When Do You Need An Engine or GearBox Overhaul?

For your automobile to function well, you need a regular engine and gearbox overhaul. Overhauling the engine and the gearbox can sometimes be daunting and expensive, but it is necessary. However, before you take such a drastic action, you need to be absolutely certain that an engine overhaul or gearbox overhaul is the best course of action. There are a number of telltale signs to inform you that you need either a gearbox or engine overhaul.


When You Need and Engine Overhaul

There are various ways garages overhaul a malfunctioning engine. Most garages perform what is known as the in-chassis overhaul. In-chassis overhaul is where the mechanic does not need to remove the engine from the automobile, but just pull what he needs to replace and do a minor overhaul which is replacing the pistons, piston rings, cylinder lines, the big end and the crankshaft bearings. He then laps the valves in and replaces the valve stem seals, followed by stripping and checking the oil pump, before replacing the gaskets and seals.

You will know that your engine needs an overhaul if you see these telltale signs:

Knocking- A knocking sound while you drive is one of the clearest signs that the engine of your car is failing. However, it could also be indicative of bad fuel. Thus, before you proceed to schedule an overhaul or test your engine, it is proper you think about when you first heard the knocking sound.

A lot of smoke

Smoke that blows out of your car’s tailpipe can tell a lot about what is happening on the other end of the car. In the morning when you start your car, stand behind it for some time and look at the smoke that is billowing out of the tailpipe. If a copious amount of blue smoke is emanating from the tailpipe, then that definitely means that your automobile is burning oil.

Compression Loss

A comprehension loss is often remedied only by an engine overhaul. You will know that there is a compression loss if you realize that your car is misfiring. Pay attention to your car to note when it misfires- misfiring is not just a problem to your car- it is also not good at all for your health.

Burning Oil Quickly

It is a normal part of maintenance to get new oil in your car regularly. If you one day use more oil than you are accustomed to for the same distance, then that could be because your car has started to burn oil more quickly. Burning the oil quickly is a sign that you need an engine overhaul


Using too much fuel

The engine uses a lot more fuel just to run when it is slow or it is not working well. Therefore, check the fuel gauge against the mileage regularly to discover when your car is hogging lots of fuel. If it consumes more than it should, then take it to an engine doctor for an overhaul.

Oil Sludge

Coolant sludge is not only nasty, but is also a tell-tale sign that you’ll need an engine overhaul very soon. In the process of cleaning and replacing your oil, if you notice some oil sludge or coolant sludge on your oil cup, then know that the engine is not in its right shape. It needs an overhaul, at the worst, or repair at least.

When to go for a gearbox overhaul

Despite maintaining your car well, if you drive the car long enough, the transmission or gearbox will eventually wear out. Though gearbox problems are more common with certain vehicle makes and models, the fact is that they can occur to about any car as it gets old. Below are the telltale signs to look out for to know when you need a gearbox overhaul:

Burnt Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid is ordinarily a bright reddish/clear color having a sweet smell. It spells trouble if the transmission fluid looks dark, opaque and smells as if it is burnt. When this happens, take your car in for transmission service even though there might not been any other accompanying symptoms.

Falling in and out of gear

When driving, the car should always stay in gear unless you shift to park or neutral. It is never normal for the car to fall out of gear. Gear slippage or transmission failure is usually the number one cause of car falling out of gear. It is dangerous to operate your car when it has a gear slippage issue. When the transmission falls out of gear, it threatens your safety and the safety of other occupants in the car because the car cannot accelerate when there is need for it to accelerate. However, before scheduling a gearbox overhaul or diagnosis, check if the transmission fluid is enough. Sometimes the transmission will fall out of gear when there is just low fluid.


Hesitation When Shifting

If the car hesitates when you are shifting one gear to the next, or when there is usually an unusually long delay between when you put the car in gear and when it engages, then that means there is need to immediately check your gearbox or transmission for problems. However, the hesitation in shifting gears could be as a result of being low on transmission fluid. Check to see it is not because it is low on fluid before you schedule for a possibly unnecessary and expensive repair or overhaul.

Jolting Between Gears

If you experience mild to severe jolts when the car gears shift, it could be a sign of transmission trouble- and it should get checked. You might need a gearbox repair or overhaul depending on the extent of the problem.

Shimmying or Grinding During Shifting

If you hear a grinding sound when you shift gears in a manual transmission, or a shaking or shimmy when the automatic transmission shifts gear, then that is a sign of a gearbox problem or transmission problem. Do not ignore it; take your automobile in for checking as you might need a gearbox overhaul.

Noisy in Neutral

A mechanical wear in transmission manifests when your car starts making abnormal noises when in neutral.


All the telltale signs listed above do not necessarily warrant an engine or gearbox overhaul. You might need a simple repair or a complete overhaul. Other times, it would just need you to fix some few hitches and your car would be in right shape.
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