How to Check the Engine in a Hyundai

Written by alibaster smith
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The engine in your Hyundai is built to last in excess of 100,000 miles. While Hyundai engines are built to be economical, they are not "maintenance free." Over time, you may run into problems with your Hyundai engine. Some of the more common problems are valve spring fatigue, leaking head gaskets, and, on high-mileage Hyundais, a general loss of compression as the engine ages. Fortunately, you can easily check for the most common problems in your garage at home or in your driveway. Checking a Hyundai engine, whether a traditional petrol powered engine or the newer diesel engines, is similar if you run the diagnostic tests using a vacuum pressure gauge.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Pliers
  • Vacuum pressure gauge

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Open the bonnet and remove the rubber stopper plug in the intake manifold using a pair of pliers. The intake manifold is in the backside of the engine near the firewall. You'll need to pull hard on the rubber stopper to remove the plug.

  2. 2

    Push the hose and plug on the vacuum pressure gauge into the access hole on the intake.

  3. 3

    Start your Hyundai's engine.

  4. 4

    Check the vacuum pressure gauge. The vacuum pressure gauge will tell you many potential problems with your vehicle. Your Hyundai's vacuum pressure should hold steady at idle at 22 PSI (pounds per square inch) on the vacuum gauge. If it fluctuates wildly from 22 PSI to 10 PSI, then there is a vacuum leak that is caused by weak valve springs that need to be replaced. If the pressure gauge holds steady at 3 to 4 PSI, there is a major vacuum leak that needs to be fixed by a professional mechanic. If the gauge reads 10 PSI, then your Hyundai most likely needs a valve timing adjustment. Your Hyundai may also begin to misfire because it is not getting the proper amount of air for the fuel that is being pushed into the engine. If the gauge reading starts out normal and then drops to roughly 10 PSI, this indicates a blown or severely leaking head gasket which needs to be replaced. You may also notice white steam coming out of your tailpipe while the engine is running but if it is a minor gasket leak, you may not see this. Your engine may also overheat from a blown head gasket due to the fact that the engine coolant is leaking into the combustion chambers and being turned into steam and is not cooling the engine. If the needle on the pressure gauge fluctuates 4 PSI to 6 PSI away the baseline of 22 PSI, then your Hyundai's valve guides are worn and need to be serviced by a professional mechanic.

  5. 5

    Check the engine to see if it is shaking. This could be caused by a loose motor mount on either side of the engine which will have to be serviced by a professional mechanic.

  6. 6

    Check for coloured smoke coming out of the tailpipe of your Hyundai. Bluish smoke indicates an oil leak in your engine. White smoke is actually steam caused by a leaking head gasket (mentioned in step 4). Check for dark black or grey smoke. This indicates that your engine is burning too much fuel and not getting enough oxygen (also called "running rich"). If you Hyundai vehicle is "running rich," however, you will likely see your check engine light come on. A rich fuel mixture is usually the result of a faulty O2 sensor or a faulty mass airflow sensor, both of which will need to be replaced by a professional mechanic.

  7. 7

    Check to see if the check engine light comes on. While this can indicate a multitude of problems, some of them are related to the engine. You can take your Hyundai to any auto parts store, and they can run a free diagnostic test for you using a special tool that will plug into your Hyundai's on-board diagnostic computer. Then, they will give you a print out that will show you what the problem is.

Tips and warnings

  • For specific information about your Hyundai vehicle and your Hyundai's engine, consult the particular vehicle's manual (see "Resources").

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