If you think about it, the engine of your car is sort of like the heart of a human body. Only when the “heart” is “healthy”, can your car function properly. So, one of the best thing you can do for your beloved vehicle is to take care of the engine.
Despite the fact that many of us would love to drive a new car every few years, most do not have that luxury. In this day and age when things are getting more expensive all while our salary does not increase at the same rate, you may want to stretch a dollar as far as you can, and that applies to the car you drive, too. As long as it is functioning properly, you would not want to HAVE TO buy a new one. And if you would like to know how to keep your current one running well for long, the following tips will show you.
1. Stick to manufacturer-recommended service schedules
If we continue the imagery as before and compare the engine of a car to the heart of an animal, then the engine oil and all the colourful fluids inside are kind of like the hormones that keep the car running smoothly. No matter how much of an expert you are at biology, you can imagine how important the engine and those fluids are. And what you would want to do is to take your car to service regularly, which is more or less like a regular health check-up.
During a service, the mechanics will change the engine oil, which plays a very important role in lubricating the engine parts and allowing them to operate smoothly.
Besides, the professionals will check the air filter and oil filter. Dirty filters make your engine work harder just to produce the same result and affect the engine’s life. The regularity at which you want to have the air filter and oil filter examined and cleaned is usually detailed in the owner’s manual. However, if you have to drive through polluted areas daily or almost every day, you would want them to be cleaned on a more regular basis.
Professionals during servicing should also check all the colourful fluids like brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, anti-freeze, etc. to make sure that there is no any leak, and that they are sustained at the right level. Shortage of any of those fluids will have serious negative impacts on your car’s engine.
Have your car serviced regularly so the engine can last long
2. Try to drive at a constant speed as long as possible
Idling, sudden braking, and sudden acceleration all are the nemesis of a healthy engine; therefore, minimise the times you have to use one of those driving techniques and drive at the same speed for as long as you can.
In the case of idling, the engine is consuming fuel, yet you are not moving a centimetre forward, which is a total waste of engine energy and fuel. The result is a tired engine with its life reduced. If you have to wait for the red light for more than 45 seconds or wait to pick up someone, the best course of action to take is to turn off the engine. The engine is happy, and your bank account will also be happy because neither of them has to work to waste fuel.
In case of braking and acceleration, if you do not know yet, braking, especially sudden braking, is the best way to waste already burned fuel for nothing, as your car is not going anywhere. But what is worse than this is that you accelerate right after a sudden braking moment, because in that scenario, the engine has to work extra hard to pick up the speed. And the general rule of thumbs if you want to ensure the long life of the engine is not to make it exert any extra effort if the same result can be achieved in a more relaxing manner.
Minimise your idling, sudden braking, and sudden acceleration will allow the engine to function better for longer
3. Start your car the right way
While we highly recommend against idling in most situations, you should idle your car for at least 30 seconds, or longer if the weather is super cold, when you turn on the engine and before driving. The reason for the recommended idling is that when you start your car, it takes a certain amount of time for the engine to warm up and to reach the operating temperature, the temperature at which oil is heated and thinned out enough to protect the parts properly. If the weather is not very cold, you can drive your car right after turning the engine on, but drive gently and slowly to allow the car to get to the operating temperature. In case you wonder how you know the car has reached the operating temperature, most cars nowadays have an engine temperature gauge, and when the hand comes to the middle of the gauge, you know you are good to go.
Whatever you do with your car, please remember that the only time you should idle your car is to wait for it to reach the right operating temperature before taking off and nothing else.
Allowing your car to reach the right temperature before driving off makes the engine healthier
4. Do not speed! At any rate!
We do recommend folks out there drive at a constant speed for as long as possible, but it does not mean that you should compete with the wind all the time. Apart from the fact that speeding is illegal and dangerous for you as well as other people on the road, it wastes a lot of fuel and takes a great toll on the engine. When you drive too fast, even below the maximum speed of your car, it forces the engine to exert more effort at a faster pace to pump more fuel and keep up with the speed. As the result, the parts of your engine heat up excessively, and you do not need to have an engineering degree to know that overheated electronics perform poorly and cannot be sustained for long. So, at any rate, please do not have a spontaneous race with some random guys on the street, or try to prove to anybody that you have excellent driving skills on normal roads. It may look cool on movies, but it is definitely not cool in real life.
In short, speeding destroys your engine, so do not speed
5. When the drive is too short, just walk
Idling for a few seconds and waiting for the car to reach the operating temperature before driving is good for your engine, but if you want to idle and then have a two-kilometre commute, just do not. When you start your car first thing in the morning, there is a certain level of condensation inside the system that has accumulated overnight, and if the car does not operate for long enough, the condensation does not evaporate and excessive water will damage the whole system. Therefore, instead of taking your car out for a drive in 5 minutes, you would be better off walking. Or if you can, plan the trips ahead of time, and combine many short trips into one. In that way, you do not risk damaging your engine for nothing. You will also get a big bonus, which is fuel efficiency, and your wallet will thank you for leaving a bit more money inside it.
Driving too short of a distance puts a strain on the engine, so avoid it altogether