How to Know if You Flooded Your Engine

Before diving into how to detect a flooded car engine, we must first discuss the question of, “what is a flooded engine?” In short, a flooded engine is a car engine that has been fed too much fuel mixture that can’t be ignited. A flooded engine occurs when the mixture exceeds the upper explosive limit for the given fuel. Engine flooding is an issue most commonly associated with older car engines. Given most newer modern car engines have a computer-controlled fuel injection system that helps ensure that the engine is not flooded with more fuel than it requires, it is far less likely to happen to modern vehicles. However, there are still mistakes that can cause flooding to happen even in modern engines. That said, it is important to learn how to know if you flooded your engine. If you think you may have flooded your engine, look for these 3 common flooded engine symptoms.

Gasoline Odor

The first thing you will want to look for is the smell of gasoline. For the most part, when an engine is operating properly, you should not be able to smell any gasoline. When working correctly, the fuel system will deliver fuel into the engine at the exact rate that the motor burns the fuel. However, in a flooded engine, the fuel is coming out too fast and isn’t being burned. As a result of the fuel not being burned, it is common to smell gasoline when you try to start the car and it doesn’t start successfully. So, if you begin to smell gas when starting up your car, it could be a sign that your engine is flooding.

Trouble Restarting

If you start up your vehicle and then shut it off shortly after, when it’s time to start it back up again, you might notice that it will have more difficulty starting up the second time around. A vehicle that has this kind of problem likely has a flooded engine. Sometimes, to help a vehicle start, a car will send some extra fuel to the engine to help it get started. However, if the car isn’t allowed to run long enough to burn the extra fuel, the fuel doesn’t get burned off and will remain in the engine. As a result, the fuel mixture is too rich when you try to restart the vehicle.

Wet/Fouled Spark Plugs

If an engine becomes severely flooded, it may result in fouled spark plugs. A fouled spark plug is when the ends of the spark plug get wet due to an excess amount of fuel in the system. When a spark plug is wet, the electrical energy that tries to fire during starting grounds out instead of firing. If discovered in time, fouled spark plugs can sometimes be cleaned, but more often than not they should be replaced.

Now that you know several flooded engine symptoms, next time one of these symptoms comes up, be sure to check to make sure your engine isn’t flooded. If you are experiencing one or more of the engine flooding symptoms above, but you’re still not sure if your engine is flooded, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our knowledgeable technicians at GT Automotive in South Jordan, Utah will be happy to assist you with any issues regarding your vehicle. 

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