Engine Wear

Reducing Engine Wear

You don’t just pop open a modern car’s bonnet and restore it to working order when something goes awry. Yes, some faults are obvious and a normal person with a modicum of mechanical aptitude would be able to spot certain loose connections or broken parts, but engines are now electronically controlled and mostly impervious to the superficial tinkering of the average owner. Engines and engine control systems have become more complicated, so when things do go wrong, they can be expensive to put right. In view of this fact, most of us who thought we knew a bit of what is going on beneath the bonnet have now been demoted to the position of supervisor, and we dare little more than periodically check the vital fluids.

It is also more important than ever to ensure that your modern marvel of a motorcar lasts as long as possible, as you can get amazing mileages out of modern engines that are well cared for. So, what must you do to join the “high-miler club” for your specific model? Quite a lot, in fact, and it is not complicated either; just a little common sense and preventative maintenance can see to it that you get many thousands of trouble-free kilometres out of your engine.

Oil is the lifeblood of the engine (and especially a turbocharger), so the engine must always have enough clean oil. Oil should be replaced more frequently in South Africa, because of our temperature variations, dust, and dirt roads that all serve to contaminate your oil. Even if you live in the city, your oil gets contaminated by combustion by-products, and breaks down sooner because of all the stop-start driving and fluctuating engine temperatures. The bottom line is that engines that get fresh oil more frequently last longer.

Remember that most of the engine wear takes place in the first 10 minutes after you have started your cold engine. It is therefore important to reduce those cold minutes to the minimum and, while the engine is still cold, you should drive it with a very light foot for at least 5-8 km. Drive off straight away and don’t let it idle! An idling engine warms up very slowly and wears more. Older turbocharged models should also be idled for a minute or two before shutting down if they have been worked hard and are very hot.

Engine modifications usually shorten engine life. Optimal functioning of your engine’s ECU will ensure that you will have the best economy and power delivery, without having to modify your car. That is why they can benefit from a Unichip, which is a non-invasive piggyback computer that optimises your ECU settings, so you have all the power and economy your engine can deliver, without shortening its life by a single kilometre.

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