Home Featured How can I make my car engine last longer?

How can I make my car engine last longer?

by Navyatha Sandiri

As one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, it makes sense to take care of your car engine so it lasts as long as possible. Ten things here that you can do to extend your life and save some dollars on the way. You can do this.

Keep It Serviced

Probably the most obvious one on the list, but also one that is often overlooked. Modern cars can easily exceed their scheduled service intervals without you actually noticing – but the reality is that you don’t favor your engine by neglecting it.

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Always stick to the recommended service intervals, and there’s no harm in doing it a few hundred miles early or more often if you’re planning to keep your car going for a long time.

A well-maintained car will not only last longer but will also have more fuel efficiency, better performance, and better resale value.

Don’t Ignore Issues

Can you hear a noise knocking over bumps which weren’t there before? Perhaps there’s a bit of a grinding feeling when you go around left-hand turns?

Don’t just turn the stereo on, and hope it’s going to repair itself-it won’t. A neglected wheel bearing that has started to go bad can cause the hub to overheat, which can damage the CV joint and result in a much larger and more expensive repair.

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A radiator fan on the blink could overheat the car in traffic which could burst the head gasket … There are several cases of failing components which can have snowballing effects.

If you think there’s something out there, don’t wait to find out what happens when it fails!

Don’t Skimp On Oil

Oil is the engine’s lifeblood and old dirty oil is about to shorten its life. Do not use cheap oil, just go with the advice of the manufacturers and never exceed the intervals for oil shift.

Please replace the oil filter when you turn to oil. Rather of using an engine flush (which may be too hard on certain engines) for added value, try refilling with cheaper oil, and switch again after a few hundred miles with higher brand oil.


If that sounds like a lot of work, you might want to look at buying a vacuum oil extractor – it makes oil change a fast and painless affair as the oil is extracted through the dipstick tube, rather than messing under the car.

Keep It Clean

It might sound a little dumb but keeping your car clean is going to prolong your life. Dirt and grime encourage rust (especially in the winter months, with salt on the roads). While your car may have a galvanized frame, none of the under-carriage components are resistant to rust. Bushings and suspension components can have a shorter life span if they are ignored and left coated in muck-so get out there with the hose and keep it clean, even the parts you can’t see!

Warm Up

When you start it from cold the most damage is caused to an engine. Hot oil is less viscous and when you start the engine, it’s all just sitting in the oil tank. To lubricate those parts, first, it needs to be pumped around the engine, but second, it needs to get warm before it becomes effective.


Rapidly bringing the engine up to temperature is good for the engine so don’t start it up and leave it idling, contrary to common belief. It will take forever for a cold engine to warm up when it is not under any load (especially if it is a diesel engine).

The best practice to get the engine started, let it idle for just 30-60 seconds to allow the oil to circulate, then drive gently for the first few miles until the engine reaches its normal working temperature. Never rev the engine excessively in cold weather. Once the needle of temperature begins to move, or the heater blows warmly, you are free to drive normal.

Cool Down

This is most critical for turbocharged vehicles. If you’ve driven ‘enthusiastically’ the turbo would be hot at the higher revs – really hot! So drive ‘off-boost’ for the last few miles of your trip, as though you were taking your mom to the supermarket.

This allows everything to circulate and cool down, rather than switching off a scorching hot engine, which by cooking the oil can shorten the life of the turbo bearings.

You don’t just want to let it rest, because the lack of ventilation would heat the motor bay. It’s not so much an issue on modern cars with water-cooled turbos, but always beginning and finishing your journey with gentle driving is wise.

Gears or Brakes

One wise man said once, “Brakes are better than a gearbox.” If you’re used to slowing down your car by flipping through the gears, consider shifting your driving style to focus more on the brakes than braking the engines. Doing so is always good but just be mindful that it puts extra tension on the gearbox and the clutch.

To keep the transmission in good condition, the safest way to cycle through the gears is to suit the revs as easily as possible, and not to turn quickly while you run the quarter-mile!

Regular Check Ups

Preventative servicing is never a bad thing. Get familiar with your car and the engine bay – remove the plastic engine cover (if there is one) and take a quick look at all the hoses and wires.

Check for leakage of fluid, and sticky residue that can point to a leaky gasket. You don’t have to be a mechanic in order to know that something is looking wrong.

Inspect the car at least every few weeks, including tire pressures and levels of oil, and bring something unusual to your mechanic’s attention.

Thorough Workout

While it is reasonable that sensible driving is best for the life expectancy of a car’s engine, it can be a bad thing actually to drive gently all the time!

Known to many as the ‘Italian Tune-Up’ a dose of spirited driving can be beneficial indeed. It can help remove carbon deposits on older engines, and cleaning the diesel particulate filters (DPFs) on diesel engines is needed. Go out on the highway when there’s not much traffic and drive for a period of time at medium to high rpm to blow out the cobwebs, and regenerate the DPFs.

Lighten the load

What’s inside your cargo or trunk? If you’re like most people you’re going to take more with you than your fair share of garbage around. The heavier the car, the greater the stress on the mechanical and suspension parts, let alone the engine.

While we are not talking about massive gains, ensuring you do not carry unnecessary extra weight makes sense. For nothing else, you can get a few extra mpg out of the engine!