you notice smoke coming from your exhaust system.
- Your car does not accelerate normally or appears to be sluggish.
- While driving down the road, you notice a vibration coming from your engine.
- The fuel economy is lower than usual.
- You’re adding oil more frequently than usual.
- Your car’s engine is overheating.
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While many aspects of engine repair can seem complicated and time-consuming, a compression test is a simple way to skip the guessing game about what’s wrong with your engine and its various components. It can help you determine the engine repair problem more quickly and save you from unnecessary repair costs in the future.
If your engine has been showing signs of needing engine repair and you’re tired of guessing about what the problem could be, visit Whitlock Automotive in Dripping Springs, Texas, today to have one of our auto technicians take a look.