5 Steps on the Path to Proper Engine Maintenance
Today’s automobile engines are marvels of technology, continually refined over more than a century. As such they have very little in common with the straight 6 in your grandfather’s ‘69 Dodge Dart and it’s imperative that they get the requisite amount of TLC to keep them humming merrily along.
It’s Not Rocket Science, It’s Internal Combustion Science
Most people who wind up stranded by the side of the road on hot summer days or who can’t start their car on those frigid January mornings have one thing in common: poor engine maintenance habits. To keep your engine running the way it was intended to follow these 5 simple steps:
- Change the oil regularly: Motor oils are specifically formulated to address environmental conditions and the stresses particular to different engines. Typically engine oil is changed every 5,000 miles although older cars might need to have their oil changed more frequently and newer cars less frequently. Consult your car’s owner’s manual.
- Keep your fuel injector clean: Fuel injectors squirt tiny amounts of gasoline into the cylinders where it is ignited by the spark plug. Every 10,000 miles or so they need to be cleaned. A simple fuel injection cleaner will clear away any gunk that could interfere with the injectors and cause your engine to sputter.
- Maintain anti-freeze/coolant levels: Engines overheat when the liquid in the cooling system heats to its boiling point. The reason we use antifreeze/coolant year round now is because it has a much higher boiling point than water so your chances of overheating are much less.
- Change the air filter: Engines breathe just like people. One of the fundamental principles of engine maintenance is to change the air filter regularly. A sound rule is to have the air filter inspected every time you have the oil changed. If it’s dirty, replace it.
- Don’t forget the fuel filter: The fuel filter removes debris from the gasoline before allowing it into the engine. If the fuel filter is clogged it will effect engine performance in a major way. Change the fuel filter every 30,000 miles unless instructed otherwise by your owner’s manual.
If you’re a DIY-minded individual you can likely handle most, if not all, of these tasks yourself. Be careful though because there may be a clause in your car’s warranty that says it is void if you perform your own engine maintenance.
Author: Isabele Hernandez