Care and maintenance of car engine - Do It Yourself Tips
Having knowledge about basic car engine maintenance would save you so much money than you ever know; more so, when you have bought a pre-owned car. You simply do not want to spend on maintenance of your car. After all, your very motive to investing on pre owned car is to take care of your needs with minimum investment.
That said, its often said at most car garages that cars were built to last, although you shouldn't be expecting it to last forever, if you can do some regular maintenance at home you can help with it as well as save your money for many thousand kilometers of problem-free driving. Ok now to the serious part of the discussion. Have you been wondering why some cars have starting problems, and the cause for the same?
Well, there could be a number of reasons including corrosion, heavy conditions, factory defects, an effect of an accident, long idle time under high humid weather conditions (remember cars that are left to long idling periods are at jeopardy of getting damaged faster as compared to those used more regularly.
Regardless of the reasons aforementioned, one simple reason for your car breaking down often is lack of maintenance. Sticking to the scheduled car maintenance will always keep the engine in ship shape. Part of the scheduled maintenance could be just done by yourself and you are off on some good money saving.
Following are some tips to keep your car's engine in a reliable condition:
1. Change engine oil:
Clean engine oil has several functions. It lubricates the moving components within the engine thus reducing friction between moving parts. While doing so it also gathers dust and small wear particles and carries the same through the filter. Engine oil also acts as engine coolant and safeguards engine's internal components from excess heat and corrosion. However, with time (as in old engines and those frequent start-stop drive conditions which put added burden on the engine) the additives will ruin the effectiveness of oil and it gradually loses its lubricity calling for change. A general rule of the thumb is that replace oil once every three months or 5000 km, whichever comes earlier.
The synthetic engine oils no doubt will last longer, but the additives as well as their lubricant properties deteriorate faster with heat (as in old engines). So stick with manufacturer schedule and change the oil regularly. It is better if you can change the oil more frequently than what is recommended by the manufacturer if you are using old/car, as you never the driving habits of the previous owner.
2. Change coolant periodically:
Heat can ruin the engine. While heat generation is a natural phenomenon in an engine overheating is not. Overheating is precursor of serious damage an engine is sustaining. Coolant is always a fix to the engine heating. But if there is overheating, you should first check the coolant level and bring it to the desirable mark. Also check for the coolant leaks and fix it should the need be. If the overheating isn't coolant related check for obstructions at the radiator and fix the problem. Else have the engine inspected by a service mechanic.
3. Make spark plug, fuel and air filters, timing belt replacements periodically:
These components require regular replacements. Adhere to the owner's manual for the schedule and replace them accordingly.
Spark plug: Replacement of the spark plug improves engine performance any time. Follow the schedule given by manufacturer blindly.
Fuel filter: Dirty and clogged fuel filter results in engine stalling loss of power. Change it if you should spot one
Air filter: Clogged and dusty air filter means loss of power from engine as well as increase in fuel. Besides, clogged filter results in failure of air flow sensor.
Timing belt: The failure of this results in serious damage to a diesel engine in particular.
4. Battery maintenance:
Most cars today come with maintenance free batteries. All you need to do is check for those battery terminals and see that they aren't corroded or disconnected. Corroded battery could trigger many problems including no start of engine to blinking of the lights to even malfunction of the ABS.
If you notice acid leaks or other damage at the battery it is advised to replace with a new one. Acid leak can ruin everything under it.
Examine your car regularly and fix small problems soon before they become large enough to cause extreme damages. Reliable vehicle condition requires day-to-day care and maintenance. Allow the engine to warm off before any driving. Fifteen seconds of warm up should do good under warm and hot weather conditions. When the car's engine is cold, the engine oil is stored in the oil pan at the bottom of the car. Therefore, the fifteen seconds time allows the oil to circulate and then lubricate the engine components. If you will start driving off without giving that time for oil circulations, grinding and meshing of metal through metal will result which will cause extreme wear and damage to the engine.
Therefore allow your car's engine to fully oil itself before driving off and it will give you a trouble free driving experience lasting more than 300,000 km. Give same warming during winter too, although in winter time it needs three to five minutes of warm up, as the oil is thicker and moves slower when air temperature is low. Therefore, be patient and allocate a little time allowing your engine to fully warm up and lubricate itself before the engine screams at you! If that time happened, nothing can be done except spending lots of money in repairing any damages caused by your ignorance and neglects. Majority of people who aren't aware of this will always ponder why their cars break middle of their trip and start hating their cars for not being reliable enough for a pleasure and safe driving.
Another notice from cars damaged by this kind of neglect is the blue smoke that billows behind it. As was wisely said 'a stitch in time save nine' little care and maintenance of car engine will always increase life of the engine.
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