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Your average car owner doesn’t spend time thinking about the engine in their car. They just hop into it, turn the key and hit the road. There’s nothing to be concerned about, unless you start to hear odd sounds coming from under the hood. Then it’s time to time to start thinking about the engine.

Engines need a little love sometimes. They need not only a check-up now and then, they need regular maintenance to keep them in good running condition. To help you in your new found interest, we asked Junction Auto Sales of Chardon, a local Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge dealer in Chardon, OH, to give us a list of four proactive things you can do.

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  • Keep your oil fresh

Regularly changing the oil is one of the most important things you can do. Oil keeps all the moving engine parts friction-free and it cools down hot internal components. In order to accomplish this, the engine oil needs to be clean and free of debris.

Suggestions for oil change intervals vary, but with most modern cars it is around 5000 miles. It is prudent to check your owner’s manual or ask your local car dealer what the manufacturer recommended interval is. While you are at it, it is best practice to change the oil filter too. The oil filter keeps your engine oil cleaner by catching all the dirt and debris floating around. Get a good brand oil filter too. For an extra few dollars you can buy some piece of mind.

  • Keep your cooling system, well, cooling

Your car’s cooling system includes the radiator, thermostat, water pump and coolant. Here’s how it works. The coolant circulates through your engine when the thermostat determines that the engine needs to be cooled down. The water pump then pulls coolant from the radiator and directs it to the engine block. After circulating thru the block and absorbing heat, it flows back to the radiator.

The primary task you want to take on once a month is to check the “coolant level.” This is usually a fill line on the coolant reservoir.  The reservoir is a clear tank with a green or orange colored fluid in it. There will be a set of fill marks embossed on the tank that will indicate the minimum and maximum levels that the coolant should be at. If it falls below the minimum line, add some antifreeze.

  • Keep your engine breathing

Cars need a constant flow of air to use in the combustion process.  Air filters are what keeps this air clean. Over time, air filters get clogged with dirt and need to be replaced. When they get clogged up, gas mileage can suffer and your engine can run roughly.

Checking and replacing your car’s air filter is usually a simple task. Consult your owner’s manual or look online for a procedure.  You can get a replacement filter from any auto parts store or from your local dealer.

  • Replace your fuel filter

The fuel filter in your car protects your engine from harmful sediment and particles in the gas.  Like the oil filter, it traps any debris that is in the fuel by filtering it out.  Fuel filters are small canisters located under the hood or under the car.  In some cases, this can be a DIY project but for most it is a job for your local mechanic to perform.