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What Is Engine Maintenance?

To keep a car engine in pristine condition, it is important to perform routine engine maintenance.
Engine maintenance can include making sure a battery remains charged.
If the "check engine" light comes on, the vehicle's on-board computer should be checked for diagnostic codes.
Checking and topping up engine coolant is a simple type of engine maintenance.
Engine maintenance includes changing oil.
In addition to engine maintenance, taking care of the transmission can help a vehicle run longer.
Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Engine maintenance is the process of routinely checking the various systems and components that compose a car engine, and performing any repairs or upgrades that are necessary to keep the engine in proper running condition. The typical car owner performs a few basic maintenance tasks on his or her own, while relying on a mechanic to manage the remainder of those tasks. A solid automobile maintenance schedule can increase gas mileage while also adding years of service to the engine.

Some of the basic engine maintenance tasks that owners can perform from time to time include checking the fluid levels related to the function of the engine. Primarily, this means taking the time to check the current level of oil in the engine. Most auto models make it possible to quickly check the oil by removing what is known as the dipstick, and noting how far up the oil clings to the stick. Markings on the stick make it easy to determine if there is a sufficient amount of oil in the engine, or it there is a need to add more oil in order to prevent unnecessary wear and tear to the engine components.

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Along with checking the oil level, it is also a good idea to check the level of coolant and water in the radiator. If enough coolant is not maintained in the radiator to circulate throughout the engine, the chances of overheating the components and wearing down the engine is greatly increased. As with checking the oil, the process of checking the coolant level is simple and can be performed with relative ease.

Checking the condition of the different belts that drive the motor is also an important part of routine engine maintenance. A belt that is frayed or worn may slip, causing additional stress on the engine. By making sure the belts are taut and in good condition, there is less of a chance of causing damage to the engine that could be quite costly to repair.

From time to time, fluids and belts must be changed as part of good engine maintenance. While some owners are comfortable handling these tasks themselves, others prefer to have a qualified auto mechanic handle these tasks. Setting up a regular schedule to have the fluids changed and the belts replaced can minimize the potential for many types of engine problems, and keep the cost of operating the vehicle much lower in the long run.

There are some facets of engine maintenance that are best left to a professional auto service. An in-depth tune-up today often requires the use of diagnostic equipment that is found at garages and auto repair centers. The replacement of various gears, points, plugs, and other small components of the engine help to prevent excessive wear on the larger components. As a result, the car gets better gas mileage, and the engine can continue to operate properly even after several years of regular use.

Along with proper engine maintenance, owners should also see that routine care of the transmission and other key systems on the vehicle are performed. Doing so helps to make sure the vehicle is safe to operate, and will not break down at an inopportune time. While auto maintenance does involve spending some money up front, doing so can save a great deal of money by avoiding costly repairs down the road.

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