Engine Repair Services

Proper maintenance and repair is important for long engine life. Ignoring warning signs such as smoking, excessive vibration, rough running, unusual noises, and leaks will only lead to further problems and the need for more (and possibly more serious) repairs. Attending to repairs immediately and keeping up with maintenance, especially oil changes and timing belt replacement, will assure the longest life for your engine. We always prefer to maintain a car rather than repair it, and considering maintenance always costs less, you should too.

Services Offered

  • Check Engine Light (Service Engine Soon Light) Diagnosis and RepairThe check engine light (Service Engine Soon on some cars) comes on to let you know about a potentially serious condition. It will light up for about 500 different things, ranging from a disconnected wire to your engine running out of time. You should always get this light checked as soon as possible. On some cars the light will blink while the engine is running when you have a more serious problem, but not every car will do this, so don’t take the chance. Autozone and some other auto parts stores will scan your codes for free. This will help give you an idea of whether the problem needs immediate attention or can wait until you have the time to get it repaired. We have a diagnostic computer that goes more in-depth than the scanners used at the parts stores, which can read the codes as well as the overall state of the engine at the time the code was set. When you come in to get repairs, it can sometimes be helpful to bring the list of codes scanned by the parts store so we can compare them to the codes we read. The reason for this is the codes that are set first are usually the ones that are causing a problem, while the others may just be from the engine running differently after the first codes were set.
  • Tune UpA tune up is when you replace all the worn parts of the ignition system (spark plugs, plug wires or coil boots, and distributor cap and rotor), air filter, and fuel filter and adjust the idle speed and ignition timing to make the engine run as near as possible to the way it came from the factory. Some people mistakenly refer to replacing the spark plugs, plug wires, and air filter as a tune up; so they neglect the fuel filter, distributor cap and rotor, timing adjustment, and idle adjustment. These “half tune ups” will improve the running of the car in most cases, but not as much and not for as long as a correctly done tune up.
  • Oil ChangeThe number one engine issue is a neglectful owner. Lack of maintenance and disregard for warning signs when a problem arises will always lead to bigger problems. Leaving oil and coolant leaks alone will eventually lead to increased wear and heat. Failure to change your oil, filters, and/or timing belt/chain at the recommended intervals can potentially ruin your engine. In just the last year, we have replaced 2 engines for customers that did not change their oil, at least 3 that did not change their timing belt, and several more for customers that failed to get a coolant leak fixed. When you consider that for most cars an oil change costs less than $30, timing belt replacement around $250, coolant leaks range from $70 to around $400 for very serious leaks, and an engine install can cost as much as $1,500 or more without the cost of the engine, which would you rather do? In the long run, keeping up with maintenance is ALWAYS cheaper than following behind with repairs.
  • Engine RebuildingIf your engine has died, or you just want it running like new, we can install a rebuilt engine in your vehicle. These engines are cleaned inside and out, have all new parts inside them, and come with long warranties (usually 3 years/100,000 miles). In some cases the engine rebuilder has found design flaws in the factory engines and will correct them in the rebuilt engine to give it improved durability and performance over the original design.
  • Engine SwapWhen all hope of salvaging your engine is gone, it’s time for an engine swap. If you’re considering an engine swap, the 2 main things you must take into account are price and reliability. Used engines will be the cheapest to buy and install, but may give problems in the near future and usually only offer 30 day warranties. Rebuilt engines usually come with a much longer warranty and because they have had all the internal parts replaced with new parts, they will last as long (and sometimes even longer) as a factory new engine.
  • Exhaust RepairExhaust leaks can be noisy and, depending on location and severity, dangerous. If you have an exhaust leak that gets into the passenger compartment you can lose consciousness, get very sick and dizzy, or even suffocate. This is extremely rare and most people will notice a leak getting into the passenger compartment and roll down the windows. Even if the leak is not dangerous, it will need to be fixed to pass emissions and to make your engine run better.
  • Emissions Related RepairIn the Atlanta metro area emissions testing is required. If you fail an emissions test, the paperwork given to you by the emissions shop will often give clues to what needs to be fixed. For engines that appear to be in great condition, the fix is usually one or more of three things: oil change, tune up, or a new catalytic converter. Engines that have lots of wear and age tend to need more work. Cars built after 1996 (and some ’95 models) will generally require less repairs to be emissions ready than their identical model made before ’95. The reason for this is OBD2 (On-Board Diagnostics, version 2) vehicles do not require being ran on the dyno like the OBD1 and non-OBD cars. The dyno emissions equipment is much more sensitive than most OBD2 systems. This is the reason why you sometimes see newer cars pass emissions and then drive off in a cloud of black smoke (FYI: If that’s the case, we didn’t work on it.), but an older car that appears to be running clean may not pass.
  • Pre-purchase InspectionWhen you buy a used car, you should always have a mechanic inspect it. Many used car dealers will try to mask problems so they can sell the car for more than it’s worth. We’ve seen coolant lines capped off and the hoses pulled back over them to hide a blown head gasket, oil leaks temporarily patched by silicone on the outside of the engine, check engine light bulbs switched with other warning lights to hide it being on all the time, gear oil in the engine to quiet chattering valves and other internal issues, and even brake rotors machined beyond their safe limit. Don’t get surprised by these nasty tricks after you buy the car. We do pre-purchase inspections to make sure that the car you buy is worth the money you pay for it and to let you know what it might need done if you do purchase the car.
  • Head Gasket ReplacementProbably the most heard of and most feared major engine problem is a blown head gasket. What almost always causes a head gasket to blow is overheating. In very rare cases, a misfire early in the compression stroke may cause it too. The best thing you can do to prevent a blown head gasket is to check and change your fluids regularly. Both coolant and oil are used to keep your engine at the right temperature, so be sure to check both. You should also check your temperature gauge regularly to make sure you’re not in danger of overheating. If you suspect you already have a blown head gasket, check the oil after the car has not been ran for several hours. If your oil is an almost “chocolate milk” color, you have coolant in your oil due to a blown head gasket. Also if you shut down your engine and then try to start it back up after about 15-20 minutes and are not able to, this may be coolant getting into the cylinders or compression from one cylinder leaking into the next, also due to a blown head gasket. If you have a blown head gasket, do not drive the car until it is fixed or worse damage may occur.
  • Motor Mount ReplacementIf you notice a thump when you shift gears or your engine shakes a lot when running, you need engine or transmission mounts. Mounts keep the engine and transmission stabilized and keep engine vibrations from shaking the whole car. The reason it’s most easily noticed during shifting is the engine tilts backward while shifting between forward gears and tilts forward when shifting into reverse.
  • Timing Belt or Chain ReplacementYour timing belt or chain keeps your engine’s valves and pistons moving with each other. If it breaks, you run the risk of your valves being extended into the cylinder while the piston is coming up (valve crash). When a valve crash happens, it bends the valve stem which could cause the valve to not shut properly or not move at all. In some cases it can even knock a hole in the top of a piston. To avoid this, replace your timing belt or chain at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer. For most belts this is 100,000 miles. Chains typically recommend being changed around 150,000 miles. To be sure, you should call the service department of a dealership that sells your car’s brand. We can look this information up as well, but the dealer will be able to find it quicker.
  • Coolant Leak RepairEven small coolant leaks can be a potentially big problem. A tiny pinhole in a coolant hose or radiator may not leak at all when the engine is completely cool, but once at full operating temperature, it can spray out a gallon of coolant in a matter of minutes. A leak in the heater core can flood the floor inside the car and short out interior electronics. No matter where or how large the leak, overheating is always a possibility with a coolant leak.
  • Serpentine Belt Replacement (Accessory Drive Belt)The serpentine belt drives all of your engine’s “accessories” such as: water pump, power steering pump, alternator, A/C compressor, emissions air pump, and supercharger. Your car may have only 1 belt, or it may have several. When these belts get old, they start to crack and loosen up. If a belt breaks while the engine is running it may sling around under the hood damaging other parts. When a belt breaks, the accessories it was driving immediately stop working. If your water pump is ran by the serpentine belt (some are timing belt driven) it can cause you to overheat. On cars using only 1 belt, or the same belt driving the alternator and water pump, if you see the red battery light come on, pull over immediately to prevent serious overheating damage.
  • Hose ReplacementA leaking hose can be a big problem, even if the leak is not very big. This is especially true of brake, transmission, coolant, and oil hoses. A tiny pinhole in a coolant hose may not leak at all when the engine is completely cool, but once at full operating temperature, it can spray out a gallon of coolant in a matter of minutes. A small leak in a brake hose can cause the wheel to not stop, as well as reducing pressure to the rest of the brake system. With transmission hose leaks, you may experience hard or delayed shifting. An oil leak can cause all kinds of increased wear inside the engine, and in turbo/super-charged engines it may destroy your turbo/super-charger.
  • Gasket ReplacementOver time gaskets shrink and crack due to heat and contact with fluids causing leaks. Any type of leak needs to be addressed immediately, but oil leaks will cause your engine to wear out prematurely. The most common places for oil leaks to develop is around the valve cover and the oil pan. If you develop a leak that is not coming from a gasket, the part that is leaking is damaged and needs to be replaced.
  • Leak Diagnosis and RepairLeaks can come from many different places in your engine. Over time gaskets shrink and crack due to heat and contact with fluids causing leaks. Any type of leak needs to be addressed immediately, but oil leaks will cause your engine to wear out prematurely. The most common places for oil leaks to develop is around the valve cover and the oil pan. If you develop a leak that is not coming from a gasket, the part that is leaking is damaged and needs to be replaced. Seals around the crankshaft and camshaft wear out over time and will start to leak. Depending on the type of engine these may be relatively inexpensive repairs. A rear main seal (crankshaft seal between the engine and transmission) will require the removal of either the engine or transmission to repair and is the most expensive leak to repair aside from the head gasket due to the labor involved.
  • Fuel System Repair
    • Injector ReplacementUnlike the early years of fuel injection, injectors rarely develop clogs, but instead are more likely to fail electrically.
    • Fuel Pump ReplacementThe most common failure in the fuel system is the fuel pump. Failure is usually due to age or contamination by bad gas. Running your car out of gas will eventually lead to damage to the pump. Running the car with very little gas can be just as harmful, since the pump uses the gas flowing through it for cooling.
    • Fuel Pressure Regulator ReplacementFuel pressure regulators can sometimes develop internal leaks that make them unable to maintain the pressure inside the fuel rail necessary for the injectors to operate properly. They may also bind internally causing fuel pressure to rise beyond what it is supposed to, though this is very rare.
    • Fuel Filter ReplacementYou fuel filter protects the rest of your fuel system from clogs. It is located after the fuel pump, so it can not protect it, but it can keep junk from being returned to the fuel tank where it can be ran through the pump again. When your fuel filter clogs up, it must be replaced. Attempting to clean the filter may result in clog particles being loosened and flowing through the fuel system.
  • If you don’t see the service you require listed above, call us at 404-366-9466. We probably just forgot to list it here.

A Warning About Engine Overheating

When your engine overheats you should stop driving until the engine cools down. To speed up cooling, turn off your engine but turn the key back to the ‘On’ position, turn your heater on, and set fans to their highest speed. It will still take a long time to cool down, but it won’t take hours. You should wait until your temperature gauge reads below the normal operating range before trying to add coolant or water. Refilling your coolant while the engine is hot can cause the metal to crack. If after adding more coolant your engine continues to overheat, bring it in to us. We offer towing, so if it’s overheating too quickly to make it to us, don’t hesitate to call us at 404-366-9466.

A Warning About Using ‘Stop Leak’ Coolant Additives

Stop-Leak additives work by reacting with water and air to form an adhesive bond. These additives are not meant to be a long term fix, but as a patch to last you until you can get the problem properly repaired. Using them, even as directed, can cause your radiator, heater core, and small coolant passages to clog. This could compound your problems and cause overheating which could damage your engine. We recommend that you not use any Stop-Leak type additives, but instead get the problem repaired correctly. If you do use Stop-Leak before bringing the vehicle in to be repaired, tell us so we can flush your cooling system. Flushing will remove as much of the residual Stop-Leak from the system and eliminate the chance of clogs forming. Any clogs already formed may not be able to be removed without replacing the affected part.

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