What Does It Mean To ‘Throw A Rod’?

“Throwing a rod” is a term used to describe a specific engine failure. It is when a connecting rod, a crucial component that connects the piston to the crankshaft, breaks or detaches.

This failure is usually caused by extreme stress. Things like over-revving, engine mods, and sludge build-up are all contributing factors. When this happens, it will cause severe damage to the engine. And it often requires extensive repairs or even engine replacement.

Why Would An Engine Throw A Rod?


In general, most modern engines are unlikely to throw a rod. However, some can end up throwing a rod due to several factors. Factors that can result in a thrown rod include:

  • Oil sludge buildup
  • Modifying engines
  • Factory defects
  • Engine knocking from pre-ignition
  • Over revving
  • Overheating
  • Excessive wear from age and high mileage

All the above factors will put strain on an engine, including the connecting rods. If the stress is too high, the rods can crack or snap. The end result is catastrophic engine failure. To see just what the inside of an engine looks like after suffering connecting rod failure, check out the video above.

This motor threw a rod right into the oil pan after it spun a bearing. In this case, part of the reason for failure was a lack of counterweights in the center of the crank. This meant it was unable to manage vibration at high revs effectively. This eventually damaged the bearing, which led to the engine throwing two connecting rods.

The Impact Of Throwing A Rod

If your engine throws a rod, you’ll know all about it. In most cases, the engine will seize. If it keeps running, you’ll experience serious power loss accompanied by loud knocking noises.

Letting the engine run will cause additional damage to other components. So, if you experience the abovementioned symptoms, pull over immediately and turn the vehicle off. Symptoms of a thrown rod can include:

  • Loss of engine power
  • Loud knocking noises
  • Stalling

The engine will need to be disassembled, analyzed, and, if possible, rebuilt. Repairing an engine with a thrown rod is a complex and expensive process. In some cases, it is better to replace it with a completely rebuilt replacement unit.

Can You Avoid Throwing A Rod?

Regular maintenance, proper driving habits, and addressing known issues with specific engines can help lower the risk of this failure. There are no guarantees in life unless of course, you buy one of our rebuilt engines. We offer up to a 7-year, no-fault million-mile warranty. You can also protect your engine by following these tips:

  • Don’t overstress your engine…avoid over-revving.
  • Service your vehicle regularly and make sure to replace the coolant and oil at the recommended intervals.
  • Don’t use poor-quality fuel – this will prevent pre-detonation and engine knocking.
  • Make sure any known factory engine defects have been resolved.
  • Be careful when modifying your engine. More power means more stress on engine components.

Let Powertrain Products Help You Protect Your Engine

It’s never a good day when your engine has suffered a catastrophic failure. If it has thrown a rod, warped its head, or simply failed due to age, Powertrain Products is here to help.

We stock a huge range of high-quality remanufactured and used engines. Every remanufactured engine is fully assembled and updated to correct any factory faults – you can learn the details of the process here. An important consideration if your original engine failed due to a design fault.

For extra peace of mind, we offer up to a 7-year million-mile warranty. And deliver to most of the continental US in 1-3 days. We’re also the nation’s leading supplier of differentials, transmissions, and transfer cases.

Contact us at 888-842-0023 or leave us your details online. Our friendly staff are ready to help get you back on the road.

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