Few people realise how easy it is to keep your car in good shape and avoid costly garage expenses. The relatively modern phenomenon of constantly replacing cars means that few people look into extending the life of their current car – they’re just going to upgrade it in the future anyway. But if you’re looking to make a long term investment into your vehicle then follow this guide to get the most life out of it.
Ask around and you won’t find many people who have read their owner’s manual. Whether you own a car, 4×4, truck or something more exotic, knowing the ins-and-outs of how it works is important when it comes to extending its life. At a minimum you should know how often specific parts of it should be maintained as every manufacturer differs.
A clean engine is a better engine overall. By keeping your engine clean it will be able to cool itself and have a ‘smoothe’ route for airflow – this will increase the performance of your engine. By regularly checking on the engine you’ll also be able to spot potential problems before they leave you stranded at the roadside.
The best way to clean your engine is to simply head to your local car wash centre and use the water hose to shampoo and clean out the engine. Many of these sprays will have a ‘tyre and engine’ setting to avoid causing any long term damage to your engine. Simply let this soak in while you’re cleaning the rest of your car and wash off at the end. Beware of the electrical components and air intakes within the engine – do not spray into the alternator or distributor cap. Use a towel to soak up any excess water that pools in the engine.
It takes around 20 seconds for a car’s engine oil to reach the correct operating pressure in order to flow through all the oil galleys. If you start to drive within 20 seconds of ignition, you’re going to be grinding on bare metal and creating wear and tear on your car. This is where 90% of engine damage happens.
There are a few ways to avoid damage within the petrol tank. When winter arrives it is best to make sure that your petrol level doesn’t go below half full. Water from condensation is heavier than gas and will settle to the bottom of the tank. This will then be picked up by your fuel system when the tank gets low, damaging the engine. Use around half a cup of antifreeze every other time you fill up your petrol tank.
It is worth replacing the fuel filter more times than it states on the owner’s manual suggests as it’s quite cheap to do and the costs of a clogged filter will cost you more in the long run with high mileage and poor engine performance.
The best way to keep on top of all of these problems is to perform a thorough monthly check of your car. If you find a fault before it becomes a big problem you can save not only money fixing it, but the stress of having a big breakdown somewhere along the line. Here is a short checklist of items to check;
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