General Engine Maintenance

To make sure that your vehicle stays working well, you need to maintain the engine. Without the right maintenance, your car could break down more often and have a shorter life. Keep reading to learn more about the things you should do to keep your ride in excellent shape and reduce your repair expenses.

Check Spark Plugs

Your engine’s spark plugs act as fire starters, igniting the mixture of fuel and air inside the cylinders. Many spark plugs can last for more than 100,000 miles, but you should still get them checked by a professional about every 30,000 miles. Replacing them sooner will help you keep your gas mileage high. If you have trouble starting your vehicle or the check engine light comes on, you should have your spark plugs checked. You could also have problems accelerating in traffic.

If you replace them, you should use the same type of spark plug that your engine came with. After all, it was designed to work with that equipment. In some circumstances, you can prolong your spark plugs’ lives by cleaning them and removing the soot that accumulates near the electrodes.

Be Observant

If you notice anything abnormal about your vehicle, you should have it checked by a professional. Leaking fluids that stain your driveway, strange smells, abnormally loud engine sounds, or poor fuel efficiency could indicate a problem with your engine. If you don’t have the issue repaired, it could become worse. Fixing it later will often be more expensive than taking care of it now.

Check Your Oil Levels Often

Maintaining the correct amount of oil for your car’s engine is easy. Most cars have a dipstick for the oil reservoir so that you can check the level quickly and easily. You should take a look at your engine oil level at least once per month. Add new oil when it becomes low, and change it at the intervals recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. You may need to get your oil changed every 5,000, 7,500, or 10,000 miles.

Engines with low oil levels have less lubrication, so they run at higher temperatures. This puts more strain on engine components, increasing wear, and shortening your vehicle’s life. You should also make sure you use the type of engine oil recommended in your owner’s manual.

Changing your oil regularly will also keep sludge or petroleum byproducts from building up through evaporation over time. Using synthetic oil can help you prevent engine sludge as well, but you’ll still need to change your oil regularly. You should change your engine’s oil filter at the same time. The oil works with the filter to keep dust, dirt, and other contaminants away from your engine’s moving parts.

If you make short trips often or deal with stop-and-go traffic, you could need to change your oil more often. Towing a trailer or a boat often or driving on dusty roads could increase the frequency of your oil changes as well.

Keep Your Engine Air Filter Clean

Your engine’s air filter keeps out dust and debris. If your air filter is dirty, your engine won’t get enough oxygen. This slows fuel combustion and makes your engine’s performance sluggish. It can also reduce your mileage, increase the pollution your vehicle creates, and increase your costs by forcing you to use more fuel. An old, dirty filter can also let contaminants into your vehicle’s engine and accelerate wear and tear.

Check your owner’s manual to discover how often you should get your engine’s air filter changed. It’s usually every 15,000 to 20,000 miles. Like your engine’s oil filter, you’ll need to replace the air filter more often if you drive on dusty roads frequently.

Check Drive Belts

The drive belt is connected to the engine. It runs the alternator, the compressor for the air conditioner, and other accessories attached to your engine. Some vehicles only have one drive belt, while other models have several. Drive belts can become worn over time, and they can crack or even break. A broken drive belt will keep your engine from working and could leave you stranded on the road.

You should check your engine’s drive belts when you check the oil level. Squeaking noises while your car runs could mean you have a worn drive belt. You may want to have it replaced as soon as possible to prevent damage. Some types of belts can last up to 90,000 miles, but no belt can stay in good condition forever. Checking these parts regularly will help you prevent problems, and your owner’s manual will tell you how long they should work well.

Keep Engine Coolant Systems in Good Condition

The coolant in your car’s engine, also called antifreeze, helps to dissipate heat. It also prevents damage from freezing in winter. However, coolant contains rust and corrosion inhibitors that deteriorate and stop working over time. To prevent corrosion in your engine, you’ll need to change the coolant. Check your owner’s manual to find out how often you should take care of this task. Some vehicles need their coolant changed relatively quickly, and others can use the same coolant until they’re near the ends of their lives. Keeping your coolant system working well will prevent overheating and serious complications.

Check Your Power Steering Fluid

Most older vehicles and some new models use a hydraulic power steering pump that’s lubricated by power steering fluid. The pump has a reservoir with a cap that you can remove to check the power steering fluid level. If your power steering pump runs out of fluid, you could have to pay hundreds of dollars to replace it. Low power steering fluid could also cause stiff steering or squealing noises when you turn the wheel. You should take a look at it when you check your oil and other fluid levels.

To have your vehicle checked by a professional, visit Hiley Mazda of Fort Worth. We can help you save on repairs and keep your car in excellent shape.



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Hiley Mazda of Fort Worth is located at: 9120 West Freeway • Fort Worth, TX 76108
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Hiley Mazda of Fort Worth 32.740031, -97.471185.