Mechanics might be paid to maintain or fix your car’s engine, but the person who takes care of it is you. Thankfully, doing so is simple. Here are some hacks you can master.
1. Read your car’s manual
What grade of fuel does your car need? How do you warm the engine up properly? Can you wash the engine without damaging it? The answers to these and so much more are probably sitting in your glovebox right now, somewhere inside the Owner’s Manual.
Often-neglected but immeasurably useful, the manual is perhaps the single best source of information for you to get the most out of every part of your car, including the engine.
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2. Drive hard from time to time
You read that correctly: drive hard, because engines can benefit from exercise. Revving the engine helps to keep the intake system clean and could prevent carbon deposits from build-ing up. Conversely, short trips at slow speeds tend to accelerate carbon buildup.
Just be sure that you have already completed your car's breaking-in procedure, which occurs during the first few hours of use — it is a process of moving parts wearing against each other so they settle in together perfectly just like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle — and also ensure that the engine is up to working temperature before you work it hard.
Remember to obey the law and keep within the speed limits while you’re at it.
3. Clean the fuel system
Modern fuel-injected cars deliver petrol in a super-fine, precisely-controlled mist, so any dirt in the injector nozzles can make an engine run poorly. It’s worthwhile cleaning the fuel injectors from time to time — workshops sell additives that do the job — but what’s even better is to keep them from getting clogged in the first place.
You can do that by choosing a fuel with advanced cleaning formulation. The latest formulation of Esso’s Synergy petrol includes a greater concentration of cleaners designed to keep fuel injectors in top condition, for example. Regular use should help scrub your car’s fuel system, but filling up with the top grade Esso Synergy Supreme+ from time-to-time might be a nice detox for your car —
4. Cool it down
Just as warming up an engine properly is crucial to its long-term health, a proper cool-down can help prolong its life too. This is especially true of turbocharged engines, which have parts that get extremely hot — sometimes the gases flowing past the turbine can exceed 800 deg C, more than twice as hot as the inside of a nuclear reactor!
Excess heat degrades the engine’s lubricant, especially when you shut down the engine, after which its pumps no longer circulate fluids to dissipate heat.
There’s no need to let your car sit at idle for a few minutes before shutting it off, but to cool it down prior to parking, simply drive it gently for the final minutes of your journey.
5. Fill up with higher Octane petrol
Before you do this, know that only some high-performance engines are designed to run on high-octane fuel as they are made to take advantage of it.
You could ask your car’s authorised distributor if its engine is designed to make more power on premium petrol, or you could simply try it out for yourself and see if you detect any difference.
Engines that have knock sensors (devices that detect faulty ignition) can detune themselves to run safely on low-octane petrol, sacrificing some horsepower in the process. On the flipside, some engines can tune themselves up to take advantage of higher-octane fuels.
As far as engine enhancements go, consider feeding your car with a tank full of Esso Synergy Supreme+ as this new fuel has been formulated to provide improved performance in vehicles that can benefit from higher octane. The Esso Synergy Supreme+ is designed to protect your engine while improving responsiveness and performance so your engine runs more smoothly.
This article is brought to you by Esso Singapore.