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Procrastination and engine maintenance are like oil and water.

Putting off routine maintenance or a needed engine repair is a good way to turn a small problem into a major one. Avoid that by regularly checking your engine’s “health” and making engine repairs or adjustments promptly.

Some common causes of engine problems: 1

 

Cause

Cause

What to do

Infrequent oil changes

Engine oil keeps the moving, rotating parts of your engine well lubricated. If not changed regularly, the oil breaks down. Friction increases, causing mechanical wear and contaminating the engine with carbon deposits and sludge.

Check the engine oil level with the dipstick. If low, add oil. If it looks dirty, get the oil changed.

Check the engine oil level with the dipstick. If low, add oil. If it looks dirty, get the oil changed.

Driving while oil level is low

The level of oil in your engine drops continually because some of it gets burned up in the engine. Driving with a very low oil level can cause serious engine damage.

If the “low oil” warning light comes on and stays on, pull off the road when it’s safe to do so, turn the engine off and call an engine repair service.

Car overheating

An internal combustion engine produces a lot of heat. A cooling system problem, such as a leak, can cause the engine to overheat, which can result in serious damage.

If your temperature gauge is in the red and/or your yellow “low coolant” light comes on, pull over when it’s safe to do so as soon as you can. Turn off the engine, pop the hood from inside the car and call an engine repair service.

Sporadic tune-ups

Without regular tune-ups, your engine can act sluggish, lack power, misfire or run rough.

Follow the service schedule in your user’s manual.

Not changing your air filter

A dirty air filter can restrict the air supply to your engine, causing sluggishness and lack of power.

Typically, you should replace your oil filter every 15,000-20,000 miles. Less if you regularly drive on unpaved or dusty roads.

Tip: Some engine repairs can be costly. If your repair is more than $200, Synchrony Car Care can help you with special financing. Click here for more information.

Don’t forget the spark plugs

Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel that your engine uses to run on. When one or more wear out, your vehicle’s performance suffers. The six warning signs that you might need a spark plug replacement are: rough idling, trouble starting your vehicle, engine misfires, engine surging, high fuel consumption and lack of acceleration.2 Typically, you should replace your spark plugs every 30,000 miles (consult your owner's manual for your specific interval). 3

Tip: When you replace your spark plugs, it’s a good idea to inspect your ignition cables, and if worn, replace them as well. 4

Learn More

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/maintenance-repair/index.htm

http://www.samarins.com/maintenance/engmain2.html

Sources

1 http://www.samarins.com/maintenance/engmain2.html

2 http://www.motoringabout.com/when-to-change-spark-plugs/

3 http://www.autozone.com/landing/page.jsp?name=fall-tune-up

4http://www.motoringabout.com/when-to-change-spark-plugs/

Additional Sources

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/what-to-do-if-your-car-overheats.html

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