The car engine is the heart of the car, so you need to take good care of it. But most of us are too scared to touch the engine out of fear that we may affect its working in some way.
Here are some frequently asked questions about your car engine you could use to ease your fears.
Q) Is it safe to use a degreaser on the engine? A) Yes, it’s perfectly safe. What you need to do is first warm up the car engine to soften the grease and crud. Next spray the engine with high quality non-petroleum based degreaser and let it remain for a few minutes. Now hose it off with water and wipe it with a soft cloth.
Q) Is it safe to hose off the engine? A) Yes it is safe but make sure you don’t spray water on a hot engine. Sudden temperature changes can really damage your engine. Cover all the critical parts of the car before spraying water on it.
Q) How can you clean the engine internally? A) Don’t try cleaning the engine internally by adding additives. These only clog up the oil and fuel lines and create sludge in them. The best way is to change the oil and air filter.
Q) Can I clean the air intake port with my vaccum cleaner? A) No! Don’t use your vaccum cleaner near the air ports. The extra pressure may damage the sensitive air flow system. Let that job remain for the complete servicing of your car.
Q) Is it alright to scrub off the grease from the engine? A) You can scrub the engine to an extent but not too much. The initial coating given by the manufacturer is put over 3 days by warming and hardening. So it won’t come off quickly. Be patient. Excessive scrubbing can also damage the paint job on your engine.
Cooling systems can be your best friend when operating efficiently. Cooling system maintenance can often become your worst enemy.
Heed these 10 cooling system maintenance tips and you're well on your way to ensuring your cooling system won't let you down.
1. Keep your engine and engine compartment, as well as your radiator fins and grill, as clean as possible. A clean engine runs much cooler - and it's much easier to work on. 2. Replace coolant at or before factory recommended intervals with the proper type, mixture and volume of coolant. Always allow the coolant system to rid itself of air before installing the radiator cap. 3. Replace all cooling system hoses - upper and lower radiator hoses, bypass hoses, heater hoses, manifold coolant hoses and any other hoses on your vehicle - whenever you even suspect there may be a problem. All hoses should be replaced at least every two years. 4. Replace the thermostat with the original temperature setting equivalent. The electronics in your vehicle may use that setting for other controls. Do not substitute under any circumstances. 5. Replace the radiator/expansion tank cap with the original pressure setting and OE-type equivalent. Some aftermarket substitutions do not seal and hold pressure properly on foreign-manufactured cars. Again, don't substitute. 6. Adjust or replace the water pump drive belt (external) at recommended intervals or more frequently, if required. Check belts whenever you're working on any coolant system components. 7. Replace your water pump with an OEM/OES pump at the first signs of trouble or when your timing belt and tensioner are replaced. Watch for signs of overheating - you don't want to break down in the hot sun when your water pump fails. 8. Replace the fan clutch and/or fan blade as needed (if applicable). Your car's temperature gauge is often your best guide as to when your fan clutch needs attention. 9. Replace temperature sensors as required by diagnosis. Leave troubleshooting of your sensors to experts who have the proper equipment and diagrams. 10. Keep your entire vehicle properly maintained because of the effect timing, idle speed, exhaust and other systems have on your engine's temperature. Your car's cooling system is designed to function with all other systems operating properly. It cannot make up for a poorly operating or overheating engine condition.
Car care during monsoons is crucial especially for the better running of your car. Here are a few important things you need to make a note of:
Tyres Make sure your car tyres are in excellent condition before the monsoons arrive, as they will be in constant touch with the wet slippery roads. To avoid skids and unwanted jolts, make sure your tyres have good tread depth. Compromising on this could prove dangerous. Car tires should be minimum 2mm in depth, including your spare. Fine parts of dust get entrenched in the tyres, causing them to skid. Rubber has a tendency to soften when it comes in contact with water. Check the tyre pressure regularly and inflate it to recommended pressure when it is cold. This increases driving comfort and the life of your tyres.
Wipers The wiper blades are better when new. Always make sure they are of good quality, non-streaking and smooth functioning. The wiper blades should not be hard and cracked, as they will cause scratches on the windscreen. Check that the wipers are working in all the three speeds (normal, slow, fast) before you start out on your drive. Instead of ordinary water for your windshield wiper, try using some solution like soap solution for better visibility.
Brakes The most crucial part of a vehicle, brakes calipers must be regularly cleaned and replaced. Brakes should not be too loose or too tight. Keep using the car brakes as water may make the brake drums wet, causing low braking efficiency. Keep taking your car for regular service check-ups. You can dry out the wet brakes by placing your left foot on the brake pedal and gently moving the throttle with your right foot. Make sure the handbrake works fine.
Car Finish To avoid the car body from rusting, use an anti rust coating on the car fittings. Service your engine and make sure it is made water tight. It would be a good idea to use an anti-moisture spray or simply removing the plug and cleaning out the moisture with a cloth.
Car Interiors Many at times, water flows into the cabin area, damaging the carpets and flooring. Place old mats on your car floor, so that they soak up the dirty water. It would be a better option to use fabric mats rather than rubber ones. Vacuum clean the car interiors regularly and use car perfumes with light fragrances that will also make your car smell fresh. This will keep the car interiors clean and smelling fresh. If your car seats get wet, keep the windows open, to avoid the formation of fungus.
Car Electricals Patch up all the weak or loose electrical connections and check if all the external wires are insulated, as these tend to act up in the monsoons. Also check to see if all the fuses are in order and always carry a few extra fuses with you.
Increasingly nowadays people have started preferring Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as one of the most suitable options to save money in comparison to petrol or diesel. Here’s a list of top ten car care tips if you are a CNG user or aspiring to switch onto CNG.
1. Fill up with a lower-octane gasoline: Buy the lower octane gasoline that is suitable for your car. Unless your car requires premium gasoline, filling up your car with high-octane fuel is a complete waste of money. The costly premium fuel would still be incapable of boosting your car's fuel economy or performance. So just skip it.
If you're not sure, have a look at the owner's manual on which grade of fuel works best for your car. As long as your engine doesn't knock or ping when you fuel up with regular unleaded, you're good to drive on this much cheaper gas.
2. Prevent over-inflation: Don't fill your gas tank completely. Any additional gas is just going to slop around or seep out. Why to waste your money paying for gas your car won't utilize? Stop pumping at the first indication that your tank is full when the automatic nozzle clicks off.
3. Tighten up the gas lead: Gas is likely to evaporate from the gas tank if it has an escape route. In India, loose, missing or damaged gas caps allow millions of gallons of gas to evaporate each year. So be sure to tighten up the gas cap each time you fuel up your car.
4. Park in a shade: If you let your car to scorch in the sun there's going to be a greater amount of evaporative emissions that take place than you parking in the shade. So park your car in the shade of a building or tree whenever possible. And buy a good windshield shade. A windshield shade blocks sunlight and helps to keep heat out of the inside of your car.
5. Use a garage: Normally everyone have a garage! Clear it out and make room for your car. Parking in your garage will help your car stay warm in winter and cool in summer, and you won't have to depend as much on your gas-guzzling air-conditioning or defroster when you drive.
6. Pump up your tires: Your car's gas mileage may plunge by as much as 15 percent. Don't get caught driving on under inflated tires. Under inflated tires not only wear down easily but also lower the mileage. During unavoidable circumstances, drive at an optimum speed of 40.
7. Check your tire pressure every month: Buy a digital gauge and keep it in your glove box. Compare the pressure in your tires with the recommended pressure listed in your owner's manual and on the placard in your car door. Then inflate your tires as needed. Be sure to check tire pressure if your car experienced a cold weather. A good time is to investigate it early in the morning after your car's been idle overnight.
8. Keep your engine in tune: Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emission test can boost gas mileage by about four percent. So be sure to give your car regular tune-ups. You'll also want to watch out for worn spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug can reduce a car's fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
9. Replace air filters: Keep a close eye on your engine's air filter. When the engine air filter clogs with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder and your car becomes less fuel-efficient. Replacing a clogged air filter could improve your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent and save you 15 cents a gallon. It's a good idea to have your engine air filter checked at each oil change.
10. Use the right oil: You can improve your car's gas mileage by eight percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Opt for motor oil with the words ‘energy conserving’ on the API performance label. This oil contains a friction-reducing additive that helps you to enhance the mileage.
Most importantly don't skimp on maintenance. Be serious about auto care. Your car's performance largely depends on it.
This week we take a look at 5 car accessories you might want to use and why…
1. Seatbelts When your car crashes into something the impact stops the car, but also jerks your body forward and the impact of the steering wheel on your torso or head can be fatal. A seat belt helps prevent such a collision. Most of the new cars today come with seatbelts --- adjustable upper belts, shoulder belts etc. If you drive older models, get seat belts fixed. Most important, be sure that you use these belts.
2. Air Bags If you happen to crash your car, the airbags in the front inflate accordingly, depending on the speed at which you crash, and the stiffness of the object you strike. While seatbelts are the primary safety accessory, airbags offer additional protection and reduce the risk of serious head injury.
3. Safety Glass There are two basic types of safety glass. Windshields are made of plastic laminated glass while the side windows and the rear windows are made of tempered glass. When plastic glass shatters, it cracks but it does not fly in haphazard directions. So even if the occupants of the car were to collide with the glass, it would shatter but not hurt them. Tempered glass crumbles into small rounded pieces when it breaks and thus prevents long, jagged shards of glass from hurting.
4. Car Alarms Perhaps the most essential accessory of the present day, car alarms are one or more sensors connected to some sort of siren. The very simplest alarm would have a switch on the driver's door, and it would be wired so that if someone opened the door the siren would start wailing. Why would I want a car alarm? Well, some things are best left unsaid…!
5. Car Fresheners You wouldn’t fancy sitting in a car that smells of cabbage, would you? Feeling good to be in a car is very much an essential part of driving itself. So, ensure that your car smells good! A pleasant fragrance on your way to work would help in stimulating and enhancing your alertness and your aptitude for work. Ambi Pur Car is an Innovative Car Perfume that acts on your senses and adds the finishing touch to the 'good' driving experience. It comes in three flavours, Aqua, Vanilla Bouquet and After Tobacco!