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Q: I think my motor is toast.

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I was driving at about 50 mph when I heard a loud thud from the engine. I suddenly began to lose power (revved to about 4 or 5 grand to stay at 50. When I pulled over it sputtered and died. When I started it again it squeaked and rattled a lot. I think a cylinder is missing pretty bad or maybe it's a rod knock or a screwed up valve I'm just not sure.

My car has 139000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It’s possible you have major engine damage but to rule this in or out, the best thing to do is schedule an engine diagnostic. One quick test you can do is a compression test. Obviously, if compression is super low in one or more cylinders there is a major problem that will require complete disassembly of the engine. Even if the engine is damaged, that is far from being a disaster. Engines can be re-built, replaced with a used engine (have to select very carefully of course; buying a used engine is risky), or you can buy a new (remanufactured) crate engine with a warranty. So, there are a variety of options to get the car running again and you should definitely consider them because, frankly, the sales tax on a new $30,000 car is typically around $2,000 not to mention all the other extraordinary costs of buying new (like mandatory collision insurance if you finance the car). For $2,000 you are well on your way to replacing the engine with a crate engine. The bottom line is, to save money, give serious consideration to fixing or replacing the engine and, to that end, just let us know if and how we can assist you. The first step would be to diagnose what you have, of course, to make sure it can’t be restored in situ.

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