Your vehicle is the second biggest investment you'll make in your lifetime. For half of America it's the biggest investment they'll ever make. Cars are now $14,000-$18,000 for sub compacts and $20,000-$40,000 for mid-size and full size. Trucks and SUV's can cost $18,000-$25,000 for compacts and $25,000-$50,000 for full size. People are keeping their vehicles longer than they ever have before. The 2006 R.L. Polk Study reports that American's drive cars that are a median average of 9 years old and trucks that are 7 years old. These owners are looking for ways to make these expensive vehicles last longer and run newer for longer. Keeping your engine, cooling system, fuel system, and drivetrain maintained and clean and the vehicle's exterior and interior polished and clean is the secret to protecting and preserving your vehicle investment.

Here are the vehicle assassins and the ways you can prevent them from killing your vehicle.

1. Engine Oil Oxidation-

As your car runs, the engine oil is exposed to extremes of temperature and pressure, which causes it to break down, and oxidize. This process alters the oil flow, and reduces the lubrication ability and the ability of the oil to cool the engine. As engine oils operate at higher temperatures, more common with modern fuel injected engines, they tend to "boil off", losing valuable components, and leaving behind a viscous sludge; a lot of engine oils can, over the course of time, lose up to 25 percent of their original weight due to high temperature chemistry changes and vaporization of long life volatile compounds. When this happens, they get thicker and circulate poorly, contribute to emissions problems, and reduce fuel economy. Bad oil accelerates engine wear, and abrasive elements accumulate, destroying bearings and causing seals and gaskets to leak. Oil breakdown is the number one engine killer.

Fix: Change your oil regularly (3-5,000 miles) or better yet use 100% synthetic oil in your engine.

2. Engine Sludge, Varnish, and Carbon Buildup-

The primary cause of engine wear is oil breakdown, which lead to accumulations of sludge, varnish, and carbon buildup. These compounds inhibit oil flow and block passages that allow the oil to lubricate the high performance, high motion parts of your engine. In addition to this blocking effect, sludge buildup seriously degrades cooling. This significantly increases the wear on bearings and engine rings. Sludge buildup is the prime culprit in seal leakage and gasket wear as well, since it blocks fresh oil from wetting the seals and gaskets, keeping them swollen. Without this wetting process, gaskets dry out and shrink, crack and leak.

Fix: Change your oil regularly (3-5,000 miles) or better yet use 100% synthetic oil in your engine.

3. Inadequate Oil Filtration-

Your oil filter is a critical part of your engine's performance, and has the job of keeping particulate matter out of the oil so it can flow properly. If it's working properly, the oil will flow through it quickly, and keep the engine running smoothly. Advanced engine technology, and more compact and powerful engines place incredible demands on these filters. To keep from creating a circulation bottleneck in modern engines, the filters tend to only grab the coarser particles, and feature relief valves that open when the demand gets high enough for lubrication. However, they still allow the smallest grit that passes through, such as manufacturing scarf, road dust, and metal flakes from the engine itself to pass; these components are in the 5 to 20 micron range, and they account for nearly 60% of all engine wear. Because these particles match the clearances between components, they can eventually work into the spaces between bearings and rings, and work through seals and gaskets, causing a lot of harm and advancing component fatigue. In extreme cases, they can even generate additional engine debris.

Fix: Use high quality, high efficiency oil filters. Don't allow the oil change shops to use their filters (they use very low quality filters), take in your own oil filter and have them put it on. Don't buy the least expensive oil filter, your costing yourself 100's of times more than you're saving in the long run.

4. Inadequate Air Filtration-

Just like you, your engine needs to breathe. Without air coming in, no ignition happens, and air flow is important for engine cooling and waste removal. The problem with air flow is that it pulls in dust and grime and other components x431 pro mini. This stuff is the worst enemy of your engine, and your air filter is the only thing keeping it from damaging your engine. To do the job right, your air filter must not only block harmful dirt and grit, but not obstruct the air flow your engine needs for peak performance.

Fix: Change your air filter once a year. Better yet get one of the new high air flow, high efficiency air filters that are cleanable and reusable. Some of these can be used for 100,000 miles.

5. Transmission Sludge-

Transmissions operate under severe conditions that constantly change, and are exposed to swings of temperature in excess of four hundred degrees. As automatic transmission fluid (ATF) overheats and ages, it loses viscosity and forms sludge, gunks up circulation and plays hell with transmission cooling. Abrasive metals whipped through the engine by aged transmission fluid ruins seals and damages engine components. Eventually, the transmission will shift erratically, vibrate and chatter, and then lock up.

Fix: Change your ATF out every 25-30,000 miles or better yet use 100% synthetic ATF.

6. Drive Line and Differential Abrasion-

Differential ring and pinion gears in your car will eventually suffer corrosion due to lack of lubrication. Eventually, cracks will develop that weaken the gear components and cuase further damage; with excessive wear in the gear boxes, you'll eventually hear noise, and by the time you're hearing it, you're already suffering from metal wear and fatigue. Symptoms of wear in differentials, manual transmissions, and transfer cases are fluid leakage and gear failure.

Fix: Change out your gear oils in your differential and other gear boxes every 25-30,000 miles or better yet use 100% synthetic gear lube.

7. Dirty Fuel and Intake System-

Your fuel is a solution of gasoline and other compounds Autel MaxiDiag MD808, which slowly accumulate in your fuel tank, feed likes and fuel injectors or carburetor. Eventually, this buildup will starve your engine for power and performance. Fuel oxidation and carbon buildup, as a result of dirty fuel intake systems, can result in expensive fuel injector failure. Heavy carbon buildup on fuel injectors leads to reduced injector cooling and flow, and inefficient combustion, and they cause a serious hit on fuel economy.

Fix: Run a quality fuel system and fuel injector cleaner though your fuel system every 3-5,000 miles.

8. Poorly Lubricated Wheel Bearings and Steering Joints-

Keeping your wheel bearings and steering joints well lubricated is essential to the life of your car. These components are constantly exposed to shock and road grit, and can suffer scoring, fretting and pitting with inadequate lubrication, causing differential corrosion. Symptoms of wear to these vital components are loose steering, inability to align the wheels, front end vibration, and poor suspension performance. If left untreated, this wear results in catastrophic part failure and expensive repairs.

Fix: Have your wheel bearings re-packed during brake service. Lubricate any lube fittings at least once a year. Use 100% synthetic grease.

9. Cooling System Corrosion-

Phosphate scale is the result of minerals found in tap water combining with coolants in your radiator; this coats the interior of the radiator, radiator hoses and will eventually migrate to the engine coolant passages, causing reduced heat transfer and a severe hit in cooling efficiency. When cooling efficiency drops, this causes your engine to run hotter, and causes excessive engine wear and tear and premature engine wear-out.

Fix: Change out your antifreeze/coolant every 15-20,000 miles and have your cooling system power flushed every 3-5 years.

10. Environmental Damage to Your Interior and Exterior-

The world is a harsh place for your car; the sun will cause your paint to fade, dirt and mud and road salt will cause finishes to crack and pit, and road chemicals can destroy your body work, including cracking the seals around your wheel wells. This harsh environment will also degrade your chrome surfaces, alloy wheels and rubber and plastic body components. Preserving the exterior of your vehicle will help prevent other problems later on, and help it retain value over time.

Fix: Wash your car with a wax safe car wash soap every week. Most people don't know that harsh detergents like dish soap strip off your protective car wax. Get a good car wash soap like Zip Wax. Wax your car with a high quality car wax at least twice a year, do not depend on drive through car washes for your wax. Wipe down and vacuum your interior weekly, use fabric and leather conditioners and protectants. Shampoo that carpet at least twice a year.

Ron Toomes has been in the Automotive Business for 25 years the last 10 as a Synthetic Lubrication Executive Jobber and Web Site Owner. Ron writes articles for: Ron's Web Site Amsoil Synthetic Lubricants
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