A car’s engine is the most important part of the vehicle. Proper maintenance keeps your engine running smoothly and efficiently for many years. Here are 10 tips to help you maintain peak engine performance.
Tip 1: Regularly change the oil and oil filter
- Change your oil and oil filter according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule, usually every 3,000-5,000 miles.
- Regular oil changes remove dirt, contaminants and old oil from the engine. This keeps all the moving parts properly lubricated.
- Use the type and weight of oil recommended in your owner’s manual.
Tip 2: Keep the engine clean
- Clean buildup of grease and oil prevents engine overheating.
- Use a degreaser to clean the engine compartment before washing. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
- Avoid spraying water directly on electronic components. Use a damp cloth instead.
Tip 3: Check and replace the air filter
- Replace the air filter annually or every 10,000-15,000 miles.
- A clogged air filter restricts air flow to the engine, reducing performance.
- Use the filter size and type listed in your owner’s manual for optimal results.
Tip 4: Use high-quality fuel
- Fill up with top-tier gasoline, which has more detergents to keep the engine clean.
- Avoid discount gas which may have impurities affecting engine operation.
- Add fuel injector cleaner occasionally to remove deposits from injectors.
Tip 5: Check and maintain the cooling system
- Flush and refill the coolant every 2-3 years according to your owner’s manual.
- Coolant should have a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze to maintain proper engine temperature.
- Inspect hoses and belts for cracks or damage, and replace if needed.
Tip 6: Inspect and replace the spark plugs
- Inspect spark plugs every 20,000-30,000 miles. Replace if worn, fouled or oil-soaked.
- Use the spark plug type and gap specified in the owner’s manual for best performance.
- Faulty spark plugs cause misfires, poor fuel economy, and starting troubles.
Tip 7: Keep the battery in good condition
- Clean battery posts and cable connections monthly to avoid corrosion.
- Check the charge level and top off with distilled water as needed.
- Replace the battery every 3-4 years or when it no longer holds a charge.
Tip 8: Check and maintain the belts and hoses
- Visually inspect belts and hoses for cracks, fraying or loosening.
- Tighten loose belts and replace damaged ones immediately.
- Leaking coolant hoses must be replaced to maintain proper engine cooling.
Tip 9: Use the right motor oil
- Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended oil viscosity. This varies by make and model.
- Thicker oils work better for high mileage engines. Thinner oils improve cold weather starting.
- Look for motor oils that say “Energy Conserving” to aid fuel economy.
Tip 10: Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule
- The owner’s manual lists the required maintenance at specific mileage intervals.
- Following this schedule keeps all engine systems in top condition over time.
- Tasks include brake flushes, transmission fluid changes and engine belt replacement.
Performing regular maintenance is the best way to keep your car’s engine running efficiently for many miles. Follow these tips to maintain peak performance, improve fuel economy and extend the life of your vehicle’s engine. Proper care provides a great return on investment for your automotive investment.