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Engine & Transmission Tips • Issue 28



Which Should You Do? Replace Your Engine Or Your Entire Car?

fraser gm 62l engine

Welcome to Part 2 of Fraser Engine Co’s three-part series on knowing when its time to replace your engineyou’re your whole car. We want this in-depth feature to help you make an informed decision before you choose to buy a remanufactured engine from us.

Last week we addressed the financial and emotional considerations of this kind of decision.

This week we will outline the bonafide tell-tale signs that your engine is nearing its end of life.

And in our final installment, we will take you step-by-step through Fraser’s engine selection process, what our warranty does and does not cover, and how you should get the engine installed.


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Tell-tale signs your engine is approaching the end of its life.

Your car is getting a bit older. Maybe you don’t take care of it as you should, for instance not changing the oil that frequently. And now, something seems odd. You can’t figure it out, but you know something is wrong. Look to these signs for a more serious problem:

  1. All Engine Lights Illuminate – You know that moment, when you turn your car key and all the dashboard lights come on for a moment before the engine starts. While that is a safety check to ensure all the lights are working, if several of them stay on, especially the “check engine” and “oil” lights, PAY ATTENTION. If even more stay on, turn your car off and get a diagnostic done.
  2. Knocking or Rattling Sounds – New engine sounds, especially loud ones don’t automatically mean your engine is going to seize. But they are an indicator that something may have broken loose on the inside. Items known to cause repetitive sounds, (often shortly before the engine dies), are seriously worn bearings, broken rods or lifters, and a damaged or broken timing belt/chain.
  3. White or Blue Exhaust – In this instance we’re talking about billowing smoke. Not just a slight puff, like on a cold winter morning. If engine oil is leaking into the combustion chamber, you’ll get a bluish cloudy smoke when you start your engine. It might dissipate, but it’s a tell-tale sign of potentially cracked block. Same thing applies for pure white smoke, except this is usually water or engine coolant seeping into the combustion chambers. Often this smoke will continue while the car is running.

  4. Metal Grit or Shavings In Old Oil During An Oil Change  – Engine wear is inevitable, but when you, or your oil change professional, sees metal grit, shavings, or even parts in your oil, your engine is close to failing.
  5. uth smoke under hood 18791980Steady Reduction In Engine Power (Acceleration) – As internal parts fail, which includes things like head gaskets, piston parts, and carburetor/injector failure, your engine will lose power.

  6. Puddles Of Oil – A drip of oil here and there is common in older vehicles. But if you see a puddle of oil under your car, there is something very wrong. This can often be accompanied by billowing exhaust smoke when starting the engine.
  7. Engine Won’t Start / Starter Grinds Loudly – When your car seemed fine yesterday, but it won’t start, where the starter makes a horrible grinding noise, (commonly referred to as it won’t turn-over), it may be seized. (See puddles of smoke above.) This is caused when oil isn’t able to lubricate the parts and then fuse together. Literally.
  8. Smoke Coming Out From Under The Hood – This is common sense. There should NEVER be any kind of smoke coming out from under your hood. If you haven’t recently detailed the engine compartment as part of your car-cleaning routine, smoke under the hood could be the sign of severe overheating. To avoid being burned, DO NOT immediately open your hood. 


All of these signs could be minor, but in the majority of cases, they are indicators that your engine is suffering. If any qualified mechanic says it’s time for a new engine, you need to read Part 1 of this series, and check in next week for Part 3.



DISCLAIMER: The following emergency procedures are offered with no warranties or guarantees, express or implied, and are solely for the purpose of informing our readers of safe options in the case of a catastrophic engine failure.

uth heavy traffic AS3017531If your engine fails while your driving, keep your eyes on the road at all times, and put your emergency flashers on. DO NOT LOOK AT OR DIAL YOUR CELL PHONE AT THIS TIME. Expect your steering and braking to get harder, as these are powered by the engine that is now stopped. Look for a safe place to pull over. If you are in fast moving traffic, roll down your windows and honk your horn repeatedly. When you come to a stop, if you are not on the side of the road, remain in your car, seatbelts buckled, and leave the ignition in the on position, so your horn and lights have power. If you have a cell phone, now is the time to call 911.

DO NOT, under any circumstance, open your doors if traffic is moving around both sides of your vehicle.

Continue to honk your horn, preferably in an SOS pattern, three short honks, three long honks, and three short honks again, then pause and repeat until professional help arrives.

If you are in the lane of traffic that is immediately adjacent to the center median on the driver’s side, and you fear for your life, exit the car ONLY on the driver’s side, and walk along the center median waiving your hands above your head, in single file, in the direction of oncoming traffic, leaving the back of your car behind you. (Waving your hands makes you more visible to oncoming motorists. Walking away from the back of your car protects you in the event of a collision with your vehicle.) When you are at least four car-lengths behind your car, and you have a cell phone, cal 911.

If you are in the lane of traffic where your passenger’s side is next to the shoulder, you should exit the car ONLY on the passenger’s side, and move as far away from your car, and traffic, while also moving towards oncoming traffic until you are well-clear of any possible accident. Now is the time to call 911.


In the final installment (Part 3) of this series, we will walk you through making the decision about whether to replace the engine, or the whole car. We will also detail Fraser Engine Co.’s engine selection process; why professional installation is critical; and what our warranties do and don’t cover.


Fraser Engine Rebuilders specializes in remanufactured engines. Any diagnostic computers in your car will operate exactly the same with our products. Visit our home page to find the right engine, if yours is ready to retire. They’re less expensive than you might think and come in different options and warranties!

Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!