What Is a Hydrolocked Engine? How To Fix

Hydrolocked is a term that's common among drivers. Today we'll be shedding some light on what hydrolocking is, why it happens, does it harm the engine, and how you can fix a hydrolocked engine.

To give you a general understanding, let's consider the analogy when food or water goes down the wrong pipe, choking occurs. Something similar happens to the engine when a lot of water enters the engine, known as hydrolocking, which is detrimental to the engine.

The engine is made for air and fuel, not water, so if a considerable amount of water enters the cylinders, the engine will become locked. The amount of damage hydrolocking can depend on your speed when it happens.

In this guide, you will know everything about hydrocracking, so let's get started.

What Causes An Engine To Hydrolock

Hydrostatic Lock is a condition that occurs when a lot of water enters the combustion chamber of your engine. If the water entered in the cylinder is more than the remaining space, which means that when the movement range of the piston is hindered, a hydrolock occurs.

This happens because the compressing points of fuel and water are different, and when the piston tries to compress water, the whole system stops simultaneously. You will hear some knocking sounds, and eventually, the engine will stop.

This situation can occur when you drive in heavy rain or flooded areas. Hylocking can also happen due to some other fluids like oils and coolants, but when these cases happen, it means your car has some serious issue like a crack or blown head gasket.

Does Hydrolocking Harm an Engine?

Hydrolocking can cause severe damage to the engine to the extent that you will have to replace it, but it mostly depends on the speed you were driving when it happened.

If the speed was low or the engine's RPMs were trim when the water entered the engine, you can protect the vehicle by stopping and removing the water before it causes erosion.

On the contrary, if your vehicle's speed was high and RPMs were high when hydrolocking occurred, you might be in for some trouble, such as.

  • Broken connecting rods
  • Head casket might break
  • Broken Crankcase
  • Faulty bearings
  • Piston ring can break
  • There might be some damage to the block

All of this damage happens due to erosion, and if you can remove the water timely, you can save your vehicle.

How To Fix A Hydrolocked Engine

As mentioned above, the main factor in solving this problem is the amount of water in the engine and the time limit for how long it has been.

If the speed was low, you might be able to remove the water by yourself.

You will have to stop the car at a dry and safe place to remove the water. Remove the spark plug, start the engine, and revive the vehicle after parking. You will be able to see water spewing out of the cylinders. The best thing is to replace the plug, but you can dry the old one in an emergency and use it until you have time.

Another thing to focus on is wiping the engine walls of your vehicle to dry them to protect them from corrosion.

But in this case, if a lot of water has entered the engine at high RPMs, you can try to salvage what's left and then have to replace the motor.