Do You Own a Vehicle? 4 Things to Keep in Mind About Engine Maintenance

Today’s cars and trucks consist of thousands of moving parts, any of which can fail at a moment’s notice. If your engine seems like it’s running fine, regular maintenance will keep it that way. Here, we list four of the most crucial engine maintenance factors for drivers to consider.

Ignoring Problems Doesn’t Make Them Go Away

Although it’s self-explanatory to some, others fail to realize the importance of engine warning lights. Most shops that offer muffler repair utah also offer free diagnostic scans, which can be useful if:

  • The check engine light comes on suddenly.
  • The engine makes loud screeching or knocking noises.
  • There’s smoke coming from under the hood.
  • Fluid is leaking from the radiator or engine.
  • Your car won’t start.
  • The vehicle is overheating.
  • It’s misfiring or stumbling at idle.

If your vehicle shows one or more of these signs, prompt attention will keep a minor issue from turning into an expensive problem.

Regular Oil and Filter Changes Are Essential

Most of today’s automakers recommend oil changes every 3000 to 5000 miles, but using synthetic engine oil can extend that interval to 7500 miles or more. Be sure to read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t forget to swap the filter when changing the oil. Oil filters keep dirt, dust, and contaminants out of the engine, extending its lifespan and protecting your investment.

Fuel and air filters may clog with time, blocking the flow of gas and air to the engine. Changing these crucial filters often improves engine performance, longevity, and efficiency.

Air filters trap contaminants as air passes through the intake, keeping them from reaching the engine. When changing the oil, your technician will also check the air filter and replace it if needed.

Fuel filters, on the other hand, catch pollutants and keep them out of injectors and lines. It’s easy for drivers to miss the fuel filter, simply because it’s hard to reach and see. If you’re not sure where your car’s fuel filter is, bring it in for service.

Keep it Cool

Overheating is one of the quickest ways to ruin an engine. To prevent it, watch the temperature gauge and pull over when it starts to rise.

It’s a good idea to check engine coolant levels often to ensure there’s enough in the system. Our technicians can check your coolant and flush the system every 30,000 miles or five years, whichever comes first. A broken radiator hose or a faulty water pump may cause a coolant leak, so bring your car in at the first sign of trouble.

Charge It Up and Keep the Spark Alive

This tip isn’t directly related to the engine, but it’s essential nonetheless. You can’t start a car with a dead battery—and if you don’t drive often, turn the key at least twice a week to keep the battery charged. When storing a vehicle for extended periods, consider disconnecting the battery to prevent unnecessary drainage and prevent electrical damage upon startup.

Spark plugs and wiring aren’t the first things most drivers think of when popping the hood, but they serve a crucial purpose. Plugs ignite the fuel/air mixture, initiating the combustion process that keeps the engine running. If plugs aren’t fully functional, misfires and engine damage may result. While most spark plugs and wires can be cleaned and reused, swapping them out isn’t too costly or time-consuming.

Bonus Tip #1: Listen and Look for Belt Damage

Belts run most under-the-hood components, from power steering and water pumps to air conditioners. They’re usually made of rubber, which means they’re prone to deterioration with time.

Screeching or squealing noises under the car’s hood may indicate belt problems, but thankfully, these parts aren’t too costly to replace. Labor is one of the most significant expenses, as professionals must replace some belts (such as timing belts).

Bonus Tip #2: Look for Leaks

Cars use several types of fluid, from engine oil to coolant—and most of these vital fluids travel through hoses that may fail with time. Cracks are the most common culprit, but they’re not the only cause. Radiator damage and head gasket cracks can also cause fluid leaks.

While minor leaks are easy to fix, they can become big problems if left unaddressed. Look under the vehicle and the hood at least once a week, checking for fluid leaks. If any are found, get them checked out as soon as possible.

Bonus Tip #3: Don’t Run Out of Gas

Are you the type to let the low fuel warning light come on before filling up? If so, it’s time to adopt a different strategy. Sludge and contaminants gather at the bottom of the tank, and running low on fuel pulls everything into the engine. 

While the fuel filter catches most of it, some gunk may still get through. Keeping the gas tank at least half-full is a good idea, as it reduces the strain on the engine and the fuel pump.

Bonus Tip #4: Don’t Rev It Too Often

Everyone knows that it’s fun to rev the engine at other drivers, but it’s not always the best idea. Over-revving and sudden starts can damage the engine over time, especially in areas with multiple stop lights and cold temperatures. Keep RPMs consistent to increase fuel efficiency and help your engine last longer.

Signs That It’s Time for Engine Service

Engines show numerous warning signs, and some are more obvious than others. If your vehicle exhibits one or more of these symptoms, schedule engine service:

  • Warning lights stay on.
  • Loud screeching or knocking noises.
  • Fluid leaks.
  • Difficult starting.
  • Low coolant levels.
  • Constant overheating.
  • Low oil levels.
  • Rough idling.

Prompt action will prevent major engine damage if you notice any of these signs. 

The Importance of Professional Engine Maintenance

Cars have thousands of moving parts, and the engine is one of the most important. Engine upkeep improves fuel economy and mileage, reduces the risk of damage, and helps vehicles last longer. With regular professional maintenance, you’ll save time, money, and frustration.