Your car isn’t a car without the engine. You should always be aware of how your engine is running, but if you own a used vehicle, it can be even more important to pay attention to what's under the hood.

Repairing an engine can be costly and time consuming. But, there are some simple steps you can take to maintain it to give you a better chance of avoiding trouble. Here are some key things you should do to keep your engine running longer.

Keep Up On Your Service Schedule

If you want to prevent wasting time at an auto shop, it’s important to know when you should take your car in for regular service. Reading your owner’s manual will help you know when you should schedule maintenance for your vehicle.

You can even save yourself time and money by learning to change your oil and filter at home. But, for bigger jobs—such as radiator hoses, the battery, spark plugs and coolant inspections—you may be more comfortable taking your car in to have a professional look at it.

Fix Minor Issues Immediately

It’s easy to neglect minor engine issues, but the longer you put them off, the worse it could get. Make sure you’re listening to your engine and paying attention to its performance when you drive. If you notice any new sounds or performance issues, it’s better to be safe than sorry and have a mechanic take a look.

Clean the Engine Once a Year

cleaning car engineBecause the engine isn’t something you can see, it’s easy to forget to clean it. As dirt and grime build up, it can cause the engine to run hot, which can reduce its life span, so cleaning it is something you'll want to do periodically. Keeping the engine clean can also make it easier to detect any leaks, so you can fix any of these issues quickly.

To clean, remove any debris such as leaves, grass, and twigs. Then, apply an engine degreaser and let it soak in for however long the instructions indicate. While this is soaking, scrub off any grime on the engine using a stiff bristled brush. Finally, using a regular hose, rinse the engine off.

Drive Your Car

It's important to drive your car at least once a week to prevent issues such as fluid loss and dust build up. For many people who have long commutes, daily driving in stop-and-go conditions can be especially hard on your engine. Even though the less you drive, the longer the engine’s life, sitting for long periods without running can be damaging as well.

Bottom Line

The engine is the heart of your car, and it’s very important to take care of it. Maintaining the engine doesn’t need to be a stressful and costly task. Just make sure you’re checking up on it every now and again.

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