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Car Care Advice

10 Engine Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Car in Great Shape

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The engine is like the heart of the car. It connects all the vital parts and components necessary for your vehicle to run smoothly and efficiently. 

And everyone wants a healthy heart, right?

Well, in order to keep your heart in good condition, you need to work to maintain it.
Regarding your vehicle, this could mean adjusting your spark plugs or replacing the oil filter

But that’s only scratching the surface. 

This article will discuss 10 essential engine maintenance practices you can do to keep your engine operating at its best. We will also go over 3 FAQs related to engine maintenance

This Article Contains 

Let’s get started. 

10 Essential Engine Maintenance Tips and Tricks 

Regular engine maintenance can save you the hassle of big repair jobs, engine replacement, and hefty auto repair service costs. It’s fundamental towards keeping your engine running smoothly without constantly arising issues. 

The last thing you need is the dreaded lit check engine light. 

With that in mind, here are 10 helpful engine maintenance practices: 

1. Check Engine Oil Regularly 

Both regular and synthetic oil lubricates all engine parts and keep them running smoothly. 

The lubrication that engine oil provides helps minimize engine component wear and tear and keeps all dust, dirt, and sediments out of parts they shouldn’t be in. Routine oil change significantly reduces wear and tear!   

Professionals recommend checking your oil level at least once a week to ensure you’re not running low. It’ll only take you a few minutes. Recommended oil levels will be contained in your vehicle’s owners manual, and make sure to swap your oil filter when you get an oil change.

2. Check Your Battery and its Terminals 

Batteries are one of the most common problem-inducing components connected to a car engine. When inspecting your vehicle’s battery, there are a few things to consider.

Firstly, check for any corrosion on your battery and its terminals, especially if you’ve noticed diminished power when driving. White, green, or blue powdery material around your battery indicates corrosion. 

Secondly, keep an eye on the shape of your battery. An overly rounded or bloated battery is overcharged and may need replacing. 

3. Keep an Eye on the Cooling System 

The water pump, thermostat, radiator, and coolant all form part of your engine’s cooling system. These engine parts should be checked regularly to ensure they aren’t damaged, dirty, or old. 

Firstly, when inspecting the cooling system, ensure that there’s ample coolant in the tank. Aim for a 1:1 ratio of concentrated antifreeze and distilled water for a perfect mix when refilling your coolant (or for the recommended ratio in your owners manual.) 

You’ll also need to replace the coolant after it’s gotten old. Healthy coolant will retain a bright hue, while a dark, murky, smelly coolant full of debris needs to be changed. 

Your cooling system must be in tip-top condition to prevent the overheating of any engine component

4. Monitor the Radiator 

As mentioned above, the radiator is an essential cooling system component that needs special attention. 

Your engine’s radiator works to transfer heat generated by the car into the atmosphere by circulating it with antifreeze. Without the radiator, your engine would undoubtedly overheat, which could force you into an engine replacement. 

Always check this engine component closely for any physical damage or mechanical defects. Be sure to follow general engine safety tips when working on the radiator.

5. Keep an Eye Out for Leaks 

A car leak is never a good sign. Next time you pull your vehicle out of the driveway, check your parking spot for any fluids on the ground. 

Fluid leaks can be different things, including coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, or a motor oil leak. Leaks are symptomatic of many severe car engine issues. If you see a puddle of fluid in your parking spot, there could be an engine problem with your fuel system, fuel injectors, gasket, transmission, cooling system, motor oil seals, or oil pan. 

The only time you won’t have to worry is if it’s water from aircon condensation on a hot day.

So if you spot a leak, visit a mechanic for an automotive service immediately! 

6. Replace the Fuel Filter 

Your fuel filter guards against harmful substances or deposits entering your fuel system — that is your fuel injectors, fuel lines, gas, and so on. In other words, the filter ensures clean gas flows through your car engine. 

Consider replacing your fuel filter to keep your combustion chamber, fuel pump, and engine running cleanly for optimal performance.

7. Change the Air Filter 

Checking and changing the air filter is an often overlooked aspect of engine maintenance. A dirty air filter, however, can have a hugely negative impact on your car’s performance. 

Your air filter protects your engine from the elements! 

It prevents dust, dirt, and other contaminants from entering your engine. Naturally, the air filter will get clogged over time and must be replaced to keep your engine performing at the top of its game. 

8. Check Your Serpentine and Timing Belts

Your serpentine belt is a long rubber belt that uses rotational energy to power many vital engine components like the alternator, water pump, and power steering pump.

The timing belt is a different component that controls the camshafts in your vehicles engine. The timing belt is essential to the smooth operation of your vehicle — whether it’s a diesel or gasoline engine. 

So these belts are both pretty important, right?
Yep! And they can both become worn out pretty quickly. Be sure to check these belts often and replace them if you hear a loud squealing noise coming from under the hood. 

9. Check Your Spark Plugs and Ignition Wires 

Spark plugs provide the spark your gasoline engine needs to start internal combustion. 

The gap between the electrodes is a critical factor that makes spark plugs work. A weaker spark will be produced when this gap is too wide, making the vehicles engine start and run ineffectively. Be sure to adjust your spark plugs to the correct gap and installation torque. If you’re unsure of this process or don’t know engine safety tips, contact a mechanic to do an automotive service. 

If your car is older, you might need to adjust your ignition wires and ensure they are appropriately connected. Newer car models tend to have a coil on the plug instead of spark plug wires. 

You might have to replace your spark plug completely if it becomes old and faulty. Some symptoms of a faulty spark plug include: 

10. Don’t Drive on Reserve Fuel 

A common driving tip is never to run the engine on the reserve fuel tank.

But why not? Using reserve tank fuel can’t be that bad, right? 

All gas and petrol contain small sediments that sink to the bottom of your tank. When you run on extremely low fuel, this gunk at the bottom of the fuel tank inevitably gets pumped into the engine. This can aggravate and accelerate fuel pump wear and tear. Always try to run your car with ample amounts of petrol in the tank, and save the reserve fuel for emergencies only. 

You now understand a few practices to keep your engine in good condition. 

Still have a few unanswered questions?
Let’s head to the FAQ section. 

3 FAQs about Engine Maintenance 

Here are the answers to a few common engine maintenance queries: 

1. Why is Engine Maintenance Important?

Regular maintenance and upkeep are important for the proper functioning of any mechanical or motorized system. A car engine is no exception. 

Here are a few reasons why you should look after your engine by performing preventative maintenance: 

2. How Do I Know When Engine Maintenance is Required?

Proper engine maintenance should be done at regular, set intervals. 
There are, however, a few symptoms that call for immediate preventative maintenance: 

If you notice an engine problem like this, check up on vital engine components to avoid much more costly repairs in the future.

3. How Long Does a Car Engine Usually Last? 

A car that doesn’t receive regular and proper engine maintenance is expected to drive for around 150,000 miles. A car that receives regular engine services and maintenance will last well over 200,000 miles. 

So, you can extend your engine’s lifespan by conducting regular maintenance. 

Closing Thoughts

 A well-maintained engine is essential for top performance and smooth driving. A poorly cared for engine will cause many problems, including misfires, trouble starting, and decreased power.  

Besides making the driving experience more comfortable and smooth, regular maintenance will increase your vehicle’s lifespan and resale value. You’ll also experience emergencies less frequently and have less costly repairs. 

Need professional help with your engine maintenance? 
Try AutoNation Mobile Service

AutoNation Mobile Service is a mobile auto repair service that brings expert technicians to your driveway. We’re available seven days a week and provide a 12-month | 12 000-mile warranty on all repairs. 

So, if you notice your check engine light is illuminated, contact us and our mechanics will drop by to help you out!