| Car Life
a man works on a car's engine

Your car is a big investment, so you expect a long life out of it. One of the key components of a car’s life is its engine. Knowing the basics could help your engine hold up to your busy life. Follow along for car engine maintenance tips.

Engine Oil

The main function of oil is to lubricate moving parts to keep them working efficiently. Oil also works to keep our engines clear of dirt and metal, and to protect your engine from wear and corrosion.

Each make and model of car has its own requirements of which type of oil it requires. The vehicle’s owner’s manual typically has information about which motor oil to use.

  • Buy the oil that matches the manufacturer’s recommended specifications and certifications for your vehicle.
  • Change your oil based upon your owner’s manual recommendations.

Timing Belts

Timing belts control the camshafts in your engine and keeps your engine operation running smoothly if you have an internal combustion engine.

When timing belts go out, sometimes it can mean your whole engine fails if you have an interference engine. Non-interference engines have more of a chance of recovering after a timing belt breakage due to extra space in the engine. Interference engines have such little space, a corruption in the timing belt could cause a piston to go into a valve, causing the engine to break entirely.

Have your timing belt checked regularly for fraying and destruction of the belt to have it replaced and prevent a broken engine.

Emissions Checks

Emissions checks, also known as emissions tests, usually happen once a year or every two years for car owners in order to renew yearly vehicle registrations.

The tests verify that your vehicle meets the government’s anti-pollution standards. If the vehicle fails the test, you will likely have to pay for repairs to the vehicle’s exhaust system. Here are some tips to avoid failing:

  • Regular tune-ups
  • Regular oil changes
  • Keep your vehicle exhaust system in good repair; a damaged catalytic converter or a hole-punched muffler can result in higher pollutant emissions
  • Use the right kind of fuel for your vehicle per its owner’s manual

Not all states require them though, and only some counties in certain states require them. Emissions tests are typically required for gasoline and hybrid vehicles. Newer vehicles are becoming more emissions efficient, while older vehicles may be exempt from the testing.

Spark Plugs

A spark plug is the starting point for combustion in an engine. Age and the rough elements inside an engine cause spark plugs to deteriorate over time.

Spark plugs need replacing about 10,000 to 20,000 miles for copper plugs and platinum plugs can last up to 60,000 miles. If you don’t know if your spark plugs need replaced or haven’t been watching your mileage, there are a few signs that will tell you if you need to replace your spark plugs:

  • Trouble starting your engine
  • A drop in fuel mileage
  • Is rough when idling

It’s easy to have your spark plugs looked at by taking your car to a mechanic. It’s a fairly low-priced replacement that will keep your car running smoothly.

There are many car insurance companies out there that promise you they have the cheapest car insurance. Come get a car insurance quote online from Direct Auto Insurance and drive your way to better savings. Or come in or give us a call at 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732).

Keep reading for more car maintenance tips.

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