Car engines are the vital and central operating unit of any vehicle. Sadly, most people do not spend much time looking after them.

Engines need to be looked after regularly, analyzed frequently and given proper maintenance to keep them running.

It is important to know how engines work; an engine is basically an air compressor that takes in air and fuel in gaseous form and compresses it for ignition. In the case of a  petrol engine the mixture is ignited by the spark plug to make it burn, and for a diesel engine the mixture is compressed and the glow plug in the combustion chamber causes the mixture to explode.

To avoid vulnerabilities and serious problems, it’s important to regularly check your engine. Here are some significant parts that need weekly, if not daily, inspections. If carried out regularly you will get to enjoy the engine for longer and it will perform phenomenally.  

It quite interesting how a vehicle would be bought outside Nigeria after being used for 5 to 10 years and at the time of purchase the engine seems near perfect, runs near perfectly, but people buy brand new cars here and in less than 3 years the engine is mostly worn , Reason for this is simply the maintenance culture here.

To maintain and improve the efficiency of your engine do the following:

One: check the engine’s cooling system regularly.  

The cooling system in an engine helps to maintain its internal temperatures and transfer excessive heat out of the engine. It should not be left unattended, especially when you plan to go on a long journey. The system contains different parts, such as the radiator, thermostat, water pump and coolant.

A straight forward way to look after and safeguard your engine from overheating is by checking that it has the appropriate quantity of coolant flowing inside it. Always keep the coolant level above the plastic-reservoir’s minimum level but also should be below the maximum level to avoid any spill-over in the system, which, ironically will trigger the overheating you were trying to avoid by overfilling the reservoir above its maximum level. Very deeply coloured coolant in orange, red, or green must be replaced with fresh coolant of the exact colour if you have to flush out the radiator to ensure the system is effective.

Two:  Clear the engine’s “nose” to allow proper breathing.

Engines require air fuel mixture to work effectively, and in a situation where the air coming in is not enough, there is no effectiveness in the system.  The engine utilises the air to burn the fuel in the combustion chamber and it breathes in just the same manner as humans do. It is vital that you regularly check the vehicle’s air filters. Automobiles need a continuous stream of air to run efficiently. With the exception of fuel, air is a fundamental component in charging the car engine with energy. The air needs to enter into the engine frequently, without any constraints. Take regular glances at your air filter and check that it is dirt-free especially of insects and bugs, etc. also change the filter if needed.

Three; feed the engine regularly with new engine oil.

To keep your engine clean, you need good engine oil. Regular changes of engine oil is vital. Engine oil lubricates the essential engine parts, preventing them from overheating and reducing wear and tear. If you lengthen the oil changing intervals too much, it can seriously damage the engine and cause permanent damage. Check and religiously follow your vehicle’s manufacturers manual for the oil change intervals and specifications ; most updated standards suggest changing the engine oil after every 5,000 miles (8,000 km). However, note that some old vehicles can’t go as long, so change oils more frequently on older vehicles; especially if you do a lot of traffic-congestion in which the engine goes through a process known as incomplete combustion (dumping fuel vapours and fumes into the engine and disintegrating the engine oil quality faster).

Four; keep an eye on the fuel filter.  

A lot of people change only engine oil and oil filter, but at some point it is important you check the engine fuel filter. The filter could be an inline one that you change at intervals, usually located in-line between the fuel tank and the injector nozzle.  it could also be as a strainer filter attached to the fuel pump in the tank. The fuel filters play an important role in ensuring clean fuel is injected into the engine. This guards the engine against the build-up of damaging deposits and prevents the emergence of specks in the fuel supply. Fuel filters stop any substances or undesirable particles from forming, which can be destructive to the engine. The removed particles accumulate in a pan, just as with the oil filter. It is necessary to replace the fuel filter to make your engine’s run smoothly. In a situation where the injectors do not get enough supplies, it could cause engine knock. Replace it with a new filter to keep the fuel flowing into the engine efficiently.

Five; get frequent tune-ups.

I will recommend an annual tune up, not just the lube-maintenance service. Check the air filter, spark plugs, check the cables, ignition wires, caps and rotor. Also it is important you use lifelong spark plugs, that are recommended like the platinum, double platinum, iridium, which are recommended by most modern vehicles.   

P.S An engine can last as long as 1,000,000 Mile, if properly maintained. I have seen one!


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