Engine Maintenance

What Causes Engine Pinging


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Engine pinging or knocking occurs when a pocket of the air and fuel mixture detonates ahead of the flame front ignited by the spark plug. This premature ignition causes a drastic increase in the pressures present in the cylinder, and when the two flame fronts meet, the characteristic engine pinging noise is heard. It must be known that when the characteristic engine pinging sound is heard, damage is being done to the internal engine components.

Causes

There are a number of engine pinging causes. Some of these causes include a cooling system that isn’t drawing off enough heat from the engine. Spark plugs that are running too hot and super heated carbon deposits, among other things. In low mileage engines, the main cause of engine pinging is improper grinding on valves, leaving very sharp edges that become super heated while the engine is running. If your engine is running too lean, or not consuming enough fuel for the amount of air being burned, this can also cause engine pinging.

Fixes

Some steps you can take to stop your engine from pinging are listed below.

  • Adjust the air to fuel ratio, either cutting down on the amount of air allowed into the engine or increasing the amount of fuel being burned.
  • Adjust the spark timing. Advance the timing until the pinging stops.
  • Use a higher octane fuel. High octane fuel burns slower and cooler.
  • Pull the head(s) and round of any sharp edges on the valves.
  • Check the cooling system. Make sure it’s completely full and that the fan is running properly.

Engine pinging is a very serious condition, that if allowed to continue unchecked, can cause catastrophic damage to your engine. The preceding paragraphs have given you a number of engine pinging causes and some steps you can take to correct them.

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