Engines are the heart of a car, and like any muscle, they need to be exercised regularly. Otherwise, they will become weak and eventually stop working. But caring for your engine is more than just keeping it clean – you also have to check things like oil levels and tire pressure.
Every time you get in the driver’s seat, before you start your engines, open up your hood and take a look around. If something looks out of place or wrong, don’t ignore it! You could be putting yourself at risk for an expensive repair bill down the line.
The best thing that you can do is make sure that you’re checking in with your engine every week. Not sure what to look for when you pop the hood?
Read on to learn how to maintain your engine, like a pro.
How the Engine Works
It’s time to start your engines, and know what’s happening! The engine is the part of the vehicle that is the powerhouse. It contains all of the working machinery and components that make it possible for the car to run. This includes pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, oil pump, cooling fan, timing belt, and gears.
The engine also powers air conditioning and heating systems, as well as power steering. How does it work exactly? Engines convert fuel into kinetic energy which makes it possible for your car to move. Operating a car without an engine would be like operating a bike with no tires; you couldn’t go anywhere!
Handling Oil Leaks
Oil leaks will look like a trail of dark markings which appear on the driveway or the ground when you drive. This could indicate that your oil pump is not pumping enough or that there might be an issue with your engine gasket. The latter will cause more serious damage and most likely will need to be replaced if caught early enough.
Another issue is with your oil levels. If there isn’t enough oil inside then the pistons or bearings could be damaged. You’ll want to check your oil level with the dipstick (this is true for older cars as well as new ones).
When you’re checking, make sure you wipe away any excess oil before taking a look at the stick. The ideal level of oil will be between the two marked lines
Treat Sludge Immediately
Next, you’ll want to check for any type of sludge build-up. Sludge is often an indication of unburned fuel in the engine. Sludge buildup can lead to expensive repairs over time. The good news is that you can treat sludge before it causes any major damage.
All you need to do is mix a solution of water and engine flush, then pour it into your car’s gas tank. Run the vehicle for about 30 minutes and you’re good to go! This will clear out any sludge from problems that might be in the engine.
Causes for Loud Engine Noises
Is your car making a new noise? Loud noises are typically indicative of problems with valves, pistons, or cracked cylinders. Other problems include damaged rocker arms, bad bearings, oil pump issues, a faulty timing belt, or fried clutch plates.
No one wants to hear loud engine noises in their ride! To avoid hearing them regularly, have these things checked regularly by an experienced mechanic. The second you start to hear something strange, get a mechanic to see what’s going on. They’ll know what the best ECU for a car is, so you don’t buy something you don’t need.
Engine Monitoring for Coolant Levels
Next, you’ll want to check your engine’s coolant levels. Coolant acts as a lubricant for the engine, so you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t run low. Check the level with the dipstick (you should do this regularly every week).
Most engines need water and coolant mixed. However, some newer engines need coolant only. Make sure you’re filling up your engine with the proper liquid; otherwise, it might cause damage to the engine’s cylinder head or freeze in colder weather conditions.
Is Your Ride Smooth or Bumpy?
If you notice that your car starts shaking when you accelerate, this could be a sign of problems with the suspension or the alignment. If your car is making a rattling noise while accelerating, it could indicate that your timing belt needs to be replaced.
You’ll need to have this checked out by a mechanic ASAP. They’ll be able to provide a variety of engine services, to find out what’s happening.
If there’s an issue with the timing belt then you could potentially bust an engine seal and suffer significant water damage. It’s also important to remember that an engine light means something is wrong with your vehicle.
Almost every vehicle has at least one light on the dashboard that can signal a problem with either the lights, oil, transmission fluid, or fuel system. These are all issues you have to handle right away.
Check Your Air Filter
Last, but not least, you’ll want to check your air filter. This is especially important if your ride has become a bit noisier than usual. A clogged or dirty air filter can make the engine work harder, which in turn will cause it to overheat.
You can change out your air filter by removing it and replacing it with a new one that’s clean and intact. You won’t need any special tools to do this; all you’ll need is something sharp (like a screwdriver) to pry out the old filter and get the new one in place.
Be careful not to damage or bend the filter when you’re taking it out. Otherwise, it won’t fit in the new one as planned, and it won’t work well.
Start Your Engines Today
Start your engines, and stop car problems before they get worse! As you can see, checking your engine regularly is an important part of taking care of your car.
Remember to check the levels of oil and coolant, the suspension, the alignment, and the air filter, to ensure that you’re taking good care of your ride.
Set up a weekly engine checklist today, to make your car maintenance easy. Simply list the things you’ll be looking at this week, and check them off when you’re done! For more advice, why not read another article?