The Happy Engine

What It Takes to Keep Car Engines Healthy & Happy

Nobody (not even the people who work at auto service shops) want to encounter the need for major engine repairs. They’re expensive and inconvenient. The best way to avoid engine repairs is to prevent them through routine maintenance. Keeping your engine “happy” will extend its life, enabling it to serve you well for a long time. The ASE certified technicians at Jeff’s Auto Repair on Sandpoint Way in Seattle, Washington, are eager to help you with all your service and repair needs.

Important Engine Maintenance Services

There are several simple things you can do yourself at home to help protect your engine. First, check your oil. Second, check your coolant. Insufficient lubricant and coolant have led to the untimely death of many cars. Other checks and services are likely easier for you to leave to the professional mechanic. For instance, in addition to checking the oil, you need to change it on a regular schedule. Oil loses its ability to perform properly over time. It doesn’t coat your moving metal engine parts as well as it should, allowing friction to cause damage. Also, old oil cannot remove heat from the engine as well as it needs to, and it can no longer capture dirt and debris, keeping them away from the metal engine parts where they cause corrosion. If you’re noticing frequently low coolant levels, you may have a leak. This might be an area you want the technician to address, as well.

Like you, your engine likes clean air. You should also replace the air filter at scheduled intervals indicated by the manufacturer. Although the timing belt shouldn’t have to be replaced often, it is a good idea to have it checked so that a change can be made if necessary. Your car’s manufacturer also has recommended intervals for replacement. You should also have other belts checked and exchanged when needed to ensure that worn belts don’t break, rendering your engine useless. Finally, you should have a tune-up performed as recommended. For older cars, this is about once per year or every 10,000-12,000 miles. Newer cars, however, need this service visit much less frequently. Consult your owner’s manual or your mechanic for advice regarding tune-up intervals.

Making Your Engine Smile

Your engine can’t smile, but if it could, it would let you know how happy it is when you get it properly serviced. Vehicle maintenance keeps your engine running well and greatly extends its usable life. The experienced service technicians at Jeff’s Auto Repair on Sandpoint Way in Seattle, Washington, are glad to assist you in keeping your car operating optimally for a long time to come.

Understanding Your Engine

Yes, you can understand your car’s engine! First, let’s talk about what it is and is not. Some people mistakenly think that an engine and a motor are the same thing. While the terms often get incorrectly used interchangeably, the engine uses combustion (of your fuel) to generate the energy that moves your car forward and the motor converts energy into motion. The expert technicians at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington, are ASE trained to service and repair both your vehicle’s engine and motor.

How Combustion Works

Nearly all cars produce energy through a four-stroke combustion cycle. Not surprisingly, there are four parts to the cycle. First, a small amount of fuel combines with air in a cylinder (intake stroke). Next, the air and fuel in the cylinder are compressed by a piston (compression stroke). Then the mixture is ignited by a spark. This small explosion forces the piston back up (combustion stroke). Finally, the resulting gas (referring to fumes, not gasoline) exits when the exhaust valve opens (exhaust stroke).

Major Engine Components

To make the combustion process described above happen, multiple parts must work together in order or chain reaction. Cylinders are the spaces where air and fuel combine. They may be found in a few different arrangements, depending on the kind of engine you have, but they all work on the same principle. The spark plugs, as the name implies, create the spark needed to ignite the air-fuel mixture. Valves, which are closed during compression and combustion, let air and fuel in and let exhaust out. The piston creates compression of the air-fuel mixture by moving up and down in the cylinder. Sealing the gap between the piston and cylinder, piston rings prevent the air-fuel mixture and exhaust from leaking out during compression and combustion. They also ensure that oil doesn’t enter the cylinder. The crankshaft converts the vertical motion of the pistons into circular motion. To accomplish this, the connection rod rotates at both ends, connecting the piston to the crankshaft. The sump contains and collects oil. It surrounds the crankshaft.

Service and Repair

Now that you understand the basic workings of your car’s engine, you will readily see why routine maintenance such as oil changes and the occasional spark plug replacement is vital to keeping your engine working properly. When something breaks (such as a crankshaft) or needs replacing due to age (such as leaking piston rings), Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington, can help you with those complex repairs on all makes and models.

Driving Habits that Hurt Your Car

Avoid These & Avoid Auto Repair!

You probably don’t want to visit the auto repair shop to fix sudden problems with your vehicle, but that’s precisely what you’ll do if you practice unsafe driving habits! We don’t just mean aggressive driving. You might be damaging your vehicle with the way you drive and not even know it! Don’t worry, that’s why Jeff’s Auto Repair is here. We can help you start taking better care of your vehicle before you ever visit our shop in Seattle, Washington. To start, all you have to do is avoid these damaging driving habits that can create severe problems. Then, you won’t need major auto repairs to correct them!

Hitting Potholes

Unfortunately, potholes can be found anywhere. When you hit them head-on, they can damage your vehicle’s suspension, steering, and alignment. You can’t expect potholes to disappear, but you can stay vigilant and alert to avoid them. If you can safely avoid hitting a pothole, you should do so to protect your car. If you can’t go around without driving off the road or into another lane of traffic, slow down instead. This will minimize the impact and any potential damage.

Neglecting the Parking Brake

When you pull into a parking spot — in your garage or driveway, at work, at the store, or wherever you leave your car — do you engage the parking brake? Whenever you park your vehicle, you should use the parking brake. It doesn’t matter what kind of incline or terrain you’re on, or what type of transmission you have. If you don’t use the parking brake, you place the responsibility of stopping your vehicle from rolling solely on the transmission. The parking brake is specifically designed to keep the wheels locked in place. It’s safer to use and will reduce premature wear on other parts.

Not Stopping Completely Between Park, Reverse, & Drive

Sometimes you’re in a rush to get going. It might be the pressure of someone waiting for your parking spot or your hurry to get out of the driveway and get to work. When that happens, you might be guilty of shifting from “Reverse” to “Drive” without completely stopping. Shifting gears while the car is still rolling can cause damage over time. It might save a fraction of time, but it won’t protect your transmission! Always come to a complete stop when putting your car into “Park,” “Reverse,” or “Drive.”

Contact the Experts

Think you might have damaged your vehicle and need auto repair? There’s no need to panic! Contact your local service specialists at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Seattle, Washington. We would be happy to help!

How to Avoid Engine Repairs

Maintenance is Key

When we say “how to avoid engine repairs,” we don’t mean that we want you to ignore a problem that’s already there. Instead, Jeff’s Auto Repair in Seattle, Washington wants drivers to learn how to prevent problems from ever occurring! The key to long-term engine health is preventative maintenance.

Engine Maintenance

The engine is the heart of your vehicle. Without it, you won’t be going anywhere! So it should come as no surprise that you need routine maintenance services to protect the engine. These services are the basics your engine needs to continue performing its best with clean, healthy parts. If you check your owner’s manual, you’ll find that these maintenance services are recommended by your car’s manufacturer to protect its long-term health!

Oil Changes

Clean oil lubricates and protects the engine. Getting the oil changed regularly will keep engine parts clean from contaminants and lubricate them to prevent overheating. It’s also a good idea to replace fluid and air filters that are responsible for catching contaminants before the reach important parts. Be sure to follow a routine schedule to keep your engine running smoothly!

Wheel Alignment

You never want to force your engine to work so hard that it strains and is susceptible to damage. Driving with poor wheel alignment will do exactly that. It forces the engine to work harder and consume more gas to keep the car moving forward. Get wheel alignment to correct issues and protect your car’s optimal performance.

Check Engine Light

If your check engine light is on, it might be alerting you to an issue with an engine part. Handle these problems quickly to prevent further damage from occurring. Replacing an oxygen sensor or spark plug is easy and will promote the engine’s optimal performance. Ignoring the problem might cause serious degradation that takes extensive repairs to recover from.

Visit Jeff’s Auto Repair

If you keep up with these services and tips, you’ll be on the right track to preventing engine problems! Our team is here to help you keep your car in top condition, so be sure to visit our shop in Windermere, Seattle for maintenance service!