Q: Checking the engine functioning by listening

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How can I tell if the engine is running great just by listening?

If you are an experienced mechanic, it’s easy. You’ve got years of experience and when you listen, you can tell by the noise. But the best way for the novices is to go on the other end. Go away from the engine, go to the tail pipes and stick your ear close to the tail pipe. If it’s running right, you’ll just hear that smooth exhaust. If you hear some odd noises, it’s misfiring.

Another trick is, when it’s colder (don’t do this on a hot engine) you can get a piece of paper and stick it on your hand and put it on an exhaust. If you find that the paper is getting sucked back then it is misfiring and it isn’t running. That is a really easy way and anybody can hear, not by the engine itself but by the exhaust that comes out. If you have any major concerns about a particular noise, I would have an experienced mechanic check it out. They will be able to diagnose the sound and let you know exactly what’s going on.

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