An engine can last anywhere from 50 to 500,000 miles depending mostly on how well you maintain it. While some engines are certainly more reliable than others, all of them depend on maintenance to fulfill their greatest potential. KG Truck & Auto in Glen Burnie, MD has provided for you some of the determining factors of engine lifespan, to help you make sure your engine lasts as long as it possibly can.
If something is broken, fix it.
Engine malfunctions nearly always cause a snowball effect. When you notice something needs to be repaired, have it done in a timely manner, before it becomes more catastrophic. For example, a rattling timing chain might last 30,000 miles, but every time you start or run your vehicle, the excessive play lets the chain run up against things it shouldn’t. Eventually, it could eat through a water pump, causing water to enter your oil or the vehicle to overheat. Despite now needing a new water pump, metal shavings or broken pieces of your timing cover make their way into the oil pan, and can destroy an engine nearly instantly. This is one of countless examples of why repairing things before it’s too late will save you an engine. Speaking of timing chains…
Replace your timing belt/chain on time
Get your timing belt or chain replaced when or before your owner’s manual tells you to. Many modern vehicles are interference engines, meaning that if the timing belt/chain snaps, your engine’s internal parts will clash. At the least you’ll be facing an expensive fix, and more often than not you’ll be looking at a new engine.
Keep an eye on your head gasket
Make sure you take note if your technician mentions coolant in your oil or oil in your coolant. Usually, a head gasket will give you a lot of warning before it goes out completely, but condensation in your oil will cause constant damage to your engine until you get it replaced. If the head gasket altogether fails, your car may hydro lock or overheat, destroying your engine suddenly. If you know you need a head gasket, have yours replaced immediately.
Check your fluid levels
Incorrect fluid levels (typically levels which are too low, but also levels which are too high) will damage your engine. If the level gets too low, it’ll ruin it in short order. Proper coolant and oil levels (and transmission…it isn’t part of the engine, but still important) will keep your vehicle on the road much longer.
And most importantly…
Change your oil and oil filter
Change your oil regularly, and your filter every time you change your oil. Think about this one sort of like those anti-tobacco ads with the picture of a smoker’s vs. a non-smoker’s lung – if you ever see the inside of an engine which hasn’t received regular oil changes, even if it runs great, you’ll suddenly understand why oil changes are so important. When you see the inside an engine that has self-destructed due to neglected oil maintenance, it’ll drive the point home even further. Sludge buildup and debris in you engine will significantly decrease the lifespan of an engine, every time. It may feel like oil changes are beaten into the ground, but there’s a reason for that. Oil changes are the most important aspect of engine longevity. Clogged veins, weak oil flow, and degraded oil wear out every moving part throughout an engine, from top to bottom. Whether it’s instantaneous or takes years, neglecting your oil will destroy your engine. Always have your oil changed on time.
If you’d like more advice on your specific engine, or just want to make sure your engine lasts as long as possible, bring your vehicle by KG Truck & Auto and one of our technicians will put you on track to engine longevity. Let us show you how to keep your vehicle on the road for years, even decades, to come!