CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Loud engine clicking nouse

Dear Sir have a 1998 camero,that the mech. told me i have a bad head gasket, it has 197,000 miles,doesn’t overheat,also at night i notice headlights and insrument panel lights gages flicker,been driving like this for about 2,000 miles.The engine was flushed and put in synthetic oil when these conditions started. Is there a check to find out whats wrong or should i start looking for another engine? the mechanic wants to fix the head gasket but i don’t think it will stop the engine knocking noise. the engine knocking noise is loudest on a cold start for about 3 seconds but remains while engine is operating. Thank You

I believe that you have more than one problem with this car.
The flickering lights are an indication of either a failing alternator or possibly a loose electrical connection, but that is the least of your problems.

The noise in the engine is likely to be the result of badly worn bearings. Badly worn bearings would not be surprising in an engine that has traveled over 190k miles, but if you have a bad head gasket, that could drastically accelerate bearing wear if coolant is contaminating the motor oil. And, no matter what anyone might have told you, using that expensive synthetic motor oil will not reverse the problem, and is a total waste of money.

You need to take this car to a different mechanic, have a compression test and a leak-down test done in order to determine if there is a problem with a head gasket. Have that mechanic assess the noise situation with the engine also. Maybe he will give you good news, or maybe not, but these situations will not cure themselves, and are potentially expensive enough to blow a hole in your wallet.

Truthfully, if I had a 12 year old car with badly worn bearings and a bad head gasket, I would start shopping for a replacement car very quickly as this '98 Camaro does not warrant the amount of money that would be necessary to fix all of the problems that it has.

Thank you sir for your advice, and i will schedule a compression test and leak down test, but i have alot invested in this auto and will start looking at another engine if this one is bad. and again thank you. eaglekeeper francischalepah@yahoo.com