Engines are a vital part of your car just as the heart is to your body. We are exceedingly dependent on our vehicles and so caught up in our mundane lives that we easily take our cars for granted and off we go for a drive. The important point here is how ignorant we are towards our car’s health (in particular the engine’s health) that we don’t look into it unless our car starts malfunctioning. Proper engine maintenance and having regular check-ups can increase your car’s life, provide a better mileage and a smoother ride. So here is a brief guide with simple maintenance tips for the health of your engine –
A. Oil Changes
The engine consists of many small parts that are always in motion (rotation) when active, oil acts as a lubricant so that these parts can work efficiently. The oil also helps in keeping these parts clean and free from dirt. But as you drive, the oil loses its lubricating quality and gets carbonized under high temperatures. This leads to wearing of parts and overheating of the engine which can cause some serious damage to your car.
Changing oil is one of the most important thing that one should follow. This keeps the parts well lubricated and clean, it must be done at certain intervals as recommended by your vehicle’s manual.
Also ensure that you use the recommended oil type. You can take a couple of minutes out from your routine to check the oil level at least once a month and protect your engine from wearing out and corroding.
B. Cooling System
As the engine parts are always in motion and combustion of fuel produces heat, our engines are fitted with a cooling system which consists of a water pump, radiator, coolant and a thermostat to prevent overheating. When the thermostat finds that the engine is heated enough, it triggers the water pump to pull out the coolant (antifreeze, usually green or orange in colour) from the radiator and drives it into the engine’s compartment and then takes it out back to the radiator where it is cooled again through air flow.
To protect your engine from overheating ensure that proper level of coolant is maintained. Coolant leaks are very common in many cars, which is why it’s even more important to have regular check- ups. If you notice that your engine is getting overheated, take your car to a mechanic and get a cooling system check.
C. Engine Belts
Just like most of the machineries, the engine consists of a rubber belt that runs around several pulleys and drives many components, including the alternator and air conditioner. Whenever the engine is on, these belts are in motion, working under the extreme conditions inside the engine compartment. These belts are meant to last for a long duration but eventually they start showing signs of wear and tear, leading to the possibility that they might crack. Belts should be checked for any signs of damage or adjustment after every 40,000 KM and preferably replaced after every 80,000 KM. This ensures a smoother and longer life for your car.
D. Spark Plugs
The spark plugs are the starting point in the combustion process. They generate a spark which ignites the fuel and air mixture in the cylinders. So, every time you switch on your engine the plugs come into play and thus over time they tend to deteriorate. If you are experiencing troubles starting your car or the engine seems to be losing its ease of starting, it is time that you get your spark plugs checked for replacement. It is recommended that wires be changed along with spark plugs for getting the best electric current to the plugs. Most manufacturers recommend changing the plugs (Platinum) after 50,000 KM and which isn’t a very expensive affair.
E. Air and Fuel Filters
Just as we breathe, our engine needs continuous flow of clean air to function. Therefore your engine is fitted with air filters responsible for filtering out any dirt, debris etc. from entering the engine. After some point of time, the filters do get clogged due to debris and need to be replaced (the interval of which depends primarily on the conditions in which you drive) so that the engine can work efficiently.
Just like air filters, fuel filters protect the engine from harmful sediments and particles in the fuel. It’s a good idea to replace them in a while to ensure that your engine keeps running smoothly. A newfuel filter will keep the engine clean, thus taking off its load.
Apart from the above mentioned points, one should always keep a check on built in automotive warning lights for follow-up. It is always advised to drive at consistent speed level to ensure the better mileage and longevity of your engine. Do check your engine for leaks (you can smell it) and go to a mechanic before it turns into a major problem.In today’s society, owning a car entails a lot more than just the ease of travelling anywhere an everywhere on four wheels. Take proper care of your car and let the wanderlust prevail.
Taking care of our car goes a long way in increasing the lifespan and better efficiency of the vehicle. Check out the Tyre Maintenance Guide to keep your tyres in shape.