The Ultimate Guide to Replacing Piston Rings

A vehicle’s engine is made of various parts. Piston rings are necessary components that are set with precision between the piston and cylinder. They aim at regulating the oil pressure, maintaining gas compression, transferring heat from piston to cylinder, and keeping the piston from knocking on the cylinder wall. The problem with the car engine starts happening when these o-rings are worn out. That is why people care about replacing piston rings to keep engine-related issues at bay.

The Fastest Method to Replacing Piston Rings

A series of donut-shaped piston rings are formed with cast iron, which makes them capable of retaining the shape under load or heat. These rings are inexpensive, but paramount for proper operation of the engine. As per the expert maintenance tips, taking your vehicle to a professional is a great choice to have your car engine checked out. Outlined below are some telltale signs of bad piston rings.

Excessive Exhaust Smoke

Piston rings can handle a high amount of pressure. However, they start depreciating with time. Excessive exhaust smoke from the engine could be a definitive sign of bad piston rings. Pay particular attention to the smoke, especially when its color seems gray or white. The leakage of engine oil into the combustion chamber creates thick white or gray smoke.

Replacing piston rings
Fault in the piston rings can make you face difficulty with your car engine. (Photo Source: istockphoto)


Too Much Consumption of Oil

Similar to above, when oil leaks into the combustion chamber, it causes vehicles to start consuming too much oil. So, instead of adding oil after three to five thousand miles, car drivers need to add oil regularly to their vehicles. If your story depicts the same picture, then it is time to have your car inspected by the professionals.

Weak Acceleration Power

A car engine starts losing the power due to the damaged or worn out piston rings. Since the shortage of compression starts taking place, the engine loses its power. To put it simply, a car takes more time to speed up due to bad piston rings. Experts know how to change piston rings to fix this issue.

Bad Performance of Vehicle

Among the worst things that can happen to a vehicle is when it fails to start completely. A vehicle’s performance is considered bad when a car driver fails to accelerate the car. In such a case, the only option left for the driver is to tow the vehicle to the nearest service mechanic. You do not need to be worried, as such conditions only arise when drivers ignore the first thee symptoms. So, car inspection is preeminent to keep your vehicle perform excellently for a long time.

Piston Rings Replacement: A complete Get Started Guide

Problems with car engines are a real bummer. If you want your vehicle to perform effectively, you ought to have piston rings that fill well between piston and cylinder. Replacing piston rings needs careful attention on its way. It is the reason people prefer taking their cars to the garage to get the task done without any hassle. If you want to try it out, then you will need some necessary tools and the service manual for your car. Let’s get to know the process in detail.

STEP 1: Find the Piston Rings

First thing first, you need to access the piston rings by removing the cylinder head. Make sure to disconnect the required items before you take out the part. Drain coolant before removing the exhaust manifold. Use the wrench to lose the bolts holding the essential pieces.

Once it is done, disconnect the distributor, and pull out the spark plug wires. Unbolt the valve corners carefully. The real challenge arises with the pushrods and rocker arms.  You will find a nut on the top of every rocker arm; remove them independently.  Finally, pull the pushrods through the head.

how to change piston
Replacing piston rings is an ideal choice when noticing the signs of sign of bad piston. (Photo Source: Pixabay)

A pro tip to remove the cylinder head’s retaining bolts is starting from the bolts on the outside. Clean the dirt and grease from the top of every cylinder before stepping into the next step.

STEP 2: Clean the Piston and Take Out Rings

Cleaning is imperative before replacing the piston rings. This process may seem simple, but need extra attention until the end. When you cover all the cylinder holes, you get a sense of relief because no debris from the piston can fall inside the cylinders. Now, clean the dirt before pulling out the piston.

In many cars, you cannot change the piston rings without removing the pistons. Generally, it can vary from car to car. Therefore, get your hands on the service manual to understand the concept in detail. In a well-ventilated area, use some kerosene and soak all the removed pistons into it.

Use the piston ring tool and take out the old piston rings. Get a feeler gauge to check whether all the ring grooves are on the piston. If you witness that the grooves are worn, you will be required a new piston instead of replacing the piston rings. If you are having difficulty moving the rings, let them soak overnight in kerosene.

STEP 3: Insert New Piston Rings

Stretch the replacements by using the piston ring tool. Be extra careful because they can break if you stretch them too much. You had better secure the piston rings in the ring grooves. During this process, inspect the piston twice to make sure you do not face any trouble while replacing them with connecting rods.

The last step is to reverse the entire process. Checking the head gasket is essential before replacing the cylinder head. It is best to perform the replacement when working on the piston rings. Reattach all the items and put the cylinder head to the engine block.

Piston rings replacement
Vehicles start consuming too much oil due to oil leakage into the combustion chamber. (Photo Source: minimobracing)

The Epilogue

Piston rings are an essential component of a car engine. If you want them to have a high lifespan, you need to keep them maintained. Even a tiny fault in the piston rings can make you face difficulty with your car engine. The above guide on replacing piston rings will help you perform the task effectively. However, it is always recommended to take your car to the garage periodically.