What is engine lugging/knocking/pinging: How identify & prevent it?

Many people do not even know that they are lugging their engine while driving. Engine lugging is common for beginner drivers as they do not understand what the engine is doing and at what speed they should be in which gear. Even, many experienced drivers also lug their engine unknowingly. So, what exactly is engine lugging?

What is engine lugging/knocking/pinging: How identify & prevent it?

What is the engine lugging?

In simple terms, it means driving with a full-throttle with the engine is running at really low revs. Many people push down the throttle while driving down the road in a higher gear than the car requires which is harms any engine but it is worse for the turbocharged engines. 

What happens during engine lugging and why you should not do it?

What happens inside the engine is a torturous picture. When the throttle is suddenly mashed, a lot of fuel and air enters the cylinder but the engine is still on the lower revs which causes the pressure in the cylinder to increase. There is so much pressure in the cylinder that it becomes difficult to move the piston which causes early combustion. Due to this, the piston can hit the cylinder wall and the temperature and stress on the engine increases drastically which can result in engine knocking. Moreover, it also results in a sudden drop in fuel efficiency.

How to identify engine lugging?

What is engine lugging/knocking/pinging: How identify & prevent it?

You would be able to identify engine lugging because your car will start vibrating and shaking. Moreover, your engine will start feeling powerless and there will be no pick-up and response from the engine. Also, there will be no response from your accelerator pedal. Sometimes, you would also be able to hear the sound of engine knocking which is not at all a good sign and it means you are damaging the engine severely.

How to prevent engine lugging?

Preventing engine lugging is very easy. Once, you identify that your engine has started lugging, you just need to down-shift your gear until your revs increase. This will make sure that the optimum amount of fuel and air mixture is reaching in the cylinder and now as the revs are also more which ensures that the combustion is happening at the correct rate.

Why engine lugging is even worse for turbocharged engines?

What is engine lugging/knocking/pinging: How identify & prevent it?

The duty of turbocharger is to send pressurized air inside the cylinder of the engine. When the engine starters lugging, it also creates pressure. So, effectively the pressure in the engine is doubled because of lugging and the turbocharger. This can destroy the engine and the turbocharger which will cost you a lot of money to repair or replace.

So, now you know what is engine lugging and why you should never let it happen. You should prevent engine lugging as it is utterly easy to downshift and remove the additional stress from the engine which saves your engine. It is a no-brainer that you let your engine and after all, an engine is also a machine and they can break!