Caring for the HEART of your Vehicle: Your Engine.by Ali's Woodinville on 01/23/19
Complete auto repair shops like Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair work to keep many areas of your vehicle running right. The brake repairs and maintenance we do, help you stay safe and stop clearly and efficiently to avoid collisions and hazards. The electrical system for your car helps you keep windows clear for vision and safety, and helps many of the regulatory systems in you car. A car could not operate well at all with these systems failing, but much like the human heart, a car or truck does not operate AT ALL without a functioning engine.
Here are FIVE TIPS for how a responsible vehicle owner can help to protect their engine, and what to make sure your mechanic does for each tip:
1. Have the Oil Changed (and oil filter changed) ON TIME. It's likely the most common car care tip and the one thing that must be done if nothing else. Have the oil changed, and make sure whoever does it, changes the oil filter as well. The filter is almost as important as the oil change itself. As far as the most common question--How often do I have my oil changed?--the best answer is to check your car's owners manual and then make sure you do it on the early end of that recommendation. Oil changes are a relatively small cost, and getting an oil change from a good mechanic gives them the automatic opportunity to check for all sorts of other issues (like engine leaks for instance---read on!).
2. Keep Your Cooling System Working Well. The car's engine is a HEAT MACHINE as much as anything. It is, after all, an internal COMBUSTION engine, right? The most important support system to the engine is the cooling system. The radiator, thermostat, water pump, and coolant are all areas that are vital to keeping your engine cool. Checking your coolant is something you should try to do yourself regularly. You can add more anti-freeze, as-needed to keep the level above the minimum mark and below the maximum mark. If your mechanic suggests that there are leaks in the reservoir, or a malfunction with the pump for instance, you should not hesitate to get them repaired. If the heat isn't being fended off effectively, it quickly begins to damage the engine and other areas of the vehicle. HEAT IS THE ULTIMATE ENEMY to your engine and many of its components.
3. Get the Air Filter Changed. The car's air filter helps keep particles from getting to your engine and causing damage. Your engine, like your heart, needs fresh air to operate well. Continuous, unrestricted air flow is as important as almost as important as fuel itself. Don't scare your mechanic off from changing this when they see that it is necessary. Usually it can be visually inspected quite easily and the mechanic can even show it to you for confirmation (although you should probably work on finding a mechanic you can actually trust).
4. If Leaks Are Found, Have Them Repaired IMMEDIATELY! First, of course, someone must be CHECKING for leaks. Encourage your mechanic to be thorough and honest about the leaks they may see, either from your engine or from your cooling system. Hoses, gaskets, and seals are all subject to degradation over time, and many times, these leaks begin very slowly---and that's good, because it gives you some time to have them discovered and fixed. Often times though, folks won't see the problem as serious, because it hasn't caused a failure (yet!), or they don't trust the mechanic and think they are being sold a fix they don't need. As always, we suggest you find a mechanic you feel that you can trust, and if you do, take any report of a leak of fluids (or air) in your systems very seriously, and have them take action to repair it immediately!
5. If an "check engine" warning light (or ANY warning light for that matter) comes on, look into it or get it to your mechanic as soon as you can. It seems like something that is obvious, but many people think that if they don't notice an issue with how the car is running, they can take their time. Some folks go for WEEKS before they schedule an appointment for diagnosis. The time you wait could be draining the life out of your engine much faster than normal. It is, after all, TELLING YOU that there's a problem. Most folks are scared that it's ALWAYS a major issue, but it can actually be something kinda small---either way, waiting will only make it worse, not better.
Just like how you take care of your own heart, you want to take care of the engine, even in small ways. To add to these major tips, you can also do things like taking it easy on start and stop driving when you can, and also it can helpful to fill up your gas tank before it gets below a quarter tank left. If you want a car that lasts longer and works better, start with caring for it's "heart"---the engine---and make sure you have a mechanic that is looking out for you and the long term health of your vehicle!
(Live in the Woodinville/Bothell/Greater Eastside areas and need a mechanic that will shoot you straight? Call on Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair or Ali's Bellevue Auto Repair and see why folks keep coming back for our diagnosis, recommendations, and services!)