An engine is made up of a large number of important moving parts, such as pistons, crankshaft, valves and the camshaft to name a few. Engine oil plays several important roles in ensuring that these all work together properly.
So what function does the oil perform in an engine?
Oil is a lubricant. Oil reduces friction and wear that occurs when parts move against each other, for example between the cylinder liner and piston ring, or the camshaft.
Assists in heat dispersion. Engine oil absorbs the heat produced in the engine combustion chambers and piston under crown area, cooling the engine and helping to prevent overheating.
As a sealant. Motor oil seals the space between the piston ring and the cylinder liner to prevent combustion pressure and engine power from escaping.
Oil is also a detergent and rust inhibitor. It neutralises acids produced by combustion gases, preventing rusting, corrosion and damage to essential components.
Easy to follow tips:
- Engine oil level should be regularly checked regardless of vehicle age.
- Only top up oil with correct grade as specified by manufacturer.
- When topping up oil do not exceed the maximum recommend level.
Tyre care is essential for maintaining vehicle safety. Tyres should be checked on a regular basis and before any long driving trips. Correctly maintained tyres will improve fuel economy, extend tyre life and improve vehicle safety.
- Tyre inflation should be checked every two weeks when cold, recommended pressure can be found in the owner’s manual.
- Abnormal wear patterns indicate possible wheel alignment or suspension problems.
- Vibrations in the steering indicate the tyres may require balancing.
- Make sure that tyres have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread depth.
- Power Steering
Power steering fluid should be checked regularly to ensure it is filled to capacity.
- The fluid can be checked via the reservoir. For the specific location relating to your vehicle please check your owner’s manual.
- Only use the recommended oil for your car, this information can be found in your owner’s manual.
- Never over fill the reservoir.
The battery is the key component of your car’s electrical system and the main cause of vehicle breakdowns. A number of simple steps can be taken to ensure your battery is kept in optimum condition all year round.
- Check battery terminals regularly to ensure they are clean and tight.
- Ensure that the electrolyte level is correct, if topping up only use distilled water. Many newer batteries are maintenance free and won’t require topping up.
- Make sure the battery is secure.
- If your battery has not been replaced in 3 – 4 years consider a replacement as battery failures often occur with no warning.
- Lights and Electrical Components
Lights are critical for vehicle safety. Electrical components including horns and window demisters need to be checked as well to ensure correct operation on a regular basis.
- Check you lights regularly to ensure they work correctly.
- Only use the recommended globes, this information can be found in your owner’s manual.
- Check other electrical components i.e. horns, window demisters regularly to ensure correct operation.
Your vehicle’s cooling system is vital to the operation of your vehicle. Driving at freeway speeds and hot summer days put a lot of stress on your vehicle’s cooling system. Basic checks can assist in maintaining your vehicle’s cooling system.
- Only inspect your cooling system when the engine is cold. Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot.
- Check coolant level regularly.
- Only use the recommended coolant for your vehicle, this can be found in the owner’s manual.
- If your cooling system requires regular refilling there may be a leak in the system.
Brakes are a vital component of your vehicle. Poor brake performance and condition can result in substantially longer braking distances potentially placing you and your passengers in danger.
- Squealing brakes, grinding on your rotors or unusual vibrations may indicate your brakes need replacing.
- Another sign of worn brakes is poor brake performance.
- Ensure that your vehicle’s brake fluid is full.
- Always use the recommended brake fluid for you vehicle, this can be found in your owner’s manual.
Most transmission work is best left to the experts, however the following tips will help ensure your transmission operates correctly.
- Ensure that the transmission fluid level remains filled to the correct level, check owner’s manual for details on checking levels.
- Ensure fluid is not discoloured or burnt.
- Always use the correct type of oil for your car, this can be found by referring to your owner’s manual.
Maintenance of suspension components is vital to ensure vehicle safely. Worn suspension components can increase your stopping distance by up to 20%. In addition properly-functioning suspension ensures a more comfortable ride for passengers.
- Suspension components should be checked regularly for any signs of physical damage and excess wear.
- Shock absorbers should be checked for fluid leaks.
- Check your suspension when driving for any abnormalities i.e. steering wheel vibration, nose diving when stopping.
If you have any concerns with any of these items, go and see your mechanic to check out!!!