Most of us jump into our cars, turn the key and start driving with little or no thought about the well-being of our car’s engine. We tend not to think about our engine unless it struggles or refuses to start. In fact, the majority of people don’t spend any time at all on their car’s engine yet are guilty of complaining about unreliability as soon as engine problems occur. The engine is the heart of your vehicle and like our own hearts it requires proper care and maintenance. At the very least you should have your car’s engine checked periodically. Here are a few tips and recommendations that can help you take care of your engine and keep it running smoothly for years to come.
Replace Engine Oil Regularly
If the engine is the heart of your car, then engine oil is the lifeblood. Oil acts as a lubricant for the many moving components within an engine block. Over time, oil degrades as it fills with contaminants within the engine itself as well as in the air. Therefore, it’s important to change the engine oil on a regular basis so that it is always working optimally. Your car manufacturer will have set guidelines for when to change the oil. Typically, this is between 1 years and 10,000 miles whichever is the soonest. Obviously the more often you change the oil, the better quality the oil will be in the engine, so we advise changing it after a year or 5,000 miles.
Regularly Check the Coolant
The cooling system of the car is built around the engine yet is rarely considered when it comes to engine maintenance. The radiator, water-pump, thermostat and coolant all work together to prevent your engine from overheating and causing damage to itself. Ensure that your radiator is always filled up to the correct level, as well as any expansion tanks. The cooling system is a closed system so if you are losing any coolant then you will need to investigate where it is leaking from. This will mean that it can efficiently cool the hot water from the engine and prevent the engine from overheating. You should change the engine coolant every couple of years to ensure that it is always as effective as it can be.
Clean your Air Filters
Your car’s engine bay will have at least one air filter that prevents unwanted foreign objects such as insects and debris from coming into contact with your engine’s components. Over time, these filters will get blocked by the dirt that they accumulate. This will directly impact the performance of your car’s engine as it will not be able to get the adequate supply of air that it needs. Make sure that every time you vacuum the interior of your car you also remove any air filters and give them a clean. It’s also a good idea to change the air filters every 12 months or so for the best possible protection.
Keep an Eye out for Leaks
You don’t need to be a mechanical engineer to spot a leak within your car’s engine bay. Most of the time you will be able to spot a leak just by smelling it. Whenever you smell some form of fluid you should always pop your bonnet ad check to see what could be causing it. Checking the ground whenever you leave a parked position is also a good idea, as you can then tell what – if anything – your car has left behind.
Keep your Fuel Topped up
When your car gets to several years old, it will acquire a fair amount of sediment at the bottom from all of the fuel it has used in the past. If you run the car to the lowest fuel levels, then you will be pushing this sediment-contaminated fuel through the fuel system and therefore into your engine. This can cause considerable damage to your engine’s internal components. It’s a good idea to ensure that you always keep at least a quarter of your tank filled with fuel.
Your car’s engine is probably the most important part of your car. By doing a few simple checks every now and then you can keep it healthy. This will keep your car running optimally for longer and will also significantly increase the reliability of your car. None of the above items are difficult to carry out, it’s just a case of being aware of your engine, and not taking it for granted.