Posted by Kai Hall in Uncategorized on
1) The oil gauge
On the dash board of almost every passenger car you will find an instrument which is marked oil. Most drivers misunderstand the meaning of this instrument and that could end up costing you thousands of dollars on a replacement engine. The oil gauge is not an oil level indicator, which most people believe it to be, but instead is an oil pressure gauge. The purpose of this instrument is to monitor the oil pressure inside the engine and to alert you to a drop in pressure which is a sign of internal engine damage or wear. This gauge is not a replacement for regular oil level monitoring done by checking the oil level dipstick in the engine compartment. Many people unknowingly assume this oil gauge will inform when the engine is becoming low on oil. This is one of the most common causes for seized engines as the oil pressure can be good even if the engine is almost completely empty of oil. By the time the oil pressure gauge reflects a low reading it is likely that internal engine damage has already happened. Check your oil level regularly, and more in older or high mileage engines to avoid a premature engine failure.
2) Overheated engines
When a car leaks or burns radiator coolant below a minimum level the engine will lack the required fluid to keep the engine within proper temperature range. If you experience an overheated engine it is absolutely critical that you understand the correct method to add radiator coolant to avoid causing major internal engine damage. When an engine runs for extended periods, and especially when the radiator coolant is excessively low, the metal inside the engine and combustion chamber becomes incredibly hot. Adding cold, cool or even room temperature coolant or water to the radiator when the engine is hot can cause a major internal failure. The temperature differential between the coolant and the engine will often cause a crack to form in the head, a major internal engine component. In order to add radiator coolant to a hot engine you need to ensure that the engine is running as this will drastically reduce the likelihood of damaging the engine. Should the engine not be running when you add coolant, the new colder fluid can sit stationary against internal engine components that are incredibly hot. By running the engine when you add coolant you encourage the new coolant to move swiftly through the engine mixing with any existing coolant that will be closer to the temperature of the engine itself. It is preferable to let a hot engine cool at least slightly before adding more coolant and essential that the engine is running. Adding cold or cool coolant to a hot engine that is not running will cause engine damage or failure in many cases.
3) Starting a cold engine
The majority of engine wear happens when you first start a cold engine. While the engine rests the oil inside the engine will drain to the lowest points and away from moving parts that require the oil lubricant in order to avoid damage. If you start a cold engine and immediately start driving you are causing serious engine wear each time you do this. It takes a few moments of running the engine for the oil to pressurize and be pushed to the critical areas where it is required to lubricate moving parts that rub together and cause friction. By letting the engine idle even for 30 seconds before throwing the car in drive you can drastically reduce the engine wear over the lifetime of the vehicle. In extremely cold weather a longer period of idling is required to allow the oil to become viscous again.
4) Regular oil changes
Replacing the oil every 5000 kilometres or 3000 miles is essential to maintaining a smooth running engine. Even if you tend to not maintain your car properly, this is one rule that you should absolutely adhere to. Oil changes are one of the cheapest maintenance items you can do to a car and one of the very best things that you can do to help your engine run, trouble free, for a long time. A new engine can cost thousands of dollars while an oil and oil filter change can be completed for between $25-$50 in a matter of minutes.
5) Timing belt replacement
The timing belt is a critical engine component, that should it fail, can cause major engine damage and even a total failure of the engine. The timing belt is a relatively cheap part, costing only $50 or so dollars for most cars and can be changed by a mechanic shop in as little as 30 minutes. It is recommended to replace your timing belt every 100,000 kilometres or every 60,000 miles as preventative maintenance. It is also recommended to replace the timing belt any time a car has been sitting or stored for periods of two months or more as they tend to become reliable when not in use for extended periods of time. By the time a timing belt breaks, the damage has already been done so protect your investment with this minor preventative maintenance measure.
Steve Goodale, author of the largest used car buying tutorial on the internet, has an extensive following for his how-to articles which present complex technical issues in an easy to read and easy to understand fashion.
Read the full used car buying tutorial at [http://www.usedcarbuying.ca]