How Long Can You Drive with a Bad Engine?

How Long Can You Drive with a Bad Engine

The engine is a very important part of the car as it houses the major components needed for the proper running of the car.

When an engine is bad, it is not advisable to drive the car around but some people still defy all odds and drive. If you are able to get the car to start, how long can you drive with it?

If your vehicle’s engine is bad, you won’t be able to drive for long before it finally stops. However, driving a car with a bad engine is not advisable to avoid the risk of a fire outbreak while driving. 

What is Considered a Bad Engine?

A bad engine is one that has suffered severed internal mechanical damage and is no longer able to support the car. It could mean the engine just isn’t functioning or the engine is blown.

The engine comprises various internal part that works together to ensure the car runs well, if any of these parts were to go bad and not fixed in time it could result in complete damage to the engine.

Once an engine goes bad, the solution is always either a replacement or selling the car. Selling the car is most often the last resort if the cost of replacement is too pocket-draining.

Can You Drive with a Bad Engine?

Yes, you can drive with a bad engine but it is unlikely that the car will start with a bad engine. Even if you get the engine to support the car and start it, it won’t last for long.

Driving with a bad engine is not advisable as it will only worsen the problem. If the engine got bad because it got blown, you will be risking a fire by driving. Therefore, rather than testing to see if the car can be driven with a bad engine, get it fixed or sell.

How Long Can You Drive with a Bad Engine?

If you are able to get a car with a bad engine to start, it won’t stay on for a long time, and you won’t be able to drive it for a very long time. However, the length of time for which you can drive the car depends on how severe the damage to the internal part is.

A blown engine for instance is one that at least one of its pistons is no longer moving and therefore won’t drive well for long.

Getting the engine to start may not be a problem if it can still crank over but getting it to stay running and long enough for you to drive is the problem.

Even if you get lucky and the engine allows you to drive for a long period which is unlikely, the only place you should be driving to is the auto shop. Driving with a bad engine puts you and other road users at risk.

What Happens if you Drive with a Bad Engine?

When you hear do not drive with a bad engine’ some people think it’s just mere talk and nothing will happen. It is important to know that driving with a bad engine doesn’t have a good side but more negatives.

Here, we will take a look at some things that are likely to happen if you drive with a bad engine.

1. You May Lose Control of the Car

When a car engine is bad it begins to have a mind of its own, even if you get the car to start you will most likely lose control while driving.

Owing to the fact that the engine is bad, enough power is not being produced and the torque needed to propel the car up and down the road is also low or at zero level.

You will be doing an extremely and almost futile job in navigating the car on the road.

2. High Risk of Accident

It doesn’t matter how determined you are to drive at a reasonable speed when driving with a bad engine, because you are not fully in control of the car at this point, there is a high chance of getting in an accident. It could be an unintended collision with another car or even pedestrians.

3. It Could Lead to More Damages

Often times when an engine is said to be bad, it is because the internal mechanical components are bad. Driving with the engine in this condition will put a strain on almost all other components of the engine.

Even if you have decided to sell the car and are not really bothered if other parts get damaged, bear in mind that more damaged parts will reduce the scrap value of the car, therefore, you may want to take things easy.

4. High Risk of Fire

If you are dealing with a blown engine, you may want to reconsider driving around with it. The engine will most likely start, but the risk of fire breaking out while driving is very high.

5. Likelihood of the Car Stopping or Stalling

There’s a likelihood that the car will suddenly stop or stall while driving, this is because the engine does not have enough power to function well but only exacting force in moving.

Best Things to do if you have a Bad Engine

Dealing with a bad engine can be quite frustrating but there’s really nothing you can do about it at that point than looking for a way to fix it.

While you are yet to decide on what to do with the engine or car, here are some things you should do and shouldn’t do

  • Weighing your Options: This may seem like its unnecessary but is really important. You need to weigh your options on whether to sell the car or replace the engine. Depending on the type of car you have, the engine may be so expensive that you decide on just selling the car at scrap value and getting a new one.
  • Do Not Drive the Car: It doesn’t matter whether the car starts or not, if the engine is bad it is not advisable to drive around. An exception to driving with a bad engine will be if you are taking the car to an auto shop. Driving with a bad engine does more harm than good.
  • Have the Car Towed: It has been established that driving with a bad engine is not advisable, therefore, if there is a need to move the car either to the junkyard or auto shop have it towed. Towing the car is the best option in situations like this.


The importance of not driving with a bad engine cannot be overemphasized, “Do not drive a car with a Bad Engine”. If you are not worried about yourself, be worried about other road users.