Car servicing is something that many of us have had to put off because of the circuit-breaker.
If you’ve regularly maintained your car before this, you’re probably concerned about its condition. And if you’re past the servicing date and mileage, you might be concerned about whether you can still use it.
We put these and other questions to our resident mechanical engineer, Shreejit Changaroth. Here’s what you need to know.
MY SERVICE IS OVERDUE. SHOULD I BE WORRIED?
A reasonable delay in servicing, such as exceeding it by 1000km or so when the recommended interval is 15,000km, will not cause damage to your engine.
Engineers do not design mechanical moving parts with recommendations for lubrication at or anywhere close to the point of failure, whether of the hardware or the lubricant.
There are sufficient margins of safety factored into any aspect of automotive design.
WHAT PROBLEMS SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR WHILE DRIVING?
If you’re really worried about your vehicle’s condition, there’s a lot to watch out for.
Everything from unusual noises, performance, fuel economy, smoke from the exhaust, engine temperature and engine smoothness when idling and more so when accelerating.
HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK SHOULD I DRIVE MY CAR?
You can even drive your car once every two weeks if that’s all you need. But when you do drive it, it should be more than a cruise to the nearest 7-11.
IF SHORT-DISTANCE DRIVES ARE BAD, HOW LONG SHOULD EVERY DRIVE BE?
They are not exactly “bad” for the car, but you should nonetheless try longer drives away from stop-start traffic perhaps once every fortnight. It helps keep the mechanicals well lubricated, engine oil sufficiently filtered and the battery fully charged.
A good rule of thumb would be to cover about 20km. This would enable the engine and lubricant to reach their optimal operating temperatures.
When the engine oil is at its optimal temperature, it performs to the best of its abilities, providing both detergency and lubrication. Engine-wise, the motor will be hot enough to help burn off those power-sapping carbon deposits.
IF MY CAR SERVICING IS OVERDUE, SHOULD I GET AN ENGINE FLUSH DURING THE NEXT OIL CHANGE?
No. Never request or agree to an engine flush under any circumstances.
There are many products that claim to clean out everything in your engine and magically “renew” it.
But the trouble is, you never know how the engine flush works at oil seals, stripping away boundary lubrication that good engine oils maintain on all the moving components, especially between parts that maintain a very tight tolerance.
A moot point is that if indeed the flush strips out the oil, then what’s to strip out the flush when you replenish the oil?
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