Snapshot– Engines propel cars and form the very core of an automobile. And rebuilding them is expensive. Maximizing engine life, therefore can save you a bunch of money while also ensuring that you get the best bang for your buck. An engine that lasts long is also a healthier unit that makes more power and delivers better fuel efficiency. So, how do you increase engine life? Here are 5 tips, in 5 minutes.
Regular service with oil and air filter changes
Engine oil is the blood of the engine and one of the most important thing your routine car service will involve is the oil change. Fresh oil in the engine reduces friction, which causes engine wear and a lower life. So, getting your car serviced at manufacturer recommended intervals is a must to keep your engine performing like new. Also, pay attention to the oil filter and air filter change during regular service. A clogged oil filter means a lower ability to catch out oil impurities while a clogged air filter means excess carbon deposition in the engine, and both things cut engine life. If your car usage pattern involves driving in crowded city traffic with heavy bouts of idling or if you live in dusty environs, consider changing your car engine’s oil about 20 % sooner than the manufacturer recommended interval for maximizing engine life.
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Take it easy until the engine comes to operating temperature
Firing up your car’s engine and taking off like there’s no tomorrow looks great in the movies. In real life, cold starts are the real killers of engine life. Cold starts mean that oil takes time to warm up and circulate throughout the engine.Warm oil protects parts better than cold oil. Idling the car for 30 seconds before driving away and taking it easy until the engine is fully warmed up will mean the difference between an engine that lasts 100,000 kilometers and one that lasts 160,000 kilometers. So, how do you know when your car’s engine has warmed up. It’s simple really. If your car is equipped with an engine temperature gauge, drive gently until the temperature needle of the gauge reaches the middle. In case of digital temperature gauges, wait till the reading band reaches the middle. If you have no temperature gauge, you should drive the car gently for about 3 kilometers, by when the engine would have come to operating temperature.
1 minute idling rule on turbocharged cars
The easiest way to kill an oil cooled turbocharger is to stop following the 1 minute idling rule on cars that feature oil cooled turbochargers. A turbocharger’s turbine operates at high speed and suddenly turning off the engine after a high speed run can result in the turbo bearing getting starved off oil. This is true even in the case when you just jump into a car and rev the nuts off its engine while making a quick getaway. So, following the 1 minute idling rule before starting off, and after stopping, will ensure that your car’s oil cooled turbocharger gets enough oil to prevent damage.
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Minimize idling the engine in traffic
A car’s engine, if maintained well, can easily last for 200,000 kilometers. Now, every time you idle your car in traffic, a portion of its life is getting reduced. A car’s engine that sees its entire life on the highway with minimal start-stop and idling conditions will last longer than a motor which spends most of its time idling in traffic. So, try and minimize idling your car’s engine in traffic. If the wait is longer than 30 seconds, turning off the engine would be a good idea. Not only would it prolong engine life, such an act would also reduce fuel efficiency and minimize damage to the environment by cutting down tail pipe emissions.
Avoid very short commutes
Short commutes of less than 2 kilometers often mean that your car’s engine hasn’t even warmed up. This condition is true while starting off with a cold engine/first start of the day. Considering that maximum wear of an engine happens in the first two minutes of cold starting, avoiding very short commutes is a way to maximize engine life.