This paper will discuss metallurgical failure analysis of microwelded iron piston rings and aluminum pistons in internal combustion engines. “Microwelding” is defined as adherence of sporadic particles of aluminum from the piston to the bottom side of the piston ring. The paper will describe the high output water-cooled two-stroke engine accelerated test which reproduces the microwelding phenomenon in 30 minutes. SEM and EDS analyses have been used in the identification of the mechanism of this surface damage. Evidence of extreme temperatures during pre-ignition and normal operating conditions was obtained by studying hardness distributions through the piston cross section. As a potential solution, decreasing temperature through use of a thermal barrier coating was investigated. Also, test results of piston ring coatings, including molybdenum and tungsten disulfide, electroplated chromium, PVD titanium and chromium nitride, and fluoroplastic materials were compared.