An engine is the heart of a car and to keep it in good shape it is important to lubricate and maintain it properly. Proper lubrication and maintenance will give the engine more protection and power as well as help to perform efficiently. Over all this helps to extend life of the engines.
Engine oils need to be changed periodically otherwise it will lose its protective properties and will no longer be able to enhance performance of engines.
The following are some simple ways of maintenance of automotive engines.
Regular Oil Changes
Engine comprises of a number of moving and rotating parts and needs to be well lubricated. The engine oil does this function. As one drives, engine oil gradually degrades. It loses its lubricating qualities and carbonizes under high temperatures. Engine oils need to be changed periodically/at recommended intervals otherwise it will lose its protective properties and will no longer be able to enhance performance of engines. The friction would slowly increase causing mechanical wear and the engine will slowly get contaminated with carbon deposits or sludge
Over time, the engine oil level drops because some amount of oil gets burned inside the engine. One needs to check the oil level at regular intervals. Driving with very low oil level can cause serious engine damage. Check with a dipstick the level of oil and do top-ups if required. It takes just a couple minutes to check the oil level.
Location of the dip stick
Easiest way to find it is to check your owner's manual. It can be found in the maintenance section.
Using engine oil only of the recommended viscosity and grade
Viscosity of the engine oil for a particular vehicle is based on the type of the engine and the application of the vehicle. It is advised that one should fill up only the recommended viscosity and grade.
Protecting the engine from overheating
Fuel burned inside the engine produces a lot of heat. The cooling system helps to keep the engine temperature under control. The cooling system circulates liquid coolant from the engine into the radiator installed in the front of the car where the coolant is cooled down by the air flow passing through the radiator fins.
If there is a problem with the cooling system the engine starts to overheat which can result in serious damage to the engine. One of the common problems with a cooling system is lack of coolant caused by leaks. Coolant leaks are very common in many cars. It is important to keep the coolant level to the full. Coolant level should be regularly. The owner's manual generally has the directions
Caution: The coolant overflow reservoir or the radiator should never be opened when the engine is hot.
DISPOSAL OF ENGINE OIL
Used oil can get into waterways and contaminate ground water supplies resulting in increased pollution. One has to be extra conscious. When getting the vehicle serviced, please ensure the arrangements have been made to dispose of used oil in a safe and responsible way.
DO IT YOURSELF
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHILE CHANGING OIL
· Wear gloves
· Drain used oil into a leak proof container
· Use a funnel for transfer
· Skin should be cleaned with a degreaser immediately in case oil spills
· Do not mix other substances with the used oil, such as anti-freeze or transmission fluid
· Avoid containers that previously held paint, petrol, bleach, cleaners or other automotive fluids, as they can contain residues that contaminate the oil or cause chemical reactions
· Do not dispose the used oil in drains. Instead go to a centre that has disposable barrels. Thereby you can help controlling environment.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR OIL YOURSELF
Now you can easily learn how to change your car’s oil yourself.
Keep a written record of the mileage and date for each oil change. That way, it will be easy to keep track of when your next change should take place. However, always keep in mind the safety tips and follow the guide/owner’s manual carefully to avoid any accidents:
Step 1 – Choose your oil
Choose your oil according to your car usage. Check your owner’s manual to ensure that you have chosen the oil that is perfect for your car. Also keep in mind any special requirements or conditions and the warranty recommendations. If your car usage puts an extra strain on your engine then you’ll need to change your oil more frequently.
Step 2 – Prepare your vehicle
Before getting under your car, always check and consult with your owner’s manual for directions and safety. Always use a portable wheel ramp to hold your vehicle up as a jack is very unstable. Cold oil will not drain properly so before starting work, drive your car around to raise the oil temperature to bring it to normal operating temperature. Then switch off the engine and raise the bonnet to loosen the oil filler cap to avoid creating a vacuum. This will allow the oil to drain from the bottom more freely.
Step 3 – Drain the old oil
First, locate the oil drain plug on the underside of your vehicle. It will be located at the bottom rear end of the engine sump or oil pan. Place the drain pan underneath the drain plug and slightly toward the back. Using your wrench, turn the plug anti-clockwise until it rotates freely. Finish removing the plug by hand. You must be careful of the oil now as it may be hot and pour out quickly. Most drain-plugs also use a sealing washer so be careful not to lose it.
Step 4 – Remove the oil filter
After you have drained the oil, loosen the oil filter by turning it anticlockwise with a filter wrench. Complete the removal by hand, taking care not to touch the hot exhaust manifold. Ensure that you are wearing protective gloves. The oil filter may be filled with oil, so carefully ease it down and away from the engine and tip its contents into the drain pan. Some oil filters are mounted horizontally and when loosened they will leak engine oil. Be prepared for this.
Step 5 – Replace the oil filter
Take your rag and wipe in and around the filter seat on the engine to clean it. Then take a new filter and use your finger to apply a light film of oil to act as a sealant to the gasket. Carefully screw the new filter onto the threaded oil line, turning it clockwise. Once it is aligned properly, the filter will thread on easily. Continue to tighten the filter by hand, however take care not to over tighten. Clean the oil plug and copper gasket and then align them and replace the plug. Thereafter, screw the plug in by hand and finish by tightening it with a wrench.
Step 6 – Add clean oil
Carefully release the handbrake and allow the car to slowly roll back down the ramp to level ground. Please note that you must not run the engine at this stage or severe damage will occur. On the top of the engine you will find the Oil Filler Cap usually marked with the symbol of an oil-can. Unscrew this cap and proceed to fill the engine with the required quantity of oil, checking with the dipstick to assure proper fill level. Replace the cap and wipe off any spillage. The oil light should go out as soon as the engine is started. Run the engine for several minutes, then switch it off and check the dipstick once again to assure proper oil level. If it is not, then add some more oil. Ensure that you also check under the vehicle for leaks – especially around the oil filter and sump drain plug.
Step 7 – Dispose your used oil
Now you must carefully dispose of your used oil. Used motor oil is highly toxic to the environment and it's of the utmost importance that it's disposed of in a safe fashion. Carefully transfer the used oil to a non-leak sealed container. Avoid plastic bottles that previously held paint, petrol, bleach, cleaners or other automotive fluids, as they can contain residues that contaminate the oil or cause chemical reactions. Do not mix other substances with the used oil, such as anti-freeze or transmission fluid as it can be dangerous. You can ask at your local garage about options for safe disposal. Mostly, the garage in your area will take the oil off your hands and arrange for it to be recycled or safely disposed of or contact an environmental agency that can direct you towards an alternative option.