Why has my engine seized?

If you are in the unfortunate situation where you have to ask yourself why your engine seized, you may be in more trouble then you think – a seized engine is a serious problem with no easy solution. This is not a situation with a quick fix, so options should be considered carefully.

When the engine is seized, it means that it will not turn over at all. This is not the same as, say, a dead battery or a wiring mishap. In these cases it is the simple matter of locating the trouble and doing a quick repair job. If the battery is re-charged, or the loose wire tightened up, the car is off and running again. The causes of this problem are generally going to be heat related. If an engine does not have enough motor oil, it will overheat and seize. The same is true of water, or of any other vital motor fluids. Extreme heat causes extreme stress, and under stress motor parts break down, and the engine ceases operating.


An engine that will not turn over will never start up again. At this stage the engine is virtually destroyed, and it must either be repaired or replaced. Both of these options will require a considerable amount of time and money.

At this point you may need to take a long look at the cost to value ratio. In many cases, the cost of replacing or rebuilding the engine will be greater than the value of the automobile. Unless it is one that is considered collectable, or that is truly cherished, one good option would be replacing the car altogether.

Again, a seized engine is a serious problem. If your car has gotten to this point, it may have passed its years of viability and value. Consider well the outlay of funds for repairs, and compare them to the value of buying something new. You may find that they are, at the very least, comparable.