These days, cars are becoming increasingly safe and reliable. In fact, it’s easy to convince yourself that a newer car is virtually impervious to engine problems. While it’s understandable that you might see your vehicle this way, it’s important to recognize that every engine is subject to potential mechanical issues and eventual engine failure. Your engine will last for many, many years — but only if you care for it properly. Otherwise, you could end up with a dead engine. At that point, you’ll be looking for ways to sell your junk car rather than worrying about engine maintenance.
While modern engines have received all sorts of computerized upgrades that set them apart from their predecessors when it comes to performance and reliability, there are still things that you can do as a driver and owner that will increase the life of your engine. Let’s take a look at 4 things you absolutely want to avoid doing in order to ensure that your engine continues to function for as long as possible.
- Ignoring engine temperature
Have you ever been driving down the street and noticed your engine temperature gauge fluctuating? Have you then proceeded to continue driving, meanwhile ignoring the warning from your dashboard? Big mistake! If you see any changes in the temperature of your engine, that’s a big warning sign. In fact, when you see an increase in engine temperature, it’s important to pull over immediately and investigate the issue. And, if your engine temperature gauge is running on the cold side, it may be broken or malfunctioning. Either way, you’ll want to have your car checked out by a professional.
- Skipping standard maintenance
Regularly scheduled maintenance is an extremely important part of keeping your engine running smoothly for years to come. Particularly when it comes to oil changes, don’t skip over these important trips to the auto shop. Just because your car is still driveable while 10,000 miles overdue for an oil change doesn’t mean that it will continue to function indefinitely. Stick to your scheduled maintenance.
- Turning a blind eye to the check engine signal
Virtually every vehicle features a check engine light on its dashboard, and some modern cars have a variety of systems-related warning lights. If you’re like a lot of drivers, though, you simply ignore this light whenever it comes on. That’s not a good move, though. Sometimes it may indeed be an issue of a malfunctioning light, in which case there’s nothing to be done except repairing a fuse. In many cases, though, the check engine light is warning you of serious engine trouble. When this light comes on, be sure to get your car to a mechanic right away.
- Driving with a tank that’s on empty
Are you one of those people who drives around with your gas gauge on empty half the time? Do you pull into a gas station, put in a few dollars worth of gas, and drive off? Believe it or not, this practice can cause damage to your vehicle. Your car has a fuel pump which is responsible for pumping gasoline from the tank into the engine. When the tank is nearly empty, the fuel pump has to work harder and can actually overheat. This can lead to costly repairs. So, always keep fuel in your tank!