You just got a new car and want to keep it that way. You wash your car faithfully each weekend. You detail it inside and out and even keep the tires looking shiny. The most important part of the car is what is under the hood. This article discusses how you can take care of your vehicle's engine so it will last longer.
Change the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or according to your vehicle's owner manual maintenance guide. Newer cars seem to allow more miles between oil changes. If you use synthetic oil it is believe to lubricate the engine more efficiently because it breaks down at a slower rate. Synthetic oil made by Castrol, Chevron, Mobil, Havoline, etc can be find them easily at your local auto parts or even super-mart.
Your oil filter should be changed each time the oil is changed as well. It is not any good for your engine for the oil to be changed and the filter to be gummed up. It is best to use the same type of oil and oil filter each time you get the oil changed.
In between oil changes you need to check your oil level. As soon as you buy your car you should lift the hood and locate where your oil dipstick is. To check the oil pull out the dipstick, wipe it off and insert it back in. Pull out the dipstick again and this second time inspect closely the end of it. You want the oil level to be up towards the F for full side. You do not want it to be overfilled or low. If the oil level is low you will have to add more.
If the oil is completely black and the oil level is low you might suspect excessive oil consumption is taking place. The exception to this is if the car is diesel the oil is known then to be blacker. Another sign of poor maintenance or problems would be dark stains or carbon deposits on the dipstick. A well maintained engine will have a cleaner, clearer golden yellow tone.
Check the engine area for possible leaks. To inspect for leaks grab a flashlight and look underneath the vehicle. Everything around the engine and transmission should be dry. You might find a slight wetness but it should not an abundance of moisture. The air conditioner drain tube will have water drips and this is normal so nothing to worry about. Oil drops showing up after you move your car out of its parking space is something to worry about though.
Check the coolant level in your engine compartment. There is an overflow tank that is clear so that you can tell if the level is in between the minimum and maximum levels. The antifreeze should be clean and transparent. It might be colored red or green but you should be still be able to be see through and not thick or heavy.
If you find an indication of engine oil in your coolant area it could be an indication of an engine or radiator problem. The type of problem you might encounter would be a blown head gasket or a leaking transmission fluid cooler. If you see such a problem, check the water and radiator hoses for cracks, leaks or other possible damage.
Check the idle of the car. You do not want the idle to run to high and hurt the engine. And on the flip side you do not want so slow of an idle that the car stalls out.If the idle needs to be adjusted take it to a mechanic.
You want to listen to the engine when the car is running. There should not be any loud noises coming from the engine compartment. You do not want to hear knocking, rattling or tapping sounds. These noises can indicate anything from excessive wear on your internal engine parts to serious engine problems. Whistling noises could be caused by a loose belt.
Change or check belts and hoses every 50,000 to 75,000 miles. You will want to look for wear or tear on these parts. Hoses tend to get small pinprick holes that cannot be seen to the eye. Parts such as these made out of rubber can get worn out due to heat. The rubber parts then get brittle and are more liable to break and cause you engine problems.
Taking car of your auto's engine is very important. Following the car manufacturer's maintenance schedule is the best way in which to keep your warranty intact and engine running strongly. This does not mean that in between tune ups that you should not listen to your car and inspect it any issues. To keep your engine running strong remember how to look for the first signs of problems because the quicker you catch an issue the easier it will be to fix it before permanent and serious damage is done.