How to Maintain Your Engine
Nothing would be more satisfying than having your car run forever with no leaks or breakdowns and an endless supply of fuel.
Would be nice, right?
But we all know engines require regular maintenance if you want to keep them in prime running condition. When you adhere to a smart maintenance schedule and refer to your owner’s manual (because every car is different), you can rely on your vehicle to get to any destination, whether you’re heading to work or taking a quick trip.
Rislone engineers design our performance chemicals to help improve the efficiency of your vehicle. We’ve been doing this since 1921. You can only place as much reliance on your car as what you put into maintaining the engine, especially as the miles increase. Proper upkeep is key to a dependable car, truck or SUV, so learn how to protect your engine by following our maintenance tips.
Advantages of General Engine Maintenance
Having a maintenance schedule is vital for any motor — cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, boats and heavy equipment. Neglecting your engine can lead to expensive repairs that you can otherwise avoid by making sure various components are up to snuff. Maintenance is a crucial aspect of owning a car to ensure it runs well, but it offers other advantages as well, including:
Boosted Resale Value
If you keep your car well-maintained, it will command a higher resale value when you’re ready to part with your set of wheels. If you blow off proper upkeep, you will experience a more challenging resale market (trust us, we’ve seen it happen to customers we’ve talked to).
Potential buyers will conduct inspections and will often ask for maintenance activities and records. Showing that your vehicle has been cared for with proper upkeep can help sell your car at a higher price, end of story. This is one of the biggest arguments for staying on top of maintenance.
Enhanced Performance and Reliability
Engines are very reliable these days, but they are still machines.
While some components last for thousands of miles, others wear faster and require more upkeep. When you make sure each system is running well, you get a more reliable car. By adding chemical supplements (namely fuel and engine/oil treatments), you can enhance the performance of your engine during regular checkups.
Although no car is completely sustainable, you can still do your part of contributing to a cleaner environment. For example, when you avoid burning oil excessive gasoline, you help prevent pollution from reaching the air and waterways. A well-maintained engine will produce massively lower levels of pollutants.
Having a checklist and doing regular maintenance will help your car run run better. A maintained engine is also a safe engine, and a safe engine helps create a safe car. When fluid levels are topped, and other systems are running as they should, it improves your safety by decreasing breakdowns and causing fewer accidents.
Ever see a totally neglected car flying down the highway at 80 MPH, with body panels hanging loose and a muffler dragging?
Yeah, you have.
That is the furthest thing from safe that we can think of. You don’t want to be that guy.
Driving with a high-performing engine means you have a reduced chance of breakdowns caused by overheating, low oil levels and fuel problems. If you can avoid pulling over on a busy highway, you can remain safe and not have to worry about calling roadside assistance.
Even as your car gets older, proper engine maintenance gives your vehicle far better longevity. Think of maintenance as weight training and a proper diet for your car. It’s preventative medicine.
Reduced Repair Costs
Owning a car is expensive in itself, especially if it’s straight from the dealership. But when you have to handle repair costs on top of your monthly payments, it becomes a massive investment. By implementing small repairs and maintenance steps when necessary, you can avoid extensive overhauls in the future.
This cannot be overlooked – repairs are way cheaper when you don’t have to make them because your car never fell out of maintenance.
Tips for Keeping a Healthy Engine
Professional mechanics aren’t the only ones who can inspect different engine components. If you want to learn how to protect your engine by undertaking regular maintenance, you can refer to our eight maintenance tips easily. Each one plays a critical role in keeping your engine running like it should.
After investigating several fluid levels, hoses, wires, and filters, you’ll be able to determine which areas need top-ups, repairs or new parts. You can often rely on performance chemicals to enhance your engine’s operations. However, when you come across more serious and detrimental faults within the system, you should refer to the expertise of a maintenance shop. To make sure your engine stays healthy, be sure to:
Adjust Spark Plugs and Wires
Wires within your car send electrical currents to the spark plugs when you turn the ignition. In return, the plugs generate a spark to ignite the air and fuel mixture in the cylinder.
Point is, change the spark plugs and wires at recommended intervals — and do both at the same time to ensure a steady electrical current. They can also form a buildup of corrosion and develop a larger electrode gap over time. Swapping out the components for new ones will ensure the engine operates well.
The best part? This isn’t terribly expensive.
Change Oil and Filters
Changing your oil and oil filters is one of the most vital engine maintenance tips you can follow. Oil is what lubricates your engine’s gears to help prevent overheating. The recommended frequency of oil changes depends on several things, like the age of your car and how many miles you drive each year. It’s best to refer to your maintenance manual and manufacturer’s suggestion for the correct oil change interval.
On average, drivers change their oil every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. If you have an older car, it may suggest oil services sooner than 5,000 miles.
If your vehicle requires synthetic motor oil, it can last up to 15,000 miles between oil services. Many modern cars use synthetic oil to provide more protection against the higher temperatures and tighter engine tolerances. Synthetic options also last longer and are superior at lubricating your engine at low temperatures.
(Yes, they’re more expensive, but they’re overall worth it for the protection and longer intervals alone.)
No engine can function without oil. If you neglect changes for extended periods, it can cause increased friction and permanent damage to various components. Worst case, you can “seize” the engine, making it a permanent boat anchor. Changing old oil will get rid of contaminants such as dirt, water, chemicals, metal scrapings and other impurities.
Oil also breaks down over time from high temperatures, causing it to lose its lubricating characteristics. As a result, carbon deposits form on the engine’s internal parts. Oil sludge inside the system can trigger the check engine light in some engine designs. Friction from the carbon deposits can even elevate wear and tear.
If you change your own oil, when you drain the old oil into a pan, make sure to recycle the used oil properly.
Oil filters also need replacing at the same time as the oil. Filters trap dirt and debris to keep it from reaching the engine. Installing a new one and changing the oil will help your engine run smoothly with lubricated parts.
Whether you’re swapping out old oil for new or topping off, you never want to opt for the cheapest oil brand to save money. Instead, invest in a high-quality solution each time.
For example, you can supplement your engine with our fully-synthetic Nano Prime Engine + Oil Performance Booster, which is the most advanced engine/oil product we’ve ever developed. The patented MoS₂ with WS₂ nano technology chemical protects internal engine components, maximizes horsepower and torque and repairs light engine wear by filling and coating worn metal surfaces. If you want a more conventional engine treatment, you can also invest in our legendary Rislone Engine Treatment (100QR), which is literally the product that made Rislone famous with everyday drivers as well as Indy 500 race teams.
Check for Leaks
Oil and antifreeze are common liquids that seep through seals and hoses. You can check for leaks by inspecting for puddles under your car and looking under the hood. You can also tell if you have a leak if smelling potent odors that weren’t there before. Cracked hoses most often cause leaks, along with failed hose clamps. Extreme heat and pressure from the engine can cause the rubber material to fail and break. We see it all the time.
Fluids can also leak where a rubber seal meets silicon. Seals can break down over time and allow fluid to seep through. Immediately taking care of leaks will prevent further damage and save you from losing fluid.
Watch for Dashboard Warning Lights
Many of us hope our check engine light or tire pressure indicator will go away the next time we turn on the car.
Guess what? That’s typically magical thinking.
The worst thing you can do is neglect the different warning signs as they appear on your dashboard. Some lights may indicate a minor problem, while others mean something more substantial.
Either way, it can turn into a severe issue if you don’t get it checked. You can run a diagnostic test to determine the problem or take your vehicle to a mechanic. Most auto parts retailers (AutoZone, O’Reilly’s, Advance, Pep Boys) will also pull engine diagnostic codes for you. While the check engine light is one of the major indications, others include battery, alternator, engine temperature and low oil pressure.
Inspect Cooling System
The cooling system is an important part of the engine that keeps the system from overheating. That much is fairly self-explanatory.
The cooling system contains the thermostat, radiator, coolant and water pump. When the engine becomes hot, the thermostat indicates when the coolant, or radiator fluid, needs to circulate throughout the engine, and when the fan should kick on. The water pump pulls the liquid from the radiator and shoots it into the engine block. The coolant then comes back to the radiator to cool down.
Check the coolant level by inspecting the coolant tank. Ensure the liquid is above the minimum mark and below the maximum. If your car begins to overheat with the right amount of coolant level, refer to the experts for additional support.
Your vehicle’s belts (often called a serpentine belt) helps run various gears and subsystems within the engine, such as the alternator, fan, water pump and AC unit. The belts get a ton of use every time you turn on your car, and over time, belts can stretch, wear and crack. You will want to replace the belts as soon as you see signs of wear. If a belt breaks while driving, it can cause severe damage to your engine, strand you on the side of the road, and put you at risk of an accident.
Turn the belt over to check for cracks and damage. If the component is squealing when you turn the ignition, it may need replacement or adjustment.
Replace Fuel Filter and Top-Up Gas
We all know one person who drives their car down to the last bit of fuel before heading to the gas station.
(Half of us in the Rislone office operate this way. Don’t hate!)
However, it’s more detrimental than most think. If you run your car on empty, it will pull accumulated sediment from the bottom of the gas tank, causing it to reach the engine and cause damage. Although the fuel filter will catch most of the debris, sediment that makes it through the fuel lines will make your engine work harder.
You also want to replace the system’s fuel filter to keep your engine running at its best. It will keep the gas clean as it reaches the engine and will create less buildup of sediment.
Swap Engine Air Filters
Every engine needs a continuous flow of air with no restrictions. Air filters capture contaminants ranging from dirt and leaves to bugs, sand and other pollutants. The filters prevent various materials from reaching the engine. Over time, the screens can become clogged and need replacing.
If you fail to replace them regularly, the filter can’t deliver clean air to the engine. When it becomes clogged, you will experience less power when accelerating.
Proper engine maintenance requires dedication to your schedule to ensure you’re driving a dependable car that can transport you five miles down the road and 800 miles across several states.
Especially when it comes to your system’s oil, it’s imperative you put in what you expect the engine to put out. The Rislone Compression Repair with Ring Seal (4447) treatment, for example, is available to restore lost power and worn engines while rebuilding compression and repairing engine blow-by.
How to Know if Your Engine Needs a Tune-Up
The best thing you can do is inspect your car, truck or SUV frequently. Check your owner’s manual and refer to your vehicle’s manufacturer for specifics on how often you should inspect your engine. The manual can indicate how to check specific parts related to your car’s make and model. Keep an eye out for:
- Excessive debris in filters
- Leaks on pavement or other engine components
- Low cooling system levels
- Low oil levels
- Poor acceleration
- Rough idle and misfiring
- Squealing noises upon startup
- Warning lights
Understanding how different engine components work, and what you can expect performance-wise, will help you stay on top of a maintenance agenda. Whether you need to replace an air filter or perform a simple top-up of fluid, you can keep your engine running to its best ability.
How to Maintain Your Engine With Rislone Performance Chemicals
Rislone is at the forefront of engineering products that help maintain and improve your vehicle’s performance. With more than 95 years of experience in the industry, we have honed in on the development of exceptional products that can advance the longevity of your car and keep it at its maximum operating levels. We form a relationship with you to understand your particular needs, and value the time and effort you put into maintaining your car.
Learn how Rislone engine products can help protect your engine. You can also find Rislone products at a store near you, or contact us for further details about how we can support your regular maintenance program.