How to Maintain Your Car Engine
Cars today are durable and usually have few mechanical defects, so it's easy to forget that they need regular maintenance. These few tips will help you stay on top of what's going on under the hood.
Candles Need to be Changed:
- Many manufacturers recommend changing the spark plugs every 48,000 or 64,000 km (30,000 or 40,000 miles) to ensure good engine performance and reasonable fuel consumption.
- Some new cars have long-life spark plugs (sometimes called double platinum spark plugs) that can last up to 160,000 km (100,000 miles) before needing to be changed.
- If your car does not have one, transition every 50,000 km (30,000 miles).
- Additional costs will only be a few dollars per candle. While you're at it, take the opportunity to change your candle wires.
- Their typical lifespan is 80,000 km (50,000 miles). Deteriorated electrical wires can cause high-tech spark plugs to malfunction.
Avoid Hose Problems:
- Check your hoses under your hood every one or two months to avoid the trouble of a broken hose when you are on the road.
- When the engine is cold, squeeze the hoses. If stiffness and cracking noises occur, replace them.
- Do the same if they are extremely soft and sticky. With the engine still warm but off, examine the hoses for bulges or crushed sections.
- If you find any, it means that the walls of the pipes have deteriorated and needed replacement.
- Never drive with a ruptured cooling hose or you may overheat your engine and damage it.
- Other hoses are essential to the functioning of your brakes and speed control systems.
Test the Tension of your Seat Belts:
- Check the tension and condition of your seat belts monthly.
- Belts that are too tight can wear down the downforce of accessory components, such as the power steering pump, air conditioning compressors, and water pump.
- Belts that are too loose will deteriorate more quickly and their mechanism will fail prematurely.
- Perform your exam before starting the car to avoid injury from an overheated belt or moving mechanisms.
- Check the tension by pushing down on the center of the part of the belt that has been subjected to the most friction with a ruler next to it.
- If you can lower the belt 1 to 2.5 cm (0.5 to 1 inch), but no more, then the tension is good.
- If not, adjust belt tension as instructed in your car's service manual, or ask your dealer or mechanic to do so.
- Also, look for damage to your belts, such as burns (often caused by an oil leak), fraying, and tears.
- If you spot any damage, have your belt checked by a professional and replace it if necessary.
Don't Forget the Timing Belt:
- On many cars, the hidden part is the most important. If your manual says, like many others, that you must replace the timing belt every 50,000 miles (80,000 km), do it!
- A failed timing belt can depending on the type of engine, cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Operate your Air Conditioning in Winter:
- To keep your car's air conditioning in good condition for the next hot season, run it a few times during the winter. This will prevent the moving parts of your compressor from freezing.
- Circulating the coolant will also help keep your joints smooth and supple.
Seal a Leaking Radiator:
- A car radiator leak repair product will save you the unnecessary expense of a new radiator.
- Available in powder or liquid form, the product will circulate in the radiator until it reaches the hole where it will settle and seal the breach in contact with air.
- Alumaseal can also be used to stop larger leaks.