We normally just sit in our car and turn the ignition and gear on. We use our weekly off’s to clean and polish our cars to glossy glory so that it will be the centre of attraction, but do we spend our time in looking under the bonnet?
The car’s engine is a highly complex mechanical marvel which requires the care and regular checks which is not done until the engine starts making weird noises or it starts to feel underpowered. So are there ways we can save our engines early death?
Yes we can do help prolong the engine life by just few simple steps.
Engine Oil –
This is the simplest and cheapest, yet vital part in increasing engine life. Every manufacturer specifies a time limit or a distance covered limit whichever is earlier to get the engine oil changed, but many of the mechanic’s ignore it by saying that the engine oil is good and there is no need to change it. It’s a complete wrong notion that many follow, engine oil can lose its lubrication properties over time and hence a specific grade and limit is set by the manufacturer. The engine oil is the only lubrication for an engine so it’s necessary to change it at the specified time and also change the oil filter when you change the oil, because the oil filter is the one who keeps the oil clean from dirt and minute particulates. So the next time you get an oil change get the filter changed as well, and follow the service manual specifications.
Engine Coolant –
many times people wonder why do we have to mix this green or orange colour liquid in the cooling system when water is sufficient to do the work, well those people are wrong because water has a boiling temperature of 100 °C (212 °F) whereas when water is mixed with a ratio of 50/50 the boiling temperature is 106 C (223 F) and if its mixed in a ratio of 70/30 where 30% is water the boiling temperature is 106C (223F). Hence it is important to keep the coolant level above the minimum mark and below the maximum mark, because replacement cost and regular maintenance of the cooling system is far cheaper than the cost of repairing a overheated engine.
Air Filter –
Air is as important as fuel to help the engine run. The air filter is an element in the intake system of the engine that helps clean the air of all the dirt, dust and particles so that the air entering the engine is clean and contains no impurities that may hinder performance or engine life. A clogged or worn out air filter will suffocate the engine of air or may allow debris in the engine, either case it is not good for the car. An air filter life depends on many conditions like driving habits, road condition and many more which may affect the life. So whenever there is an oil change being done it is advisable to get the air filter checked and if necessary replace it with a genuine spare.
This is one thing that we can spot easily and don’t need a mechanic degree for it. The last thing you would want is coolant leakage or an oil leakage. Before we drive off it is better to have a look under the car for any puddles of coolant of oils created under the car due to leaks. It’s also better to open the hood and check for leakages or smell for any leaking. Intense heat and pressure can cause the engine hoses to fail overtime. Rubber hoses that are old and cracked can eventually leak necessary liquids.
Gas Tank Filling –
Over the years you gas tank has debris and dirt accumulated at the bottom as the fuel we fill in our car no matter where we fill from has sediments. The petrol filter element does it work efficiently and keep dirt out of the fuel lines and engine but in case you are running a lot of times on very low gas your fuel pump will end up sucking the fuel of the gas tank till the last drop and along with that it will also suck the sediments and thus leading to a fuel filter clogging or a fuel pump failure or even much worse it will enter the fuel line and engine. Mechanics and friends will recommend keeping a half-tank of fuel at all times. You may not want to fill-up that often, but make sure that you’re not running the fuel all the way down to a empty fuel tank. Your engine will surely thank you for it.
The engines of today still use belts to drive parts like water pump, alternator, ac compressor and much more, but these belts also have a limited life span after which they wear out and end up not doing their job efficiently. Hence the manufacturers have always specified the belt changing interval and belt sizes to help get the best out of the engine. These belts are used a lot and a belt if snapped when a engine is running can result in a major engine damage which can be expensive, hence get the belts examined and checked at every service. Squeaky and noisy belts also indicate that the belt tension needs adjusting or replacement. The main belt of all that is expensive and important is the TIMING BELT which needs to be replaced at the specified time with an original belt.
Warning Lights –
Modern day cars have many sensors and computers who manage most of the tuning and more, but at times they also do get spoilt or they find a fault in the system and when they do find this they show it to the driver via a warning light in the meters. There are many warning lights in a car meter like battery not charging, Engine malfunction and more. All these light will glow when there is a problem in the respective system. This warning light may even come up for a small problem but as many say “fix it when the problems are smaller”. Hence when such lights come up, I suggest going and visiting the authorized workshop and get it fixed ASAP.
Fuel Filter –
As earlier mentioned the fuel filter is the one part that stops the dirt and sediments from entering the fuel lines and engine. It’s a part that has to be replaced and never repaired after it finishes its duty life. This job is better left to a trained mechanic because if the filter is not fitted properly it can leak, also new cars have the fuel filter element fitted along with the fuel pump submerged in the fuel tank. A new fuel filter will ensure clean fuel to the engine and hence your engine will have lesser strain to work.
Start and Stop –
Now just imagine you doing a sprint of 100 meters every 2 minutes, won’t that be tiring?
In a similar way sudden acceleration and sudden braking is not good for your car engine and brakes. The engine is build to run at high rpm and for a longer life when it’s driven at steady and stable speeds. Constant starts and stops are hard on your engine, so pre-plan your driving route to avoid traffic as much as possible and also maintain constant speeds which will also help achieve a good gas mileage.
Your car requires a mixture off air an gas which is ignited with the help of a spark plug, but imagine your car is done with some odd kms and your plug and plug wires are old they aren’t providing the required voltage, then your engine will run rough and may even back fire at times. To avoid this many manufacturers recommend the changing of spark plugs and spark plug wires at every 30-40,000 kms. This is not a expensive job but it is a very useful one that will show the difference when you drive after replacing the old ones with new ones.