Cylinder Block Inspections – SPI Borescopes

Sometimes referred to as the heart of an engine, the cylinder block is an integral component of your vehicle. In order to keep your car going, routine inspections and maintenance are essential. This article will offer insight on the internal workings of a cylinder block and the inspection process, including the use of an articulating automotive borescope.


The cylinder block is typically made up of several cylinders, according to the type and size of the engine. The outer section is solid metal and seals off everything inside of it. It is the engine’s central frame that houses the main parts that help vehicles operating on internal combustion continue to run. In older vehicles, it was made from a cast iron metal construction. Automobile manufacturers mainly install cylinder blocks made from aluminum alloy.

This well-lubricated powerhouse holds the pistons as they move up and down inside of the cylinders, which turn the crankshaft. The cylinders are capped by cylinder heads. Most cars have between four and eight cylinders, depending on the size of the engine. The action of the pistons creates the energy that powers the car.

The oil pan delivers a steady supply of oil that keeps the passages and moving parts sufficiently lubricated. Water circulates through multiple channels, keeping the engine cool. The water is recirculated back to the radiator to be cooled by the fan and sent back to the engine to continue cooling it.

Vehicles require routine visual inspections that allow mechanics to locate problems and repair or replace the faulty parts before any major damage is caused. Video automotive borescopes are helpful in quickly identifying issues in real-time, with a high level of accuracy. Plus, the SD memory cards give the mechanic the flexibility of getting a second opinion if necessary.


Cracks are the most common issues found within engine blocks. These can be caused by heat, frozen coolant, and stress levels that exceed the block’s strength level. When coolant freezes, it can cause cracks to the outer surface near the core plugs of the block. Often, cracks in the cylinder bores, lifter valley, and near the main-bearing webs are the result of too much stress.

Whether the engine ran without coolant or if a water pump has failed, the expansion and flexing can result in a crack or series of cracks. Other problems include stripped threaded holes, blockages, and blown cylinder head gasket. A hose might even have holes in it, leaking water under the engine. Many problems can be seen by the naked eye.

However, it’s critical to have a professional check it out with specialized equipment to rule the possibilities out. Flexible automotive borescopes can be used for nondestructive, visual inspections of the cylinder block and other hard to see places without having to dismantle the entire vehicle.


Checking a car or truck as it rolls through the assembly line can be a simplified process when the technicians have the right tools for the job. During the manufacturing process, contaminants might get into the metal causing a porous engine block, causing defects and lost profits.

Automotive technicians frequently use automotive borescopes to check the molding and interior sections, which reduces the likelihood of a defective engine. These medical grade optics tools contain an articulating camera situated on the tip of a slender probe.

What happens when a car has thousands of miles on it? When a vehicle has been in operation for a while, an auto mechanic never really knows what it’s been through. Engine blocks can become damaged due to a lack of maintenance, such as running it on very little oil. It might even have a cracked cylinder, which is entirely repairable. However, the damage must be found before it can be repaired.

They begin by checking for obvious signs, such as discoloring on the block. Sometimes it’s really difficult to find the source of a problem within a cylinder block unless you can get eyes inside of it. Anyone who’s ever worked on an engine knows that it can be an extremely lengthy and frustrating process if you’re operating blindly.

On top of those frustrations, there are some differences between diesel engines and gas-powered engines. If you’ve never touched either of them, it’s ideal to take it to an automotive technician expert that fully understands these key points. The pros can use a high-quality diagnostic tool such as an articulating borescope to locate sludge buildup, corroded injectors, and clogged filters.

Even if you feel there are not any noticeable driving differences, it is critical to take your vehicle in at regular intervals. A good rule to follow is that the more you drive, the more you should take it to your mechanic for an inspection. If you wait until the engine is smoking then it might be too late at that point. You can almost guarantee the vehicle repair will be extremely costly.


Another reason cylinder block issues go unnoticed until it’s too late is that there really isn’t any automotive inspection requirements set in place. Vehicle owners must be proactive and ensure an automotive expert carries out the maintenance of their vehicle at regular intervals.

For example, your mechanic tells you when your car will need its next oil change. They even go the distance to place a sticker at the top of the dash to remind you every time you plop into the driver’s seat. When the time arrives, take your car in for its oil change.

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