Pistons: 5 Tips not to damage

The pistons move at a dizzying speed inside the engine. A small failure in this component can get to your engine an irreparable demage.

In this article we give you 5 tips and other informations on how to keep the pistons of your car in good condition.


Types of pistons

Pistons are one of the moving parts within the cylinder that are responsible for transferring the force from combustion to the engine.

This part, together with the  segments are the heart of the engine, since without it it would not be possible for the car to move.

There are several types of pistons within the automotive world:

Concave piston

This type of pistons, as the name implies, have a concave part on their head. This format is used to decrease the compression rate and increase the durability of the compression.


Flat piston

Flat pistons are the most common in the automotive world and are the ones that have a higher compression rate.

It is essential to take proper care of this component, as there may be contact between the valves and the piston. For this, pits must be made to prevent such contact.


Convex piston

Convex piston is one of the rarest in standard cars. This type of piston has a convex shape on its head so that it can further increase the compression rate of the engine.

Valve and plug pits are mandatory in this type of pistons.


Forged pistons

Forged pistons are used in high performance engines. Car manufacturers such as Porsche, BMW and Ferrari use forged pistons on most of their engines.

The reason for this to happen is very simple. To withstand high compression rates and high engine speeds, mass production pistons do not have the same strength and performance as the forged pistons.

While ordinary pistons are made of iron, forged pistons are made at high temperatures in metal alloys such as aluminum and magnesium to provide more power, lightness and ultimately contribute to engine longevity.

Piston problems

You should always pay attention to a possible piston demage.

As it is a component that is located inside the engine, it would be necessary to open it to check . If this is the case, here are some problems that may arise:

  • Ash residues: It is a sign of problems and appears when the engine piston has grey residues on its head. This may be due to overheating and melting residues .
  • Black spot: May indicate that the oil is burned. This occurs when there is an oil leak inside the cylinder.
  • Piston with cracked head: The piston with the head deformed or chipped is one of the most common problems. This can happen due to a mixture of coolant and combustion residues.
  • Cracked connecting rod: The connecting rod is the component that holds the piston and when it starts to crack it may indicate a engine failure. This disruption may be due to bearing wear and it is expected that more serious problems will appear in the engine.



5 tips not to damage the pistons

  1. Change the oil within the time frames recommended by the manufacturer
  2. Check for leaks in the injection system;
  3. Use fuel with the octanes specified by the manufacturer.
  4. Check the injection system, carbs and ignition;
  5. Use the spark plugs recommended by the manufacturer.

Repair or replace?

Replacing or repairing the pistons always varies depending on the situation and the severity of the situation.

If extensive damage, such as piston breaks, are spotted it is necessary to replace it.

If there is only a small, burned part, repairing them is sufficient.

When there are substantial damages it is likely that the others components are also damaged and therefore it is advisable to replace all pistons.

You must check with your reliable mechanic what the most rewarding situation is, i.e. whether the cost of repair or the cost of replacing the pistons is worth it.

How much does a vehicle’s piston cost?

Being a part that is inside the engine ´s car, the cost of replacing the pistons, will be reflected in the total price.

As far as the component itself is concerned, the cost of each piston can start at few tens but when we talk about sports cars it reaches for sure the thousands.

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