Piston Ring Damage Can Lead to Serious Engine Trouble – 4 Things You Should Know

piston ring damage what you need to know

The primary task of the piston rings, located inside the engine of your car, is to seal the combustion chamber, regulate the engine’s oil consumption, and transfer heat from the piston to the car engine.

Based on these three tasks, it is easy to see why piston rings are so important in managing the seamless running of your car. As with all running parts of any mechanical device, the piston rings can experience wear and tear.

For this reason, it is important to look out for signs or symptoms of damage to the pistons as quickly as possible to prevent damage to the car engine.

4 Signs of Damage to the Piston Rings

Since the piston rings are a key component in the functioning of the car engine, any kind of damage to the piston rings will have an impact on the performance of your car. Here are 4 signs that all is not well with the piston rings:

  1. Excess Exhaust Smoke

One of the first signs of piston ring damage is when the car starts producing excess exhaust smoke. Here’s what you should know:

  • The smoke will be thick and be either white or gray.
  • This happens when the oil is leaking into the combustion chamber and your car is burning up oil.


  1. Excessive Oil Consumption

Since one of the tasks of the piston rings is to regulate oil consumption of the engine, if there is any damage to the piston rings the oil will leak into the combustion chamber of the car engine.

  • This will obviously lead to the engine consuming excess oil.
  • Ideally, oil should be topped every 3,000 – 5,000 miles of running the car.
  • If you find that you are having to continuously top up engine oil faster than the standard mentioned above, then it is best to get the car checked by a professional mechanic.


  1. Drop in Acceleration Power

If you notice that the engine is not responding to the gas pedal in the way that it should, then it is time to consult with a professional mechanic. Keep the following in mind:

  • Damage to the piston rings will impact engine performance.
  • When there is a drop of compression, it will lead to the engine losing power.
  • This is the reason why you will notice that even when you step on the accelerator, the engine will respond slowly, leading to difficulty accelerating.
  • Replacing the piston rings will help in addressing the issue.


  1. Drop in Overall Performance

When the car engine loses its power, it can become completely unresponsive to acceleration, leading to an overall drop in the performance of the car.

  • Low or no engine power means you won’t be able to accelerate.
  • A complete drop in engine power will happen at the last stage which means the piston rings are completely damaged.
  • In all likelihood, the only way to get your car to move in such a scenario would be to tow the car.
  • Since piston rings impact engine performance, as mentioned above, the best way to prevent serious engine damage would be to have your car checked up by professional car technicians.

NOTE It’s important to note, while the cost of a piston ring set is not high, retailing somewhere in the range of $30-$150, the bigger for repair is directed towards labor since the engine will have to be entirely removed to access the piston rings.

Once the piston rings are replaced, the engine will have to be reassembled and placed inside the car again. This can easily take up to 10 hours.

Thinking Ahead

Preventive maintenance of course is crucial to keeping your car in decent condition and running smooth. However, knowing what to watch out for by way of wear and tear of the various parts of your car can help you prevent serious car repair issues before they happen or before it is too late.

Since failing or damaged piston rings can impact engine performance, it is best to have them replaced as soon as possible for the simple reason that engine repair costs are among the highest when it comes to car repairs.

Car Mechanics you can Trust!

Have you noticed any of the above-mentioned symptoms while running your car? Not sure if the piston rings in your car engine need to be replaced? Accurate Service’s professional mechanics can help.

We are experts in all kinds of car repairs. Give us a call today at 520-620-9129 or schedule an appointment online!