Seized Engines And How To Make Them Unseized?

In just a normal drive around the block on your lovely car, it suddenly started making wearing sounds. Then the engine just simply stalled in the middle of the road.

You got out of the car, opened the hood and still didn’t see anything that might be the possible cause for this incident. You then had no choice but to call a tow truck to get the car into a garage.

Over there, you were told the engine had “seized”. So, how to unseize an engine? If you ever have the same question in mind then this article is for you.

1. What is a “seized” engine?

Technically, the term “seized engine” indicates an unworkable engine that may have suffered major structure damages due to a variety of reasons or hasn’t been maintained for quite a long time.

Possibly, some if not many of its parts are no longer able to fulfill their functions. Because of this, your vehicle is almost dead. Without a functioning engine, the car is just a giant paperweight.​

2. Sights

If your car is an old model or you just recently bought it from a used car dealer, you should have noticed any sights of seizing engine.

This includes violent vibrations, a rough start up, repeated stalling, rapid speed up and slow down without driver inputs, etc. The vehicle had a rogue run during the last few times. You may have thought of taking it to the garage for a check but it broke down beforehand.​

3. Causes

Let’s consider two kinds of cars: a car you have been using yourself for a long time and a car you just recently brought.

The causes are not entirely different from each other though but you can sort out and prioritize kinds of issues you need to inspect and exam first by going through with this categories – dividing.

This is how you can save some time instead of stumbling through every corners of the engine.

  • Cars that have been around for quite a long time

​Usually in this situation, the lack of regular and careful maintenance is the problem. Parts of the engine may have been stuck by unused fuel residue, rust, airborne dust, etc.

But in most time, the engine parts will remain largely intact if you don’t try too hard to force the engine to work. A careful and thorough check by professional personnel will effectively solve the problem.

  • Cars that you just bought.

​Brand new cars won’t have this kind of problem anytime soon. In case it does, bring it to the respective maintenance center and demand an answer.

However, this is indeed a rare case. Seized engine issue happens to the car you just brought usually because of its old age. In this case, the problem is likely the outcome of not checking carefully in test drives.

Some of its parts may have cracks on them or welded joints are broken. It requires sophisticated repairs.

4. Solution

IMPORATANT: If you don’t have an adequate knowledge about engines and appropriate tools for fixing it, attempting to solve the problem by yourself may cause more serious damages to the engine.

Therefore it’s not recommended. Only try the below if you know exactly what are you doing. Taking it to the garage and having the technicians handle the problem is always the best option.

​It’s always worth the effort to check the engine by yourself to see if it has indeed seized or not. An easy way to test it out is to remove the spark plug and try to rotate the engine by hands or by a breaker bar if it’s a big engine.

If you cannot even finish half a round then you can confirm that the engine has seized for sure. Now let’s check out the solution. Execute them carefully and move on to the next phase if the previous doesn’t work.

  • Phase 1: Penetrating oil

​Assuming that all the parts remain somewhat intact, there is one thing that causes an engine to be seized: accumulated dirt and rust.

These deposits will slowly build up in parts of the engine and force your engine to use more and more energy to function normally. And when it reaches the limit, its just broke down.

Plain and simple as that, rain and humid conditions are also factors that cause rust to take over all the way from your pistol rings to the cylinder.

Well, it’s fairly easy and cheap to solve or prevent this kind of issue by regularly spraying penetrating oil.

You can get it from any automobile store or you can produce it at home by combining any types of transmission liquids and acetone if you have them.

Put on the eyes protection and spray the penetrating oil into every nook and cranny of your engine daily for a period of 4 weeks. It’s quite able to get rid of any dirt, rust or small foreign material in your engine.​

  • Phase 2: Oil problem

​This is also a common factor that definitely seizes your engine. When your engine runs out of oil or the oil pressure is insufficient, the operations of your engine will be rougher and more violent than usual due to the fact that they are no longer properly supported by the oil.

Without punctual response, it’s just a matter of time when some parts end up in damage beyond repairs.

So it’s vital that you check the oil level and its pressure regularly to see if they are still at their normal level. Refill it if necessary. In case of having any damaged parts then move on to phase 3.

  • Phase 3: Take it apart

​If you have done all the above yet the engine still not working properly then it’s time to go deeper. Now it’s quite possible that the engine has some kinds of structure failures.

Take the entire engine out of the hood compartment and dissemble it slowly and gently.

Make sure you are not accidentally mess up any electrical wires and remember to mark all the hoses when you detach them so as to make it easier for later re – connecting.

​Exam and inspect the surface and interior or every parts of the engine to see any abnormal spots. In this stage, there got to be one or a few parts that have a hard time fitting well to each other due to cracking or loosening the grip.

You may even sport large foreign object that obstruct the movement of the engine. You need to take care of all of them. In the worst scenarios, you may have to completely retrofit some if not most of the engine parts because they simply cannot be repair or reuse.

  • Phase 4: Professional support

​So after putting many times and efforts into the engine, its still not function like it used to be or meet your expectations.

This is when you really should call in somebody that can handle the issue. You have tried your best already and its better to leave it to someone that already do this on daily basics.


​Well its obvious that having a seized engine bring utmost comfortable to any driver. Your ride can no longer functions like it supposed to be and may have a big impact on your daily activities.

The ways to fix it vary a lot from simple to complex which depend on what cause the engine to seized. Still, the most wise decision when encountering this situation is to stop the vehicle after the first sights and call in a tow truck instead of forcing the car to reach home or a garage to avoid further damaging the engine.

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