Symptoms of a Bad or Failing EGR Cooler

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The EGR cooler is a component used to lower the temperature of the exhaust gases that are recirculated by the EGR system. The EGR system recirculates exhaust gases back into the engine in order to decrease cylinder temperatures and NOx emissions. The gas circulated by the EGR system can be considerably hot however, especially in vehicles equipped with diesel engines. For this reason many diesel engines are equipped with EGR coolers to lower the temperature of the exhaust gases before they enter the engine.

An EGR cooler is a metal device that employs thin passages and fins to cool the exhaust gases. They function in much the same way as a radiator functions, by using the cool air passing through the fins to cool the exhaust gases as they flow through the cooler. When the EGR cooler has any issues, it can cause problems with the functionality of the EGR system. This can lead to performance issues, and even problems with passing emissions standards for states where they are required. Usually a bad or failing EGR cooler will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.

1. Engine overheating

One of the first symptoms of a potential problem with the EGR cooler is engine overheating. If the EGR cooler has any issues that restrict the flow of exhaust gases through the cooler it can cause the engine to overheat. Over time, carbon can build up on the inside of the EGR cooler and restrict flow through the cooler. This can cause the unit to overheat, at which point it will not be able to cool the exhaust gases, and the engine will overheat as a result. Engine overheating can lead to knock or ping from the engine, and even serious damage, if the issue is left unattended.

2. Exhaust leak

Another issue of a problem with the EGR cooler is exhaust leaks. If the EGR cooler gaskets fail, or the cooler gets damaged for any reason, it can cause an exhaust leak to develop. An exhaust leak may be heard as an audible hissing or tapping sound coming from the front of the vehicle. This will reduce the efficiency of the EGR system, and negatively affect engine performance.

2. Check Engine Light comes on

Another symptom of a bad or failing EGR cooler is a Check Engine Light. If the computer detects a problem with the EGR system, such as insufficient flow or exhaust, it will set off the Check Engine Light to alert the driver of the issue. A Check Engine Light can also be set off by a wide variety of other issues, so having the computer scanned for trouble codes is highly recommended.

EGR coolers are not found on all vehicles, but for the vehicles that are equipped with them they are critical to the performance and driveability of the vehicle. Any problems with the EGR cooler can also lead to increased emissions, which will be a problem for states that require emissions testing for all of their vehicles. For this reason, if you suspect that your EGR cooler may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the cooler should be replaced.


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Recent Noise from engine or exhaust Inspection reviews

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YourMechanic Noise from engine or exhaust Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.7/5

Number of Reviews

249

Rating Summary
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Jeffrey

25 years of experience
839 reviews
Jeffrey
25 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - Noise from engine or exhaust - Charlotte, North Carolina
Jeffrey nailed it. Other evaluations did not seem correct but his insight led to the correct diagnosis and complete repair. Thank you Jeffrey. Definitely will request him again.
Honda Odyssey - Noise from engine or exhaust - Monroe, North Carolina
Jeff always goes above and beyond to make sure we are satisfied with his work. We are pleased to work with him.

Travis

11 years of experience
309 reviews
Travis
11 years of experience
Mini Cooper Countryman - Noise from engine or exhaust - Saint Paul, Minnesota
It’s always been a great experience. Travis sorted the noise and listened closely for a recurrence. Then we discussed his next visit in a month or two for a serpentine belt replacement.
Mazda 3 - Noise from engine or exhaust Inspection - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Experienced, knowledgeable, and helpful. I had one of those "my car makes a weird noise" issues, and although of course I couldn't get the thing to happen while we zipped up and down the highway, Travis was thoughtful as he took in the details of my explanation of what I'd been hearing. He came up with a few different possibilities, ruled out a bunch of other ones, and by the time the shakedown drive was done we landed on a likely scenario that would explain things. Opening up the hood and checking the condition of a few filters, fluids, and plugs, Travis found some evidence that made the diagnosis even more likely. Now, I have a much better sense of what may be going on, some specific next steps in the plan, and a solid quote for additional work that needs to be done anyway - and going through the same process with the local garage might have taken days, and cost ten times more.

Walter

44 years of experience
59 reviews
Walter
44 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - Noise from engine or exhaust - Glenpool, Oklahoma
He educated me on what I needed to do to take care of my car. He is knowledgeable and so helpful! He’s the best!

Jeremy

18 years of experience
295 reviews
Jeremy
18 years of experience
Volvo S60 - Noise from engine or exhaust - Boynton Beach, Florida
Jeremy G. was very skilled, professional and courteous. My regular/former mechanic was unable to diagnose the problem with noise coming from under the hood. Yesterday, when I was going to drop the car off for the day for the mechanic to check everything as he told me I must, he called in sick. I reviewed the top-ranked mechanics rated online and found YourMechanic. So glad I did! Jeremy G. came determined what the problem was, assured me I would not be charged until the problem was resolved. We made an appointment for today, Jeremy did the repair and showed me the burnt-out part from the car, which is now running smoothly and quietly! I checked the general cost for the same repair/parts replacement and YouMechanic's was comparative and with the bonus of the convenience factor, which is considerable. I would not hesitate to recommend Jeremy at YourMechanic's.

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