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Low-Speed Pre-IgnitionA recent survey of auto technicians and shop owners has shown that 58% are aware of a problem with the low-speed pre-ignition events in car models with turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engines, such as those made by Kia, Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Buick. The issue is that engine oil is causing the engine to be more sensitive to low-speed pre-ignition events. If you’re unfamiliar with these events (also known as LSPI events), it means there’s an early ignition of the main fuel charge, which can cause high-pressure spikes or even catastrophic engine damage.

These events result in poor engine performance at low engine speeds, loss of compression in one or more cylinders, and internal damage to pistons, connecting rods, and the crankshaft. As you can probably see, these problems can mean serious problems for car owners, even including major engine repairs. Even though more than half of surveyed auto technicians and shop owners are aware the problem exists, only 37% can identify the engines that have LSPI problems. Thankfully, those of us here at Central Avenue Automotive are both aware of the issue and doing the necessary research to identify which cars are susceptible to this issue.

Once we understand the problem, the fix is simple enough — simply install oil with an additive package designed to prevent low-speed pre-ignition events. The engine may need to be reflashed with the latest calibrations, and the oil should meet the GF-5/SN Plus standard or the manufacturer’s recommendation. The key is in going to an auto repair shop that understands the issue and can properly diagnose it.

If you’re concerned that your car may be subject to these LSPI issues, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and set up an appointment to have us check it out. We should be able to tell you right away whether your car has a turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine, and if so, we can easily change out the oil to make sure you’re not at risk of an LSPI event and potential engine damage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so don’t wait until it’s too late! These vents are uncommon, but they do happen.